Traditionally politics has been defined by entirely flawed conceptions such as 'left wing' or 'right wing'. Although you might have some notion of what there terms mean, I would suggest to you that they are entirely unhelpful, and that they are not going to help your intellectual development. Philosophy is perhaps the most under-appreciated subject. Most of us have a pretty bad perception of it....as I did over 20 years ago when I was introduced to it. The reason why people are so skeptical about philosophy is because they had read poor philosophy. A great many of them are conflicted, poorly structured, uncritical thinkers who don't define their terms, or they use arbitrary terms like 'left' and 'right' which sabotage their thinking. Its critical to know the basics of this subject.
A better conceptual framework to use is the following because it is actually consonant with the facts of your existence. Basically there are two ways to live:
1. With respect for facts - objectivity
2. With respect for society - necessarily subjective because any values are shared and do not relate to any personal context.
There are several different levels of philosophy - this is just an introduction. Metaphysics studies the nature of existence. Epistemology - the nature and means of acquiring knowledge, do we have instincts, can we derive values from facts; ethics - what values should we live by, and politics - what organisational structures best allow us to achieve our ethical ideals.
With respect to ethics, there are fundamentally two choices we confront - living for self or living for other. Most people have a false or flawed conception of ethics because they have an implicit or subjective sense of values. i.e. A value is simply something you want. This leads one into a flawed ethical value judgement on politics. It teaches people that any selfish act is bad, and any selfless act is good. i.e. It causes people to disparage people for being 'too selfish' or to rationalise that they were acting in others interests when they are really acting in their own interests.
It leads seemingly credible thinkers like Dr Phil to say things like a suicidal person is selfish for not thinking about the impact of his actions on his family. You really don't want to be telling a guy thinking about killing himself that he will hurt others feelings. Its like telling a guy he hasn't suffered enough. Guilt is never good therapy. But Christians love it.
Anyway, back to politics.
Since ethics is about living for self (selfishness) or others (altruism), you must be wondering whether there is a middle ground. There certainly is - its the state of most people's consciousness. A state of moral ambivalence and inner conflict which undermines their thought process and value system. It leads society to repression, anxiety and diminishes self-esteem. Don't expect a psychologist to tell you as much, as most are too flawed by university humanities departments. There are so many problems with education - on the one side public education with its collectivist values, on the other hand private school education with its religious education. These psychological conditions are well-embedded in society, so they are considered normal. You only see a psychotherapist if it impacts on your work or you maliciously shoot someone, and most people are in denial or they have adverse opinions of psychologists so they need to be given a subsidy to go.
Which brings me back to politics - there are two schools - capitalism and statism, and of course we are caught in the middle with a school called 'mixed economy'. This is not capitalism because there is a great deal of government intervention in the economy. The nature of the intervention comprises:
1. Arbitrary law - statutory law is overtaking common law, so you are increasingly subject to the arbitrary whim of Comrade Rudd. This ought to be repealed by a High Court challenge - so if anyone wants to fund me, I would happily try. This is an open invitation to the mining industry. 'Twiggy' gets a personal invitation. If government gets really crazy then arbitrary law turns into totalitarianism, but any arbitrary law is bad. Don't think it won't happy. You wouldn't be surprised if you listen to my father talk politics. He reckons we need more socialism. vomit.
2. Tax-funded welfare - since WWII we have witnessed a huge increase in welfare spending. Even companies get welfare these days. Increasingly government is the centre of business activity. More importantly the tax system is inefficient, its funds are misappropriated, poorly spent, and in fact they achieve the exact opposite of what they want to achieve. The government doesn't care because they function as a middleman. Just like your stockbroker. They don't care if you loss, so long as you keep trading. They hope you win despite their take, so they can get more from you. The difference between a stockbroker and Rudd is that your voluntarily entered into an agreement with your broker, and you have legal recourse. In the case of Rudd, only Twiggy can afford a High Court challenge.
In order to change the political system would require a huge change in politics. Its already underway. In India, there is already examples of the judiciary imposing itself into political areas seen as "statutory failure". We will see the same trend in Western nations. Its a precursor to a change in our political system. Its called 'judicial activism', and the outcome is likely to be consensus based democracy, where governments are obliged to act in accordance with principles as opposed to going off on a 'Beckham bender' like Rudd. Who saw this coming. I have always said socialism is not dead....Rudd has just changed its flag to yellow.
Anyway, so we have capitalism which is a system of government based on free trade, the trade of value for value, not to be confused with looting, fraud or stealing, which is actually at root where Rudd is coming from, i.e. expropriating other people's money and hoping you will be happy with you cut. Of course you will be until Rudd or his successor gets into your share after the next election. There is a philosophy underpinning capitalism; it is not simply a market system. There are of course many forms of statism of course - so many in fact that none of them work, so a new one is always under development. i.e. the next one will be based on animal rights and global warming. Never mind the flawed science behind both concepts.
1. Fascism - an alignment of the state with corporate interests
2. Feudalism - an alignment of the state with landowners.
3. Socialism - an alignment of the state with workers.
4. Monarchism - an alignment of state with the king/queen
5. Theocracy - an alignment of state with the church.
6. Ruddism - an alignment with whoever will keep you in power, and at the same time undermining any minority interest group in order to do it. i.e. Greens, church, workers, house buyers. Not a new strategy in the modern era when voters are 'swinging'.
I would suggest to you that Rudd's desire to tax mining is a cynical push to tax an industry which embodies just 3% of the workforce in order for him to captivate another 10% of voters with no interest in mining. Basically he is causing a huge shift in business for the sake of his political gain...because he wants to share a hot bath and back rub with the Chinese leader.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com