Political Principles

Hayek in his essay Why I Am Not a Conservative  states as his main objection the conservative’s lack of political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his own. I am not a conservative, nor a libertarian like Hayek, nor a progressive liberal (in the U.S. a ‘lefty’). Being all alone, dead center, I find myself in a position of having to lay out political principles for working with many disagreeable others. My principles are based merely on my experience and eclectic readings, rather than any accepted ideology or worldview. Each will be explored in more detail in future blog posts.

Contents

  1. Political Principles
  2. Sheilaism
  3. Ideologies Side by Side

Sheilaism

Sheilaism co-opts strands of multiple religions chosen by the individual usually without much overall structure. I here-in co-opt this approach for my political principles.

  • We’re all in this together. There is no them and us. Individualism leads to selfishness, shallowness and loneliness. Individuals and their associations must be allowed to fail, and to feel the consequences of failure. But everyone gets not seven, but seventy times seven chances to set their lives straight.
  • Our nation was rightly founded on a fear of tyranny, either by a monarchy, the majority or the judiciary. Aside from violence, which should never be discounted, the vote is the only sure protection against tyranny. This includes voting with your feet, your time and your wallet. …more
  • One man’s right is another man’s obligation. The only thing that matters is gaining power to impose my rights over you. But I must do this in a way that does not appear arbitrary or you can turn my victory against me. This is the greatest wisdom in political theory. We use compromise, coexistence, ‘getting along’, reaching across the aisle and open discussions only to the extent they help gain power. …more
  • Enforcing morality is the business of government, including inculcation of the citizenry and punishment of infractions. But you don’t get government more moral than its people. Purported successes at mandated morality merely claim credit for what eventually would have been reached through private transactions (e.g., safer cars, cleaner air) or generational change (e.g., civil rights). Central mandates premature to the public’s readiness lead to subversion, instability and a willingness to resort to violence (e.g., Birth of a Nation).
  • Emergent social or economic orders are not moral. It’s morality that makes them orderly. Yet moral principles are quite easily corrupted or subverted by those with disorderly habits of the heart, opening the door to government intervention.
  • One-size-fits-all fits none. We seek many forms of government to experiment as to what works best under which circumstances. …more Lebensraum is crucial. You need complete control over rule-setting within a physical space or territory to allow experiments in government to work (CharterCities.org ). If you can no longer tolerate the imposition of my rules you have some place else to go. …more
  • Money corrupts government. Take away the money and the free lunches from the politicians.
  • Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required. True. But this does not mean sending money to corrupt politicians. …more
  • Explicit knowledge (written or spoken words) represents at most 1/10th of what voters know. Implicit or tacit knowledge represents 9/10th, but is often hard to distinguish from stupidity. Votes are often cast based on momentary sentiments, and it’s easy and getting easier to shift those sentiments with propaganda and subliminal messaging (…more). Weaknesses in voter judgement shall not be used as an excuse by ‘experts’ to overrule a majority vote (e.g., protections under the 14th amendment), rather weaknesses should inform the design of voting mechanisms. …more
  • Citizens must never have an excuse for atrocities committed by ‘their’ government. They must be made to vote for or against major issues so their decision is clear on judgement day. They must not be made to choose between the lesser of two evils (e.g., bundling of good & evil into a single candidate or vote). …more
  • In designing government we never get it right. Designs must have in-built time-outs, resets or kitchen passes.

Ideologies Side by Side

The following chart shows where ideologues are committed to the listed political principle as I understand the principle. If so, then Y.

Ideologies

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