Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Parliamentary Reform

From what I can tell, the people of Canada or Newfoundland and Labrador, are not interested in politics, and one possibility for why that is could be aspects of the current representative parliamentary system. As it stands now, citizens have little input into their democracy beyond voting. Participation is left fully to the people who are chosen to represent citizens, and worse, they are not held accountable when they fail to accurately represent those people. Parliament has failed it's citizens, and I think all that has grown from it, is apathy .

There are perhaps many potential parliamentary fixes, but to start off the conversation, I'm going to choose to focus on two main topics; Direct Democracy and Accountability / Transparency.

DIRECT DEMOCRACY

Keeping people engaged in the democratic process between elections is highly important, and should be considered so. Without full time citizen engagement, push button politics are easily used to control the populous. Combine that with the already present apathy, leaders of Government and Industry are freely able to do as they wish, no matter the consequences. Here are few suggestions which I believe we should immediately instate.

Representative Recall

It is absolutely essential that we hold our elected officials accountable, and not just during election time. An electorate should have an ability to remove anyone from office at any time, should they deserve it in the eyes of said electorate. Representative Recall is one option to help achieve that. This is a process whereby any representative can be recalled from parliament, forcing a by-election in the area they represent.

To force a representative recall I believe it may only be fair if enough of the electorate wish it to happen. One suggestion would be that a petition be started with stated valid reasons as to why the representative should be recalled. If that petition reaches the same number of people that it took to vote said representative into power in the fist place, then a recall should be initiated sparking an election. Whether or not this person should be allowed to run again is something that will have to be discussed. My suggestion would be no.

With regards to the Mixed Member Proportional Representation electoral system, nothing will need adjusting during this by-election (or any other by-election reason) with regards to needing representation proportionally. The proportional would shift organically whichever way voters push it.

Referendums

This is a fairly easy concept. Give the people a direct choice on important changes or additions. Give us a direct voice on direction, and thus shift the responsibility to the populous who's lives are directly affected. It only makes sense. There is absolutely no reason why more referendums should not take place. If cost is an issue, we should add the referendum questions to election ballots, as people are out to vote anyway. The US is a good example of how it could be done, though we have the ability to modify as we please. The key is to just give a populous an opportunity for direct involvement with direct questions.

Encouraging Engagement

At no point in any citizens life should they feel intimidated for getting involved with the direction of their world, country, province or community. Encouragement for discussion, action and any form of participation in one's democracy is the whole idea of democracy. The death of apathy should be fully encouraged.

Requesting Engagement

Representatives should take more time to directly communicate with the public they represent. The use of social media today makes this quite easy. It is more open to sabotage as well though, knowing the demons that exist online, so that is something to be considered. Open Forums out in the public is a great option however, and I believe the electorate should be able to request one at any point. It could be set it up as a sporadic event as well, sort of like quarterly updates from business. Being informed and engaged at all times is the key, whichever way is chosen.


ACCOUNTABILITY and TRANSPARENCY

Everything I've already posted can be considered accountability really, but when it comes to transparency, here are a few suggestions to help improve the current situation.

Free Vote for Representatives

Representatives should always be given a free vote on any new piece of legislature or any other topic voted upon within the house. Individuality should be paramount within parliament, and there should be no need for tactical voting from any party leaders. Encouraging free vote would only help serve to hold individuals more accountable to their own ideals, and free them to vote with as an absolute direct representation of the people they represent.

End Prorogations

Proroguing government is absolute mockery of parliament. There should be no reason why any leader need to shut down the house, and this tactic should cease immediately. To me, if a leader wishes to do prorogue government, they must step down as leader to do so. The house would then close for however long is needed to elect a new leader.

Access to info

Information from any Government is not a privilege, let me first say that. Every citizen has the right to acquire any information they so desire when it comes to Government activity. I would even go so far as to say that most information should not even have to be requested; it should just be made available. Information requests for items from the past perhaps, but everything involving current government affairs should definitely be made public proactively. We are in an information age here. People now have unbelievable access to any info they wish, and no Government should be in any way restricting the amount of information available when such means to do so are there.


So that's a start, and I know this can and will be developed further. The sooner we implement ideas such as these however, the better our lives will be; this I truly believe.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Electoral Reform

Because governance of democratic nations begin with the choices the people make during elections, I'm going to start the reform discussions with election issues. Many people view our system as severly outdated or even undemocratic, and I consider myself among those individuals who think there is defintely something wrong.


The Issues

Two main problems I see with the current system are pointed out below.

1) The current First Past the Post electoral system does not equally represent the full spectrum of diverse ideals within Canada. It also ultimately and unfairly has the ability to give a low number of supporting voters a large amount of power (IE: Harper's current majority with less than 39% actually voting for him) which paves the way to strategic voting against a party instead of selecting the party you wish to support, amoung other less than ideal voting situations.

2) An increased amount of apathy in addition to less than ideal access to voting options helps keep voter turnout to low numbers. This in turn only helps the unfair system mentioned above.


Suggested Solutions

The solutions below are nothing new to most. Some political parties in Canada have had these ideas in past platforms even, though none have really pushed for them to be instated. I'm hoping that continued discussion, like this post, and sustained pressure will help push these solutions into place, mainly Proportional Representation, which where I will begin.

Mixed Member Proportional Representation

While there are merits to the thought that we need to move to a totally non party system of government, I tend to lean a little less radical in my views on electoral reform. To me, the best option for Canada would be a Proportional Representation system, whereby the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes they received. This would create a dynamic house of commons which truly represents the diverse country we live in. Increased representation of all parties and people in Canada would only help foster more trust in Government and serve to help reduce apathy. When millions of people are not represented in government due to current First Past the Post system, there is no wonder that people have given up on voting at all.

I personally would prefer a Mixed Member Pro-Rep system which would include multiple votes; one for local representation, one for party representation, and an additional vote on the leader as well. This multiple vote system would free voters to choose a local representative based on who they relate to within their own set of ideals or whever else leads them to vote that way, and also a party which they related closest to overall. This would free people to vote for both candidates and a set of ideals individually, should they wish.

The split in the house would be based on the percentage of party votes, spread equally amongst all parties, combined with locally elected officials.  The leader of the house, the Prime Minister (or Premier if Provincial), can remain elected via a First Past the Post system, based on total votes for a particular leader. The actual number of sitting members of the house would increase or decrease depending on the final details of this make up. I suggest that (like other countries) each party would submit a leadership group which will be elected based on the total number of votes received, minus the number of locally elected individuals who represent each party, again keeping everything absolutly proportional to votes. The numbers in the house may not have have to change that much, and still should be spread around the country based on population.

Fixed Term Elections

Though less common in parliamentary systems of Government, I believe we should instate a fixed term election system whereby elections occur after a specific number of years, like every 4 or 5 years. This is beneficial to a population for keeping track of when elections are, and also helps provide a Government suitable amounts of time to achieve any particular visions they may have. It could also be helpful for managing funds needed for an election, as there would be no surprise elections coming from minority governments and such.

Having said that, coming discussions on the need for 'Representative Recall' will play a part in this. I'll discuss that in the next topic, however.

Increase Voter Turnout

While I truly believe that low voter turnout is due to apathy caused mostly by a lack of faith in the system itself, there are some tangible things we can do to help increase the number of people that get out to vote.

Mandatory Voting vs Encouraging Votes:
It is believed by some that we should instate a mandatory vote, but I personally am not one of those people. I believe it is an infringement on your own personal liberty to be forced to do anything, including voting, and I don't support such tactics. I would personally rather see incentives (besides getting to chose your government) put in place to increase voter turnout, like tax credits or something similar. To me, positive reinforcement works better than negative. Mandatory voting is indeed an option, however. It's just not one I support.

Online Voting:
We could increase the use of technology to our advantage, like begin using secure online voting. Technology is trusted for important matters like banking, so I believe we should be able to implement a trustworthy system for other important matters, such as elections.

Multiple Days:
There is no reason why we cannot increase voter turnout by increasing the number days that people have to vote. Nothing (save the costs associated with it) should stop us from having multiple days of voting to help increase turnout. It is certainly an option.

Those are some of the ways we can help get out the vote, though surely not the only ones.


Further Reading

Fair Vote Canada is perhaps the best location for all things related to electon reform in Canada. This non-profit group has been pushing for election reform for many years and have a lot of information on their website. You could also use the Wikipedia entry for Proportional Representation to see a bevy of examples of other systems used. I'm sure there are plenty of other sites out there as well.

It is certainly my suggestion to inform yourself on the multtitude of other electoral systems in practice all around the world. This will only to help understand how many options we have to make our system all that much better.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

On Discussing Reform

The next number of posts to this space will focus specifically on reform. These ideas are all ones which I feel will help us achieve greatness as a country, a province or as a society as a whole. I will be focusing on many broad topics at first and then moving onto some smaller items which fall within these wider reforms. They will all eventually be developed to the point that I essentially have a full 'Platform' of reform ideas for readers to chew on.

Before heading further into all this, I would like to reiterate that I do not pretend to have all the answers; far from it actually. I only have potential solutions which I will suggest based on the knowledge I possess at this time. Most of these ideas aren't even new ones, but a lot of the solutions are potentially ones not often discussed. As I post these topics, I do fully welcome any and all debate on the solutions presented, which I will then build upon if applicable, for future development of these ideas.

I also wish to acknowledge that reform will be extremely tough in today's world, so if we wish to push any true reform ideas into motion, it will take much hard work and determination. We all live in an increasingly united world, continually being pushed together into one entity, becoming so interlinked that it's challenging to see any sense of sovereignty any longer. The economic picture alone is so unified that any push for monetary or economic reform will be extremely difficult... which is disheartening. Reform to the magnitude I see must (in my opinion) begin with massive monetary and economic changes, first and foremost.Without tackling those incredibly huge issues, we may not get very far in other discussions.

Having said that, I will be beginning this quest of mine with election, parliamentary and democratic reforms before moving in monetary and economic ones, as I feel those are more logical places to start. In each of the coming posts, as the structure lets say, I plan on stating what I see as the problem, followed by the solutions I have for those problems. In each post, I'll also include some links to supporting information if at all applicable or possible. I can't say how long it will take me to get all this posted as many of the posts I wish to share are only in note form at the moment, but I will plug away at it as time allows. I hope you stick with me for the ride.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Reforms or Revolution

Since diving into student council elections during high school, my interest in politics developed through my twenties and beyond. In university I joined the 'Young Liberals' and during that time I helped out with election campaigns for some Nova Scotia Provincial candidates. I later did the same thing for the Green Party of Canada for a federal election in Newfoundland, this a few years before throwing my hat into the ring and running as a Candidate for the Greens myself. That was during the 2006 election. These were some of my main experiences within the political establishment, ones that go beyond just voting in every provincial and federal elections since I was 18 that is, and not always for those parties listed above. I've voted for candidates in all spectrum's of political though so far in my life, refusing to fall into some blindly partisan trap.

Somewhere along the way however, I realized that the establishment is flawed, perhaps severely so. Not long after getting my feet wet in an actual election in '06 I became somewhat of an activist. I don't know if it was the infighting I had with the Greens over things like the seal hunt (them being anti and me being pro) or how unfair I saw things during the election (like not being invited to debates and events like other candidates were, much like GPC leader not being allowed in the national debate), but something certainly clicked in me after that election. I had my first realization that perhaps changing the world could not be done from the inside, which developed in the years following after obsessing over political, historical and societal information. The enlightenment period I was going through in those years wouldn't let me sit still, and I somehow began battling the system in my own small way. This led me to hitting the streets. It was something I did alone for quite a while, once a month for nearly a year at one period, handing out DVD's and information I thought to be important, engaging the public the best way I knew how. I also took part of several protests and demonstrations along the way as well, knowing that a democracy can only work with a fully engaged citizenry standing up for what they believe in. Well that, and I was extremely pissed off at how Government was treating its citizens... and I still am!

Before I go off on a tangent here, I'll get back to the point. I just wanted to try and express how I've lived on two sides of a political coin; one being within the system, and another trying to completely change the system. I think it's important for the world to realize that change does not have to happen within the confines of an establishment that has already been created. The entire establishment can be changed to suit the needs of the people. We must remember that.

Reform

Now that all the lead-up posts prior to and including this one are posted, it's about time I head into some actual reform topics that I wish to discuss. In the coming days, weeks and months, I'll be posting about some in depth solutions to problems I personally see (and I'm not alone) with our current political system and other social institutions. These items which I'll be presenting will range from election reform ideas to full on monetary and economic reforms, to anything in between. There are a tons of items found within our democratic society which we need to discuss, and much of it isn't even debated. We are given push button politics to chew on over and over again, but never any meaty subjects like full reform of existing structures. This is what I'll be attempting to tackle and I'm hoping that anybody out there who reads it takes the time to debate things through with me. I very much welcome it. Participatory democracy involves these types of conversations, as do grass roots movements, both being great aspects of any wonderful society. With these conversations we could potentially push candidates filled with new ideas into elections, giving the populous some real options for true change to choose from for the betterment of everyone.

Revolution

Should none of the reforms we collectively want come to pass through directly democratic actions within the system which has been set up for us, then the only option the population will have left is a revolution. Perhaps that's the only way at this point in fact, as the country and world are deeply dug into the current institutions. I'm hoping that maybe this blog of mine can be another part of the revolution evolution. The first stage of any revolution after all is education and the spreading of information. Perhaps with this little blog of mine, I can  help provide some new ways of thinking, or even possibly provide concrete solutions. If so, that in itself will be a revolution. It must begin with each individual mind after all, which in turn will hopefully lead to direct action and non violent dissent. Whatever path we choose to go on to make a better world for ourselves, we must always realize that people are the ones with power in this relationship. The system is only an illusion of power. The population, if united, cannot be defeated. Not ever. So, it's either the system brings reform to us... or we the people bring revolution to it.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Comprehending the Corporatocracy

For much of my adult life, since I really started to become aware of the world and my existence, I have felt things were, how do you say it... 'Off'.

My interest in all things political began in high school when I ran for Vice Presidency of the Student Council (and won by the way), but it wasn't until I took an interest into philosophy, sociology, history, activism and even the conspiracy culture, that I began to truly shape my current world views. My own evolution to this point has come from many different angles; via books and articles presented from a variety of perspectives, through documentaries diving into deep and sometimes disturbing topics, and even have been inspired by the actions of many socially and culturally significant figures throughout history. It's difficult to really explain the path to my own self enlightenment, but I can say that the one important thing I learned since my Grade 11 dive into high school politics, is that politics is only one aspect of much greater picture. Democracy is too for that matter.

Throughout my learning years (outside of any school that is), I spent a lot of time searching for answers. I would spend many hours or days, weeks even at times, on one particular topic just to find some final sense in it. Constant questions persisted as I, head first, dove down many a 'rabbit hole' to search for meaning in war, death, history, economics, religion, sexuality, social institutions, democracy, communism, consumerism, in anything I could find to wrap my head around those 'Off' feelings I always had. It wasn't until I researched the term 'Corporatocracy' that everything truly clicked for me.

For those who aren't familiar, this term is one which much smarter people than I have used to describe the current economic and political world system. It is defined as 'a system of government in which a corporation, group of corporations or entities run by corporations control the direction and governance of a country, either directly or indirectly.' After all the information I've absorbed over the years, this one little term helped shed a vast amount of light on what was 'Off' for me. Every problem I could think of, things I couldn't understand or explain in this world, was all tied to the Corporatocracy, to corporate interests:

Healthcare is dominated by Big Pharma and their interests, pushing medication for profit on the public and with government help via regulations...

Environmental laws are destroyed and disasters perpetuated by corporate interests, who are only focused on the bottom line and not at all concerned with healthy ecosystems...

Exploitation of labour in third world countries are secured by corporations to extend profits in places without labour laws, and are accepted by first world Governments...

Simple Government lobbying is completely about corporate interests...

Imperialism is a grab of resources by multinational corporations...

War itself is perpetuated by the military industrial complex throughout a multitude of countries, and all for profit...

And lets not forget the bailouts, the freakin' debt increasing bailouts; the Government spending to prop up massive corporations who all operated badly or criminally in most cases. The entire world financial system for that matter, is in fact backed and controlled by private corporations, which is arguably the main source of pain the world consistently feels...

I could go on and on, building upon each of these points and many more to a disturbing level of clarity, but I won't. The purpose of me taking the time to bring this up is to force it to forefront in effort to provide some background in my beliefs, and where I may be headed with things here. As I mentioned in previous posts, there has always been a debate on Capitalist vs Socialist societies, with the Socialist folk always blaming the current issues we face on Capitalism. While there is some truth in that, there is a side that we aren't looking at, as it's not directly Capitalism in the rawest sense to blame here. The problems we all face today are due to how we've allowed corporate entities to manipulate Capitalism for their own benefit, using banks to control monetary systems and forcing Governments to allow it all to happen. This system of shadow corporate governance has ramped up massively over the years to effectively hijack most every form of Government in the world. This is the side we must set our sights on.

With this realization firmly set in my mind, it will be my argument that it is not Capitalism that we need to eliminate from our lives. It is the Corporatocracy. It is the corporations, with their corporate personhood and everything else giving them power over people. It is those entities which wield far too much power and exist above the law in most every case, that we need to focus on. The marriage of political fate and corporate endeavours has been absolutely disastrous to the entire planet and all of her inhabitants. This is what we must destroy, and it is my belief that until we do that, there is little hope for true change and justice in this world. Comprehending the Corporatocracy and then bringing to it's knees is our true path to liberty for all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On Libertarian Socialism

Not long ago I read several stupendous articles on Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau as I attempted to learn more about Canadian history and our past leaders. When diving into the information, one major undertone surrounding Mr. Trudeau struck a chord with me, which essentially inspired this post. What I come to learn in these readings was that the 15th Prime Minister of Canada struggled greatly between two conflicting ideologies; Libertarianism and Socialism. One particular essay I remember reading built upon the hypothesis of how these conflicting, but corresponding, ideals essentially became the Canada we've all come to identify with... up until most recently perhaps.

I bring all this up now, not because I want to talk about Pierre, but because it flows nicely from my last topic on co-operation across ideals. That, and because I myself identify with that same inner battle between a Libertarian and Socialist mindset. The Libertarian in me strongly believes in having as little government involvement in my life as possible. Pierre once brilliantly said "The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation" and no words that I could speak could do the thought more justice than those. On the flip side however, the Socialist in me believes that a strong safety net is absolutely necessary for those who are caught in circumstances where they can't compete as easily as perhaps other people can. So while I do believe in the free market and other pseudo capitalist ideals, I also believe we should never leave anyone behind for any reason.

When I first started writing this post, it was intended to build upon the last one I wrote about populations needing co-operation and compromise of ideologies to build a better world. That was before I dove into countless articles on politically philosophic topics all falling within a new sets of ideals. Since reading those articles on Trudeau, my near obsession with all sorts of information kicked in and it wasn't long before I searched the term 'Libertarian Socialism'. Anyone who does the same will see many articles on this merger of beliefs, with some arguing that it's an oxymoron, and others discussing how neatly they work together. It wasn't until I did this search that I realized that some of the most influential thinkers to me personally are proponents of the Libertarian Socialist mindset. People like Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky are champions of this perfectly viable political philosophy, and it shocked me to realize they relate to that term. Looking back at what I know they believe in, it all makes sense, but at the time of discovery that they identify with that term specifically, I was quite taken aback.

Not only did I discover new things about people I strongly admire, I also came to learn far more about several practical explanations of new social, political and economic structures all falling within this Libertarian Socialist ideal. For example, the Wikipedia entry for Libertarian Socialism begins with this:
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic society without private property in the means of production. Libertarian socialists believe in converting present-day private productive property into common or public goods, while retaining respect for personal property. Libertarian socialism is opposed to coercive forms of social organization. It promotes free association in place of government and opposes the social relations of capitalism, such as wage labor. The term libertarian socialism is used by some socialists to differentiate their philosophy from state socialism, and by some as a synonym for left anarchism.
When I first read these words, and during my deeper dig into all their meanings, in my head I kept saying "Yes. Yes. YES!" as each new term or phrase was presented to me. While I don't absolutely agree with everything I read of course, I certainly gained a new arsenal of information I could use to present ideas. What I mostly came to realize is that any new idea that I may present in the coming days or weeks will likely not be that new at all. After learning a wonderful amount of information, far beyond that Wikipedia entry, I see that there is bevy of beautiful philosophies out there, much of which we refuse to give the time of day too, or worse, have squashed thoughts of entirely.

In the end, I do indeed hate labels. I despise being referred to as a Capitalist for any Right leaning values I have, and hate the hippie label I am given for any of my Left leaning 'Granola' values I hold. If I were to be labelled anything though, the Libertarian Socialist is pretty darn close to something I could stand behind. It's such a clash, that it works for me personally, and combined with the backing set of ideals I now realize have already been developed through history, I feel more complete. There is no doubt that much of the coming information on reforms and revolutions will be inspired by being this Libertarian Socialist... and not because this information defined me after reading it, but because how I defined myself alone happened to have a definition.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Divide and Conquer

The extremely hilarious and equally intelligent George Carlin used to discuss the 'Illusion of Choice' within politics, speaking on the thought that there is no real choice but instead just 'one beast with many heads'. One could dive into that hypothesis and find many examples which suggest the validly of such views. Many articles and books have been written on the subject, as have many documentaries exploring this point of view been created.  One doesn't really need to dive too far into the material though as they could likely just look back through their own personal history and see that nothing really changes as each new 'choice' is given power. The illusion of choice appears very real, and to me, the only question remaining is whether this is by design or not, in a divided and conquer mentality from the 'Powers that Be'; the one beast with many heads. Regardless of the answer to this question, the topic is worth exploring.

Left-Right Paradigm

There is no doubt that the populous is divided in political thought, as a clear line is drawn in the sand of Left-wing and Right-wing politics. While many people (those who even think about it) sit on the fence of these two ideals, many more are strongly divided, radically in some cases, by these schools of thought. When discussing political topics most individuals refuse to even listen to, let alone accept, another person's point of view as soon as they are labelled as being on the other side in thought. Labels are horrible and very powerful for closing down conversation because when someone is labelled as a 'Lefty', they are ignored by any Right leaning person and the same applies for the converse. These labels and clear cut ideals are extremely effective in keeping our population divided and direction-less. What's worse is that within this Left Right Paradigm, a divided population can be easily manipulated. It is quite simple for any group, any 'Many Headed Beast', to use a divided and direction-less populous to it's own advantage. By keeping people arguing amongst themselves with such distinct lines, any outside power could play both sides and carry out any agenda it wishes. It's not a new concept, but it is powerful one, hence the likelihood of this Left-Right paradigm's continues perpetuation in today's political world.

Capitalism vs Socialism

Not so far outside, or perhaps contained within, the realm of Right-wing and Left-wing political and social discourse comes the the ultimate societal debate of Capitalism vs Socialism. In my experience, I've come to realize that more Right leaning folks ultimately believe Capitalism is the ultimate ideal for governance, while many Left-wing folks believe Socialism is the way. This is not absolute of course, nor should either of these terms be applied absolutely to anyone, but to be succinct I'll say that lines tend to lay this way. The context I'm attempting to get across here is the division of values and viewpoints amongst two strict ideologies. Capitalists have deep rooted belief in free market competitive values with little central Government, while socialists believe quite the opposite with wanting a strong central Government or at least a safety net for the populous (as a non detailed summation for both). With these two sides of a coin clearly present and debated, people tend to fall in line with one ideal and fully denounce the other. The label Capitalist is tossed out in anger at all the worlds current problems, while the label Socialist is presented to conjure up thoughts of some fascist regimes of old, scaring people away from the actual values the ideal holds. Again, like the Left-Right Paradigm  this is one massive debate that keeps a population divided and fighting each other with potential 'powers that be' ruling however they personally see fit, ignoring both sets of ideals.


As we get further into the new millennium, many people are beginning to view this Divide and Conquer theory as truth and are working quite hard attempting to get populations to quit bickering over petty push button political issues to focus on a greater good, together, using all ideals. The bottom line for me when it comes to this mentality is a fairly simple one; Until we stop arguing amongst ourselves and being extremist in our values and beliefs, we will never get ahead. Until we draw from all spectrum's of our culture to build a complete society for everyone involved, we will never remove the possibility of 'Multi Headed Monsters' doing things as they see fit while we argue blindly. It is with co-operation and compromise that our true democracy can work. With Liberty as guidance, all paradigms, Left-Right, Capitalism-Socialism, or anything in between or beyond, can work together for the greater good of everyone.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Obstacles to Overcome

Before any revolution can take place, or for any truly democratic society to really exist for that matter, there are some major obstacles to be aware of. While my liberty values suggest that everyone has the right to be apathetic, a cynic or a propagator of misinformation and disinformation should they wish, I personally see these as negative aspects of our society. There are other people out there who believe that these aspects are manufactured obstacles used to keep society within the confines of a predetermined existence with rules set for us without public involvement. Regardless of where these negative obstacles come from however, they must be dealt with, or at least discussed so that we are all aware of their existence and their potential side affects.


Apathy

There is no doubt that in today's society there is a lack of interest, enthusiasm, and concern towards all things political and related. The indifference within the large majority of citizens is readily apparent to most anyone who takes a moment to look. Pathetically low voter turnout, for instance, may be the best and clearest example to prove this point, but certainly not the only one. Political discourse at all is basically non existent in most peoples lives, as even simple day to day discussions outside the realm of entertainment, sports or fashion is quite difficult to come by. Whether distractions and/or encouraged lack of interest is by design from people in power who count on apathy to continually set their own agenda, I don't know. What I do know is that this lack of concern with all things political and social is detrimental to social progress, not only for Newfoundland and Labrador but for all citizens everywhere. Well, for those who wish to live in a democratic existence anyway. It is only with an involved and informed citizenry can any democratic society work, after all. Without an engaged populous, enthusiastic about how they are being governed, society is merely just following along like sheep, and most people aren't even concerned enough to realise that. Fighting apathy and getting people involved in the process is a huge feat to achieve no doubt, but a critical one. I'm unsure how we can beat it altogether, but my personal tactic is to continuously engage those around me with questions or observations social and political in nature. Simple conversation can indeed be one step towards beating apathy, because you never know what words you use will inspire someone else into taking an interest.

Cynicism

Defined as 'An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity', Cynicism is another major hurdle to overcome, and it perhaps goes hand in hand with apathy. People who generally lack concern for political or social issues will be drenched in negativity towards to system which govern those issues. The converse is applicable as well; Those who have an overwhelming jaded mentality will lose interest in what it is they feel jaded by. Regardless of the similarities however, people need to regain their sense of power within a democracy, which everyone knows is a government by The People, for The People. The key word here is 'People'. We The People form the government through voting and we The People are responsible for those choices. We The People also, most importantly, have the power to change anything and everything we desire to. The People have all the power in this relationship and those cynical ones out there should really open their minds and realize this fact. One only has to look at the Icelandic Revolution of 2012 to see what can happen when people aren't scornful and jaded enough to believe nothing can be changed. Change is always obtainable. It absolutely is. One just has to be positive that it can, and ever determined to make it work.

Non Information, Misinformation and Disinformation

While this topic is somewhat removed from the items above, those being issues for people themselves to overcome and this being one the people need be aware of, it is indeed an obstacle for humanity. Furthermore, one could theorize that these issues surrounding information help cause apathy and cynicism within a populous. Regardless of that, knowledge is indeed a key aspect to a healthy society and I personally am a strong believer in the 'Knowledge is Power' mantra. The more one has, the better off one is. That being said, I am also aware that how information is presented could be potentially dangerous should you not be open to the possibility that the presentation itself is part of the information being presented. Often times in today's world, inaccurate information is perpetuated in order to deceive those receiving it. In addition to this, absolutely false information intended to mislead is often propagated as well. This disinformation is often released by one group directly to the opposing group's rival media or communications team. In the game of politics, both these tactics are often used and I'm sure this is no surprise to anyone... and this is without even mentioning the secrecy and lack of access to information we have, even in today's digital world. With all that said, my suggestion to anyone concerned about information at all is to absolutely absorb everything you can while creating your own ideals based on total information absorbed. Do not let how information is labelled fool you into accepting it or not. Set your own thresholds on reality and critically think through for yourself every piece of information you come across. Then, if you don't have the necessary information you need to formulate an opinion after everything is absorbed, ask for it, demand it if need be. Information is indeed power ,so I suggest not letting anyone else decide what is real and what is not. That is for any individual to determine for themselves.


While these three items are no where near the total number of obstacles we face in improving society, they are major ones. I personally tend to think that understanding and eventually overcoming these three major items will do wonders to help pave the way to a better world.