Sunday, January 4, 2015

the federal per vote subsidy is dead and we should not mourn it's passing

It's about damn time the ostensibly conservative Harper government did something right. While the professional parasites in the New Democratic and Liberal Parties are complaining that they must now get their funding voluntarily instead of taking it by force from the hapless taxpayer and denouncing the move as undemocratic we should celebrate it for precisely that reason. For what is democracy really but soft communism? Why should we celebrate occasions when the mob runs roughshod over the rights of individuals instead of denouncing these events as manifestly evil? And why should an individual be taxed in order to finance a party who's views are diametrically opposed to their own? Why not have those who support philosophy x donate to an organization that espouses their views, and same for y and z? Isn't it more rational to have society organized upon voluntary lines instead of relying on the apparatus of compulsion and control to force people to do thing they don't want to do? Isn't this more ethical as well?

The Chr├ętien Liberals introduced grants to political parties on a per vote basis after instituting campaign finance reform legislation which banned contributions from corporations and unions. While the impulse to remove the influence of businesses or organized labour from our politics (and the special privileges which they lobby for) is a sound one the mechanism in place is inappropriate. It is precisely the sort of political speech which these laws target that we must not regulate. A better solution would be to eliminate the powers of the state to interfere in the market place or grant special privileges in the first place; to go after the cause of the disease instead of treating the symptoms. Since mainstream politicians and political parties have impressive fundraising apparatuses and wide networks of supporters they can easily leap through any hurdles imposed by the state on raising money but outsiders, with perhaps one or a few wealthy supporters, will have a very difficult time in challenging the establishment and bringing minority views into the political discourse. Similarly the per vote subsidy benefits popular political parties and makes it very difficult for any new group to emerge on the scene. Fringe parties already labour under the disadvantage of few numbers and limited resources, to add to their burdens a massive subsidy to their opponents is surely to sound their death knell, which of course was the point. Politics and more broadly government is, after all, a game whereby the strong can oppress the weak while lecturing those who are exploited about how necessary and important it is that they be plundered.

Despite the pessimism of schools of thought like the public choice economists, who argue that because the benefit from a particular mercantilist policy is so concentrated and the harm it causes so diffuse that victory for those who favour laissez-faire is impossible it is important to remember that ideas, not narrow economic interests, shape history. Freedom can win out, and has in the past, precisely because of the agitation of a small group of very committed individuals, namely the liberals of the 17th and 18th century. People like Smith, Locke, Bastiat, Turgot and Cantillon spoke out against the abuses of their time and made the modern capitalist system and the tremendous wealth it has created possible. So while it is tempting to retreat into cynicism, the urgency of our struggle should counsel against this course of action. Whether or not the future of our society is one of freedom and prosperity or despotism and despair is very much determined by our actions today.  

7 comments:

  1. I read the first paragraph and still have no idea what the title refers to.

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    1. maybe try reading the whole article next time

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  2. Maybe you need to change your style. Readers might be inclined to go further than the first paragraph if they had any idea what you are talking about. As it is you sound like a ranting nutter.

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  3. what is the "per vote subsidy"? if I had to go out on a limb I'd assume that it was a subsidy given per vote to mainstream political parties. you must be the product of a public school education...

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    1. my work might be a little high brow for you. might i suggest the funny pages in the newspaper perhaps?

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  4. '...a subsidy given per vote to mainstream political parties.' Please tell me it's not proportional.

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    1. It's not anything any more harper ended it.

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