Saturday, August 9, 2008

Operative Principles

While Mike may not have been attempting to do so, he did hit upon the major theme of my blog. This blog is exactly about operative principles. What is the principle under which our government (or more accurately, elected and appointed officials) functions? Is this principle correct? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
As I should have made clear in earlier posts, I contend that there are major ideas present within the political debate that are based on false premise. The major one of these being the idea of constitutional rights. Mike is mostly correct that my first operative principle is that freedom only comes with a lack of restraint from the State. He is close to being correct. Freedom only comes when the State maintains its correct role, in preserving freedom and not attempting to control it. Am I wrong to think this way? Am I misinterpreting Franklin's idea? “Any society which trades a little Freedom, for a little Security, would lose both and deserve neither.” I think, in fact, that this principle is also the very idea upon which this country was founded. And I would like to see some solid evidence to suggest that our Founding Fathers thought otherwise.
Now, Mike also suggests that my second operative principle is an 'almost pacifist response' to the use of violence. Here, he is totally incorrect. I have a moral repulsion against the use of violence, which is not the same thing. I understand the need for violent action. But it is the States responsibility to ensure that it uses this action only to ensure that the maximum number of people are able to practice their inherent rights as is possible. This naturally leads to the idea that the State should be as restricted and limited as possible, because when the state attempts to order the lives of its people, then it becomes detrimental to the practice of inherent rights.
Conservatives often use the 'slippery slope' argument. The idea being that if we accept what seems a small concession, then that concession will be used to justify a larger one, and then a larger one. Do they never stop and see how this in turn can be used against their positions? I ask them, where do we draw the line? What level of government involvement is correct? I know my answer, it is is minimal. I'm not saying this simply as a matter of personal belief. This is based off of the writings of our Founders and the Constitution itself.
Oh, and to Mike's Conservative 'anthropology'. I don't disagree with you. Evil, violence, and war are not aberrations of human behavior. Were we diverge is our understanding of government. The power of government is going to be a natural attractor to those whom would abuse that power and this would result in evil, violence, and war. Most importantly, because these people, attracted to and corrupted by the natural power of government, have the ability to influence the lives of millions of people... should we not want our government as restricted as possible?
To conclude:
This all started around the subject of abortion. And I will be the first person to acknowledge that my arguments can easily be used to further the idea that the law of this country should be anti-abortion. How better to support the idea of inherent rights than to ensure them for the unborn? I cannot argue against this. I'm very ambivalent about abortion. As a practice it abhors me. I cannot imagine a more brutal act of savagery other than perhaps child-rape. And yet, there is my practical side that acknowledges that sometimes it is necessary. Just as I acknowledge the need for violent action by the State, I acknowledge the need for people to make their own choices, even when I think that choice would be morally wrong.
Also, I am currently working on researching the history of anti-abortion laws in this country. I recently came across an article that suggested that they were not what they are sometimes suggested to be. After my research is complete, I will be posting.

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