Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Building a Nation By Paddling your Own Canoe

The Woodstock Sentinel Review (Ontario, Canada)(http://www.woodstocksentinelreview.com/story.php?id=200384) 6 December:

“Sargent prepared for record 11th campaign” by Bruce Urquhart – Political Reporter.

Kaye Sargent has spent more time on the campaign trail than any other Oxford candidate, but even after 25 years of politics, her passion for the Libertarian Party of Canada’s message has not waned.

While Sargent wouldn’t describe herself as a "political person," she does believe in her message, which, simply put, places civil liberties above the needs of the state. With the roots of the Libertarian philosophy dating back to 17th century thinkers like John Locke and Adam Smith, Sargent said her party was derived from a rich tradition. "We have a whole philosophy behind us," she said.”


Smith did consider it necessary on some occasions for the individual to submit to the ‘needs of the state’. Defence was a clear case; the Navigation Acts were another. And this highlights the difficulties for purist interpretations of political principles and practice. The real question is where is the balance to be struck? In this frame, Kaye Sargent performs a useful service in calling for the pendulum to swing much further towards the state excusing itself from so much intervention, at the behest of legislators and their constituents, it should be noted.

"We have to be protected against the intrusiveness of those not out for our best interests," said Sargent, who criticized the "size and power" of the federal government. "It’s not of their business at all. If you’re not hurting someone, you should be free as an adult to paddle your own canoe."

What strikes me in this passage is the statement one of my tutors in British constitutional history used to repeat (many times) in explaining why the French Canadian influence had succumbed to British influence in the 18th century. He delighted in pointing out that the French colonists, largely of agricultural stock and skilled hunters and trappers, showed conclusively that “you can’t build a nation by paddling your own canoe”, especially when up against the Red Coats in a professional standing army, which I suppose, Kaye Sargent is saying, was the ultimate interference in the peaceful lives of citizens.

Urquhart’s report continues:

“The only other areas in which the party would tolerate government involvement include the arbitration of "disputes" between individuals and the protection of property rights and voluntary trade. While some have accused the Libertarian Party of being "unfeeling," Sargent said its philosophy was more about "people helping people" on a more individual level rather than relying on government largesse.”


Yes, Adam Smith probably could go along with that sentiment. While I believe there are many practical problems with implementing such a large agenda of change, should I live in Kaye’s constituency I would probably vote for her – the legislature would be better for the presence in it of Kaye Sargent, one against the many who need shaking out of their complacent acceptance that everything in the way things are done now is the best of all possible outcomes.


Post a Comment

<< Home