As a Yukon territorial election inches closer, I think about all the rhetoric you will hear in the coming months.
I also speculate on what you will not be hearing.
Politics is a difficult business under the best of circumstances. During an election everything just seems to be magnified.
Understanding the many issues that affect our daily lives and then implementing programs aimed at bringing forth real solutions is never going to be easy.
But all too often, the real issues never see the light of day.
During the upcoming election, I doubt you will hear a candidate put forth the notion that the Yukon must, in order to create a really sustainable economy in the 21st century, immediately begin to reduce its industrial dependence.
Our reliance on all the goods and services that work their way into our ordinary lives has become a sort of sacred cow. We have placed computers, cars, televisions and microwaves on an altar in front of us and to discuss life and livelihood without these is near sacrilege.
We have come to believe that doing without the spoils of industry will somehow return us to a past that is dark and full of drudgery.
We are trained by politicians and industry representatives alike to believe in the notion that endless goods and services are both necessary and unavoidable.
Only through progress, we are told, can we raise our standard of living.
To ask us to pare down on what we think we need is seen as an attack on industry, jobs and, ultimately, the future.
Yet we know full well that technological and industrial progress is separating us from the good work of doing for ourselves.
Industrial innovation in the age of the computer chip has reduced the number of jobs overall and left us a workforce that is both unskilled and unmotivated.
While one of the goals of the industrial revolution was to improve the lives of common folks, it has inadvertently made many of us obsolete.
It has also given us a rather distorted outlook on what it means to work and care for ourselves.
We will also not hear politicians talking about reducing the size of government in any real sense. This is yet another sacred cow in the Yukon.
In a place where the government is the economy, one would be foolhardy to speak of cutting back.
But cut back we must.
The heavy and oppressive role government has assumed over our lives has made us unnecessarily dependent, woefully uncreative and inescapably weak.
We now take it for granted that government will educate our children, provide their recreation, care for our elderly, amuse and entertain us all.
Government now does what family once did.
As we have sought to increase the role government has in our lives, politicians have become nothing short of caregivers and saviours.
And while they did not necessarily ask for this role, few — if any — are willing to relinquish it.
During the campaign, no candidate will likely put forth the notion that real freedom only comes when individuals and communities become self-sufficient.
This would mean that the one real goal of politics is to put politicians out of work as quickly as possible.
Over the course of the next several months, we will be endlessly lectured on the “necessary, worthwhile, and ever-increasing importance” of politics to our public lives.
Over the course of the campaign, politicians will make promises they need not make, and will ultimately be unable to carry out.
As politicians continue to build a case for their own importance, they will demand to receive greater compensation for their services.
And as politicians continue to remove limitations to their own influence over our daily lives, they will be reluctant to speak of limitations whatsoever.
But we cannot survive and work well without first setting limits.
Industrial society suggests to citizens and consumers that a life without limitation is desirable and achievable.
We are told we can and must be all that we can be, that we should shoot for the moon, get while the getting is good.
In fact, however, an individual or a community without limits is destined to fail.
The community will grow beyond what it can support, what it truly needs, and what it can achieve.
For the most part, the limits will be set by nature. Nature must remain the standard by which we gauge our successes and our failures.
Politicians are unwilling to give credit to nature’s design because in so doing they necessarily reduce their own importance.
Our political system has flourished to the extent that our politicians have sold us on the idea that human economy and nature’s economy are somehow different.
They are not.
While government incentives will initially be required, it should always be the aim of good government to minimize its influence and its impact in business.
The surest way to achieve small government is to create an atmosphere in which economic self-determination is returned to the people.