Monday, October 1, 2007

One Reason Why I Support the NDP

I've said on many, many, occasions that I have significant criticisms of the NDP and social democracy in general. But all one has to do to see how important social democratic parties are to the health of a country's political culture is to look at what happens with its absence. Then you get the political culture of the United States; a country where millions of intelligent people want out of Iraq, but where hundreds of thousands of greed-heads, deluded Christian fundamentalist whackjobs, closet-cases, racists, and war-mongers support a party of greed-heads, Christian fundamentalists, closet-cases, racists, and war-mongers, and the other capitalist party, being a capitalist party and wedded to imperialism, greed, and inequality as well, tries to offer a watered-down version of the same stupidity.

Plus, there are many real, practical benefits that come from the existence of a social-democratic element to the political culture. Canada's healthcare system (despite attacks from neo-liberal snakeoil salesmen and from their political hirelings in the Conservative and Liberal parties) is the greatest testimonial to the worth of social democracy.

In my opinion, social democrats should be on the fringes of the right-wing of any country's political spectrum, ... with more radical notions of equality and socialism filling up the rest of the space. I have no time for religious delusions, dangerous selfishness, environmental blindness, militarism, torture, and all the rest of it that goes with "mainstream" capitalist politics.

The latest example of the necessity and wisdom of social democracy, as opposed to mainstream liberal capitalism, was the federal NDP's scathing criticism of Stephen Harper's imbecilic wish to plow all of his "surprise" surplus into debt-reduction. This will amount to interest savings of $750 million or so, which will then be given back to Canadians as a tax-cut. Jack Layton described this foolishness thusly:

Layton compared the spending on debt repayment to a family that pours all its extra money into higher mortgage payments - even though one child can't afford college and a grandparent can't afford medicine.

He said that with some of the country's infrastructure crumbling, and people struggling to afford
prescription drugs and education, some of that $14 billion should have been spent on programs.

Indeed. In the first place, this debt was placed on the backs of Canadians by cowardly liberals and monetarist fanatics, not, it should go without saying, by all-powerful "welfare queens" and homeless drunks twisting the arms of hapless prime ministers, Liberal or Conservative.

We have suffered increased homelessness, underfunded education, a deteriorating environment, crumbling infrastructure, higher municipal property-taxes, strained and stressed healthcare systems, all to finance this "zero-inflation" monetarist bullshit. We have seen almost two decades of this free-trade, tax-cut garbage.

Some services are more effectively delivered by the public sector, and Canada had been quite moderate and restrained in acknowledging this reality. It is high time that we got this wisdom back.


Kuri said...

Great post. So many people in North America forget how seriously rightward skewed our perceptions are. We've shut out the left for so long that we've shut off our sense of possibility as well.

thwap said...

Thanks kuri! Nice to see you here. Yeah, if you factor out increased homelessness, increased consumer debt, longer hours, etc., etc., ... neoliberalism has worked out fine.

If you factor in these obviously important elements, it's been a failure.