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Saturday, December 05, 2015

Green Party Annual Subscription

It's that time of year again – no, not Christmas, but the time when I get a reminder to pay my subscription to the Green Party.

For what it is worth, the Green Party is going to have to mange without me. I am sure they will continue what they are doing just fine without my contribution.

I did once think that it was vitally important that there was a credible environmentally focused political party. Today, I am not so sure. It seems to me that having a green party gives undue credibility to an election process that we confuse for democracy.

Our forefathers in Ancient Greece would never have considered our model of governance to be a democracy. They would brand it as an elected oligarchy far removed from their ideal of everyone having a say in all critical decisions of state.

The oligarchs that we have elected into power today would immediately counter with the assertion that the complexity of events and the speed decisions must be made means the direct democracy the Ancient Greeks practised would not function. They may have a point, but I doubt it. The very technology that is causing so many problems today can also allow fast communication from individual citizens to the points where decisions must be made. The flip side of the objections from today's elected oligarchs is that the very complexities and speed of today's events allows an abundance of opportunities for exploitation, and this they take full advantage of. The result is the revolving doors between government and big business.

Our process of selecting oligarchs also plays well to a society that has become lazy and hedonistic. It is basically much easier to limit ones contribution to the democratic process to a single vote every five years than it is to having to contribute regularly on specific issues, many which may contain difficult and uncomfortable choices. By contrast, when one's vote is cast in the booth for an oligarch, it boils down to a distillation of large sets of conflicting policies from one party compared with another, mixed in with a personality analysis of someone that you will never have had any direct contact with. A toss of a coin is as good a tool for decision making as considered thought, this is ultimately what many people are reduced to.

This deliberate limitation of democratic involvement means that there is more opportunity available for the general population to party and play. It is something that many are grateful for as they select their oligarchs. It also supports the fundamental objective of the industrialised market states that we find ourselves in. That is the maximisation of opportunity for their citizens.

Unfortunately for any environmentally focused parties, the appointment of oligarchs is legitimised by the process they participate in, yet they have no chance of success. This would not be a problem if the elections could be fought on the basis of selecting parties that offer the best long term policies for human survival. But they never have and the never will. It is virtually impossible to find an example in any industrialised country were a government has been elected into power on the basis of it pursuing environmental policies designed to ensure long term human survival. By contrast, it is nearly impossible to find a government that has not been elected into power on the basis of its policies to extend industrialisation.

I fear that the Green Party today, with its talk of sustainable development, is merely offering another form of industrial development. It is so wedded to this that in the last election it was unable to speak the truth of the crisis facing the planet. Buried in the middle of its manifesto was its commitment to climate change. In a word for word copy from the Conservative Party's manifesto, it said that if elected it would work with the international community to keep global temperature rises below 2 deg C. This is now impossible. Little intellectual thought is needed to know that the worst nightmares of climate change can only be avoided with a zero carbon economy today, not in 10 years time. This emergency transition must be made when the impacts of climate change are biting increasingly deep into the fabric of our society. It will result in large scale social disruption and severe limitations on personal freedom. There is no way around this. Yet, the Green Party, like any other party that fancies a slice of power knows it cannot talk of these truths so it does what every other party does, it lies and presents policies that disingenuously offer false hope.

The only thing that differentiates one party from another is the quality of the lies they produce. The favourite lie of the Green Party and other environmental movements is “down with capitalism.” This is a good sound bite, until one considers that capitalism in one form or another has been around since the first days of human civilisation in Ancient Mesopotamia, so down with capitalism is unlikely to offer a solution in itself. By advocating this line of argument, The Green Party are simply making the mistake of many others; shouting down with something because it is easier to do than shouting up with its alternative. It is a lesson that the Iranians discovered in 1979, when they elected the Ayatollah Khomeini into power on a policy of down with the Shah, only to discover they had moved into an equally bad nightmare of no viable alternatives.

For the Green Party, the flip side of down with capitalism is “up with a rationing economy.” Ironically, a commitment to carbon rationing was once something they had in their manifesto, but now has been quietly dropped and in the last election none of the party's main speakers advocated this. The reason is simple, “up with a rationing economy,” means down with industrialisation and free choice. The Green Party is no different from any other in being afraid to advocate this philosophy.

If this is not good enough justification for allowing my membership to lapse, then I offer one final and controversial thought. That is ISIS, our new found enemy terrorising the world. By refusing to say what you stand for, and instead only what you stand against, you provide legitimacy for those who are prepared to destroy the thing you want actually destroyed but which you are afraid to acknowledge. When at the same time, you take the moral high ground and decide not to intervene in any way and under any circumstance, you give the green light to increasingly appalling attacks.

I am no fan of military intervention and every time it is used I understand it drives the world one step closer to disaster. But when those that are supposed to be standing against the system don't and refuse to be clear on the genuine alternatives, they contribute to making military intervention unavoidable.   
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