Joel Watts – Question 3 Response 1 – The Role of Government
Question 1: While there is considerable agreement between our views a major difference between us, and I believe between liberals can conservatives in general, is over the competing goals of liberty and equality. You see equality or as you put it, “leveling the playing field” as one of the driving principles of government. Where does liberty fit into your view of Government?
Liberty is a manifold thing. We may find that liberty is that which allows us to govern ourselves, with the idea that if we are subject to someone or something else, we are not free. Yet, we are always subject to one thing or another. No, this is not liberty.
I would propose first a definition of liberty. True liberty is that which prevents another from controlling us. Therefore, we are truly never free given that even free will is a myth. Instead, liberty under a government must be achieved as an ideal. What is this governed liberty? Governed liberty is the ability to flourish dually as a citizen and an individual. To that end, we must respect the notion that liberty means different things in different situations.
For instance, political liberty is not anarchy, an enslaving process if there was ever one, but that which allows an individual who has achieved some form of citizenship to actively participate or not participate in the political life of the country. A Government, properly, must not interfere in the political liberty of the governed, else it separates itself from the governed.
Economic Liberty is a wild animal to tame, but it must include the notion not of unlimited enterprise or unlimited gain, else by such measures we limit others, but the liberty to pursue or not pursue individual wealth so as to not harm the social compact.
Briefly, liberty is not absolute freedom, but a part of the social compact allowing the governed to both control the government and to limit untamed power absorption — to limit the ability of the governed to divest themselves of the government.
Question 2: You say that “Government has no unnatural proper bounds. It has no unnatural limitations” but then in the next paragraph write how “role of Government is not theocratic, nor moral” Is not the latter a bound or limitation? If not what did you mean by the first statement?
Government cannot replace God, nor the individual conscience. Whereas the economic, civil, and political realms are the Government’s role, the unnatural, that which is above natural control, does not have a place in the control of government. If something deemed moral is better contrived as under natural control, or indeed of control, it must be decided if this is truly a moral issue or a natural issue.
Question 3: You say that “a Government apart from the Governed is unnatural and must be restrained as a rabid dog” but would this not argue for a focus more on local government, than on a large federal government separated from the people in both distance and influence?
What distance is the Federal Government away from us? In our system, we are intertwined. We have Federal highways and Federal laws alongside county, local, and such laws. There really is no distance between the Federal Government and the local person. Further, we vote for Federal office holders, even the Senators.
Watts – Question 3 Reply
Hushbeck – Question 3 Reply
Hushbeck – Question 3 Response 1