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A Partisan Rant

April 1, 2016
Neil Milton

A little bird told me that some of you intend to vote Conservative in the upcoming federal election.

Let me be clear: if you are so misguided as to vote for the Harper regime, you are not capable of understanding the issues covered in this blog or these rants.  Please unsubscribe immediately.  If you intend to vote Conservative, you have no interest whatsoever in good or effective government.  So please do both of us a favour and unsubscribe immediately using the button below.

This blog is intended for intelligent, educated people capable of reading, writing and thinking, and with an interest in evidence and good governance, and the role that they have in supporting entrepreneurship and innovation.  No one who votes for Harper in this election can possibly meet any of these criteria.

It is no secret that I believe that the state should be fairly fiscally conservative, and that I have a strong belief in the positive potential role of markets and free enterprise.  I believe passionately in the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation, and the role of properly incented individuals in building wealth and improving society.  I believe that often, a properly regulated market-based solution is better and more efficient than a state-mandated one.  I am a very passionate investor with a track record of IRR of 17% per year over 19 years so clearly, my economic views are closer to Schumpeter than Piketty.  In other words, I am certainly not hostile to capitalism or the markets.

I also happen to believe that genuine equality of opportunity is a fundamental right, and that there is an important role for the state to play in a good society.  Reasonable people can disagree about how big that role should be, and what form it should take, but there is no evidence that a minimal state maximizes wealth or well-being for citizens (note the word citizens, and not taxpayers – government is about governing for citizens, not taxpayers, whether they are ‘hardworking taxpayers’ or ‘sloths’).  Similarly, innovation and entrepreneurship require a well governed society, with an effective and efficient state.  A Hobbesian world is not innovative.  Good government – not no government – is a requirement for wealth creation.

I am as old-stock Ontarian as it gets (straight, white, anglophone male, whose ancestors arrived around 1776).  The politicians that I admire include many Progressive Conservatives: Bill Davis, Joe Clark, Peter Lougheed, Brian Mulroney, John Robarts.  My views are both more socially progressive and libertarian than theirs but that does not mean that I do not admire what they accomplished (and in truth, my views are much less aligned with the majority of Canadians than they were).  Since he retired from politics, Preston Manning has demonstrated that he is intelligent, articulate and thoughtful (even about science policy!).  I disagree with him about many things, but I disagree with most deeply religious people about many things. I would welcome the opportunity to invite him, and all of these other folks, into my home.

I would not cross the street to spit on the current prime minister.  In fact, I cannot think of any circumstance under which I would willingly shake his hand and I certainly would not allow him in my home.  His disregard for freedom, for good governance, for democracy and the Rule of Law is shocking and shameful – omnibus bills, unwarranted attacks on the Chief Justice, appointments of unqualified individuals to the bench (who in turn do not have the decency or wits to refuse the appointment), the appointment and routine use of partisan senators for party business at taxpayer expense, outright hostility to science and evidence, hypocritical discussion of niqab-banning that is contrary to very well-established jurisprudence of longstanding (and if the Rule of Law does not mean respecting long-established jurisprudence, what does it mean?), ideological zeal for stupid mandatory minimum sentences, idiotic continuance of an utterly failed war on drugs (which has done massive damage to the legitimacy of the criminal justice system, in addition to the enormous waste of money and lives), massive unjustified surveillance without proper judicial or legislative oversight  – these are the actions of someone with an absolutely unacceptable approach to government, who is overtly hostile to the Rule of Law.  No one genuinely interested in the long term prospects of entrepreneurship and innovation in this country can support him.  So if you do, please do unsubscribe now.

Neil

I will vote Conservative
  • I am a fool.