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Just tossing some stuff out there.

November 10, 2010



So I’ve noticed that a lot of the posts here discuss the idea that, in regard to “the state of nature”, we can’t go back. And, for right now at least, I’d like to conclude that that’s a pretty legitimate notion. We can’t really go back to the state of nature, and we’re not going to – a. because of what Rousseau says (we can’t exactly forget what we know now) – but also because we  (or at least we, Americans), we’re so far gone now it’s almost laughable to think that we could ever dissolve the institutions under which we live.

Cut out the government and there goes your road repair, disaster relief, emergency response, anti-missile defense system, sanitation regulations, environmental protection, etc. etc. etc. The government now does a lot for its people. Although we might be a bit upset that it’s not doing enough for us, no matter what it’s doing a lot.

But my question – and really it’s just a question, not some sort of stepping stone to a radical political agenda …I think. My question is just why are all these things the responsibility of the government? As a generation, those of in our late teens, early twenties, we’ve been living in a world in which the government has an incredible amount of power and has its hands in a lot of different aspects of our lives.  And why is this? It’s just what we were born into.

But does it have to be? I think a lot can come from thinking about anarchy, or other like ideas. You start with the idea, destroy everything (governmentally in this case) and then reason through it, and you’ll probably start adding stuff back into the mix of things.

I’ve put a video up at the end of the post. If you want to watch this video go for it, it’s one of my favorite sketches and it shows this pretty humorously.

But if you don’t:  in a nutshell – people rebel, YAY anarchy, finally! Oh no, we forgot that there’s a nuclear power plant that if it isn’t tended to we all die. Uh oh, let’s get some people to take of it. Oh gosh, we’re basically forming a new government.

But so, let’s think. We’re okay with being governed – social contracts, tacit consent, etc. etc. But how much can we destroy the present system and still have our ideals preserved. Should the government really be taking such an active role in our lives, or should it just be mandating a certain moral code and seeing that it’s enforced.

Should health care be the responsibility of the government? Should it be the government’s job to fix the roads? Should it be the government’s job to provide education? How is the government a moral force and how is the government a financial force?  Can the two truly co-exist?

I’m not suggesting that these questions are anything earth shattering. I’m just asking how much power have we given the government over our lives and why did we do it?  Is it out of hand now?

We have our ideals and theories about the purpose of government like we discuss in class. But is the government still working for these ideals? What separates us from authorizing one type of government and authorizing Big Brother?

Really all I want to suggest is that maybe we should be open to more radical thought – not necessarily radical action – but at least for now radical thought. Because we, as a generation, we’ve been born into the system and it’s pretty strong and pretty well protected. How much of the system should we accept and if we decide it’s flawed, how much power do we have to change it?

*not great quality, but it makes it’s point.

  1. thacarter4 permalink
    November 10, 2010 10:10 PM

    I think the idea that someone other than the government should do these things is interesting, at least to toy with, but somewhat impractical. If the government doesn’t build and maintain roads who will? nobody really has the resources by themselves to preserve the American highway system, and even if they did wouldn’t that make this private person a sort of defacto government? Anytime we hand over the responsibilities of the government to another person we’re essentially creating a small monarchy for that person because we’re letting them control that aspect of our lives.

  2. vdeepa permalink
    November 11, 2010 5:19 AM

    “Really all I want to suggest is that maybe we should be open to more radical thought – not necessarily radical action – but at least for now radical thought.” I agree that we should be less afraid of change. Burke believed in learning from past actions and using that as a model for the future. However, if we stick to the old ways just becuase it is safe and we never try something new, we may actually miss the chance to change something in a positive way. Without new thought, progress is lost.

  3. Koral Skeen permalink
    November 13, 2010 4:14 PM

    Your raise an interesting point. We were born into a state where the government does have control and we can’t go back to a State of Nature. You ask why the government has the power, and it is because people along the line gave it to the government. My question is why shouldn’t the government have this power. It seems the best option, since individuals don’t really have the ability to fix the roads and such.

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