Philosophy Question for the Winter of ’98*

Q: What are the proper limits to government?  Can it be determined by popular vote?  Or are there limits that absolutely must be respected?

By this I mean, suppose that 90% of the people voted to kill all but 2% of the male babies at birth and just keep those few around for breeding stock.  Would it be acceptable to do so?  90% is more that enough to get a constitutional amendment through to overcome any sort of impediment like that.  So what if 10% of the people didn’t want most of their male children killed at birth.   The majority rules right?  What if it was blacks, native Americans, whites, Jews, Mormons, Catholics, or some other racial/religious group that was being exterminated by popular vote?  How is it that we should determine just what our inalienable rights are?  Some people think the Bill of Rights in the US constitution are a pretty good enumeration.  But then there are those that have a problem with the Second Amendment.   And a few that have a problem with the fourth — due process sort of gets in the way occasionally in the “War on Drugs”.  But just a little, we have overlooked it for the most part.

I see our Bill of Rights under extreme attack from our government.  Is it essential to freedom?  Or just a bunch of loopholes for criminals to make a mockery of our laws?

Send me email. I want to know. If you say it’s okay, I’ll publish your response here.

*This originally appear on a web page of mine. I am moving it here for better visibility and archival.—Joe November 5, 2010