Wildrose Alliance policy: Inequality
The Wildrose Alliance is clear and open about the existence of inequalities in society and the struggles that families and children endure. When describing the need for community services for child care, elderly care, etc., the Wildrose Alliance purports: "The government and community agencies need to adequately serve children and families in need. Social workers are overburdened, foster parents are unappreciated, child-care options are limited, and the tax system penalizes stay-at-home parents" (Smith, 2012).
Smith constructs the state as having no role in the formation of these inequalities or having the power to reorganize social relations to eliminate inequalities. In conservative doctrine, the state is constructed as a neutral agent in relation to the resolution of inequalities. The Wildrose Alliance forms an understanding that their political initiatives do not further inequality but rather attempt to address it. The state only has a role in assisting organizations like community centres and shelters that try to provide band-aid responses to the effects of inequalities. Constructing the state as neutral fosters a consciousness in people in a way in which it is not possible to organize social relations to create conditions of equality or reveal the ways in which the the state should be held responsible for organizing a society that creates gross inequalities. Ultimately, the Alliance's approach to inequality limits people's understanding of how social relations operate and how people's day-to-day experiences are informed. People begin to see resolutions to social ills through the allocation of money and the redistribution of resources to different sectors. Although, the redistribution of resources may lead to social welfare states like Norway or Sweden, where some people have access to a greater social safety net.
In the process of voting and a conservative consciousness, people are detached from their own political power to determine their social conditions when they fully depend on the government and elected officials for the betterment of social ills. The democratic system that the Wildrose Alliance is promoting encourages people to become complacent supporters of conservative regimes. Eventually, people can only conceived of limited political alternatives that can create social transformation in their interests where they have control over the day-to-day operation of their lives. As previously stated, the Wildrose Alliance explains that people's control in their daily lives is located exclusively within their ballots and their wallets, which support the notion that if working-class people have more money in their pocket, then they will have more power.
One of the most important sections of the Wildrose Alliances political doctrine is their position on property rights. The idea of property rights is rooted in a liberal individualist conception of rights, which an individual acquires when they enter a social contract with the state in a capitalist society. Danielle Smith states that "We [The Wildrose Alliance] worked tirelessly, promoting the fundamental truth that private property, and the rights that protect it, forms the bedrock of any free and democratic society. We made great strides, both here in Alberta and across the country, in advancing the property rights cause government authority ends where private property and the rights of those who own it begins" (Smith, 2012).
The history of property rights cannot be divorced from its historical conditions within North American society and its role in capitalist production. Primarily, property rights were instituted for the ruling class to garner complete control over their land and expand capitalism into the hands of a small powerful few people. Many of the democratic principles that the Wildrose Alliance puts forward results in what some have called "learning by dispossession." Learning by dispossession means that people learn about the world and the social relations in their life differently then they exist. The language of liberal democracy that is purported by organizations like the Wildrose Alliance creates a message to people that the solutions to their dispossession are found in the perpetuation of capitalist social relations. Because an understanding of the social world is constructed and twisted in this way by the Wildrose Alliance, people reject their own history and understanding of the world by adopting the principles of liberal democracy that further dispossess the working and middle class.
By interrogating conservative education practices, we can develop a better understanding of the assumptions and arguments that conservative consciousness relies on. If we think about examples of militarism or resistance, a fighter will often say something some sort of cliché such as "you need to know your enemy" or "keep your friends close and your enemies closer." This is an important lesson for all to consider when we organize to change our conditions. We must know and interpret how we got to where we are now, and how the social system will possibly operate in the future.
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