I just had one of those personal flashes of insight. Probably because someone was speaking about defending the USA and all I've been trying to do is look at the ethics of various policies. Then when those policies have been defended with how successful the USA is comparative to other countries, I've tried to dismiss that argument because - to my mind, and to the mind of many - the evidence just doesn't fit.
So I think I'm just going to rephrase this is a totally different way (which is probably what I should have done initially). DUH!
Okay, so here's the question. How do you see democratic as more ethical than GOP polices. And how do you see GOP policies as more ethical than democratical policies. And you have to say why and which ethic it refers to.
I think that is a very much more clear debating point - for me, anyway.
I'll even read GM Williams and Wilderness on this one... (I haven't been reading anything they say lately).
You've just made me roar with laughter.
Yes, that is what I've been trying to say.
How ethical is either political party? Isn't the common good about ethics? And aren't governments supposed to represent people? And aren't the people paying for the government they install? And how does one assess whether what the government does is for the common good or not?
Now that I understand what I'm trying to ask, it's easy!!!
Both parties represent an institutionalised immorality.
We can figure this out through their consistency. We have to accept that morals are universal because there is no intellectual basis for distinction, i.e. there is no consistent way to apply an inconsistent morality.
Republicans, if we accept that it is only right that the market should be free, why do you make a distinction when it comes to social matters? Are actions only down to the individual when they're trading with each other? Also, is not the freedom to consume whatever substance you want, for instance, part of a truly free market? And selling your body? The point is, you can not make a claim that you are pro-'freedom' and argue for drug and prostitution prohibition. You can not similarly, claim to be pro-freedom if you're arguing in favour of indefinite detention and secret assassinations.
Democrats, if we accept that individuals have the right to associate with whom they please, why do you make a distinction when it comes to the market? Can individuals not trade with each other without molestation or does the 'freedom' (the true definition of 'liberal') rule only apply when people are not trading with each other? How can you simultaneously support 'freedom' whilst supporting compulsory schooling? Isn't compulsory schooling a dressed up form of forced detention and labour?
Republicans, how can you claim to be 'conservative', yet support incredibly expansive, expensive and wasteful wars? You're in support of small government yet would never consider cutting the biggest expander of government - the military. More importantly, you cherish 'pro-life' as a moral rule, yet would never consider cutting the biggest waste of human life on the planet - the military. And your pacifism also doesn't seem to extend to criminals as many of you are staunch supporters of the death penalty.
Democrats, what is 'liberal' about a massive monolithic government that pervades the life of individuals? What is so dirty about states rights and secession? Doesn't the concept allow for a greater variety of societies instead of one giant melting pot of widely different cultures? Isn't the idea of big government inherently anti-freedom?
Republicans and Democrats, how about you stop claiming you are pro-freedom? You have both demonstrated that you either don't know what the word means or you like to use the word when it's beneficial to you in certain situations. It's not a moral rule for either of you, so come out and admit what you are: pro-violence.
Innersmiff - absolutely excellent. I always get very frustrated when people talk about big government and small government as I think it's more about local government and centralized government! That's just because I think that the more localized something is, the less likely there is to be corruption and that's for the common good. Also, the more control people have over their own immediate lives, the more likely they are to work with everybody else, and it's easier to work with everybody else if they are close by. So I think local is more for the common good than centralized...
I'm glad we can agree on this. There is also an inherent moral hazard with a powerful centralised government in that one particular moral compass is forced upon the population as a whole.
Yes, that is absolutely true. I suppose I've heard it argued that if one has small local government that it wouldn't protect the rights of the people. However, there is nothing wrong with a central govenrment having a constitution and the local government adhering to that and interpreting it and allowing a real time democracy to vote on it. I think..; I guess there will always be difficulties because people always have different beliefs.
I find this discussion very valuable, because almost anything can be argued 'from effect', e.g. wars can be profitable for certain parties in the economy, and can be argued that it 'creates jobs', but this says nothing about the morality of war. Focusing on the argument from morality is a much more effective debate strategy.
Local is good accept when one family owns and controls the town or county, which still does exist in this country, for instance the county where Cheney shot Whittington, thinking he was big bird.
That was funny! Yes, unfortunately, democracy doesn't work well when only a small number of people own things. Human beings need to be independent, and I think that is part of an ethos for the common good. When people face wage slavery and an inability to support themselves and their families, then they have no choice but to do what the big guy says. And that's where fascism comes in. I think.
So long as the family stays together even over the centuries, money and property accumulates, and money, it is thought, knows better than dross,to use an old term from the classics.
Money is morality. Morality is we are better than them, and thus we get more for any of an infinite number of reasons, the purpose of libraries. Ethics is we are equal and get and share equally. Good luck with that one.
Actually, knolyourself, um.
Morality comprises sexual mores. Ethics comprises the rules that have evolved over a period of time from observation that enable the common good without destroying the community.
Money has nothing to do with either ethics or morality. It is simply a means of exchange.
For those who believe smaller government is inherently more ethical or less corrupt than larger government, I offer the tiny, scandal-ridden hamlet of Bell, California.
I do not believe it is in any way an anomaly.
http://www.kcet.org/news/1st_and_spring … andal.html
thank you Mighty Mom. Very interesting. I'm too tired to comment now, but would like to tomorrow. What do you suggest? Do you think local government has any merit? I'm of the opinion that the further government is away from the people, regardless of whether it is big government or small government, it can hide what it does...
I don't know if my position on this has a name. Maybe someone here can advise.
I am of the opinion that there is good and bad at all levels. It's not inherent in the level or size of government per se. Decentralized government is not better or worse than centralized. Any more than a small company is necessarily better or more honest than a giant conglomerate.
Some people get into politics for altruistic motives and do good, whether they are on the local school board or the mayor, governor or POTUS.
Some people exploit power. They would be corrupt no matter where they were. Such people can be found at all levels of politics -- and all groups are inherently political (ever served on a homeowner's association or a volunteer committe for your kid's soccer team? Nuff said).
Living as I do in the capital of California, I am surrounded by government. It is inescapable. Most of the people I know are employed by government -- in the capital, at state agencies or county agencies or in some capacity for the city.
Some are dedicated and passionate and capable and doing really good things.
Some are sucking air, treading water, biding their time and knowing they can do next to nothing and can't get fired. They're just collecting a paycheck until they can retire at 55.
We have good elected officials and we have some real a-holes.
There is certainly personal as well as institutional ethics involved. I just can't seem to make a blanket case (in my own head) that correlates size with performance.
Now I've taxed my poor little brain beyond capacity, too.
So I'm giving up for tonight.
Perhaps someone will find a nugget of something in what I've written to be able to respond to....
Intriguing topic, for sure!
The problem with big government is that it affects a huge section of the population, whereas, a local government is limited in its scope and in turn spread of carnage.
Most people will concede that government is a 'necessary evil', so therefore, wouldn't it make sense to try and reduce that evil as much as possible by preventing the government from getting larger? Less evil must be preferable to more.
I think government can be more than just a necessary evil. If children are educated from early childhood to understand the role of citizenship and if all people can be educated to a decent level (or the greater majority, anyway), then government can be the role we'd like to be - an administration that takes care of those things that are common to all of us and which we'd prefer for an organization to do.
For instance, how many of us want to sit and home school our children? It's much easier to have a 'government' organize schooling.
How many of us want to be responsibile for building a road to our place of work?
The agreement between government and electorate is this: We pay them a certain sum of money and they take care of the things we all use for our greater common good.
Hmm but you've strayed from your original premise - what is right or wrong about specific policies? - to, what can we decide that government does that makes our lives easier?
We can choose whether we want a government school or a private school to teach our children, or ourselves. Which one of these is right and which one is wrong? Personally, I don't think it matters just so long as it's voluntary. The libertarian view is that the only immoral decision a society could make in this situation would be to compel parents to choose one or all of these.
We can gather that very few people would want to build roads themselves. So, what's the difference between the government building them or private companies building them? It's still passing over responsibility to somebody. Which is the moral choice? Well, which one uses violence? Of course, the government, by claiming to be the only institution that can build roads in the country is being violent.
But they're not even building the roads - they're hiring private contractors to build them, which begs the question: why not cut out the middle-man and let the people pay the companies to build the roads directly?
Well, as Tom from Office Space would say: "Well, I...I'll tell you why. Uh, because companies are not good at dealing with customers!"
MM, corruption and the abuse of power will always happen. That is the nature of some humans - not all. The point is that it's easier to expose in local government and the damage isn't as extensive.
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