Random thought of the day

If people “are crazy, can’t be trusted, and need to be regulated and controlled”, as one Socialist recently told me, then doesn’t that mean that government which are made up of people need the same type of supervision?

It would seem to me that, if you value consistency and hence truth, you must conclude that either both people and governments made up of people need to be controlled or governments/supervisors must be made up of greater beings.

Governments which rule by divine authority have an extremely poor record of generating peace, prosperity, and happiness. Hence I think we can dismiss them outright. That leaves us with governments which have some degree of control over their actions or no control.

Again it would seem the choice is clear. Governments with no controls upon them are historically hostile to peace, prosperity, and happiness. Hence the only question would seem to be how much control. What is the optimal amount of control for a government and it’s people such that some measure of “public good” is optimized?

I suspect we have all the data we really need to answer that question. We have 50 states with various amounts of controls upon the government and the people living in those environments. The question can thus be refined a bit more. How do you measure “public good” and how do the various states rate using that system of measurement? Do there exist states with too much or too little control of government and/or their people? Or can it be shown that all states have too much/little control over government and/or the people and we need to increase/decrease the scope of the regulation of government/people in our experiments to find the optimum?

I think I know the answer but I’m willing to look at the data to see if my hypothesis is correct.

Or course there is also the valid concern of natural rights and where government gets it’s authority to regulated and control people. That is my preferred domain to have a discussion about limits on governments. But it’s challenge enough to get people to think about facts and results. Getting them to think about fundamental principles is generally an advanced topic beyond the scope of ordinary discourse.

8 thoughts on “Random thought of the day

  1. “A government is a body of people, usually notably ungoverned.”

    “Now you’re quoting the Captain.”

  2. This country was founded on fundamental principles, or ideals, and those ideas must be taught or the “experiment” will fail.

    To me it’s a much simpler question; do we want coercion in society or not?

    If the answer is yes (and until your last paragraph your thoughts dealt only with “how much”) then we can argue endlessly about how much coercion is “in the public good”. In that case I say we have fallen off the cliff right there, because human rights are no longer the issue and we’re only talking about how best to violate them to achieve the “right balance”.

    If the answer is no (we don’t want and cannot tolerate coercion) then the discussion is about how best to protect basic human rights and nothing else. The entire discussion of the shape and direction of society, and of the economy, is outside the jurisdiction of government. It is ours to make as individuals. The government’s role then becomes all about rights protection.

    If rights protection is NOT the primary concern, then we are doomed to fall into these cycles of tyranny, stagnation and decline.

    On that note I bring up the assertion of the Islamists, or Muslim Brotherhood, who believe that man’s law, and even the very subject of rights, is irrelevant because the Koran gives us all the direction we need. Substitute “Koran” with “Progressivism” and you have defined the modern Democrats, Occupy Movement, et al.

    If, in the American model, rights are rights, and are endowed by our creator, then what business do we have violating them “for the public good”? If the public good is NOT rights protection, what is it?

    Ayn Rand put it rather well by asking whether we should “balance” our food by adding a little bit of poison. If so, then we’re doomed to arguing endlessly about just how much poison we should be adding, and I’m not really interested in having that conversation. I’d rather talk about how best to protect human rights, as I believe that the rest of all that other bullshit will take care of itself (and extremely well) if rights protection is the cherished ideal.

  3. @Lyle, I consider enforcement of contracts, protection of private property, and protection of human rights (etc.) as “regulation and/or control” of people. I don’t think we really have any fundamental disagreement on this topic.

  4. “… if you value consistence and hence truth…”

    Lefties are pretty up front about valuing neither.

  5. Lefties are always saying (lately anyhow) that “Corporations are Not People!” But they love them some corporate Government, especially the way it hands their jobsworth slacker peoples lotsa goodies and freebies.

  6. Joe; I know we agree. It comes down to the definition of words. “Control” suggests to me violation of rights, but then I suppose it could also apply to swaying opinion or action using persuasion as opposed to using threats. Leftists often tell us that they are even “forced” through advertizing to do this or that, but they of course are insane or they don’t understand English.

    NotClaus; I am president of one corporation and vice president of another, and I assure you we and our stockholders are all people. Not that it should require any debate unless someone believes we have been infiltrated by extraterrestrials, or that monkeys can run corporations and at the same time be mistaken for people. I would ask anyone making the assertion that corporations are not people whether they believe teachers’ unions, the Occupy Movement, or the local hippie food co-op are comprised of people.

    This blatantly insane argument reminds me of the property forfeiture laws, wherein we are assured that no person is being punished, or even charged with anything— only the property. “No problem, Mr. Smith. We’re not doing anything to you. You haven’t been charged with anything. We’re just taking your Cessna because IT is suspected of having been used to carry illegal drugs. Not to worry.” Cessnas are not “people” and so the government can do anything to a Cessna without harming any person in any way whatsoever.

  7. I once heard the principle of proper government as such:

    The legitimate purpose of government is to protect the people against force and fraud.

    I would agree, with the following addition at the end:

    . . . and to do those utterly necessary things that can most practically be done collectively.

    Yes, there ARE some things best done collectively. Mandating standard weights and measures. Integrated logistics backbones — roads do not standardize themselves, and we KNOW what happens without somebody declaring the standards — look at the road network of the US after WWI, or the railway system in the South at the beginning of the Civil War. Epidemic control. Protection of natural resources against over-exploitation. On the local level, fire departments tend to run better as goverment agencies (even if staffed primarily by volunteers in many areas).

    If you acknowledge the basic premise, the arguments come down to the definition of “utterly necessary”. However, that’s still a better argument to be having than justification based on, “But it would be really nice if. . .

Comments are closed.