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Governance Without Cynicism Part 1

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Thomas Jefferson 1800 by Rembrandt Peale
Thomas Jefferson 1800 by Rembrandt Peale
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Governance Without Cynicism Part 1

By Richard Girard

  "The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all." -- G. K. Chesterton ; The Man Who Was Thursday , chapter 11.

"People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster." -- James Baldwin

Many libertarians like to use Thomas Paine's quote from chapter 1 of Common Sense (1776), "Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one."

They forget what James Madison made clear in The Federalist Papers No. 51 (8 February  1788), that there exists a need by humanity for government:

"What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary."

Libertarians also forget the words of President Theodore Roosevelt "The government is us; we are the government, you and I." (Speech, 9 September 1902; Asheville, North Carolina.)

Let me quote from Brian Cooney's 10 June 2011 OpEdNews article, " The Mythology of Individualism : "

"As the influential libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick put it, 'There is no social entity with a good " . There are only individual people, different individual people, with their own individual lives.' In other words, society is nothing but a multitude of individuals for whom there is no public good, only private goods sought by different individuals and groups. " [British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher stated a modified version of Nozick's idea in a 1987 interview, " There is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women, and there are families. " ( Woman's Own; London, October 31, 1987.) Yet, any first-year anthropology student will tell that there is a definite progression in human social evolution: from individual, to family, to clan, to tribe, to nation. To state otherwise is to deny the observations of scientists and philosophers going back to before Charles Darwin and Adam Smith. -- RJG]

"Nozick would add that, in a free society, no individual or group should use the power of government to force others to contribute to their private goals such as food or medicine. Doing so amounts to enslavement. As Rand Paul said, if you want to legislate universal healthcare, 'you believe in slavery.' "

"The only acceptable role for government is to protect individuals' property and liberty from aggressors. "

"Individualists want a political system built around self-made, self-reliant and value-creating agents whose connections to other humans are purely voluntary or contractual. That's why they see the free market as society itself, as the natural environment for human nature --

"Nothing is closer to the very core of an individual than their thought processes. Yet it is language that makes thought possible by supplying the mind with ideas and rules for combining them. There is no private language--it's community property."

Not only verbal language, but the language of mathematics, science, philosophy, economics, art, psychology, music, engineering, computers, and any other area of specialization within the vast sphere of human knowledge and experience. None is solely the property of a single individual to the exclusion of all others, because if it were, it would die with its creator, and its value would be at an end. Knowledge has value only in its ability to be disseminated and shared with other human beings. Society makes the dissemination and sharing of that knowledge easier, and far more profitable to its creator, by expanding the size and number of markets to which the knowledge is available.

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Richard Girard is a polymath and autodidact whose greatest desire in life is to be his generations' Thomas Paine. He is an FDR Democrat, which probably puts him with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in the current political spectrum. His answer to (more...)

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