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>How to vote in an election

>I had the opportunity to discuss politics with one of my pastors recently. He was interested in who I would vote for. Where to start? There are so many issues to discuss. I think people, including Christians, think too superficially about this issue. Even those who think in some depth often cover only a few and not all the issues. And frequently people fail to address the fundamentals.

Last election a different pastor discussed voting and suggested people think about the principles underlying policy. Many parties may have similar policies but vastly different principles leading to that policy. It is the principles that are more fundamental.

Political parties can have policies on a variety of issues. Even more foundational than what the principles are, is: in what areas do the principles really matter? How do we weigh the issues of say justice versus health or education? How do view a party that has the right principles guiding policy on minor issues or issues government should not be involved in, but the wrong principles guiding core government function?

I hope to discuss the nature of the state, what policies government should be involved in and the principles I think those policies should be shaped by.

Categories: politics
  1. jc_freak
    2008 October 26 at 04:40

    If this is an introduction into a series you are planning, than you have me really excited. I’m a registered Republican because I believe in Republican principals, not because I agree with more single issues. Indeed, I often disagree with the party.
    A discussion of both party’s principals, to me, sounds both inviting, and hopefully educational.

  2. 2008 October 26 at 05:20

    I am not sure how the Presidential system works, but I would be interested to see how you view MMP where constituent MP’s only make up some of the numbers and List make up others

  3. 2008 October 26 at 05:26

    because, principles as we understand them stay the same but in MMP environment Parties these days seem to have moved away from their stated principles into a place where getting into power is the prime objective and takes priority over pure principle.
    Instead of stated principles, perhaps you could look at functional principles (as evidenced in their behaviour)

  4. jc_freak
    2008 October 26 at 06:52

    I’m sorry MYU, but what is an MMP environment?

  5. 2008 October 26 at 21:12

    You have definately got the right approach. Last night I was handed the Value your Vote flier looking at the voting record of each politician on so called family issues.
    It frustrated me that so much energy and money goes into publishing something that is ends based!
    What if a person manages to score well on their voting record on these issues but the means they got their, their underlying principles, are wrong?
    I have been saying that Christians need to first work out what the role of the state is, then assess what a political party should look like through that lense. Now none would be perfect of course but this would immediately leave a grouping of parties you knew you could look at and a group you could not.
    I had a go at doing that on my Voting, the Role of the State and the Similarities between Christianity and libertarianism post. I would like to develop it further but I have exams and then only 3 days between the last exam and the election…

  6. 2008 October 27 at 00:26

    jc_freak, I am in NZ. I am aware of the US issues but I probably don’t know enough Republican/ Democrat policy to analyse. I pointed kangaroodort to this article by Vox Day: Refuse to Choose. Some find him too arrogant and his (blog) writing too coarse but this article is worth a read.
    I want people to think deeper about what the issues are, not tell them how to vote (though I have opinions there too :) ). I have many ideas but they are still scrambling around in my mind, I still need to write stuff. Perhaps I will throw in the odd thought on specific parties. A very rough correlation to NZ politics would be:
    Republican = National = right
    Democrat = Labour =left.
    However I think that the “right” parties are much more left than people realise. And economic right and social right can be separated.
    MMP stands for Mixed Member Proportional. Basically the make up of our parliament is based on a division of the popular vote. 37% of the vote gives you 37% of the seats. Though it is slightly more complicated than that, possibly not as much as the US system though.
    TMYU, I don’t currently have a strong opinion. We know who is on the party list when we vote. I think there should be no 5% minimum (or perhaps 1%); 5% favours current large parties and effectively prevents any startups. I do however think we should be polled again on whether we want it given that was promised. I also think that 120 politicians is too little, and the numbers that the US have is way too little. I am not certain of the number but 1 politician per 10000 or 20000 seems more reasonable.
    getting into power is the prime objective and takes priority over pure principle.
    That may be why Act struggle to get much support, that and voters are very easily bribed. As Madeleine said (paraphrased), “Socialism is an easy disease to catch.”

  7. 2008 October 27 at 00:32

    Madeleine, the pastor I was discussing this with showed me something similar, of the leaders the politician who came up most family friendly on voting record was Winston Peters.
    What if a person manages to score well on their voting record on these issues but the means they got their, their underlying principles, are wrong?
    Exactly, even the Greens occasionally get the right answer!
    For others, this is Madeleine’s post she was referencing: Voting, the Role of the State and Similarities Between libertarianism and Christianity. (I was hoping to post this quiz myself).

  8. 2008 October 28 at 11:02

    I just wish more people would stop viewing politicians as keepers of the lolly bag.
    Glenn’s latest post at Say Hello to my Little Friend (the Beretta blog) comparing family incomes that theoretically should be $30k apart but demonstrating that in reality they are ridiculously close because of over taxation and working for families is a chilling reminder of how the statist mentality kills the work ethic – what is the point of working harder and earning more?

  9. 2008 October 28 at 12:30

    Glenn’s post is good. I didn’t realise working for families gave people so much money!
    Can you remember what post your catching the disease of socialism remark was in? I am thinking of using it. It was in the post where you talked about your daughter wanting government money, perhaps for university but she will be income tested or something. It was in the last couple of months, I couldn’t find it browsing.

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