Given the latest Australian election (what a flop..) and the fact I have been thinking about writing about politics for some time now, I thought it would be nice to post about my political stand-point and the importance of having political opinion.
The number of donkey voters in this past election (the number was up ten-fold) infuriates me, but my generation on social media (the digital age) also appears to be overly opinionated. So why didn’t they rock up on election day? Our cohort was subsequently formally out voted by Baby Boomers (who’s opinion will not really affect the future generations – our children and beyond). There is no glory in Donkey voting people... it only shows apathy, ignorance and protest for no real cause.
It is important to form political opinion and here are some quick steps –
1. Get informed about politics
Brush up on your knowledge about your countries system of government. In Australia we run with a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy – in short the states came together in a federation, drafted a constitution but yet we are still over-ruled by the British Monarchy (god bless the queen). We have three branches to our government the executive run by the Governor -General but acted upon by the serving Prime Minister, the legislative branch which is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate (which is made up of the elected seats that we the people of Australia vote for) and the judicial branch which is comprised of the high court and federal court. We have two major political parties in Australia – Labor and Liberal. Both which have fairly centric liberal and conservative views. More about that later…
2. Assess your own political beliefs
Once you have researched the major political parties and understood the differences, then it may be worth discussing politics with your friends and families (just remain neutral – as lots do take it quite personally). Stay up to date on news, for of course that’s why its news!
Take a political typology quiz – there are loads (I’ll discuss the Political Compass.org below).
Your gut feelings are everything when you listen to a politician – do you like what they are saying? How does their stance on a topic make you think and feel? Are they trustworthy? (the latter is super important in our constantly changing government at the moment – I wouldn’t trust a politician as far as I could throw them at the present).
The main areas of opinions on topics are generally healthcare, education, taxes/economics and the environment. Research each area and decide how you feel…. It could be that you are passionate about something else entirely all together.
The political compass is a fantastic website – a tool to compare the politics of various countries and well-known political figures (www.politicalcompass.org)
Everyone may have heard of left wing – right wing politics. But a lot of peoples understanding of it is skewed, in reality it is essentially a measure of economics and the individual’s standpoint. Therefore, a hard-left would be a totally controlled economy, with socialists occupying a less extreme left. And those on the right would be free-marketeers. Another dimension must be added to the compass to deal with social aspects and opinions – and the political compass has added an x axis ranging from authoritarian, to libertarian. Both economic and social dimensions are the most important factors in a proper political analysis.
The test itself asks you questions regarding your view on your world/country, economics, personal social values, society in general, religion and the environment all based on a strongly disagree, disagree, agree, or strongly agree merit.
In regards to the left-right wing stance, both Stalin and Gandhi are considered economic lefts, but if you add the social scale to it – Stalin was authoritarian and for the state, whilst Gandhi believed in the merits of each individual as a Libertarian.
Now the whole point of this post was to also discuss where I stand. In Australian politics (shoot me now…) I make up a minority. But a growing minority at that – in supporting the Australian Greens.
I agree that:
· economic globalisation should serve humanity
· there is a worrying fusion of information and entertainment
· people are divided more by class than nationality
· corporations require regulation to protect the environment
· land shouldn’t be a commodity to be bought and sold
· it’s a sad reality that bottled water is a branded consumer product
· possession marijuana for personal use should not be a criminal offence
· the prime function of schooling is to equip future generations for employment
· those that are able to work, but do not should not expect society’s support
· our civil liberties are being curbed by counter-terrorism
· the death penalty should be an option for heinous crimes
· there should be greater investment into renewable energy sources
But disagree that:
· that any race has any superior qualities
· military action defying international law is ever justified
· controlling inflation is more important than controlling unemployment
· protectionism is necessary in trade
· the rich are too highly taxed
· abortion should be illegal
· taxpayers should be expected to prop up theatres and museums that cannot survive commercially
· broadcasting institutions should receive public funding
· the business person and manufacturer are more important than the writer and artist
· voluntary and elected euthanasia should be illegal
· climate change is not a real thing
Now a look at some of the major players in our Australian political environment:
Australian Labor Party (ALP) – “Standing up for middle and working Australians”
Labor wants to invest in hospitals, quality public education, cut tax loopholes for high income earners instil a cancer care package to Medicare, invest in creation of more jobs for locals, cheaper childcare, fee-free TAFE, increase renewable energy sources to 50% by 2050, close the gender pay gap, increase battery metal production, provide bursaries to high performing students to study and become teachers, and uncap universities.
Liberal Party of Australia (LPA) – “Building our economy – securing your future”.
Lower taxes for small business, support farmers in drought, stronger defence systems and border protection, manufacturing investment. There was a lot less specific policy data presented on their website….
The Nationals Party – “A strong voice for Regional Australia”.
Trade investments, support first home buyers, seeking reliable energy sources, supporting quality education sources, protection of Australian borders… blah blah sounds like Liberals. Oh wait, they are aligned so duh….
The Greens – “Together, we are powerful. Help us build a future for all of us”
The greens are invested in the environment and social aspects, searching for renewable energy sources, changes in emissions and waste to protect against climate change, moving towards public ownership, clean up politics and freezing benefits, investing in jobs/training/education for the future, tackling our waste products, abolishing animal cruelty, upgrading environmental policies and laws and anti-fracking the future. Sounds amazeballs… clearly here’s my alliance.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation – “Join the movement”
Ok, so everyone knows Pauline Hanson. She has some fantastic policies, and others not so much. One thing is certain with Pauline, that she will have an opinion and she will fight for it until the end. She is polarising, you either love her or you hate her. Some of her party policies include ending the baby formula shortage, freedom for citizen-initiated referenda, reducing the cost of living for all Australians, legalisation of medical cannabis, increase tax rate on foreign owned multinationals, freezing politicians wages, cuts to mining and exploration, and reducing radical ‘Islamic’ terrorism.
And a range of Independents – google them if you dare
There are lots of minor joke parties, some namely ones are: The Sex Party, Animal Justice party, Bank reform, Help End Marijuana Party (HEMP) party, Bullet train for Australia party, Outdoor Recreation Party (Stop the Greens) party, Pirate party, 23 Million party, Future party, and the Wikileaks party.
3. Form an Ideology
An - Ideology is a set of shared beliefs within a group, such as a nation or social class. This body of beliefs influence the way individuals think, act, and view the world.
Here are some examples:
- Political parties embody a range of ideals covering government, economics, education, healthcare, foreign policy, and more. Some examples are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, and the Green Party.
- Classical liberalism is a capitalistic ideology which stands for a limited government with political freedom, civil liberties and laissez-faire economic policies.
- Social or modern liberalism is liberalism which focuses on social and economic issues while ensuring individual freedom.
- Social democracy advocates a peaceful change from capitalism to socialism with a representative democracy including collective bargaining and public services.
- Neo-liberalism embodies free trade, privatization, deregulation and laissez-faire economic policies.
- Bolshevism was primarily workers that wanted to establish a dictatorship of the proletariat, the working class.
- Marxism is socialism with the goal of a classless society. Principles include the class struggle, a labor theory of value and a proletariat dictatorship.
- Leninism focused on a proletariat dictatorship based on Lenin's theories of government.
- Communism promotes collective ownership of property with one political party controlling social and economic policy.
- Trotskyism advocated a revolution of the working class bringing freedom and democracy.
- Stalinism is an authoritarian ideology with one person having all the power. In Stalinism, political and ideological dissidents are strongly suppressed.
- Maoism emphasizes the revolutionary power of the peasants and was the interpretation of Marxist and Lenin theories by Mao Zedong.
Cultural and Social Ideologies
Here are some examples:
- Concentration on the environment and green practices has led to an ecological ideology including green economics.
- Racism places the blame for certain social conditions on one or more races of people. This can lead to division among races and racial prejudice and discrimination.
- Feminism advocates equality for women economically, socially and politically. It also deals with the rights of women, including reproductive rights.
- Gender ideology is concerned with the attitudes of men and women on their place in society, their rights and responsibilities.
- Individualism deals with inherent worth of each individual and focuses on self-sufficiency and freedom.
- Anti-intellectualism includes the attitudes of people who let the government tell them how to view the world rather than become informed themselves of the government's policies. This gives the government more control since the people believe its propaganda.
- Equality of opportunity is an ideology that wishes to eliminate discrimination that is based on age, gender, color, race, national origin, religion, and disabilities that include physical and mental disabilities.
- Work ethic is a set of beliefs that focus on the moral virtue of work and the way work can lead to a stronger character.
- Religions are all ideologies and within each one is a variation of beliefs. Some believers strictly follow all the tenets while others are more liberal and choose the ones, they feel are more important.
- Common sense ideologies are based on locale. People in a rural or wilderness area will share certain beliefs about safety and protection from animals. In urban areas, people learn to cross streets safely.
In summary, my ideology is generally deemed as a classical liberalism approach with a degree of social democracy. I believe that society should be based around privatization and holding companies and practices to ‘green economics to protect and preserve our environment at all costs. I would seek to blur the definitions of classes and social segregation, rebutting against and debunking all generalization’s and pigeon holes including abolishing sexist and racist acts. True power would be taken away from the government, which should serve only to ‘govern’ and independency given back to the people. Free-thought and intellectualism should be rewarded and encouraged, and I would push for free to nil-cost public health, services and education for all.