“[T]he reason that those on ‘the right’ generally call for lower government spending and lower taxes is that we believe we get more choice when recieving[sic] services from the market.”
I see a great misnomer in the concept of “choice”, which is popular with many politicians (it was certainly the mantra from both parties in their 2005 election when I was in the UK). Choice often doesn’t gain us anything.
I don’t want a “choice” of schools, I want my local one to be the best possible. I don’t need it to be better than my neighbours – I want every New Zealander to have the best possible education. Partly that’s altruistic, but even if every bone of my body is selfish, I’ll do better if I’m in a highly educated society of achievers.
I don’t want a “choice” of doctor, or hospital, or even medical treatment. I’m not in a position to choose who or what’s best, so I just want the highest quality we can achieve and afford (cost being a particular issue with modern health care). I don’t see I deserve better than anyone else, so I don’t see that I should get a choice that disadvantages someone else.
I don’t want a “choice” in my national infrastructure either. I don’t need 2 roads / sets of rails / lines of fibre between me and everyone I might want to be in contact with. I don’t see any second option as helping me at all, it’s just consuming the nation’s resources.
I don’t want a “choice” in my ACC entitlement, or welfare benefits – I just want the community, through the government to support me when circumstances move against me; help me back on my feet.
In a lot of these things “choice” merely equates to me getting something better at someone else’s loss. Which equates to those with the wealth and education getting the best choices, which quickly evolves into a privileged class and an underclass1 caught into a poverty trap.
I’d rather no “choice” and a focus on getting everywhere the best we can, particularly on those basic services that everyone should have.
(I’m quite happy to have choice on my washing powder though, although I’m not sure that does me any good either – I don’t really know which one works best for my buck, and they all claim top-billing…)
1 [ Remember John Key’s “underclass” he was going to help? They’re poorer now. ]