Politicians are not the only ones for whom an election year has special significance. As polls draw nearer, politics is on everyone’s mind. It is a time when people’s hopes mount and secret thoughts turn into words.
Although people’s hopes are unlimited in scope and variety, it is still possible to anticipate the expectations of most people. Most people want conditions for a BETTER LIFE, a life when one can do work that provides a living and is a source of human satisfaction.
Different people understand the standard of living in different ways. For some, it means providing for their families, having a home, clothing themselves and being able to go where they need to go. For others, it is equally important to satisfy various other needs, such as reading, going to the theatre or in for sports, communicating, and travelling. Personal interests, preferences and opportunities change constantly and invariably. Nobody has a right to prevent anyone from pursuing individual goals as long as they do not violate other people’s rights. Only when a person is free to act and to choose will he be able to achieve most of his goals.
However, apart from private choices, political decisions are made and governments tell people what they need and how to satisfy those needs. Governments have the habit of trying to solve people’s problems. Yet, their good intentions always remain just that as private solutions are destroyed, while directive mechanisms invariably fail.
Before elections, many politicians promise that which their voters want to hear, even though such promises may be unfounded or misconceived, while proposed means to achieve them would only trigger a new wave of problems.
Despite that, the public is becoming increasingly demanding on politicians. Just like a company manager must understand economics and the art of management, or a computer specialist must know the world of digital technologies and the secrets of software, so politicians must understand the laws by which society lives and creates wealth as well as the motives that pilot MAN in his life. This knowledge shields politicians and society from creating an order that would encroach on human nature, or an order in which separate ideas look nice, but when combined create something unworkable and unrealistic.
How can the voters figure out which of the proposed policies is the right one? How can the politicians work out an action plan that would help attain justice and prosperity? Both the voters and the politicians must know what laws govern society, since this understanding alone can help perceive what policies are needed to achieve the desired goals. This is often not as easy as it may seem upon first glance. The more so as the basic principles are often forgotten when concrete decisions are made or problems addressed.
Politicians can and should be criticised for such mistakes. Yet, the Lithuanian Free Market Institute has undertaken a more difficult task – to outline, before the political parties announce their electoral programmes, what principles should ground a political programme if it is to bring the greatest possible welfare to people. In June, LFMI presented a Handbook for members of parliament and their voters – Knyga 2000-2004 Seimo nariams ir rinkėjams – that presents such principles, describes direction of needed reforms as well as offers an evaluation of the policies pursued to date.
The Handbook does not aim at answering all questions that may arise before the elections. But it does help not to get confused in the sea of possible answers. It shows a path that leads to prosperity and justice. The Handbook is dedicated to all those who sincerely wish people well-being, harmony and moral satisfaction and who are searching for ways towards them.