Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Eco-Republican

An eco-Republican is about economy AND ecology, and about security AND citizenship.

Or more simply it defines someone who Cares about what is healthy in nature but also about
Protection against trespassing. That's just how I think it can be defined, you may have your way. Note that what is healthy in nature is a consensus product and a moving point in focus and intensity. All in a field that is defined by those four poles: economy, ecology, security and citizenship.

When you look around, public servants frame their important messages so they can be moved around by how you interpret them in a smaller patch in that field. Note that that patch itself also moves around quite a bit for conservatives, moderates and liberals alike.

But to find the public servants who may qualify as eco-Republicans we need to know where to look for them. I would most probably position them somewhere between the Nationals, Greens and Liberals/Republicans in Australia. In the US they are probably the shifting shades of moderate Reps and centrist Dems. And in the UK they might have been the promise of what was called once the 'New Labour'.

At any rate, I believe what is good citizenship in democracy used to be quite well represented by Roosevelt's Republicans in the US and Menzies Liberals in Australia. These movements established a proud and pragmatic heritage. But until very recently, the citizenship pole in the field experienced a more or less steady decline in focus, intensity and gravity. The economy and security poles experienced a strong pull and the ecology pole was simply ignored.

However, more recently, a worldwide green movement with the added power of public concern about Global Warming and Irreversible Climate Change moves the above mentioned streams of conscious sense of purpose toward the political center where there is now heightened emphasis on citizen participation. In other words, the pull was ecology, but the field now once again extends toward another pull: citizenship.

However, there is only so much interest in the public field and some other poles pull got to give. The problem is, neither economy, nor security can be ignored or diminished in importance. No administration in their right mind would do that. They can only juggle between them. Some public servants, who realize just that pay lip service to citizenship, some others - to ecology.

They are pressured by public opinion to polarise their actions to reflect the integrity folks obviously expect of them. We need predictability in a politician to trust them.

The free will of the public has always demanded pragmatism. It is only when that will is distorted or suppressed that a few can feed them ideology. But ideology is nothing without a propaganda. One needs catechism and demagoguery to make it work. It needs to dumb down public mind and free will - hence dumb down natural public pragmatism and citizenship.

Today that pragmatism again dominates the policy agenda, but with two very important modern distinctions. First a hard-wired international monetary instinct makes economy trump ecology -- scarce money is overemphasized and not just for those who need to manage people as well as resources well. And second, defense security trumps climate security due to another hard-wired and legitimate survival instinct that naturally goes stronger in this time of perceived crisis.

On the first count, international monetary instruments experience a clear crisis in solving problems in a dominant way, let alone by themselves. On the second count, emergency and the associated desperate fire fighting effort that are due to climate change disasters and refugees are on rapid and possibly exponential increase compared to traditional defense security planning. And they both draw heavily on the military budget, which in turn can be a huge burden on the economy --- and presently is.

What is missing is the mutual understanding and policy interest to support that voters and representatives are part the Ecology first, before they are part of a (hopefully Peace and not War) Economy and only then part of a regions Security. I think an eco-Rep must have these priorities sorted out.

So how about Australia, our Nature's Republic? --- that would nicely wrap it in one neat package. The political will is shaping, or is it just a thought...?

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