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End NDP Foray into Instrumentality

Instrumentality is a philosophical concept advanced by Kant and later by others including critical theorists, Habermas and Horkheimer. Kant argued the ethics of an action was determined by its intention. If a good action like providing for refugees is done because it furthers electoral ambitions it is considered to be instrumental and unethical. It is a means to a selfish end and is no longer a principled moral act. .

Even Heideger who considered his relationship to the Nazi party his biggest mistake, reasoned the greatest danger facing modern humans was their own instrumental relationship to the world and society. Capitalism embodies this instrumental relationship to the world and drives this relationship to its logical conclusion, where all of nature and society are subverted to having value only as a means to maximizing profit.

The old preamble to the NDP constitution took issue with this subversive tendency of capitalism. It is symbolic of the perspective of Team Mulcair that it was removed from the constitution. It elucidated a principled understanding of economy contrasting the principled objective of a caring economy with the instrumental objective of Capitalist profit.

“That the production and distribution of goods and services shall be directed to meeting the social and individual needs of people within a sustainable environment and economy and not to the making of profit;” (Old Preamble to the NDP constitution)

In a similar fashion the elect-ability doctrine sets its primary objective as the instrumental goal of getting elected. The principle of transforming Canada into a caring society we find articulated in the Leap Manifesto and which the NDP defended as the official opposition is lost when the primary goal is getting elected. The principled stance the NDP held as opposition was subverted by the 2015 NDP electoral strategy into the instrumental goal of gaining power. The campaign platform to balance the budget served the get elected goal. New social information provided by new experiences and education had shifted the collective intelligence of the Canadian population debunking the metaphor that a nation was just like a household. People began to understand deficits as necessary investment to creating a sustainable future.

Party politics also served the get elected goal. According to the NDP constitution the ultimate authority is the convention floor where each member has an equal vote. Using stealth tactics to make changes to the constitution is an egregious affront to democracy. Instead of an end, party democracy has been subverted to a means. It has become an instrument of the get elected goal.

While Party Central has certain rights to vet the suitability of candidates, this right is abused when vetting overrides the democratic choice of a fully functioning and responsible riding association for questionable reasons. The Mulcair Team has consistently disqualified federal election candidates for voicing policy passed on the convention floor. Full of fear that a strong Israeli Lobby would jeopardize their goal to be in power they have suppressed the free speech of elected representatives and persecuted potential candidates who cry out against the ethnic cleansing and the grave injustices foisted on the Palestinian people at the hands of the criminal Israeli state.

It seems the product of instrumental objectives can be counterproductive to those objectives. In the case of Mulcair's elect-ability strategy, occupying the middle failed to get the desired results. Having moved to the right they found the middle had moved left and the Liberals had been astute enough to occupy the space abandoned by the NDP when they shifted into election mode. While Mulcair was able to capture his flags at party conventions and in the selection of candidates he did this at the expense of breaking trust with his base. This has hurt the credibility of the party in the eyes of a growing progressive collective intelligence which strives to build a caring society embodied in the Leap Manifesto where “the production and distribution of goods and services shall be directed to meeting the social and individual needs of people within a sustainable environment and economy and not to the making of profit”. (>Old Preamble to the NDP constitution)

Faced with three instrumentally oriented parties, the collective wisdom selected the party that was least like the austerity policies of Harper. That the leader of this party also had a halo was gravy. The NDP would have performed much better in the election if they had run a campaign based on the principles of building a caring, sustainable, socialist society. The time has come for socialist leadership in transforming our instrumental relationship with nature and each other into a sustainable caring society.

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