“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”
“I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.”
Thomas More, “A Man for All Seasons”
Our system of politics has required centuries to evolve - the English Parliamentary system creates governments of contingency and compromise rather than ideology and dogma. No one ought to tamper lightly with a system which has endured through such challenges. We can discuss whether or not to have an elected Senate, and whether or not to have a Monarchy, but those discussions ought to take place with knowledgeable people, (including historians who can remind us why things shaped up the way they did in the first place). Most people’s opinions in politics are worth what you pay for them: having the opinion is fine, but that doesn’t make it sound. As in medicine, any one can toss out a diagnosis and a remedy for some ailment, but generally most of us would prefer the opinion of someone with a diploma on their wall, right?
“No man undertakes a trade he has not learned, even the meanest; yet everyone thinks himself sufficiently qualified for the hardest of all trades, that of government”
Without getting too far into it, I do happen to approve of a Senate, and of a monarchy, just as I do the Courts. Putting barriers in the path of Parliament is a useful impediment not only to whimsical and unnecessary legislation and radical, swift changes within society, but also is the only real barrier to the unrestrained growth of the State. The only people who can realistically stop the spiraling growth of government are, well, people who can veto what it proposes to do. Senators, Kings and Judges – masses of people can too, but that involves violence generally. And just because each citizen has one vote, (with which to address all issues) once every four years, is hardly a viable retort to that observation. That is a trivial response and we all know it. Democracy has been a system abused by those seeking power for too long, and voters are powerless to prevent abuse for the most part.
“We were the first to assert that the more complicated the forms assumed by civilization, the more restricted the freedom of the individual must become”
Fascist Dictator, Benito Mussolini, 1883-1945
“I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations”
James Madison, 1788
Once upon a time there were no “parties” in government. There was no such thing as a party “Whip” ( – the Party Disciplinarian who compels your freely elected representatives to vote a specific way, as demanded by the Leader). There was a time when the person elected to government spoke on behalf of the people who elected him (no “her” when this was the case – it was a long time ago and in another country, and at the time women didn’t even get to vote). Sometimes a group in Parliament would vote this way on some issue; sometimes a totally different group would vote a different way, with different allies, different opponents, on a different issue. In other words, in order for any particular piece of legislation to pass, most elected representatives had to agree on it, whether they were the same elected representatives each time or not – not like now, where the “Party” hierarchy can compel the elected Members to vote a certain way.
Political parties are for lazy collectivists. Persuasion is such a difficult process, it requires at least one brain plus an actual argument; it’s so much handier just to force people to vote a certain way, especially when you know you are right. Such is the nature of your “leaders”.
“Shall we never realize the danger of furnishing political parties, as they seize power, with the opportunity to impose their opinions – nay, their errors- universally and uniformly by force? For it is indeed using force to forbid by law every other idea than that with which one is oneself infatuated”
Frederic Bastiat, c. 1850
Ironically, a Capitalist Party would not have a leader, I think. Hopefully there would be persuasive speakers, of course, but never one person with the means to force consensus. It would appear as a group of like-minded people in which all were political equals, only voting on a given piece of legislation because they had come to their own independent conclusion that it was good. Voting by individual conscience, based on respectful and intelligent discourse, every vote a “free vote” – how often have you seen one of those in Ottawa? Yet, isn't that the very essence of democracy?
“A wise man neither suffers himself to be governed, nor attempts to govern others”
Jean de la Bruyere, 1645-1696
It is an obvious truth that in a “free and democratic” society, as Canada purports to be, it is actually the politics of Capitalism which best mirrors the tenets of Democracy. The best society is the one which can evolve from the “free market” of ideas. Everyone has a voice; no power elites are capable of dictating outcomes. Just as in the economic marketplace, people “vote” for the products they like the best, with their money, and just as challengers are welcome to attempt to improve on what has gone before… so it is too with Democracy. Political parties which try to curb free speech by other parties, or which control the political process through biased tricks, propaganda, or bad-mouthing their opponents’ personalities are artificially distorting the best society… those practices are an aberration; they are not democracy, nor the free market of ideas.
If you believe in Democracy itself, because of the way it works…. you are a Capitalist. This should not be surprising… the countries of the world which are obvious dictatorships, (whether personal or communist), are clearly the antithesis of Capitalism.