Let’s Begin Again With a Clear End Goal In Mind
We have a lot of work to do. The future rewards effort more than any other thing.
Today, after all three parties have had an opportunity to try again, Government still can’t get a good deal going for the people of Nova Scotia. The fall of traditional media communications, the modern politics of power and divisiveness, and the re-concentration of wealth, have made things much worse. Government continues to grow with the economy. But it is growth without prosperity.
We live in a globalized world that uses our own consumerist weaknesses, our misuse of debt, our labour and resources to ultra-efficiently drain our capital – our wealth – from our own region. Our own mis-allocated efforts create growth without prosperity - massive meals of empty economic calories that drains much needed capital from our households and from our province.
This all seems familiar.
The big corporations, the powerful land speculators, income inequality, the government inefficiency and waste, the need for change in education, the need to modernize outdated ideas, the need for a positive country life movement and a more scientific approach to decision making of today...
It all exactly echoes the issues of the progressive era. It’s not surprising that political voices on all sides across America are speaking out and again using the words and ideas of the Progressive Era. We should return to those ideas in Nova Scotia too as they were the bringers of Nova Scotia’s best days so far.
So we have the party in power and ideally alternative parties on each side, or if the party in power has strayed we have a couple of choices to pull back to where we want to go. In other places there are many many parties and independent candidates - but here I think we're so close to agreement on most things that it's hardly necessary. As a newcomer I've joined an independently Nova Scotian party that is open and ready to work on the future Nova Scotian's imagine.
We have to start again with basics. Like many people I'd like to have fixed election dates and a different way of counting the votes that would lead to more proportional representation of ideas and encourage parties, and all Nova Scotians to work more together. I think that registering to vote and going to polls should be clarified as a legal duty and responsibility of all citizens. Many people have come to misunderstand our freedoms. We're not free from duty, we're free to do our duty. As citizens that means a responsibility - a legal responsibility - to get educated, get informed, form opinions, and have the courage to speak out and vote.
Today the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia is again rebuilding, starting again with a clear goal in mind – broad-based prosperity for Nova Scotian households. The party is unique among all the major parties because it’s the only truly provincial party. It has no corporate ties to what is now the federal Conservative party. It’s the Nova Scotian party that has drawn on progressive ideals through golden ages and trying times to build the Nova Scotia we have today.
A good place to start
Nova Scotia represents the ideals of the Progressive era as well as any political region in the world. We've explored co-ops, credit unions, and the Antigonish movement added immensely to modernizing country life without losing what is good about it.
We’ve succeeded in building a rich society not by making more rich people but by raising more people out of poverty and vulnerability. We’ve made farmers and fisherman into modern entrepreneurs, makers and leaders. From the outside looking in we are militantly and radically local. We should all be proud of this as the whole of the world looks to us and what we have as the dream of what is possible from government and society.
The academics call it geopolitics – the hard limits of resources that define what is possible. And by any count we are rich. Let’s count our blessing – our seas, our forest, our breadbasket valleys, our mineral wealth, our fresh water, our distance from trouble and strife; our social, educational, health, transportation, judicial and governmental systems that make life predictable and safe.
Though we may often complain of high taxes and rising prices, it’s just a way of talking. It actually means that in spite of all our success – our riches, our health, our families, our public safety and modernity in all things, we still have the audacity, the wild activist optimistic spirit of the progressive era to bombastically imagine more and better, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable among us.
Our urban economy believes in the importance of country life and our rural regions can be connected with the best technology modern progress can offer. Together we can begin again and imagine the shape of things to come – broad-based prosperity for Nova Scotian households. The future will reward our Progressive effort.
So where do we start?
Democracy is a quarrel we have with ourselves about the future. It's never settled and its never done. Recently, there's been an open push to silence 'naysayers' and the like.
I think the solution - and it's not a quick fix or easy way - is not to 'get along' in cheerleader-style but to encourage more argument, respect it, and most importantly learn to do it better.
That starts with teaching a new generation of citizens the skills, techniques and importance of critical method, reason, logic and rhetoric. And it has to be a process of lifelong learning.
Good argument is the only proven way in all of history to NOT BE WRONG. And we got to get better at it.
So that's my starting place. Learn how to argue better, learn how to change your mind, learn how to use mental models and facts to make better decisions - as citizens, as politicians, and a province.
It will take a lot of effort and a long time, but like with so many social and economic problems education is ultimately the answer.
One of the concrete things I'm doing is developing for the party I'm involved with a THINK AGAIN series of events and online learning leading up to the next election where candidates and other interested folks can participate in courses about critical thinking, statistics, logic, reason, rhetoric and argument, to learn how and when to change their mind and healthily persuade others to change theirs. 'Graduates' of the courses should be better prepared to argue, listen and use the resources we have to make better decisions.
Before we reach our dreams we have to imagine them. We have to have a clear goal in mind.
I think what we really want is not economic growth, its not more people, it’s not more fracking this or that, it’s not more jobs jobs jobs, tall buildings or convention centres. These things are all means to ends. They are at best symbols of the things we want. But not the real thing.
It may be controversial but I don’t even think happiness is important. All of us almost daily forego our own happiness and immediate pleasure for a greater goal.
What’s that goal?
Not for us - but for our loved ones, family and friends – for our households.
Broadbased prosperity for our households is what we want. And because Nova Scotia is not too big and not too small we have a real sense that our prosperity depends on the prosperity of those around us.
REAL Prosperity is one of those funny things – like love - the more you share it around the more you have.
Writing about life, citizenship, and Nova Scotia.