Government Debt and Anti-Governmentalism

The standout nominees from the Ames straw poll were one Tea Party member and someone who may as well be. They are set to make every possible opportunity out of the obvious weaknesses of their common rival, Mitt Romney, not least, as The Onion put it, his ‘dark past of trying to help uninsured sick people.’ There is a good deal of media fluff and bubble about the border issues these candidates like to campaign on – gay marriage, evolution, and other emotive distractions. But the real meat of their political philosophy comes down to one thing. They are small government people. They are seriously small government people. They are nanogovernmentalists. Rick Perry hates the idea of government spending so much he thinks quantitative easing is treason.

When a political philosophy of this extremity becomes mainstream, the philosopher should take stock. Where does all the extremism come from? The answer does not lie in economics.  According to the New York Times finance correspondent, Floyd Norris, ninety-five out of a hundred economists will say that government should be expanding rather than shrinking right now (listen to him on the NYTimes podcast, The Caucus). Even Christine Legarde has recently made a general recommendation for short-term increases in spending, balanced by long-term commitments to debt-reduction, as have George Soros and Gordon Brown.

Continue reading “Government Debt and Anti-Governmentalism”

Advertisements

Can the political philosopher help?

London in the moment resembles a zone of civil war. The pictures in the news highlight how much the city has changed in the last 48 hours. Riots are happening in the streets, and rioters are breaking into stores, carrying as much out as they can. Restaurant owners have to defend their guests and everyone has to start to worry about break-ins in private homes. However, the weirdest fact is, is that there is no rhyme or reason for all this. Yes, there was a deadly shooting when the police attempted to arrest a man in London. But that does not explain why protest against the police shooting spiralled out of control and is now spread over the whole country. David Cameron now tries, together with the Ministry of Defence, to find solutions to the problem. But when the reasons for the riots are not clear, how do you fight it? Continue reading “Can the political philosopher help?”

Is There a Middle-Ground for Multiculturalism?

Mass migration is a fascinating subject. It’s been happening for hundreds of years and can often be an attributing factor to changes in course of the history of humanity. Personally, I think mass migration is a driving force of progress and inevitably improves the outlook of any society which is host to mass migration over time by virtue of the broadening of the outlook of that society as a whole (for a detailed account of immigration by a renowned philosopher I cannot recommend highly enough On Immigration and Refugees by the great Michael Dummett, in which he condemns the kind of nationalism which leads to suspicion of new comers into a society). Unfortunately this takes time, and can cause serious teething pain for both the host majority and the incoming minority. Continue reading “Is There a Middle-Ground for Multiculturalism?”

Who Needs Multiculturalism? We Do!

The Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday challenged “the doctrine of state multiculturalism”, which he claims to have been misguidedly introduced by the previous British government. In an address to the 47th Munich Security Conference, after taking the utmost care to repeatedly stress the differences between the peacefully practiced faith of Islam and the political ideology of Islamic extremism, the PM proceeded to conclude that the “hands-off” and “passive” tolerance contained within the ideal of multiculturalism in fact seeds tensions between groups by allowing them to live “separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream”. The PM demanded that the Islamic population in Britain begin to adopt British values, a position he named “muscular liberalism”. Unsurprisingly, the attack on multiculturalism has provoked angered responses, not least because it coincides with the anti-Islamic protests of the nationalist English Defence League in Luton this weekend.

Continue reading “Who Needs Multiculturalism? We Do!”

If you don’t vote for one, you vote for all!

The election campaign here in Britain has started and the battle between the parties is fierce. The problems of the last decade, but especially of the last year are immense. In the next couple of weeks and month it will be looked closely at how the NHS has coped with Swine flu and how the Government has coped with the financial crisis. Those who will do the close looking are the so-called political analysts, and they will try to explain why the one or the other party is better. Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg will try to explain why they are the best choice for the country at the present state. But whom are they explaining all this to? It seems as if the media is the only addressee of all the information. But actually the addressee are WE. Continue reading “If you don’t vote for one, you vote for all!”