Friday, July 6, 2012

A Quick Note on Labels in Politics

At the outset, when people ask about my political views without defining a specific question, I like to say that I am "economically-conservative and socially-liberal". While NationStates players (and probably PoliSci students) might be familiar with a two-axis model of political identity like this, even they have a hard time pinning down what ideas I would or would not go for in political terms, which admittedly is compounded by the fact that I play as many nations with governments I wouldn't always agree with, and often use that distinction to either consider changing my mind or make a valid argument against it. But let's look at a few examples of where I stand on certain generalist and Canadian issues.

Are you in favour of raising military spending, or certain big programs like the new F-jet purchase or the Arctic Sovereignty initiative?
Woah, sparky! That's actually three questions in one, and they've all got room for surprisingly complex answers. If you're asking if I would like to see military spending go up as a percentage of the government's spending, I'd have to say I'm not - I feel there are more important programs. If you're asking if the increase could be made by increasing the sum total of the government spending (or at least not cutting into any other field), then the answer is yes.

As for the jets and the northern base construction, I'm actually in favour of both purchases, despite the fact that the Fighter Purchase was entirely bungled by Defence Minister McKay's department. These jets are going to cost more than I was okay with, but it's necessary in our ageing fleet.

You see, my military priorities are entirely domestic. While it's good and noble that Canadian men and women are off in Kandahar and are (or was it were? The reporting is so vague) in Lybia, there are other fish to fry. We might be the backbone of peace-keeping in lieu of US deployments, but being peace-keepers feels a lot like going to war from here.

So if you're socially liberal, you must be in favour of gay marriage.

Alright, you got me there. In as much as you can call the government side of marriage marriage, I'm all for it. From a governmental perspective, there's only one element to marriage, and that's nothing more than a contract which carries a few tax incentives for having signed it. In that respect, I really think that anyone who can legally sign a contract should be able to get married to anyone else who can.

Now, spiritually, that's a whole other subject that could be a blog post unto itself.

Canada currently has some of the weakest and most poorly defined abortion laws in the Western World. Do you feel that changing that should be a government priority? What would the new laws allow or prohibit in your view?

The only way you could have picked a more polarizing topic would be to ask if fighting should be banned in hockey. Thing is, rules are a lot different for medical practice up here. There are perhaps one or two dozen operations nation wide who can legally perform an abortion.

In my experience, abortion just isn't looked on as an option in my part of the country, which for one thing has the largest number of catholic parishes of any city in the country, and for another thing, usually runs around 20 years behind the rest of the national politically and ethically.

Having said that, I do feel the laws should be more strongly defined. The problems come in with where to draw the line. I don't believe it should be illegal because I can't make a logical, complete case for it without emphasising my morality, which unfortunately isn't shared by most of the west and isn't enforcible by law... the same way I can still go out and buy shrimp despite two of the larger non-christian blocs in the country both having proscribed the eating of shellfish.

How do you feel about taxes? Is it fair that we get hit with both an income tax and a sales tax?

Pal, if you think those are the only taxes we get hit with, you have a poor understanding of taxation. First, let me just say that governance is expensive, and all three levels of government need taxation in order to raise the funds needed to pay for their programs. The only time we really get to complain about taxes being too high is when that money is being wasted, such as here in town where roads aren't being repaired because the city blew entirely too much money on a defamation of character lawsuit.

I actually think taxes in this country should be a little higher, but when I say that, I don't necessarily mean the income tax or the sales tax. Since tobacco use makes up for a few billion of our nation's health care costs, maybe the tax on tobacco should be bumped up the 1.5% it would take to, I don't know, break even. Similarly, it's okay for the government to try and find new revenue streams. I think legalizing, regulating the production of, and taxing the balls out of Marijuana would be a good place to start.

What I am against is deficit budgets. I'm not saying I want the fed or the province or the city to cut so much that they have a surplus next year (I'm not really for surplusses either!), but you shouldn't be trying to make the problem worse. Your debts are a problem I'm going to have to deal with to keep my children from having to deal with it, and frankly, I don't appreciate that at all.

Got your own questions? Hit me up in the comments section below!

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