[OT] Are we a democracy or a republic?
amb-plug at bradfords.org
Mon Sep 5 16:25:15 MDT 2005
Thus said Michael Halcrow on Sun, 04 Sep 2005 09:59:28 CDT:
> (WARNING: Do not read this if you are easily offended. Just hit
> ``delete'' now.)
> Therefore you need a government structure to enforce contracts. Unless
> you are comfortable making contracts with friends of Don Corleone, who
> will be happy to take care of the pesky ``enforcing'' details.
Funny you should mention this:
> > and if we find that one service doesn't suit our needs we would
> > could easily vote with our wallets as consumers often do.
> This is an ideal free market fantasy. Now try to apply it in some
> real-world contexts.
Rather than try to put out all the details myself, here are some ideas
that have already been presented:
> So we need a unified national government sustained by federal taxes
> for at least two functions -- contract enforcement and national
> defense. These things are absolutely crucial to sustaining our free
> market economy.
If this were the sole function of government, we would definitely have a
much better society than we now have in my opinion.
[cut discussion of separation of school and state which I do agree with]
> Politics corrupts, but it is a necessary evil.
I do not believe it a necessary evil, but rather one of the evils we
suffer because we are loathe to change.
Here is one of the necessary evils of politics:
> Nowadays, I worry about both (a) and (b). And I see it as a
> self-perpetuating spiral -- politics is now corrupting education,
> which results in more corrupt politics. I think one of our great
> challenges today is breaking that cycle. Privatization of our school
> system may be the only feasible solution at this point. The people
> must get fed up enough with the system as it not stands and they must
> demand their freedom to have school vouchers.
Most people wouldn't be able to see and understand the reasons for
becoming fed up with the system. I agree that the school and state
should be separated, but I couldn't have agreed to this a few years ago
because I lacked the foundation for understanding why and how such a
separation could actually be beneficial.
Also, school vouchers don't really help:
> A near-100% free market economy is one of the best ways we know of to
> generate aggregate wealth. So we need to ask ourselves, what do we
> strive for as a society?
I would argue that most people don't ask themselves ``what can I do for
the society'' or ``what can I do to make the society better.'' Most only
care about what they can do to make their own personal life better or
how to get from day to day without too much trouble, stress and
distress. Very few even care about what happens in the government except
when the government interferes with their lives:
> Is generating wealth and preserving individual freedoms (i.e., right
> to obtain and hold property) to the maximum extent possible what we
> value above all else? Is this really the best that we can aspire to as
> a civilization?
A society based on property rights, individual freedoms and just laws
certainly provides the best environment for a civilization. Such an
environment provides for freedom of religion, freedom to contract,
etc... Do you think there is something better? Something nobler?
> Is it the best way to alleviate human suffering while promoting
> scientific and technological advancement?
I believe the free market is. Consumers have a problem. Producers have a
solution. They exchange goods under mutually beneficial circumstances.
If the consumers aren't getting what they want from the producer, they
change their preferences or work with the producers to provide it. This
gives rise to entrepreneurs who see a need that isn't currently being
met and hope to profit from it and in turn provide the very solution
that meets the needs of the suffering.
> As it turns out, there are no easy answers.
No, there certainly aren't. Now imagine trying to explain all this to
the majority of the people who haven't as strong a background in such
> > limited. The Constitution was written to bind government officials,
> > not the people of the United States. The Bill of Rights is our
> > shield against bad governmental policies (or at least it should be).
> And what if many of those in power could give a rat's ass about that
> these documents say?
I would say this statement is already true; there is no ``if'' about it.
This is a long email and difficult to put together on a holiday, so
there are bound to be errors. :-)
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