Archive for Politics

Timocracy

Word of the Day: Timocracy  (noun)

Pronunciation: [ti-‘mah-krê-si]

Definition: Plato considered timocracy government by principles of honor. To Aristotle it was a government in which the ownership of property is a prerequisite for holding office.

Usage: The adjective for today’s word is “timocratic” [ti-mê-‘kræt-ik] and the adverb is “timocratically.” The plural is “timocracies.”

Suggested Usage: We are likely to see a government run by officials all with the name “Tim” before we see one run by officials driven by the love of honor and public service. The costs of political campaigns have reached such heights that we are approaching a timocracy in the Aristotelian sense in US, where only the wealthy can achieve national political office.

Etymology: The ambiguity in today’s word begins with its root, Greek word “time” [‘tee-me] which means “honor” when applied to people and “value” or “price” when applied to things. Now since kratia means “governance,” the compound could mean “governance by price” or “government by honor,” a familiar confusion in politics to this day. A diluted version of the same ambiguity can be found today in the Slavic descendent of the same root, e.g. Russian cena [tsi’na], which means both “price” and “value.”
–Dr. Language, yourDictionary.com

Comments off

Canada / US opinions polls

Read this Angus Reid poll. There are some interesting facts about just how similar we are with Americans. Actually, it seems there are as many regular thoughful Americans as there are Canadians.

So why is it that we view the Americans with such hostility and that we don’t admire them very much. Could it be the simplistic views of Canadians that are presented to Americans, by our celebrities for example? Could it be that Americans spend so much time focusing on themselves that they don’t really know very much about us? Could it be them?

On the other hand, perhaps it’s us. Perhaps we watch too much of their news and get too involved in their affairs (voyeuristically that is)? We watched their elections and felt we had a right to an opinion on whom they elect for president. Did we get too much information and therefore we’ve painted the entire country with a broad brush–our lack of respect for their leader.

Another option is to “blame it on the media.” They run the polls, they put the news on and in some respect, they help us form our opinions.

Could it be that we’re two well developed nations, close partners in the world economic and political stages and the people of both nations are actually more alike than different? Could it be that the apparent wedge between us is not between the people but some contrived media stunt so we’ll watch more news.

Comments

Can blogs revolutionize progressive politics?

Here’s an interesting article:
http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2485/

I’m certainly interested in watching. Could we have a politician that gets elected because he or she is a blogger? Could we have a way to provide immediate feedback to ideas about government, legislation? It would also be a great way to transfer power from one politician to another–just turn over the blog.

Comments off

Political Capital

It seems whenever someone gets elected, especially if it’s for a high office like Prime Minister or President, that they feel that they have this mysterious substance called “political capital.” Now, you can see or touch it so it’s hard to say if it really exists. It’s certainly not written down anywhere. Stephen Harper hasn’t told us what this political capital really is, he just says he has it. Sort of like an imaginary friend.

The purpose of inventing the imaginary “political capital” is to have someone/something to blame for going against the wishes of the majority. It’s interesting that less than 40% of Canadians voted for the Conservative party, yet somehow Stephen Harper seems ready to do what he feels is right and claim it is part of his “political capital.”

The truth is voting doesn’t happen often enough. We should be voting more and I don’t mean we need more elections. We should be voting on bills and laws. Not referendums but a sort of popular double-check on all the important stuff that politicians do. If we voted on whether we were going to go into Iraq or not for example, politicians wouldn’t have to make the big decisions and spend their political capital.

I’m suggesting that in order to vote more often we don’t need to go to polls more often. What if there were a group of citizens, let’s say 1000, picked at random based on income tax returns, that would vote on Canadian’s behalf. It would be like jury duty and these citizens would do their job for one month and be paid for it. Their job would be to read the legislation, ask questions if needed, and vote on it. If they like the legislation, it gets to be put in place. If they don’t like it, politicians take it back to the drawing board.

Just a thought…

Comments off

American take on Canadian Election

The following link is from a writer from the Nation magazine.

http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0126-23.htm

Basically, while the American media salivates over the prospect of a “right-wing” prime minister, Canadians didn’t really vote in a Conservative as much as they voted out a Liberal.

For a different take on the same subject, the following article is from a progressive online magazine in British Columbia.

http://thetyee.ca/Views/2006/01/25/NotSoBadEh/

Comments off