On independence

As I had promised.

From the OED:

Conservative (adj.)
3. b.  Characterized by caution or moderation.

Liberal (adj.)
4. a. Free from narrow prejudice; open-minded, candid.
…..b. Free from bigotry or unreasonable prejudice in favour of traditional opinions or established institutions; open to the reception of new ideas or proposals of reform.

The recent elections and formation of a new Tory-led coalition government has raised all manner of political discussions, allowing several Americans to talk about their political ideas without having to rely on the polarised dichotomy of Republican and Democrat. These discussions have only reinforced my choice to choose neither party, but register as an Independent.

I am Independent because of how I understand the purpose and role of government. I believe in ‘small government’: government should not interfere with the daily lives of its people, meddling, obliging people to participate in programs they do not wish to or monitoring their daily lives. However, I also believe that the social contract the people have with their government obliges, nay demands, binds, the government to provide basic services to ensure the health, care, and safety of the people. For instance, basic healthcare should be available to the people, yet people should not be penalised for exercising their right of choice to have a private healthcare provider. In the same vein, there must be regulatory action taken on industry and corporation to ensure legality, fairness, and quality of product and thus encourage a healthy economy. Thus, it appears that I also acknowledge the necessary evil of ‘big government’.

I wish that more of my friends have read The Dispossessed by Le Guin. Then they would understand when I say that I wish I had the resolve to be Odonian. But that ambiguous utopia can only exist on Anarres, where life is hard and demands cooperation for survival.

‘On Anarres nothing is beautiful, nothing but the faces. The other faces, the men and women. We have nothing but that, nothing but each other. Here you see the jewels, there you see the eyes. And in the eyes you see the splendor, the splendor of the human spirit because our men and women are free—possessing nothing, they are free.’

And yet while I sometimes wish there were no government, I do not live on Anarres. I live on Earth, where governments are a necessary evil, but can do great good, held in check only by the conscientiousness of their citizens. And that is why I am Independent, because we cannot all be polarised, because some have to be both conservative and liberal, who can stand in the middle, or on the outside, and consider what is best, regardless of party lines.

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