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.