Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Principle or no Principle . . . . that is the question. . .

Political principle is pretty easy in most cases and not hard to distinguish from. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. The problem for Mr. Layton is that it is very difficult to spend years claiming to stand on a principle on an issue and then suddenly shift to a pragmatic position and still maintain political legitimacy. No matter how you spin it, it comes off appearing as opportunism. And here is one of problems with modern politics and its partisanship. Every party wants to claim both grounds; principle and pragmatism. And when a party taking the supposedly principled ground it spends all its time accusing the other parties of not being principled. And then when it takes a pragmatic stance, all the other parties suggest that all their principle was just spin and opportunism. Here's an idea, why don't all the parties just admit that they are pragmatically pursuing their own interest and then when other parties are acting in a pragmatic way not bother accusing them of some kind of political heresy. This would put an end to all the political crap that we put up constantly with the parties and leaders. 

Or even better, why doesn't one politician start acting on actual principle? If you don't have confidence in a government, don't vote that you do. Period. 

But if you want to be a pragmatist, fair enough, be a pragmatist. But then don't spend any time accusing other people of being bad for doing exactly what you would do. This is the whole problem with politics. Every party says "look what this other party has done, isn't it terrible!" Even when they would do something exactly the same or very similar.

People don't vote because politicians are just consistently and nauseatingly hypocritical. But unlike some patterns of behavior which are motivated by fear or addiction, this kind of behavior is easy for one to stop doing, just be principled about your pragmatism. . 

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