Saturday, April 14, 2007

Yin and Yang, versus Good and Evil

I just got off the phone with a friend who was concerned about a recent agreement between the leaders of the Green Party and the Liberals. To make a long story short, the leaders of both parties have agreed to not run candidates against each other in the next election.

My friend was concerned that this agreement was undemocratic because it bypasses the Electoral District Associations of both parties. I'm not a big fan of giving too much power to "supreme leaders", but I see the issue in a significantly different way. I see it as two people who are very, very concerned about the future of the planet and who have agreed to take a tentative step towards a "government of national unity" during a time of crisis. The government did exactly the same thing during WWII---which the leader of the Liberals specifically referred to as an precedent. It's too bad we don't have a system of proportional representation which would assure that Greens would get elected to Parliament. (The latest poll numbers I can find say that the party is running at 11%, which would give it a lot of seats under proportional representation.) But under the current system this is at least a gesture in the right direction.

As I see it, the problem my friend had was that she was seeing the world in terms of "Good" versus "Evil", whereas I was looking at it from the point of view of "Yin" and "Yang". As I see it, our political system is too darn Yang, and any attempt to reduce the partisanship and build consensus is a move towards balance. (When I was in on the board of directors for the Green Party I viewed it as being far too "Yin", which is why I fought tooth and nail for it to be more professional and rigorous.)

As I see it, Daoism teaches us to through away ideas that a situation is "right" and instead askes us to think in terms of "appropriate". I think our political leaders could all use a little more thought in those terms.

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