Sunday, May 15, 2016

The rise of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn - Does it really mean people are dissatisfied?

The recent rise of 'outsider' politicians with radically different agendas to what we're used to has raised discussions in many quarters as to whether people have become very dissatisfied with the world we are living in.

I think the answer is 'yes'. People feel like their politicians are not reflecting their beliefs, that their democracy is 'broken', and that they don't have the true freedom to be who they want to be in life. They feel like the ability to get ahead in life is no longer there. People everywhere are feeling this, from twenty-somethings in quarter life crises to older adults who have been made redundant and yet cannot afford retirement. They also feel like the decisions about our future is not being made by them, that they are not being listened to by the political class. In other words, representative democracy has become unrepresentative.

Whilst I can understand why people are looking to the likes of Trump, Sanders and Corbyn, I also believe that they are not the answer. Not that any politician is, anyway.

I believe we need to fix our system, badly. For example, there should be more emphasis on liberty, and politicians on all sides should be focussing on the concept of liberty and 'living together' in a liberal society. Representative democracy should also be supplemented by an increased use of direct democracy in the form of regular plebiscites or referrenda, in my opinion. A decisive victory for climate action at the ballot box will stop any further protesting from corporate interests, for example.

Furthermore, it's dangerous to look to our politicians to solve everything. We need to remember that not everything needs to be done by the government, and that non-governmental solutions are often better. Inspiring people, lifting people up from a feeling of helplessness, is a collective responsibility, for example. Governments cannot do that. Speaking up against those forces which are making people feel oppressed, which is clearly not limited to our governments, is also a collective responsibility. Only broad-based discussion and consensus in society will push those forces back. Finally, changing the culture so that 'outsiders' are not excluded anymore, including but not limited to combating racism, sexism, homophobia and disability discrimination, is something we all need to do, together.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The TaraElla Show

The new TaraElla show is launching, and the ideas lab is becoming part of the new TaraElla show.

Check it out here!

This means the ideas lab is closed for now. It may reopen in the future, depending on need.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Let's Honour the Tradition of Marriage in Diverse Ways

The tradition of marriage is important, yet simple. It's all about two people vowing to commit exclusively to each other for life, with religion being involved most, but not necessarily all of the time. It was neither a legal contract nor did it need government approval. Of course, there was also no government approval of divorce, as a result.

Things have changed, and not for the better, I believe. Marriage has since been usurped by the government, and any road back to marriage privatization will be long and difficult (although we must not give up). Some celebrities have also, regrettably, trampled on the institution of marriage for their own publicity. Marriage is not always what it was, back then, nowadays.

Hence whilst we have to recognise that those who want to live the original spirit of marriage may now do so in a number of different ways. For example, there are some religious or very libertarian people who may object to the government being their God and ruling over their marriage. Such couples may choose to have a religious ceremony but not be legally married. On the other hand, other couples may choose a form of 'covenant marriage', wanting legally stricter rules for divorce, where it is available. Still other couples feel that, whilst they would vow to do anything to stay together for life, having the government as the agent discouraging divorce is subjugation to authoritarianism, and covenant marriages still have an unacceptably high failure rate (up to 20% from my memory), so they would instead rely on their own self-sufficient ways to keep their marriage intact for life. Some of these choices may take a form of the modern legal-social institution of marriage, some may come under another title, and some may be able to sit side by side with the standard legal marriage contract. What matters is they all honour the tradition of two people vowing to commit exclusively to each other for life, using the method considered most appropriate by the couple themselves.

This diversity also applies in the case of same sex marriages. Society now has to deal with how to include same sex couples in the social fabric, after their unfortunate exclusion for many centuries. Long stading traditions are being called to adapt to this new demand. Whilst I strongly believe in extending the institution of marriage to same sex couples as I believe they too should be benefitted by the tradition, and I also believe that laws everywhere should be changed in line with the principle of equality before the law (the US Supreme Court has recently agreed with me here), I do believe that those who sincerely believe in marriages being only between a man and a woman should be afforded their freedom of conscience. This includes churches and individuals. They should be able to perform, partake in, and recognise marriage only according to their personal beliefs.

Marriage is a long standing tradition, and like any tradition that lives and thrives over countless generations, adaptation to changing circumstances and hence evolution by diversification is inevitable. To say that there is only one way to honour the ancient tradition of marriage is necessarily wrong and maladaptive. What is important is that the original spirit of marriage continues to be honored in modern society, and is not forgotten in future generations.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Commitment in the New Age

Relationships between people have become less permanent over the past few decades, and this has let to a lot of pain and misery for many people. Is life meant to be this way? I don't think so. I think we have lost the culture of commitment, and we need to restore it.

The traditional marriage relationship serves as a good inspiration. Two people make their vows to each other, and commit for life (for the record I don't agree with the government usurption of marriage in the 1700s, turning it into a legal contract)*. When people took this more seriously, relationships often did last for life. On the other hand, many of my friends don't believe in marriage nowadays. That's okay too, each person should be able to find the path of commitment most suitable for them. What's important is that traditional and non-traditional couples alike can take commitment seriously, and try their best to make it life-long.

Restoring commitment culture is essential for the future survival of our communities. It should be a high priority in today's world, and it's also something we can work together towards.

*Whilst I totally believe in marriage, my strong view is that the vows to keep each other for life is what makes a marriage. Therefore, I see 'private marriages' as equally dignified and meaningful, and I believe anyone who isn't a fascist should also do so. Google 'marriage privatization' to learn more.