According to the Political Spectrum Quiz on facebook, I'm a left moderate social libertarian as well as being a non-interventionist and culturally liberal. Regardless of the source, this seems pretty accurate to me and when illustrated on a graph, it appears that I couldn't be much closer to dead centre (though left-leaning all the same).
When situated near the centre, rationalizing a stand on various issues can be a bit precarious. Why supportive of government-funded health care, but not of government management of other activities? Why is it ok to publicly administer (un)employment insurance but not provide handouts to failing businesses?
The reasoning for me is that we must differentiate between a universal obligation to look after each other as individuals and the need to let bona fide businesses succeed or fail independently from government interference.
I believe that the mandate of government is to provide strong leadership while competently managing as transparently as possible. Of primary importance is the delivery of universal social services - those areas that would not necessarily deliver a short term monetary return on investment, but are critical to ensuring longer term quality of life for all.
With this lens in place, some recent events have resonated for me:
- this week's dismantling of crown corporation Tourism British Columbia, a highly successful destination marketing organzation, so it can be absorbed into the government of BC. This after 12 years of outstanding achievements on behalf of the tourism industry and many communities throughout the province. It seems counterproductive, as at risk is the marketing discipline and creativity of Tourism BC which has flourished at arms length from government.
- the recent bail outs of big banks and two of three big auto companies in North America. Should our governments be supporting businesses that have failed due to lack of vision and fiscal management? I don't believe they should, although the impact on so many individuals' livelihood, pensions and communities make this one a lot less clear. It seems that creative thinking in government and business, might have come up with wiser, more sustainable solutions.
- the ongoing debate re. universal health care in the US which is dragging other nations' systems into the discussion. This one is of course a no-brainer from my perspective. It's an excellent example of why universal social programs are required because if left only to business and right-leaning ideologues, anyone in need of health care without positions of wealth or power are left to flounder without a social safety net.
NB: As many know, I worked with Tourism British Columbia for six years and have much admiration for the operation, management and staff at the world-renowned and award-winning destination marketing organization.