At some point capitalism is going to be replaced by socialism. The erratic and ever changing value of money, and an honest day’s labour, will finally become so infuriating we will replace our exchange and accounting systems with one based more directly on time spent working. Along with that the ownership of wealth will move from private stockholders and governments to a democracy of producers and consumers.
But that’s decades, maybe centuries, in the future. Right now the working classes are not impressed by what’s already gone on in the name of socialism, from the crimes against humanity of the communists in the east to the arrogant and tragic miscalculations of the state bureuacrats in the west.
Which brings me to libertarianism, the most recent movement to challenge the established liberal, conservative and socialist ideologies. It’s really a hodge podge of all three, and yet its current popularity is based on a dissatisfaction with those political progenitors.
I’m hoping change come peacefully, democratically, without violent revolutions. Reform is a process of exhausting the possibilities of the existing system before moving on to something completely new. So I am watching and supporting the libertarians, for a while, to see if they can stablize the economy and save us from the totalitarian impulses of the left and right.
Here in Canada there is a remarkable development on the libertarian front, the Wildrose party of Alberta. It’s a Canadian Tea Party. Looks like they might win next week’s provincial election.
If they scare the hell out of you, which they do for most of my friends, I recommend reading this op-ed from Michael Den Tandt in the Postmedia news.
Then if you want to give in and enjoy a moment of optimism, watch this video on Youtube, a bio of the party’s leader.
Just remember you can never trust a documentary, especially one with a musical soundtrack. That goes double of course, for political ads.
The movie says little about policy or even the campaign. What I like is the silence on social conservatism, even though many of her supporters and party members fall into that camp. As in the US, the social conservatives are coming to terms with their minority status, and joining with the libertarians to defend a space for their way of life. They’ve given up forcing it on the rest of us.
As Den Tandt says:
But here’s the thing: As in Quebec following the Layton wave, these are to be true citizen legislators. How can that not be healthy, warts and all? Moreover, Smith herself is something new: Libertarian, fiscally conservative, socially liberal and, obviously, a woman. As such she has the capacity to fuse political strains that previously have been separate. Will it be a mash-up at times? Yes. But that doesn’t make it bad, necessarily.
I think political parties are nearing the end of their usefulness. But until there is a viable replacement I’m going to vote for the one that I think is most likely to address today’s problems with some success. If I were in Alberta, I suspect I might be giving Wildrose the go ahead next week.
Update: Much to everyone’s surprise, especially the pollsters, Wildrose didn’t win enough seats to form a government, getting 34% of the vote to the PCs 44%. The ruling conservatives dropped 5 seats to a still confortable majority with 61. Danielle Smith lead her party to official opposition status, going from 4 MPs to 17. The Liberals won 5, the NDP 4.
So what happened? Possibly a combination of fear and/or caution.
They may have been some strategic voting from supporters of the two smaller parties, mostly the liberals, switching to the PCs because they were so frightened by the possibility of a Wildrose victory.
In the larger “civil war” between the two conservative parties it looks like 5 to 8 percent switched back to the older party in the last few days, out of concern that so many inexperienced candidates were leading in the polls.
From my perspective it’s nice to see party loyalty being sacrificed for the perceived greater good of the province. And I suspect Smith is somewhat relieved to have some time to settle in as a newly elected MP herself, as well as leader of the opposition.
Update II: More optimism from Den Tandt (He’s a Pollyanna, just like me.)