Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Libertarian Disadvantage

If you spend some time reading my blog posts you might think that government is the source of all that ails us. Of course that's not true.
In a pluralistic, relatively free country such as Canada, governments are only reflections of our society. Society is made of individuals, families, voluntary organizations, involuntary professional organizations, businesses, unions, and corporations as well as political organizations. All of them have a role in selecting the political party or person that wins an election and governs. This is true at all levels, federal, provincial and municipal.
In modern times the person or party that is elected has managed to cobble together enough support by various means to defeat other parties and candidates. It's the "various means" that I want to address.That's interesting to me because I lead what most will call a minor political party in Ontario. One of the reasons we remain minor, is precisely why the major parties have become major.
In virtually every modern democracy, political parties have learned to cater to some of the societal groups mentioned above in some way. For example if a political party achieves power with the help of a group (help like monetary donations), that group may expect in return special privileges backed by legislation. Privileges may range from monopoly positions in certain areas of employment, or monopolies on services available to the general population, often including special bargaining privileges for salaries and benefits. While that may sound illegal, it's not, it is a reality of politics. All of the major political parties have made these kinds of alliances, that's why they are major political parties, they have tapped into economic resources that have allowed them to seek and gain power, or more precisely the potential of gaining power.
In Ontario, each of the major parties, the Liberals, the Progressive Conservatives (oxymoron?) and the New Democrats have held power in recent times, and the potential for a return to power for any of them, exists at every election.
Elections Ontario requires all registered parties to disclose their funding including sources. The PC's and Liberals get more than half of their funding from organizations in various industries. Its all been outlined here for the most recent election campaign which was Oct. 2011.
If you follow that money you can fill in your own reasons about why parties receive support from donors. One of the largest donors is the Carpenter's Union . Might that be because governments are always granting contracts for infrastructure?
Few if any of the minor parties in Ontario (or Canada) receive donations from organizations of any sort. I know the Ontario Libertarian Party receives donations from individuals only, all of them voluntary, nothing is coerced. Can that be said of Union funds collected from unionized workers for the major parties? Certainly not!
Unionized workers are often forced to join a union as a condition of employment, fees are extracted from them and a portion is spent on political contributions. As a union member you may have voted PC, but your dues were used to support the NDP, and you had no say in the matter. That is political reality in Ontario, the major parties prostitute themselves so they may get power. Libertarians would refuse to grant favours of that sort to achieve power. That is our disadvantage, of all the parties we are principled and consistent. We will not BUY your vote. When will voters understand real politics?

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