You Can't Always Get What You Want

Canadian politics is full of people frustrated that government taxes too much, spends too little, allows abortions and removes prayer from schools. Much of the ire is spent on politicians who don’t listen to ‘the people’, are beholden to special interest groups, et cetera, et cetera.

But politics is a natural element of the human condition. It exists because we live in a world of limited resources and conflicting desires. We would have no need for politics if we were mindless automatons agreeing about everything. It is natural to disagree about not only what needs to be done, but how we should go about doing it. These disagreements are honest and sincere. Can we expect a unanimous agreement on issues such as capital punishment or what constitutes art? Should we?

Basically, we hate politicians only when the political winds blow against us. If government does what we want, it’s not politics. Professor Thomas Qualter said it best in his book Conflicting Political Ideas in Liberal Democracies: “Commonly, we will find in practise that those who argue for forgetting about politics in the interests of the common good are really saying ‘I know what I think, and I don’t want to have to consider any one else’s opinion.’ […] This view reveals a profound misunderstanding of the nature of a democratic society, which in essence is based on the propriety of politics. Political activity to resolve conflict is at the foundation of our way of life, without which we would not be a democracy.”

It is amusing to see social conservatives (and other groups throughout the spectrum) attempt to take over such parties as the Canadian Alliance or the Ontario Conservatives in the hopes of forcing their viewpoint on the rest of the nation. Fortunately, the majority of the Canadian public just don’t agree with them. Rather than accept the fact that the democratic decision has gone against them, they whine about “media bias”, “special interest groups” or “money and the ethnic vote”.

I’ve accepted that not all of my desires will be met by this society. Canada is a democracy, and I am just one man within it. In the end, the democratic process is doing what it should.

blog comments powered by Disqus