Thursday, January 3, 2008

Politics of Ideality

It is tempting to consider that the political poles of conservatism and liberalism, identified in the U.S. by the Republican and Democratic parties, may be definable in terms of the relative value that people place on ideality and population, and how willing people are to accept the fact of a resource constrained world.

Conservatives embrace the concept of competition as the best means for allocating resources that have alternative uses – the basis of capitalist economics. Those people most capable of producing what people want are duly rewarded by getting more of what they want; while people who are less productive receive correspondingly less. This concept leads inevitably to the maximizing of ideality (happiness and life expectancy; otherwise known as “lifestyle”) through increased consumption. Conservatives also favor increasing population regardless of available resources, believing that competition will drive the discovery and development of the resources required to sustain growth. They do not, however, have a problem with the deaths of people who might reduce the productivity of others.

Liberals value increasing ideality for everyone in the population, at least to a minimum that enables them to survive and hold the tools for continuing the process on their own, if they choose to do so. The preferred tool for achieving this end is government, since competition does not generally favor improving the lives of the entire population. The actual size of the population is not important to liberals; though they openly oppose any increases in the death rate (reductions in the birth rate are acceptable, however). Regarding the availability of resources, liberals are much more comfortable than conservatives with living with a fixed amount of renewable resources, opting for efficiency to compensate for lack of raw consumption. Increasing the overall amount of resources is acceptable if it does not adversely affect anyone’s lifestyle.

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