My Statement of Political Principles

The following is a statement of the political principles that I try to apply in my policy ideas and preferences:

SOLIDARITY: As humans we are fundamentally social beings, and it is a simple fact that we cannot live and exist well independently of others. People instinctively feel that there is a deep bond that connects us all; a bond that goes beyond family and kin to extend to the whole human race. Solidarity is the political expression of this bond.

Solidarity is a commitment to the common good and a value which requires that human rights are defended by society. Solidarity demands that all people have a right to safe, healthy food and drinkable water, to housing, to security, to self-determination, to family life, and to freedom of religious observance. Solidarity runs backwards and forwards through time, linking us not only with the other people who are alive at this moment but also with all past and future generations. Solidarity between generations means that it is wrong and short-sighted to denigrate tradition without compelling reason, and that it is also wrong and counterproductive to burden future generations with the costs of current activities and practices.

Solidarity represents harmony and balance: balance between the demands of economic efficiency and the human need for political participation and social justice, and balance between the destructive impulses of radical individualism and enforced social conformity.

PREFERENTIAL OPTION FOR THE POOR: Public policy decisions should always be examined in terms of how they affect the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized in society. It must be recognized that these groups have the most urgent moral claim on the conscience of society, and society has an obligation to care for the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized.

CARE FOR CREATION: The recognition that healthy and prosperous human societies cannot exist without healthy and whole ecosystems, and that we are called to care for creation. Public policy should be crafted that enables our societies to live within the limits of the earth’s biosphere without destroying it or the ecosystems we depend upon, and we must recognize that sacrificing environmental principles in the pursuit of wealth, jobs, or other economic goals is ultimately self-defeating.

BURKEAN CONSERVATISM: The existing laws and institutions of a society grow organically out of that society’s history and experience, embody a great deal of practical wisdom, and have been empirically shown to work to work over time. Any proposed change in laws and institutions thus needs to start by showing, first, that there’s a need for change; second, that the proposed change will solve the problem it claims to solve; and third, that the benefits of the change will outweigh its costs.

Stated more simply, Burkean Conservatism is the application of the precautionary principle to the political sphere.

It should be noted that Burkean Conservatism bears little resemblance to the Ideological Conservatism that is promoted by the political right wing of the United States.

SUBSIDIARITY: Problems should be solved at the lowest practical level. The higher levels of government should only address those issues that cannot be solved at the more local levels of government.

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