Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Say "No" to Political Parties

I hear from a number of my fellow Canadians that, surely, ours is the freer of the two when compared to the United States of America. How could one argue otherwise, when they have only two parties to choose from, and we have so many? Surely, nobody could disagree that adding choice to the democratic process increases the freedom felt by those who are ruled by the results of the vote, and you need look for no further confirmation  than that which is found in the disdain with which we discuss countries with single-party elections. The more parties, the better.

I disagree. I think there should be fewer political parties, not more. A lot fewer, actually.

A political party is, for all intents and purposes, a coalition of persons who share political ideologies and use their combined headcount to their advantage by applying the principles of majority rule in order to attain positions of power. In that regard, a political party must garner popular support among the electorate, which is done by campaigning on a party platform. As a general truism, a member of the electorate may expect one NDP candidate to be replaceable by another, politically-identical candidate - republican for republican, liberal for liberal, so on and so forth.

A party must, therefore, rely on this platform in order to garner votes. It is possible, even, to compensate for gross flaws in ideology by adopting popular positions. For example, the Republican Party in the States has, as a factor of its positions on marriage and so forth, a distinct anti-homosexuality bias, however understated. Yet support in the LGBT community for the Republican Party persists, due to the party having popular positions on other issues such as defence. This is true in one way or another of almost all political parties, and is a natural function of another truism: no two people will ever find themselves in total agreement on every matter.

What you end up with is the acceptance of bad/unformed/unpopular ideas on the shoulder of ideas that are, or at least seem, more robust, more elegant, and more accurate.

This is why I suggest the abolition of political parties.  While it would be further ideal to replace representative democracies with pure democracies on the strength of modern telecommunication, that is an issue for an entirely different diatribe. Simply decentralize candidate selection and voting. Let communities decide, on the strength of a person's individual merits and ideas, who would best represent them in the political arena.

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