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Entry 1989, on 2019-07-11 at 19:49:01 (Rating 3, Politics)
An increasing number of people seem to be becoming homeless. I don't mean the greater number of people who are literally homeless here in New Zealand - despite the current PM's promise of a year ago that she would end homelessness in 4 weeks - I mean many people now have no political home.
So what am I on about this time? Well, in the past most people had a political movement or party they identified with and would vote for more or less automatically. But things have changed. It started in the late 1970s and 1980s wehre various traditionally left oriented parties were infiltrated by elements of neoliberalism and betrayed their traditional supporters.
This was particularly bad here because the Labour Party (left leaning) was taken over by an extremely ideological libertarian faction and switched allegiances from one extreme to another and instituted a program of asset sales, free market reforms, and user pays models. Similar things happened elsewhere, such as in the UK with Tony Blair's New Labour party.
Since then the failure of these policies has become apparent and there is no longer much support for them. This isn't necessarily good because I think some libertarian, neoliberal ideas are worth considering as part of a bigger policy mix, and it's unfortunate that New Zealand's libertarian party, Act, is languishing in the political wilderness with almost no support.
So you might think that the return of left oriented politics to its traditional roots would bring the world back into balance again, and everyone would be able to go back to their previous affiliations, or establish what those should be for new voters.
But no, it hasn't really worked out that way, because now the left seems to have disappeared off into another form of extremism. They really don't appear to be capable of staying sensible and following common sense ideas, because they need to be constantly exploring the limits of political fringe ideas, and this time it is extreme political correctness and control of free speech.
In many ways it is the left's role to do this. They explore new ideas and make changes which the right is too conservative to pursue. And after making these changes, and making a complete mess of things, the right comes back in and re-stabilises society on more common sense grounds. So both sides of politics need each other and as long as we switch from one to the other occasionally, everything balances out OK. Actually, this is a political epiphany I have had recently which I will probably write a whole post about in the future. But for now, back to my main point.
As I said, the left have become unbearable to many through their extreme attachment to political correctness and the shutting down of alternative views. And it's not even primarily the politicians which are responsible; in fact the main part of the problem comes from the left oriented mainstream media and the attitudes of many large corporations, especially those involved in internet media and communications.
So sponsors of sport threaten to remove their support unless the sporting body involved accepts their political views and acts accordingly. The most recent example was Australian airline Qantas' recent threats to Rugby Australia over the Israel Folau "gays in hell" tweets.
And the most recent Facebook terms of service are absurd. They apparently say that death threats are not allowed unless they are against groups or persons which Facebook deems are OK to threaten. This is on top of a very obvious bias Facebook, and other social media companies, such as Twitter, already have regarding supporting politcal correctness.
To be fair, many of these events happen in the US, where the current administration is certainly not left leaning or politically correct, so it could be that the social forces are leading the politics, rather than the other way around. But that doesn't really affect my argument about the politics, which is one aspect of life which the individual, at least theoretically, does have some control over, at elections.
All of the major parties currently in New Zealand have some good policies which I find useful and might make me want to vote for them, but at the same time they all have such massive flaws that I just couldn't do that.
If I could have the environmental standards of the Greens, the commitment to free actions and speech of Act, the common sense management of National, the pragmatic control over immigration and other activities of New Zealand First, and the dedication to fairness and new ideas of Labour, then I would be happy.
But all of those parties have major issues too. So the Greens base too many policies on green ideology rather than reality, Act has an extreme libertarian economic agenda, National has to much favouritism to business and the rich, NZ First base their ideas as much on fantasy as reality, and Labour is horribly politically correct to the point where they have lost touch with what is fair.
How could I vote for any of those? Like an increasing number of people around the world, I feel like I have no one who really represents my ideas. Any party which has a significant attraction because of some policies, has an equal or greater repulsion through others.
And it's under those circumstances that many people resort to supporting populist parties and the cult of personality, because the traditional political people and parties have failed them. And that is why Donald Trump is now the president of the US. It isn't so much that he was a great candidate for that position, it was more that Hilary Clinton was a really terrible one, because she represented everything that is wrong with modern politics.
Many people say that everyone should vote, and that if no party suits you perfectly - an idea which is fairly ridiculous in the first place - you should choose the party which represents you best, or at least represents you least badly. But I'm not sure if that is a good idea, because that makes it too easy just to choose an option with a conspicuous profile but which might have little real substance.
But then people who are dedicated to a particular political view - and who often have little knowledge of why except they do it through tradition or because other people in their social situation do it - take control, and that really isn't any better.
So, yet again, I can reach no good conclusion on what the answer should be. Maybe if I keep looking I will find a party which does represent my ideas better, but I think that is unlikely. I really am politically homeless.
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Contact: OJB, OJB@mac.com. Features: Blog, RSS Feeds, Podcasts, Feedback, Log. Modified: 03 Mar 2007. Hits: 30,213,390.