Thursday, December 18, 2008

Particular political issues - a response to Al

Al listed some issues that he counts as "conservative", and invited me to comment on them. I'm just going to comment here on my own views on each issue, not on whether they count as definitionally conservative or not.

Al's list: "lower and less progressive taxes, more spending on defence, police and prisons, sympathy for the death penalty, reluctance to control guns, less spending on health and social security, less spending on state schools and the encouragement of private alternatives, more restrictive immigration, "no" to gay marriage or to any form of equal rights for gays, less regulation of business to help the environment or to protect workers rights or consumer rights, less regulation of financial markets, less subvention, freer trade, more restrictive abortion laws."

My stance:
lower and less progressive taxes I'd be in favour of a flat-rate tax;

more spending on defence, police and prisons yes, but tied in with a large number of structural reforms, especially with regard to the reformative elements of the prison system. I'm not in favour of prison for non-violent crime, especially as prison is presently constituted;

reluctance to control guns I'm presently thinking about the implications of remedying the disempowerment of the general populace, which may or may not involve armaments;

less spending on health and social security as I see it the issue is not about the level of spending but about a) how the spending is sourced, and b) how it is managed and spent. I'm in favour of a more intelligent structuring of health spending (NOT shifting to a US system, which I think is bonkers). I think there is a debate to be had about emergency care and chronic care, in that the former I see as being essentially free at point of need, the latter I'm not so sure about;

less spending on state schools and the encouragement of private alternatives I'm in favour of a voucher system, which gives parents more power, rather than being beholden to the producer interests;

more restrictive immigration yes, especially from Islamic countries. I'm a big fan of the US system of immigration, ie having to sign up to a framework of values;

"no" to gay marriage or to any form of equal rights for gays I'm in favour of full legal (secular) equality for gay people/ gay couples;

less regulation of business to help the environment or to protect workers rights or consumer rights I'm in favour of businesses being required to operate within the constraints established by their local community; they must certainly operate within the law; I'm also strongly in favour of proper cost-benefit analysis being done on proposed regulations;

less regulation of financial markets financial operations need to operate under the same law as anything else, eg contract law; beyond that I'm not sure what regulations are at issue;

less subvention yes;

freer trade yes in principle, but I don't see free trade as an idol to be pursued at all costs, as in practice 'free trade' can be a total misnomer;

more restrictive abortion laws yes.


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