S-o-c-i-a-l-i-s-m is the only way…

I don’t know as much about political ideologies as I’d like.

My basic politics has to do with everyone having enough, and everyone being free to live happily.  I think that means that we, as a society, need to be taxed at a level that our infrastructure and basic services (eg. education, health care) are covered.  Does that make me a socialist?  Is that a bad thing?

My impression of a free-market, capitalist economy is that each person is to get ahead as much as possible on their own steam.  That is: you work hard, and you invest wisely and, hopefully, your wealth grows.  The basic premise is that everyone gets what they deserve and creativity is stimulated by a competitive atmosphere.

I disagree with a free-market society (read my previous blog about styles of growth).  I realize that this is what the United States has tried to accomplish in its society.  And, I realize that not all Americans agree with this kind of society.  Those who have argued for this system of societal structure the loudest, in my experience, have been people for whom this system has worked.  They have much wealth, they are healthy, they fit the profile of the majority, their children are healthy, and their children are (sexually oriented) straight.  To me, this says that the system works if life has handed you opportunity and a “normal” appearance.  But what about those who deviate – even slightly – from the norm.  I’m thinking of those who might not have the skin colour of the majority, or speak the language of the majority, or be sexually oriented as the majority, or whose health hasn’t always been good, or whose opportunity for education may have been limited, and so on.  Is it really a “fair competition” in a free-market system?

Some may say that a representative of religion should not engage in politics, or even comment on political issues.  I am of the mind that we are all a part of whatever political system runs our country, and those of us who follow the way of Jesus Christ are called to speak for the vulnerable among us.  …and so I favour – and even speak out for – a system where we work towards opportunity and happiness for all, regardless of status, race, religion, orientation, or any other identifying trait which may keep a person from the mainstream.

And, lest people comment on politicians steering clear of religion, I’d want to make clear that theology enters the realm of politics more often than people might care to admit or notice.  “With God on Our Side” is a documentary that reveals how the Christian Right has had influence in American politics over the past five decades; in his book, American Fascists, Chris Hedges also lays out how restrictive theology has entered politics in an overt and extreme way in an administration like that of President George W Bush.  There’s almost an expectation by the public that a politician will have views on religion, as made clear in an article about President Obama published today.

My hope is that political ideologies might be informed by one’s faith and religion, but that the welfare of all be held ultimately as the most important.

I suppose a follow-up post to this might pursue whether companies and corporations ought to be given the same rights as an individual in a country’s legal system.  And, if so, whether such “individuals” can be corporately held responsible if they tread on the rights of other individuals in the country (or abroad).  I know even less about legal systems, but would welcome your thoughts!

By the way, the title of this blog-post is a quote from a tune by Sam Roberts called “The Canadian Dream” – I recommend it: it’s a great song!


Posted on August 19, 2010, in Tyler's occasional web log. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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