Saturday, December 11, 2010
So, what do you think?
I agree with Mr Shanklin's conclusions about the evil of statism but I disagree with his ideas about anarchy. Look, I don't like the government as it exists today in America and I certainly can't find any others that I'm happy with, either. But, that doesn't mean that government is intrinsically evil. On the contrary, we must have government to protect the natural law rights of man and to allow for a final arbiter in the inevitable disputes that arise in society.
I believe in subsidiarity, "a principle of social doctrine that all social bodies exist for the sake of the individual so that what individuals are able to do, society should not take over, and what small societies can do, larger societies should not take over" (The Free Dictionary). I do believe that there are some things that the state is better at, such as maintaining a national defense.
I don't agree with Mr. Shankiln about the motives of those that are attempting to create a state of anarchy. The anarchist we see on the news, burning buildings and smashing windows are trying to create chaos, a state of disorder from which no natural state of order can derive. They are trying to cause a power vacuum into which Marxism can flow and impose its own statism upon us. Order cannot arise from chaos without direction, without force.
The anarchy of Ayn Rand, which is, I suspect what Mr. Shanklin is thinking of, is no better. Self interest will not create a better society. Ms. Rand, because she was an atheist, discounted the effect of original sin and the corruption it caused in our human nature. We are born corrupt and our actions will always be corrupt without the intervention of God. To the extent that we are guided by our own interests we will act to better ourselves with little if any regard to our fellow man. This has been proven recently by the policies of the Rand acolyte Alan Greenspan. His push to de-regulate the markets was the driving force behind the collapse. He believed that Randian self regulation would lead us to the heights of prosperity when what it did, and what it will always do, is caused a Darwinian survival of the fittest orgy of wealth accumulation at the expense of the average worker. While the salaries of the wealthiest have risen the working class hasn't seen an increase in wages since the '70's.
Self interest ran wild while self regulation was consigned to the dust bin.
And that's the problem; too much government and too little regulation always lead to the same place. A wealthy, powerful, connected few rise to the top and destroy the rights, freedoms and hopes of the many. It happens with kings, with republics and most of all with the "free market". And this is why man must have some restrictions on his ability to satisfy his self interest.
In a perfect world that agency of restraint would be the Church. However, we've tried that before and found it wanting, not because the teachings of the Church are wrong but because the men that do the teaching are as corrupt as anyone else. So I would say that while the Church should have a place of prominence in human government it cannot, at least in our current time in history, be the sole protector of our rights. Obviously strong central government by elected representation doesn't work and neither does communism, socialism or fascism.
The only real solution is limited government kept at the local level as much as possible and founded upon religious principles of truth and justice, supported by reason. Very few laws, and those only to support and defend our natural law rights. We have to have some laws to maintain order.
Strangely enough, that sounds pretty much like America as organized in the Constitution.
If we aren't infringing on the rights of others then we should be left alone to live, work and worship as we please. Government must enforce property rights because they form the basis of a free society. There has to be some sort of limit on power. If any person or organization is allowed to gain so much control that they can control the market or the government then they have to be shut down, whether through breaking up companies or limiting access to societal control through wealth.
If you come up with a better widget and become fabulously wealthy, more power to you. If you use your wealth to distort the system to your advantage at the expense of others, well then your ability to do so will be curtailed. Your self interest can never be allowed to destroy mine.
Free markets must be free and to do that they must not be controlled through laws or regulations written by the few to benefit themselves. This is what happens when the Randians impose their misguided ideas on the rest of us. And it also happens when the state becomes all powerful. So neither can be allowed to happen. Laws are only legitimate when they are designed to protect the rights we possess as human beings. Beyond that, they are evil.
We must have moral laws for without them we'll collapse into a state of anarchy. Without them we'll create a chaotic vacuum and we all know that vacuums want to be filled.