Friday 10 March 2017
1 There are some things we write that at a later date when writing on the same subject the words we choose seem inferior to the original ones. It is with this in mind that I post.
A Society for the Common Good. That’s what I want.
I was walking my dog Zach (since departed)one autumn day in 2016 and thinking about the year in politics. Many things came to mind but the one thing that stood out was the sense of self entitlement that politicians have.
As if just being a politician necessitated some form of self-indulgence that set them apart from the society they are supposed to represent. My thoughts drifted to what I thought a society should be.
When, many years ago, the lady with the bad hair do uttered her famous and dispassionate condemnation of the human species:
”there’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first”
I was horrified. It was a statement that could only be expressed by someone with a deep sense of isolation, selfish indifference, or indulgence. Was she saying that families only consisted of individuals making their way without any dependency on societal structure? The basic need to coexist and seek companionship.
We are by nature a herding animal. We form groups because no individual can survive without the assistance of others. ”No man is an island” as John Donne said. Margaret Thatcher’s statement condemns us to class self-centeredness and serfdom.
Successful societies should be built around a common good and we need to examine which political ideology is best placed to build such a society.
Firstly, let’s ask ourselves what is an ideal society based on the assumption that’s it’s an attainment we may never accomplish, but none the less is a worthwhile aspiration. Even call me idealistic if you want.
In the modern Western sense an enlightened society is a populace of men, women and children who as a collective desire to express their humanity, work, aspirations, spirituality, art, poetry and play with the richest possible diversity.
It cultivates a common good with equality of opportunity for all. A society where one’s sexual preference or gender is not a judgement upon your character and the color of your skin says nothing about you other than perhaps your geographical place of birth. A society that believes in individual pursuit, intellectual accomplishment and financial reward only regulated by what is beneficial for the common collective good. In other words everyone is entitled to an equitable share of society’s wealth.
A society where freedom of expression is guaranteed but limited only by the innate moral personal decency of the individual. Where free speech is fair speech. An enlightened society in which the suggestion that we need to legislate ones right to hate another person is considered intellectually barren.
A society where the health and welfare of all is sacrosanct and access to treatment is assured. Where the principle that we should treat others in the same manner as we expect them to treat us is indelible in the mind of every citizen. A society that respects science before myth and mysticism, but at the same time recognises the individual’s right to the expression of their own form of spirituality so long as it doesn’t hinder the common good.
A society that should be judged by its welcoming, and how well it treats its most vulnerable citizens. By how well protected we are and how accessible the law is regardless of stature or wealth.
In Democratic Societies (the best – or least bad form of government) our herding instincts are realised by the election of leaders who form government. Even in the imperfection of democracy we realise that a group mentality advances society better than dictatorial individuality.
So we need government that is subservient to the will (the common good ethic) of the people and is responsive to public opinion.
It is government that decides and regulates the progress and ambitions of society. Or at least provides the environment in which to do so. There is very little that is done in the name of progress that cannot be attributed in some way to government. Individual or collective ambition can only be achieved within a social structure built and controlled by government.
Currently we are experiencing a shift in power from government to those who control the means of production, financial institutions, the media, and the rich and large corporations.
Government by the people for the common good needs to be taken back.
It is our entitlement, not theirs.
2 On this day in 2016 I wrote:
A Whilst I understand the ABCs desire to have a diversity of views on its panel for the life of me, given his past, I could not understand how having Alan Jones opining about the Catholic Church, boys and morality was appropriate.
B A Royal Commission into the banks and the Financial Advice Industry is long overdue. Conservative Governments are loath to investigate the big end of town for ideological reasons. Last night’s Four Corners program should ensure one is implemented. It also highlights the need for a national ICAC.
C I have read many political books in my lifetime both biographical and scholarly. My favourite in terms of insight into how government works has always been Don Watson’s masterly study of Paul Keating ‘Recollections of a Bleeding Heart.’ Yesterday I began reading the book of the moment. Nikki Savva’s ‘Road to Ruin’ It gives promise of an insight into all that is wrong with the way we are governed.
D The IPA gains a voice in the Senate with the selection of 28-year-old James Paterson to the top of the Liberal Victorian ticket. Paterson has strong libertarian views on issues like free speech. Together with the right the IPA have had a victory?
E In the words of former Opposition Leader Dr John Hewson. Speaking about Tony Abbott.
”I suffered from his disloyalty because he was a constant channel from my office to John Howard”
”He did go down in history as probably the most effective leader of the opposition in the sense that he made negativity an art form, but from the point of view of good government and reform processes and so on, it was a pretty disastrous period”
My thought for the day.
”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”
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