When this corrupt conservative reign of appalling governance ends, as it must, and the COVID-19 virus has been erased – in the aftermath we will come to the realisation that everything must change. Not just Australia, but the world.
In particular, the way in which we conduct our politics.
Conservatives will be hard-pressed to explain how the science of climate that discovered our planet is overheating and threatening our existence is somehow different (and unbelievable) to the science that discovered a virus that also threatened great destruction.
We will also grasp the understanding that our current monetary system doesn’t work. Capitalism has failed because it has no understanding of society.
Capitalism matched to a government that is society sympathetic could work. One that has the common good at the centre of its philosophy.
We live in a failed system. Capitalism does not allow for an equitable flow of economic resources. With this system a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level.
It cannot measure our humanness and its intercourse with economics. It only measures black and white or profit and loss. It does however measure greed.
“The gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages… It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom or our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.” (Robert F. Kennedy).
In this current crisis governments have had the very unique example of human health colliding with monetary systems and billions of dollars will have to be spent on a peoples’ health and propping up our financial systems.
It does, however, give the world an opportunity to pause and question whether capitalism without government regulation and greed without conscience should form a part of a modern world economy.
“Like moving mountains,” I hear you say. Well yes, to a degree, but a renaissance is possible.
We dislike and resist change in the foolish assumption that we can make permanent that which makes us feel secure. Yet change is in fact part of the very fabric of our existence.
Three weeks ago Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers advocated that the government deliver a social wellbeing budget, including environmental outcomes alongside traditional financial indicators in the nation’s books.
He was very serious about it.
Extending it further it would give government the opportunity to wean itself off the multitude of ways it opens for the rich and privileged to reduce their tax and make companies pay tax and for companies not to receive subsidies unless they could demonstrate a return for the taxpayer.
All Jim Chalmers got for his educated suggestion was a decent serve from Josh Freydenberg, reported Katherine Murphy:.
“Now I want you to picture this alternative,” Frydenberg said. “The member for Rankin is about to deliver his first wellbeing budget. He walks in, barefoot, into the chamber … robes are flowing, incense is burning … beads in one hand and speech in the other … gone are the seats, gone are the benches … and in their place, meditation mats for all, Mr Speaker … hugs for all, Mr Speaker”.
Besides an apology to those Hindus he had offended he ended up with egg all over his face when he found himself making decisions that, had they gone into the usual May budget, would equate to a wellbeing humanist socialist budget.
Of course he won’t admit to it but his rolling fiscal stimulus is an emergency wellbeing budget. More so because the regular budget has been put back until October. (A scandal in itself)
Wellbeing budgets can be refined over time as objectives and priorities are decided but at the core of there intent should be a fairer distribution of the countries wealth and equality of opportunity both economically and educationally. Economics must touch base with society.
If the conservative President Abraham Lincoln was looking over my shoulder he might repeat one of his famous quotes:
“Labour is prior to and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labour, and could never have existed if labour had not first existed. Labour is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
As I said at the beginning, these current tragic events have given us cause to reflect on our economics and our wellbeing but we also need to address the sort of democracy we want to be and the society that overlays it.
We must ask ourselves if we are content with the narcissistic, self-interested dog eat dog individualistic, stuff my neighbour, greed is good society we have now or can we dare for the want of something superior.
Will the events of this Australian summer, as ongoing and dreadful as they are, be the catalyst that might wake us from the political malaise that has bogged us down in a quagmire of narcissism? It’s the individual first second and third.
Every part of society, when you think about it, has been indoctrinated with a nefarious, conservative me first. Attitude that has seen the common good almost vanish.
“Is it not possible to hope that there are some people of integrity who might form a centrist party dedicated to honest government for all and the principles of “from each according to her/his ability, to each according to her/his need”? (Origin uncertain).
There will of course be various views as to what comprises a society. Here are mine (you may find them a touch idealistic, but that’s just my manner):
Simply put, my society Incubuses a collective of people who have a desire to express themselves in every human endeavour. A collective who have at the very centre of there being aspirations to express their humanity, work, aspirations, spirituality, art, poetry and play with the richest possible diversity.
My society would have empathy instilled in their learning. Common good at the centre of their politics regardless of ideology.
This common good with equality of opportunity for all would be enshrined in its constitution.
A society where one’s sexual preference or gender is not a judgement upon your character and the colour of your skin says nothing about you other than perhaps your geographical place of birth.
The common good, or empathy for it, should be at the centre of any political philosophy. However it is more likely to be found on the left than the right.
My society advances the right of the individual to pursue whatever desires he/she has including the pursuit of wealth, which would only be regulated by the principles of the collective common good.
In other words, everyone is entitled to an equitable share of society’s wealth.
Freedom of expression would be guaranteed.
An enlightened society in which the suggestion that we need to legislate ones’ right to hate another person is considered intellectually barren.
Health and welfare of all would be at the forefront of its common-good philosophy.
Sacrosanct for all and access to treatment would be assured.
Most importantly, the principle that we should treat others in the same manner as we expect them to treat us would be indelible in the mind of every citizen.
My society would have a healthy respect for science over myth and mysticism, but at the same time recognise that each individual has a right to express their individual spirituality in their own way so long as it doesn’t corrupt the aspirations of ‘commongoodism’.
My society that would be judged by its welcoming, and the treatment it provides for its most vulnerable citizens.
Accessibility to the law regardless of stature or wealth would be available to everyone.
In democratic societies (the best – or least bad form of government) our herding instincts are realised by the election of leaders who form government.
A ‘fitness to serve’ stipulation would seek a clause in our constitution so as to as much as possible guarantee the most qualified serve in our parliament.
The rise of narcissism and inequality and the demise of compassion illustrate the state of the world.
My ideal society would be one that acknowledges that a group mentality advances society better than dictatorial individuality.
If we are to live in a democracy then it is the government that decides and regulates the progress and ambitions of society.
Or at least provides the environment in which to do so.
The Liberal Party has always been a party of elites and would bes. The idea that economics and society are intertwined is abhorrent to them. Economics is the domain of the rich and privileged and society belongs to those of class and privilege.
In reality there is very little that is done in the name of progress that cannot be credited in some way to government.
Individual or collective ambition can only be achieved within a social structure built and controlled by a government that is sympathetic to it.
Those of you who follow my daily political mutterings on Facebook will probably know that first and foremost I am passionate about thwarting the decline in our democracy and the corruption that accompanies it. Amid the daily enraged voices of doing over one’s opponent there must be people with a genuine desire to change the way our democracy functions. There has never been a better opportunity.
My thought for the day
The notion that a few privileged individuals can own the vast majority of a countries wealth and the remainder own little is on any level unsustainable, politically, economically or morally.
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