October 4th, 2005


Axver's Political Series, Part I: The Foundation.

Back in early August, I wrote an entry outlining my general political beliefs without any justification that inspired comments ranging from the positive to the downright confrontational. Unfortunately, it was just after that entry that I fell seriously ill and by the time I was healthy enough to be able to manage decent replies, a fortnight or so had passed and I decided I would rather elaborate on the points in proper entries - especially as a number of comments had questioned me on the same point and writing one entry would save me from repeating myself multiple times. Of course, I put this off a bit and now 'a bit' has become a couple of months! Well, I'm now going to put in an effort to explain my position - I don't know how many entries this will take and I'm sure they won't be every consecutive entry I make from here on to the completion of the series, but I'll try to stick to it.

Ultimately, my political opinions rest upon one very important general belief. Although it has become a cliche often spouted mindlessly, I believe sincerely in its truth: "do unto others as you would have done unto yourself". Although this belief is core to my religion, I think it is fair to say that it transcends religious boundaries and is something people of any creed can affirm. It implies an elimination of discrimination and superiorist, selfish attitudes; it is a call to lay down arms and make peace; it is a declaration of love, compassion, and generosity. Its ultimate call is to think of what we desire for ourselves - not just our needs, but our innermost emotional cravings and selfish desires - and then to turn it around and act selflessly by giving the abundance we crave for ourselves to others and by according the respect we want for ourselves to others. Treat other people with generosity and dignity and in all likelihood, they'll return the favour. Especially if they adhere to the same philosophy. After all, someone's more likely to assist you when you're down on your luck if you've been kind to them in the past than if you've stolen their money and spat at their children!

I certainly believe this philosophy is a valid means of countering social ills such as theft and murder. How happy would you be if someone snuck into your home and walked away with your wallet and stereo? And would you really like to die a slow death at the hands of some sick loon? I'm sure your answer is no. So don't do it to anyone else! It's very simple. If something's bad enough that you do not wish it done to yourself, then why is it alright to do that same thing to others? Or even if you would be alright with something being done to yourself, I'm sure you would not appreciate being the recipient of behaviour you would constitute as "going too far" and crossing your own personal boundaries, so don't behave towards people in a manner that crosses their personal boundaries (of course, I'm operating within the bounds of reason here, so there's no need to offer absurd rebuttals such as "what if the mere act of delivering the mail between 10:47am and 12:03pm crosses the personal boundaries of an individual?"). I must emphasise that this regards behaviour that affects others - sure, a radical vegetarian may take great offence to the local steak restaurant, but that restaurant doesn't actually affect them, they can just go to the greengrocer down the road, pick up the ingredients for a salad, make a dinner they like and the existence of (and your night out at) the restaurant hasn't impacted the radical vegetarian's life a jot.

So basically, that is where I am coming from, the philosophy of "do unto others as you would have done unto yourself" with the general ideal of a society that is at peace, does not discriminate, and is a healthy and prosperous place to live in all senses of the words. My political leanings, therefore, are directed by this and strive to bring even a glimmer of the ideal into reality.