Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A middle path between gradual reform and revolution in Australian politics.

Gradual reform is not working. Australia can manage her finances prudently by backing into a corner whereby corporations globalize or vanish into backwaters, but she cannot manage her politics that way. The only way is to turn around and take the bull by the horns. Australians need to come to grips with reforming capitalist democracy.

But the commonest middle path between reform and revolution is based on evolution. This posits a blind force which selects for advantage in the moment, thereby giving rise to advantage for the greater whole. But trusting nature leads to winners and losers. Nature to be compelled must be understood, and we can see through the eyes of evolution that change proceeds through disaster, stochastically by chaos, if we take the evolutionary route. This ought not be allowed to happen.

I want to suggest that evolution is not the mean between reform and revolution. I want to suggest evolution is a false friend, and a mimic of the true change we are seeking for. It is by asking for a new way to change we find it, because open questions reduce us to first principles. At the level of first principles we are equals, and that is where I propose to search.

Aristotle proposes an ethics as the basis of a politics. His Nichomachean Ethics follows directly before the Politics, and one echoes the other substantively. Putting aside the theory for a moment, the form itself teaches us that before we can presume on political reforms, we must be clear on what ethical reforms we might want to make to ourselves.

Confucius makes this point explicit when he states that in order to have a good country we most need to be a good child to our parents, a good parent to our children, a good spouse to our partner, a good worker to our business, and a good leader to our community. Practical politics starts and ends in every day ethics.

So the form of political reform must reflect real world and actual ethical reforms. Practical politics advances from hypocrisy to hypocrisy - we tolerate less the more civilized we become, and we must refine our brutal measures of control the more sophisticated we become. I should say, practical politics advances from brutal hypocrisy to cruel hypocrisy to invisible hypocrisy. There is nothing wrong with being a hypocrite - we all fall short, are only human, and can be trusted to let ourselves and others down sometimes. The ill is in failing to try.

Without ethical reform there can be no political reform - is this true?

If so, then ethical reform is the path of choice for capitalist democracy to move forwards.

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