” Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”
George Santayana (1863-1952)
I have democracy on my mind these days. I renewed my membership in the Conservative Party of Canada in order to vote for a new leader in the Province of Ontario. My choice of leader did not get elected but I am supporting the new provincial leader and volunteering for the conservative candidate in my home city of Guelph. I’m trying to understand what it means to be a Conservative versus a Liberal along with many other issues concerning the democratic process. I’m conservative mainly because I believe in prudent fiscal spending and not in handing out money left, right and centre to buy votes which is what the Liberals seem to be doing.
I read a very scary statistic. While two thirds of Seniors, like myself, believe that democracy is the only viable form of government, only one third of millennials believe in democracy and are willing to try other forms of government. So in the future we may get what we wish for. I think of Venezuela as a great example of how things can go horribly wrong in a relatively short period of time. Venezuelans voted for a leader who promised them the earth with all kinds of government handouts and Chavez gradually erased freedoms and took control. Now Venezuela is spiralling towards bankruptcy and is rife with violence. My thinking goes along these lines: a) What responsibility does the state have towards its people, b) What responsibilities do people have for their own welfare and c) What are peoples responsibilities to the state. I’m still pondering these questions.
Here’s another thought. What will be the expectation level of future generations as jobs become harder to find? I can understand a minimum standard for food and shelter but how high should these minimum standards go. I assume ownership of fridges, stoves, TV’s, computers etc. are now considered minimum standards. Do future generations assume ownership of a car or a house to be minimum standards. What about higher level education which is becoming less affordable each year? Governments are so much in debt I can’t understand how this can be sustainable in the long term. Something has to give. It seems that people are looking more and more towards government for hand outs and governments are obliging in order to stay in power. There will be a reckoning.