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What would a "Taoist politics" be like?

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Showing 1-25 of 57 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Oct 2012 14:38:36 GMT
Here's my "utopia" - I invite comment/criticism. Imagine a government which: respected Britain's traditions, protected and treasured civil liberties and privacy, administered the necessary public/welfare services competently, and other than that didn't go around telling people what to do with their lives - how to cross the road, or what to eat, or what substances to put into their bodies. In other words, a *modest* government, which didn't think it had the answers to all human problems, as opposed to an interfering, enterprising one. I say 'modest', but it is a liberal/Oakeshottian conception of the role of government that is a million miles from the modern state.

Posted on 28 Oct 2012 18:18:30 GMT
kraka says:
It all sounds very much an improvement when compared with what we have at the moment but, and there is nearly always a but, would not your utopia be well out of step with the rest of the increasingly greed driven capitalist world. How could it be insulated or protected against this global trend.

Not having a political bone in my body my post may just be a load of bad understanding.

Tell me more of your vision and how it would function......................kraka

Posted on 28 Oct 2012 18:45:39 GMT
Well, I think it would function by government doing *less* than it does now. But I am not advocating right-wing libertarianism à la Nozick. Redistribution is necessary, but even here, would it not be better, instead of providing services in kind, to give people the money and let them decide how they wish to spend it? I think governments are frightened that people will mis-spend the money they're given - but then this again assumes that government is in a better position than individuals to know precisely what is most urgent for them to have.

It's true that what I'm suggesting is out of step with an 'increasingly greed driven capitalist world', but I'm not sure that the problem is 'capitalism' as such (or at least 'the market'); rather, I see the problem as an alliance between the media and politicians which serves both their interests: the media creates anxieties and then demands (of the government) that "something must be done". It has become almost impossible for a politician to turn round and say, "well, actually, there's very little the *government* can or ought to do about it". In any case, it suits their interests *not* to say this. Thus public anxieties, which are perpetually stoked by the press, are invariably used to expand the scope of state authority and diminish the freedom that once belonged to the individual.

Thanks for the comment!

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 18:52:16 GMT
Like the idea and it has been raised before in the form of anarcho-communism. The problem is that with this proposal, some of the 'elite' and already powerful would have to lose some of that power. Have you ever tried to strip someone of power? When they have been used to that power for such a long time? We, as a species, are not great at change, look at evolution. It takes a long time to administer change. What you suggest for a political system could not be formed overnight (it could be in theory, but the 'elite' won't let it). What the elite want is a police state where individual freedoms come at a price and that unfortunately is where we are headed.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 19:18:58 GMT
kraka says:
Pop Hi

Your post has a ring of truth to it, in my 71yrs, i have witnessed a gradual reduction in freedoms and by comparison to when i left school we now live in an open prison.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 19:21:18 GMT
krak, good definition. Have you noticed that the 'gradual reduction' you speak of is seemingly picking up pace?

Posted on 28 Oct 2012 19:25:20 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Oct 2012 19:26:03 GMT
Popcorn Slayer - I think you're absolutely right, and I have no ready answer to the question of 'how to get there from here'. Is what I'm advocating even compatible with democracy? I don't know; but, whilst the mass of the population still believe in majoritarian democracy, any non-democratic form of politics would require authoritarian measures which would defeat the whole object of what I am suggesting, which is to reclaim individual freedoms. Perhaps, then, the only hope is for a gradual lessening of the belief that one man's judgement is just as good as any other man's, and the concomitant belief in the divine right of majorities.

But things do change over long historical periods. The elites that are in charge now, and are busy constructing our 'open prison' (nice phrase), came about through historical forces which they themselves did not control; and they will not be in charge forever. At least I hope not!

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 19:42:52 GMT
kraka says:
Hi Pop,

Yes, the momentum has picked up speed and with it society (as a macrocosm) has become so much more fragmented and confrontational, and family's (as a microcosm) reflect this as being more dysfunctional.

Growing up as i did in the post war years, communities were very caring, employers treated workers respectfully.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 19:43:10 GMT
Things do change. But what is going to bring on a change by where we are all reminded that we are merely humans and all on the same level in that respect?

There are two things that spring to mind:
1/ War
2/ Natural catastrophe

The two above would force change, at a very fast pace. Sadly, I think it would take one of the above to actually bring about the changes you propose. Otherwise, we are heading in the opposite direction of individual freedom.

Posted on 28 Oct 2012 19:52:46 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Oct 2012 19:53:53 GMT
kraka - I'm 42 and yet even in my lifetime I feel that I've seen a significant diminution of freedom, with the state extending its tendrils into areas it would never have dreamed of interfering with when I was a kid. One thing I worry about is that youngsters growing up today will regard this power that the state has arrogated to itself as 'normal' and thus won't have the instinctive reaction against further incursions of state power that us 'oldies' have.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 19:54:34 GMT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 19:56:32 GMT
kraka says:
John hi,

In your post you mention democracy, as i said i'm not very politicaly aware, but in recent years i have felt that what we have in the UK is more like a plutocracy disguised as a democracy. In your opinion am i correct?

Posted on 28 Oct 2012 19:58:09 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Oct 2012 20:01:01 GMT
Simon - Well, the reference to Taoism in the title of this discussion is just that in the Tao Te Ching there are passages where it says that even better than a government which is loved is one where the people are not even aware that they are being 'governed'. And this seems the opposite of the current assumption of the omnicompetence of government. (Politicians certainly want to be loved, and definitely don't want to be invisible!)

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 19:58:47 GMT
Pipkin says:
This made me smile... how true Kraka..
Margaret x

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 20:00:53 GMT
I'm 23. I've been banging on about this for weeks ever since people started getting prison sentences for comments made on social media. Latest involved a man who decided to wear a T-shirt mocking the recent shooting of two Greater Manchester police officers. Although his t-shirt was in particularly poor taste and I generally find that kind of mocking unacceptable, he got prison (there were some other circumstances, but essentially, he did go down for that). Essentially, he went down for voicing (a rather unnecessary and sick) an opinion.

Posted on 28 Oct 2012 20:08:15 GMT
I agree, Popcorn, and it was astonishing that there was so little protest over a man going to prison simply because he expressed an opinion that was offensive to the police.

On the question of democracy, I think Britain *is* a 'democracy', but one where public opinion is largely manipulated by elites, who control the way reality is represented through the popular media; so one could regard it as a case of elite rule as well. I suppose I'm saying that democracy and elite rule are not necessarily opposed.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 20:10:20 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Oct 2012 20:28:39 GMT
kraka says:

Another example of how the younger generation have no *yardstick* to measure things by is food. Sadly i have seen a move away from good, naturally grown food rich in nutrients and healthy, to mass produced heavily processed factory food, fast foods and junk food. Kids today have little idea what the food chain used to produce as it's been corrupted along with their taste buds.

A report i read recently stated that today your would need to eat four oranges to equal the same nutrition levels as that of one orange back in the 1940s.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 20:27:47 GMT
kraka says:

Greetings my friend glad to hear you again. the other day i saw you had left me a post but when i returned to the forum could,'t remember where so i left one for you on a thread where you had been posting.

Trust you are well, take care...................kraka.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 21:01:25 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Oct 2012 16:20:56 GMT
Pipkin says:
Absolutely Kraka,
Bare faced Plutocracy, covered up by stealth and lies.

1. Government by the wealthy.
2. A wealthy class that controls a government.
3. A government or state in which the wealthy rule.

Definitely NOT
1. Government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
2. A state having such a form of government: The United States and Canada are democracies. (?)
3. A state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.
4. Political or social equality; democratic spirit.
5. The Common People of a community as ''distinguished from any privileged class.'' The common people with respect to their political power.
If we were living in a Democracy we would be able to demonstrate and object peacefully and would be listened to. This shower are talking about monitoring the internet and prosecuting political dessenters... some democracy.
We are controlled by Puppeticians and Presstitutes who thrive on the Hegalian Dialect....
Two or three masks on the same head, or as Galloway said three cheeks on the same arse, all talking sh*** and selling us the illusion of choice.. Try saying anything different to what they spew and you're an enemy of the state?

Of course what you are advocating is compatible with Democracy John.. Government by the People for the People, with the people making their own choices and decisions and not the Parties......... having a party at our expence, with our money? Party Whips to make sure they all vote the same way and Powerful Lobbyists who are not elected, but campaign on behalf of the Monied Elite to get policies in place which are favourable to their profits? Can't see them giving up their perks any day soon?
Just try getting together with your neighbours and 'lobbying' for your pot holes to be filled in? I've been trying for thirty years....

When I get my salary, I decide what to do with it. I wouldn't expect the guy down the road to try telling me what to spend it on...... Yet our councils are constrained by what the Government directs, or they forfeit their funding.
Why do we bother having town councils.. if they can't then decide how to spend the money they are allocated... they know exactly what our town/village/city needs.
I'm rambling a bot now, sorry.
Downton calls and then Homeland... That's what I call good entertainment. Talk tomorrow, God willing.
Margaret x

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 23:11:27 GMT
kraka says:
Ah, bless you margaret........and many thanks for an impressive post that sounds spot on.

Enjoy your entertainment and hope to see you soon.

Take care.........................................kraka.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 23:36:46 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Oct 2012 23:38:44 GMT
Spin says:
ME: "Downton calls"? Enjoying the representation of a class system, are we? =) "Homeland"? US Fantasy misrepresenting the reality of the US conflict with extremist Islam? Downton VS Homeland..Hmmm...

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Oct 2012 07:57:09 GMT
The One says:
Kraka awakens.......well done.......plutocracy been around since the last century.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Oct 2012 08:03:42 GMT
The One says:
The United States and Canada are democracies.

USA are the biggest plutocracy government in the world IMO......Canada more democratic than UK......Better democracy - look at Switzerland.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Oct 2012 12:59:56 GMT
Pipkin says:
Yes! Love it! Them..

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Oct 2012 13:26:54 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Oct 2012 13:27:11 GMT
Spin says:
ME; I am sure they are fine dramas, but I can't help feeling that "Downton" is a modern regurgitation of "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Homeland" is a derivitive of "The Sopranos" (ie: a series in which the baddies are the focus of attention)
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Discussion in:  politics discussion forum
Participants:  12
Total posts:  57
Initial post:  28 Oct 2012
Latest post:  17 Jul 2013

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