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Thread: The Social Conservative Manifesto

  1. #1 The Social Conservative Manifesto 
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    Check out this translation into English of a draft version of The Social Conservative Manifesto.

    http://socialconservatism.wordpress.com/


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Hi there,

    Your Manifesto is extremely long. To be honest I suspect very few people will actually read it. It might be a good idea to summerize your main positions in a 1 page document on a point by point basis with links to detailed paragraph of your full manifesto document, this way people are more likely to take the time to read at least the summary and go for details about issues they are curious about.

    I might read the first 1/10th of the document and provide a few comments

    cheers


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  4. #3  
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    Yeah, I know, its approx 25000 words. Iím not expecting many here on the forum to actually read it. Itís a bit difficult to summarize it because it outlines a comprehensive approach to policy. There is also a critique of the dominating ideologies: libertarianism, socialism, liberalism and Islamism. The key thing that is being examined in the manifesto is morality. Iím gonna try to explain this core aspect and then leave the rest to be read in the manifesto.

    According to John Locke and the libertarians there are unalienable natural rights like the rights to life, property, and freedom. Since we have the right to ourselves through our freedom, we also have the right to the fruits of our labour. If we cultivate land, this land becomes our property, as long as we donít take away someone else's natural rights by taking this land. Because we are entitled to the output of our work no one can take this away from us. Anyone who violates the natural rights of someone else is guilty of an aggression against the natural rights and to defend against this form of aggression, you are allowed to kill, says John Locke. Living in this state of nature is dangerous and unpredictable, because in the state of nature we can only depend on our selves to protect the natural rights from others. Consequently, people will join together to form the state. The state shall not exercise its power arbitrarily in a feudal manner in which the ruler can do whatever he wants. The state must rule by law and treat all people in the state equally and ensure everyoneís rights to life, property and liberty. Taxes must therefore be fair otherwise the state makes itself guilty of theft and slavery. The reason for why the unfair taxes can be described as slavery is that people are entitled to the output of their work but when that right is taken away from the individual he becomes a slave.

    There are libertarians that in today's modern society are opposed to taxes because of this philosophy that taxes can be regarded as theft and a form of slavery. Special property taxes, progressive marginal taxes, and the like, that only affects a particular segment of society is being attacked by libertarians on the basis of this philosophy. The arguments are good. But the fact is that the social contract partially deprives people of the right to themselves and their property by their own consent. The case of marginal tax rates thus become a matter of interpretation. It varies from case to case what can be morally justified. In some societies there are high levels of trust and unity and therefore the state can expect more of the citizen in terms of consent to have their natural rights limited. Therefore, a large social democratic welfare state and high taxes can be morally justified. I argue that social conservatism can take the same path as social democracy when it comes to welfare in societies with high levels of social capital. Social capital means trust in the society. There are things that the state can do, by design of policy, to increase this trust, but to maximize the social capital we also need to establish norms so that people freely chose to behave in accordance with morality. If everyone in society can trust each others morality and that everyone do their work and pay their taxes, abide by the law, to do their part when it comes to the military defense of the nation, and so on, then the social capital will become very high.

    If everyone takes part of the mainstream society and feels like part of a community this means that they give their consent to the social contract and are loyal. In a homogeneous society with a strong social morality, a common identity and common cultural norms, the trust and ability to cooperate among citizens will be maximized. This will also lead to active citizens, a prospering civil-society, as well as to a well-functioning welfare state, economy and democracy. The reason why all this is a good thing is because the goal of social conservatism is utilitarian. The goal of policy should be to create society that is as harmonious as possible and to make as many citizens as possible as happy as possible. This goal should be the goal of policy, as well as of every citizen and politician. When this happen the social contract will be solid and the state will evolve to become as fully moral as possible. Fully moral in terms of not limiting any individuals natural rights without full consent. This is something we donít see in the world today where all states to some degree are degenerated. There are always people that donít want to be a part of the community of mainstream society. Tolerance should always be shown to the minorities but policy should encourage everyone to be part of the community. This doesnít take us to a utopia or an end to history, but out of utilitarian principles it will make as many people as possible, as happy as possible.
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    "publicly funded services should be provided by private companies in areas such as schools and social services as long as evidence donít show that state ownership is more efficient and improves quality"
    Will the "private" companies offer services in a Transparent manner? The potential problems with Public Private parnerships are many and are documented in many countries;
    1- Risk of Patronage and corruption (political funding for contracts)
    2- Private profits and losses dumped on the Public
    3- Private companies can be used to conceal(private deals, proprietary information, confidential, etc) aspects that prevent adequate oversight and leads to problems of governance
    4- A private company can sometimes declare bankruptcy to flee from obligations after pocketing large funds
    5- The private company can be in conflicts of interests that are not apparent or that can be levraged
    Some of these are also problematic when opaque and secluted public organisations perform services, which is why a "public" group that is created and mandated to be fully transparent and open(less bureaucratic, more accountable and open to public participation), or a national cooperative that is also transparent and open(where each citizen gets 1 and only 1 vote, and a number of issues can be decided by e-vote or with participation from the public), are imo better alternatives.

    "universal and general welfare programmes"
    You might be interested to look into the idea of basic income, a basic income that allows a citizen to live comfortably could in theory be offered to all as a simplification to some programs, for those who dont need it it would be offset fiscally and you could replace/reduce welfare, pensions, children grants, unemployment insurance, etc. Some advocate the use of heavier sales tax to finance it but I disagree because its regressive (whether apparent or concealed).


    "To have universal public insurance system such as unemployment insurance and health care is economic more effective than allowing the private insurance companies handle it all."
    Agreed. You have to make sure its transparent, patronage/corruption free, and actively minimise bureaucracy, have direct democracy and feedback mechanisms, and have strong whistleblower protection.

    "defence, energy, finance and communications"
    Add natural resources(mining, water, lumber, etc), all people should benefit from the ressources and these should be managed in the interest of everyone and future generations(not just shareholders).


    "Consequently its great that the inheritance tax was abolished in Sweden in 2005 and that the wealth tax was abolished in 2007, these taxes should never be introduced again mean social conservatism. Taxes on gifts should also be removed; especially gifts to charity and research must be exempt."
    I am for Inheritence tax and against this aspect of your program, services need to be funded and a person thats benefited from society should once dead give back to society, otherwise, in addition to sacrificing revenues, you create a neofeudal pressure that will in time make sure the public services will be sabotaged that progressive policies are replaced by those that favor the rich and inequality and be on the road to banana republic-ville like many countries are. Note that inequality is a self-reinforcing phenomenon, money is power, power to leverage the advantage you already have and further tilt the scales in your favor, this goes on until you eventually have a system that is closer to a plutocratic oligarchy than a democracy.


    "libertarians"
    I would be surprised if Libertarians had travelled and lived in countries like european social democraties and tax free developing countries and banana republics. Baring the gated communities for the rich and 5 star hotels for foreigners typical low-tax countries are utter Shite for the population, and European Social Democracies have a much better quality of life even if (or because of) the taxes are much higher. Its like insting to pay 50$ for a piece of shit rusted Ford Tempo and say that paying 80$ for a bran new Mercedes benz is theft because you think the Benz is a shity Tempo that just costs more, until you have compared and experienced both you might not realize that the deal where you pay less is the one you are getting royally screwed. I worked in europe and it was a revelation "holy sh%t, I never realized the extent to which Im getting screwed in North America"
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  6. #5  
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    Thanks for your comments icewendigo! Your arguments are all valid and sensible.

    When it comes to private companies as service providers the point you make about risk of patronage and corruption (political funding for contracts) is good but this problem can be almost completely avoided. I was narrow in scope on this issue because Iím used to Swedish politics. The thing is that if you have a system where:
    1 parties mainly gets their funding from membership fees and from the State (tax-money);
    2 elections mainly are about voting for a party and not a person;
    3 national and local governments are parliamentary and power therefore is located with the assembly that controls the money and selects the executives;
    4 all contracting is done by officeholders that have been controlled beforehand so that they are not challengeable;
    5 High degree of transparency in government;
    - Then you avoid most of the risk for patronage and corruption. Sometimes there are political figures in the local politics that can be strong enough to single-handed be able to produce decisions one way or the other, but that is unusual here. So the problem can to a large degree be avoided but you opened my eyes for the limitations in generalizing this policy to all countries. Your other objections on this issue also need to be taken into consideration but I feel that they generally can be overcome, when not: then you have to be pragmatic and bring in a publicly owned alternative.

    Basic income is something I have considered, I find it interesting, and itís something that politicians in Sweden sometimes propose. But I think the cons outweigh the pros. Its simply causes too much moral hazard. When the incentive to works decrease then people will tend to retire early or stay unemployed and this is something we have seen in many European countries. The socialist counter-argument is that the lower incentive to work makes it possible for workers to negotiate but this is not needed in Sweden with all the unions and all the welfare we already got. The most intriguing benefit with basic income, as I see it, is that all the means testing is an intrusion in peoples life and the suspicion that is directed at peoples honesty risk create an dishonest game on the part of both sides, and it will also cause the state to become less popular, all this you avoid with basic income. In the end, I donít find Basic income practical.

    When it comes to the inheritance tax you bring up something that interests me and that is what you term the neofeudal pressure. I do agree that this neofeudal pressure can be a problem in the capitalist world. But inheritance tax doesnít solve it. The wealth taxes and inheritance taxes that we had here in Sweden until recently only made the superrich to leave the country (Like Ingvar Kamprad, the Rausing Family and many others). This wont perhaps happen in large countries like the U.S. but I think that inheritance tax only make the average entrepreneurs and high income earners to suffer while the modern feudal class hide behind tax planning in different ways like building up corporate structures of holding companies and registering overseas. At the same time: I donít oppose family companies. When it comes to very powerful dynasties like the Wallenberg family I think it can be a potential problem but not necessarily.

    The problem you brink up is a problem that is caused by the political institutions and not by policy. When special interests can buy their way to the legislation outcomes they want its undemocratic and bad for society as a whole. Full transparency is needed to restrain this. When it comes to rich people preventing progressive policies that is only one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is that the majority of the people let it happen. The reason for this is that also democratic societies, to a bigger or lesser degree have oligarchic structures. Elitist political parties, with a small number of professional politicians and no popular grassroots movement, will not change these structures. Only mobilization and organization can do that. One problem is that the election campaigners in many countries are dependent on private donations. This will gravitate political power towards the rich. The success of the Obama campaign doesnít falsify this gravitation tendency. Other causes why the rich can control policy are biased media, that all people are not registered for voting by default, winner-takes-it-all election systems instead of proportional systems. Finally, when there are lack of education, civil society, tradition, and other structures that cause demobilization of the people it will keep them from participating in politics. So the problem is not only caused by the rich, but also the poor.
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  7. #6  
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    "Manifesto" has a negative stigma attached to it.

    I suggest finding another name such as "agenda," "platform" or something else.
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