Political ideologies based on left, centre and right are obsolete!
Politics is the most important tool for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which is the recipe to save our civilization and perhaps the planet. That is why it is crucial that both democracy and the political system are equipped to deal with the future.
Let me start with some relevant questions:
- why are we so focused on right/middle/left in politics?
- what are the advantages and disadvantages of this division?
- are the division rational, logical and scientifically based, or emotional, routine and class-based?
- how relevant is the division for the future?
- what is the alternative?
The political right and left emerged as expressions around 1790 during the French Revolution when the conservatives, the monarchists, with traditional views of kingship, nobility and church, sat to the right of the Speaker's table in the French National Assembly. The Republicans, who wanted to reform politics, sat on the left.
Today, one might say, somewhat carelessly that:
- the right does not want the state to have so much power and therefore thinks it is better that people are allowed to live more free lives where there is free initiative
- the right wants lower taxes and subsidies and for people to be able to dispose of their money themselves in a private sector instead of in a municipal or state sector
- the right wants to preserve conventional, traditional and long-established social institutions, which are largely based on family, religion, birth, region, local community and monarchy
- the right wants to discourage any rapid changes in society
- the right believes that development must build on what has worked well in the past
- the right believes that different traditions are necessary to give the individual a deeper identity
- the centre is about the conditions for individuals to shape their own lives in free interaction with others
- the centre seeks a balance between social equality and social hierarchy
- the centre opposes changes that would bring about a clear shift to either the right or the left in society
- the centre opposes polarising political views and dislikes bloc politics and political extremism
- the left believes that shared and tax-funded welfare provides all people with equal opportunities to reach their potential and fulfil their life's dreams
- the left believes that shared welfare provides security in the event of illness, unemployment and after retirement
- the left dislikes large differences in income and wealth because they create differences in power and opportunity
- the left wants society to intervene to solve problems and prevent oppression and injustice
- the left wants people's will for change and collective action in social movements to determine society's development
Back to the original question. Why are we so focused on right/middle/left in politics? What are the likely benefits? Firstly, I think that routine is the most important explanation. This is how it has worked for +100 years and it is easy to continue in the same way. Secondly, I think the division creates enemies to blame, to win voters. Thirdly, the division gives a chance to position yourself on the scale and tell how you differ. And the disadvantages? It stimulates sandbox debates, passivity, hierarchy, bullying, silencing, cowardice and a range of other less desirable behaviors. The system is definitely not suitable for radical, honest and in-depth debates in the face of major changes in society that require far-reaching collective decisions.
Are the divisions into ideologies rational, logical and scientifically based or emotional, routine and class-based? As I understand it, the division is much more emotional, routine and class-based. Each political party has found its logic, rationality and science to support it, but none has a scientific holistic view anywhere near what is needed. Behind this facade are emotions, routines and class affiliations, which are actually quite primitive. Politicians should not primarily cater to the wishes of the electorate, but instead focus on all the global challenges and national societal problems that people cannot solve themselves. Trying to benefit only their own political constituents is irresponsible, unwise and creates unnecessary polarisation.
Thus, the current political system is definitely not appropriate for the future, but what is the alternative? My proposal is that political parties be banned and that members of parliament be elected on their merits. By this I mean not only previous positions and education, but also deeper personal qualities that can be expressed in text, videos, tests, etc. Just as a pilot must have extensive education, training and personal qualities, politicians, who are the country's most important decision-makers, must also be subject to something similar.
But how would it work with motions, committees, cabinets, government vs. opposition, voting, debates, etc.? Much like today but without government/opposition. In the new system, individual members would table motions, debate, vote and be elected to committees. Discussion groups would be created through open-space methods where all MPs can participate. Some issues are of national interest where a large part of the Parliament should gather and debate and others of lesser interest that attract fewer members. In this way, Parliament could become much more vital, engaged and wisely radical.