Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My Political Philosophy in a Nutshell

I guess it's about time I made my statement on personal political philosophy. As you see from the sidebar, I'm a libertarian. What kind? A sane one. ("Yeah, yeah, everybody says that." I've heard.)

By this I mean I'm a pretty non-dogmatic Classical Liberal. I used to delight in endless philosophical system building. Now basically what I've got is the notion that in Western Civilization in general, and in America more than any other place, we've got a Project going. A project to see how far we can push the envelope of liberty and still maintain a reasonably orderly society - and my standards of "reasonably orderly" are pretty loose.

So Comrade, don't come to me with your beautiful utopian plans of how the ideal society would work, could work or should work. Tell me how it works dammit! Find me an example, historical or contemporary. If you can't find an example, find me a close analogy.

I once wrote a short fable about my philosophy of government and how it differs from that of the moderate to Hard Left, called "The Magic Wand and the Club".

It goes like this: take a length of wood. What do you see? I see a club. Someone who loves the idea of social engineering sees a magic wand. I see something for hitting people. He sees something to cure the world's ills with. I say the moral question is, why and under what circumstances are you justified in hitting someone? He says that it's irresponsible NOT to use the "magic wand" if you can do good with it. I use it to threaten someone who might do me harm, and if necessary hit him in the most effective way I know how. He tends to tap someone with it to solve his problems, make him better, healthier etc.

Now comes the rub. Tapping someone for that purpose doesn't work. So the impulse is to do it again - and again, and harder. Hmmmm, still doesn't work. Perhaps we need a bigger magic wand.

OK, you get the analogy. The length of wood is government. Point is, we both see the same object, it's our interpretation of what it is that differs.

Now in this day and age, it's fashionable to say that these things are just matters of opinion. But this I do know for a fact; there are no magic wands but there certainly are such things as clubs.


Post a Comment

<< Home