Monday, 20 November 2006

Values and politics

"Bad politics is a consequence of bad societal values, not a cause. Politicians simply mimic and purvey what society demands."


RELATED: Politics, Ethics, Objectivism


  1. Caplan chronicles this rather nicely at Cato Unbound. Voters have systematic biases about what leads to a healthy and growing economy. Caplan finds they map into four general categories: anti-business, pessimistic, anti-foreign and make-work. Political markets efficiently provide the silly things that voters want; the miracle is that things aren't worse than they are.

  2. Largely yes, but some politicians can change the political zeitgeist with effort. The left has had plenty who could do this, regardless of what the public thought - the right rarely did, Douglas and Richardson perhaps being the NZ exceptions.

    The NZ public did not choose electoral reform, for example, they were led to it by a political subclass on the left, backed by a vast leftwing conspiracy :) who used it to rally opposition against liberal economic reforms. Then reporters repeated this message and MMP became a near fait accompli.

  3. We elect politicians via popular vote. Therefore, self preservation demands politicians do things to protect their popular vote.

    This is exacerbated by the fact NZ has no written constitutional limits on Government. And for some stupid reason in NZ we think constitutions should be written by politicians, not citizens.

    I wouldn't like to have a constitution drawn up at this point - look at the EU Constitution and compare it with the US one.

  4. They do indeed just mimic like parrots. Though they are a part of society, too. So they are to blame just as much.

    Yes, Scott, that is true. The Labour Party? They are ceryainly good at defying the public demands, i.e., the demands of their boss.

    But ultimately even such things come from the public desire for collectivism.

    Micael, it isn't self-preservation, only perceived (and failed) self-preservation. To elect a collectivist is not self-preservation.

    Also, as long as it is written up objectively and leaves no loop hole for statism or socialism to creep in (the way the use Constitution did) then there is nothing wrong with politicians writing it. It is not who writes it but what they write that matters. That is why i would have no problem with the Libertarianz writing it up.

    The EU Constitution is indeed flawed, but so is the US one, just to a lesser extent. While the US one tried to achieve Capitalism (the only system that protects the rights of individuals, and thus the only moral system), but it failed to do so due to allowing taxes and leaving loop holes for socialism and statism to creep into Americam politics.


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