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"Common Good" does not promise less spending and smaller government
Posted by: McQ on Friday, October 27, 2006

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review's editorial understands that the catchphrase "common good" now being peddled by Democrats is anything but good.
And just what is the "common good"? Specifics are about as murky as Bush's compassionate conservatism was in 2000 — which now is known to be a blank credit card slip for reckless spending and entitlements.

According to John Halpin, a senior fellow at the ultraliberal Center for American Progress, the "common good" is "sort of a shared sacrifice, a return to the ethic of service and duty." Actually, it's not that altruistic. In a word, it's more socialism than anything.

The "common good" also is diametrically opposed to the right's so-called "radical individualism," such as advocating personal retirement accounts instead of Social Security. So, it is for the "common good" to perpetuate a common lie that Social Security will heal itself.

And what about universal health care, welfare and all the other trappings of Big Government? These, too, fall under the expansive umbrella of the "common good." Far from "healing" America, it stands to only bankrupt it.

No good ever has come from confounding political catchphrases. Instead, how about something that's simple (though far from simplistic), clear and to the point — such as "individual responsibility"?
Despite the Democrat's claims that they'll return "fiscal restraint" and "better government" to Washington, their slogan promises anything but that. Essentially what they're really promising is to "do better" than the Republicans, and it only takes being slightly better to succeed.

Anything which promotes group rights over individual rights isn't going to restrain itself in any area of spending or expanding government. It can't. The "common good" can only be accomplished through government coercion and intrusion.

In reality, "common good" is a euphemism for the radical or distributional egalitarianism I've talked about before. It is simply a pleasing sounding way of saying government will ensure (through its use of force) everyone has an equal outcome (as they arbitrarily define that) no matter how much it has to take away from one class to give to another.

There is no secret, at lest to those paying attention, that the Democrats are talking about of both sides of their mouths. Spots, leopards, etc.

On the one hand they constantly point to the reckless spending and expansion of government under the present Republican administration and claim they will do better than they have. They hint that means less spending and less government, but their "common good" mantra and their attacks on "radical individualism" belie that implication.

What Democrats are really saying is their increased spending won't be "reckless" and their increases in government's size will be a good thing, because, you see, it will be for the "common good".

They talk about "revenue neutral" legislation on one hand and rolling back tax cuts on the other. It's not as hard to balance a budget if you increase the revenue stream through taxes to fit the size of the budget you want.

Any political party which essentially attacks individual responsibility as being something to which it is opposed ("radical individualism") or touts the "common good" above all else isn't talking about restrained spending or smaller government. And while Republicans have flat blown their one advantage by abandoning their principles, there is absolutely nothing but a lot of hot air out there to assure voters that Democrats are serious about something for which they have never been serious before.
 
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Comments
To me the highest "common good" is freedom.
 
Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://
To me the highest "common good" is freedom.
That goes to my belief that if government protects the rights of all individuals equally (and I’m talking about negative rights here), the common good is already served and yes, freedom is the result.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"Common Good" does not promise less spending and smaller government
It sure doesn’t. Why did you think that would be a good idea again?


Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
This latest diatribe, as susal, totally mischaracterizes the positions of both sides of the argument.
Both sides, in their extremes can produce rather ugly and untenable results.
’Rugged individualism’ can easily morph into a system with bared-teeth power battles, in which the weak get trampled into the dust.

’Common good’ can become a forced egalitarianism,
molding everyone into a uniform gray, where the spirit of the indicidual would die.

There is nothing incompatible with the notion of personal resposdibility and societal benefits all in one breath. It’s a question of balancing the opposting magnetic pulls of the individual’s interests and society’s interests.

The extemists’ refusal to ackowledge that the other side of the coin exists, and exists legimately, is what causes this constant turmoil, which benefits neither side. It also precludes any common sense approach to address the ills around us.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
So we can choose between Republican liars and Democrats who are misguided on economics. I will take the misguided over the rats every day.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
Oh No Divided Government is GOOD. It will hamstring spending and bring accountability to the Executive. I know because oh so many denizens of this very board told me so.

Of course that was in the laughable belief, which like the Fed and the Economy, that the “punishment” could be calibrated to render only ONE Chamber of Congress Democratic. And like the Fed and the Keynesian believers in the Fed, it turns out that National politics can not be so “finely tuned.”

Any way, so now “Divided Government” ain’t looking as good as it becomes apparent what one half of the division believes and folks begin to realize that these beliefs may become concrete actions, set into law.

Again, I laugh at all who wanted to “punish” or “teach a lesson” or produce “Divided government” because, as I say, now we begin to see what the Democrats are likely to bring to the table, it doesn’t seem as appetizing. Or mayhap in September it didn’t seem so scary, but now the very real possibility of it happening waters the blood.

So to all you libertarians or “Conservatives” who bought into this line of Happy Horse $h(te, I say, “Toldya so, but you were too d@mn smart to listen.”

But oh I REMEMBER, in 2008 we’ll throw the rascals out...yeah that’s it America will have learned its lesson by then, just like in 1996 the Republicans got taught a lesson...Oh Wait....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
There is nothing incompatible with the notion of personal resposdibility and societal benefits all in one breath.
That’s correct, although to date you still haven’t figured out why.

Let me say it again: "if government protects the rights of all individuals equally (and I’m talking about negative rights here), the common good is already served and yes, freedom is the result."

And the present use of "common good" has absolutely nothing to do with that concept.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Oh No Divided Government is GOOD.
Exactly.

Show me the recent history where single party rule has been anything but a fiscal disaster and an assault on individual rights.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Show me the recent history where single party rule has been anything but a fiscal disaster and an assault on individual rights.
Since divided governemnt is at best slowing the rate of increase of the ongoing disaster—with no improvement—why shouldn’t we try to upset the applecart?

Would you say the victim of an ongoing rape is better off if the rapist slows down?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
MCQ: "Let me say it again....."

Please don’t.
You, like sometimes, Omar deal with life by reciting you favorite mantras. From those you proceed directly to ’things will work out".

Between mantras and an idealsitic result comes real life, an area frought with contradictions and tensions and ambiguities. But don’t let real life interfere with your chanting.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Show me the recent history where single party rule has been anything but a fiscal disaster and an assault on individual rights.
The record of divided government isn’t much better. The period of 1995-1998 did produce a modest reduction in the rate of increase of some spending. However, the party responsible for that quickly found out that cutting (reducing the rate of growth) of government programs makes you into mean, nasty heartless trolls who nobody likes. Much better to give away the goodies and have everybody like you, screw those silly libertarians.

The point being that divided government is no panacea for small government, remember the Nixon era? Richard "we are all Keynsian’s now" Nixon expanded the size and scope of the US government more than any in recent memory, and yet its still puzzling how he managed to do this when the congress wasn’t even of his party????? How does this theory explain Richard Nixon inventing the EPA, the EEOC, instituting wage and price controls, etc,etc,etc?

Here’s how divided government circa 2007 will function: In order to continue funding the war in Iraq GW Bush and the Republicans agree to let Charlie Rangle raise taxes.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
This whole “Divided Government” thing or rather the support for it here is the result of childishness and or naiveté. The REALITY is that “Smaller government” is NOT POPULAR. DS puts it well, the Republican Congress in the 1990’s were “Mean-spirited, Extremists.” McQ “Divided Government” is only a tactical thing, it only SLOWS THE GROWTH and DS puts a good point on it, IF the Republicans value the GWoT over lower taxes, guess what? Taxes go up…. So this whole divided government thing is foolish. It’s putting faith in something I don’t understand, a belief that Republicans and, Democrats WON’T AGREE ON ISSUES THAT MCQ FINDS OBJECTIONABLE.

The support of divided government simply ignores the truth and history. The truth is, right now, the public DOES NOT VALUE SMALLER GOVERNMENT. And if the Republicans OR the Democrats are in power, the only thing that will change is WHERE and HOW government grows. McQ and his ilk are only P($$ed because they have no plurality or majority in public opinion. And until they do, and that means building a bridgehead in a party, the government will continue to grow.

And the way this will change is not thru divided government but via a Libertarian Great Society or Libertarian “100 Days”. Until there is a significant shift in public opinion there will be no significant change in government strategy. And that change will only come thru time and a sustained public effort to sway public opinion.

Until then, all these hopes for Divided Government are just so many pipedreams, based on an inability to accept the minority opinion status of libertarian ideals.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Unofortunately Joe is correct, although misguided (the Republicans weren’t nearly mean-spirited or extremist enough).

PJ O’Rourke summed it up best in "Parliament of Whores": The whores are us, "we" get the government "we" want and deserve.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
Ds, my "mean-spirited" comment was sarcastic....or rather I’d say I knew they weren’t but it sure didn’t mean others didn’t buy the story.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
McQ is right: divided government historically correlates to slower government growth and single-party to an explosive growth.

Now that I’ve backed him up there, I definitely had one of those "how did I get so complacent and chummy with Q and O?" moments re-reading this blog. There ought to be a switch in a traditional libertarian’s brain that, when he starts making arguments such as, "Look out! Those people interested in the *common good* are coming to ruin our lives!", inserts a reality check. It may be a lame slogan, but it’s an almost parody-level nonthreatening.

Even more interesting is, how do former members of the military - an organization that demands instant and constant obedience to a larger and centrally executed strategy, not to mention a mindset that takes pride in such obedience and submission, under notions of sacrifice for one’s brothers and victory - talk about the common good, not to mention limitations on freedom for the sake of such, as if it was the impending death of civilization?

I’m actually not discussing my own beliefs at all right now - just this logical paradox. Disciplined armies that obey orders and follow plans win. "Every man for himself" armies tend to lose. You’ve spent decades of your life inside an organization that demonstrates the effectiveness and efficiency of subordination of the individual to a common good-

and yet, here you are, conditioned to take the same idea, in the context of Democrats and domestic policy, as dooming you to slavery and financial ruin.


I wonder if reading a few books on a sociological phoenomenon called the collective action problem would change your point of view on the *maximalizing individual liberties always produces the most beneficial outcome* thesis.


(Note: obviously, history is littered with examples of over-centralized and over-restrictive organizations that failed. the same thing for under-centralized and under-cooperative ones as well, only the over-centralized ones were bigger when they died).
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Please don’t.
You, like sometimes, Omar deal with life by reciting you favorite mantras. From those you proceed directly to ’things will work out".
Nice attempted dodge.

Why don’t you just address the premise of the "mantra" instead of pretending it doesn’t mean anything?

Too difficult? Might puncture or derail some of your own "mantras?

How about it ... tell me where it’s wrong and how protecting the rights of individuals doesn’t serve the common good in a way that promotes freedom.

I’d love to hear your analysis. Or deconstruction. Or anything other than "la la la la la, I can’t hear you, la la la ..."
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ and his ilk are only P($$ed because they have no plurality or majority in public opinion. And until they do, and that means building a bridgehead in a party, the government will continue to grow.
Actually I’m not "p*ssed" at all. The only use of "p*ss" characterizes the poor job you Republicans have done when given the football.

So now I want you to share it. And knowing how freakin’ partisan you and they are, I know the football isn’t going to be advanced very far in either direction. And that’s just fine with me.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I’m actually not discussing my own beliefs at all right now - just this logical paradox. Disciplined armies that obey orders and follow plans win. "Every man for himself" armies tend to lose. You’ve spent decades of your life inside an organization that demonstrates the effectiveness and efficiency of subordination of the individual to a common good-
and yet, here you are, conditioned to take the same idea, in the context of Democrats and domestic policy, as dooming you to slavery and financial ruin.
I’d simply note it is you hanging out on the extremes here, not me. I’m just making the point that common good has some baggage and that baggage usually means more spending (which means more taxation) and more government.

I’ll leave it to you to show me where that premise is wrong. So far lots of philosphy and not much in terms of argument.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
We’re kind of screwed going forward, when Dem’s gain power (House + Senate or one plus the Presidency) they can spend pretty wildly and still say they are more fiscally responsible than Republicans, and that is exactly how they will sell their new spending programs to each other... as long as we spend less than Bush and the Do-Nothings, we’re fine"


If you asked everybody on this blog for one thing they would support spending more government money on, everybody will have something. Many of them would be willing to cut almost everything else, but their one thing.

K-Street doesn’t lobby for less spending, it’s just 19000 well paid lawyer types with hookers and golf trips who want us to spend a little more on just one thing.

Even the Grover Norquist types that gather serious lobbying cash to push lower taxes fail to actually lobby for lower spending.

Here’s the problem as I see it.

Conservatives in general want to tax less, spend less, and see the size and scope of government shrink.

Liberals in general want to use the community treasure to improve the quality of life for as many people as possible (common good).

When in power, they each create or enlarge their own favorite types of spending, and try to limit or reduce spending they oppose, and they all know this coming, so when these build these programs, they make the virtually invulnerable to repeal or reduction. And probably the worst thing is simply the fact that lobbyists, perhaps the current lifeblood of American electoral politics, are almost all asking for something that will cost us money and grow the government.

The battle between conservatives and liberals needs a truce, and a compromise.

Liberals don’t want big government for the sake of big government, but conservatives DO want small government for the sake of small government.

So conservatives should should get to set the parameters of the size (in dollars, perhaps as a percentage of the GDP) and they need to allow liberals to spend it.

We can’t have two party’s vying to spend money, we need a check, conservatives, and a balance, liberals.

Let the liberals give us as many social programs as they can, with a specified budget 100 years out.

In this scenario, even the liberal programs should be more efficient than they would otherwise be, and the government won’t grow. If your taxes don’t go up and we get national healthcare, fine, you can still afford your own private health care (or choose whatever socialist program you want to use as an example)

Win - win

(Obviously some essential stuff will have to be built into the budget before letting the liberals go to town, but don’t get greedy or the deal breaks down)

Okay, tear it up.



Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Getting back to the main subject, the phrase "common good":

Politicians have been using this phrase successfully since the beginning of time because it works, here’s why:

1) It is totally non-specific and doesn’t really mean anything but it sounds good. Politicians love this kind of stuff because it eliminates any accoutability. Even if their schemes are a complete disaster they can fall back on "I was trying to do what was best for the common good".

2) Nobody ever thinks they are the problem, everybody thinks they are the only ones doing the right thing and everybody else in society is screwing up, making all of us worse off. So when your average citizen hears a term like "common good" they immediately think:

" Yes, I am sacrificing by not making as much money as I should and not enjoying my life like I should because I am a moral, upstanding person who refrains from doing anything to damage "society". If only everybody else would act like me this world would be fine. But since nobody else has my sense of responsibility and moral awareness, the rest of them will have to be forced to bring them up to my standards. Since I have purposely given up being rich in order to be a decent citizen others will have to be forced to do that as well. Since others can’t seem to regulate their behavior like I do they will have to be forced."

This thought process goes on in the head of every voter from the most liberal to the most conservative, with slightly different definitions of "moral". This is why this non-specific idea has such universal appeal.

3) Because it is so non-specific it is highly efficient in that a politician can use the same phrase for completely different audiences, have it mean something completely different, and nobody will ever know the difference. I suspect even libertarians, who should know better, fall for this one more than they should.

4) I have some deep theories about the evolution of the human species, that I won’t get into deeply, that explain all of this. Basically humans evolved for atleast hundreds of thousands of years in small groups of hunter/gatherers in which many of these ideas of "common good" were probably pretty valid and were key to group survival. But they don’t apply at all when the group gets bigger than 50 or 100 people, much less a nation of 300 million or a planet of 6 billion. But the instincts embedded deep in our DNA still respond to these sorts of ideas without us even knowing why. Until our DNA catches up with the realities of a global population these sorts of appeals to these deeply imbedded fears will continually be successful. And yet we’ll still be puzzled why voting for the "common good" usually ends up with exactly the opposite of what we thought, often with horrifying and murderous results.

Democrats have known this at least since the turn of 20th century, Republicans knew it in the 19th century, then sort of forgot it, and unfortunately for the Democrats and the Treasury, have re-learned it. From here on out will simply be a contest between the 2 parties on HOW to spend all of our money for the "common good", not whether or not to.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
MCQ" "...some of your own "mantras?"

?????

I don’t deal in mantras. My opinions derive from observations of group dynamics. Put a group of people in a confined space for a long perios of time, and a ’dynmic’ will evolve, but what that turns out to be differs from case to case. Some factors produce strife, others produce teanwork, others produce the emergence of a domninant personality to whom the others bow in obedience, and so on.

I observe and adjust. I acknowledge the tension between opposing interests and opinions. I don’t think there is a ’best’ dynamic to suit all occasions.

You present a closed sysmtem of thought. If the group does A, then B will follow. There is no room for the overlooked or unacknowledged C or the unforseen D. Such rigidity requires walking through life with blinders on. Or blind faith.








 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
"Common Good" and "General Welfare" can be synonymous in the larger sense. All things being equal (irony intended), I would choose the phrase "General Welfare" being that the latter is Consitutionally mandated.

``We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.’’

Of course this changes nothing in the debate, but it does establish that the common good is a legitimate purpose of government, as opposed to simply protecting the system as some libertarians might prefer. Of course it’s just as easy to argue that protecting the system is the only legitimate promotion of common good.

So we come full circle and common good, or general welfare, means whatever those with the pursestrings want it to mean.

Cap



 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
The preamble to the Constitution doesn’t "mandate" anything, the articles and amendments do.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
The preamble to the Constitution doesn’t "mandate" anything, the articles and amendments do.
Article 1, Section 8.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Mandate is probably a poor word choice, the power provide for the "general welfare" is constitutionally supported.

There, feel better?

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
You present a closed sysmtem of thought. If the group does A, then B will follow. There is no room for the overlooked or unacknowledged C or the unforseen D. Such rigidity requires walking through life with blinders on. Or blind faith.
Dodge two. It’s a pretty straight forward premise.

Why won’t you address it?


 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Of course this changes nothing in the debate, but it does establish that the common good is a legitimate purpose of government, as opposed to simply protecting the system as some libertarians might prefer.
No one said it wasn’t. What was said was how it is being used currently is a problem.

And, most constitutional scholars agree that ’general welfare’ means creating an equal opportunity for all through the law (or Constitution, if you prefer). Or as Tibor Machan says in "Private Rights and Public Illusions", "[i]n short, the general welfare means no more than those legal foundations that facilitate the achievement of well-being, economic and otherwise, of the people on their own, not government’s, initiative."

And that isn’t at all what Democrats limit it too when they use either term.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
MCQ: "It’s a pretty straight forward premise.
Why won’t you address it?"

BECAUSE, before discussing any particulars, I have seen not the slightest sign of you being able to look at any issue or circumstance outside of squeeaing it into your theory. You start with your theory and look around for information to support it, ignoring everything that doesn’t fit into neat cubbyholes.

Even if we were to agree on a particular, we would be coming at it from different angles.


As a small example: corruption. From your posts, I gather that you think corruption exists in government, because it is government or it is big or both. From my observations, I would be rather inclined to think that corruption exists in government, because (some) people, by their nature, will always try to game the system, no matter what the system is, to gain an advantage in money or power or both.

 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
BECAUSE, before discussing any particulars, I have seen not the slightest sign of you being able to look at any issue or circumstance outside of squeeaing it into your theory.
Dodge three. If this were baseball, you’d be out. And your excuse is pathetic.

"I can’t address it because you aren’t broad-minded enough!" Phooey.

 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
PABLO, ARE YOU A MCQ CLONE?

Neverthelss, I did present an example of our difficulty in communicating: re corruption.

Are you dodging addressing that?
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
PABLO, ARE YOU A MCQ CLONE?
NO LAIME, I’M PABLO.

You’re having difficulty communicating because you don’t have anything to say. If you did, you’d be making your point when asked a question instead of complaining that it’s impossible to answer because you don’t like the reception you tend to get.

Hope that helps.

 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
PABLO
" ...because you don’t like the reception you
tend to get. "

No, my point was, that you guys don’t seem to be able to follow any thought but your own.
You just proved it, by not respoding to my corruption comment.

If you just want to make stupid remarks, make them to one another. They don’t impress me.

If you want to serously debate anything at all, let me know.

Hint: I commented on corruption as a reaction to your ’free markets’ slogan. I see no reason a system of ’free markets’ can not be corrupted, just like anything else.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
BECAUSE, before discussing any particulars, I have seen not the slightest sign of you being able to look at any issue or circumstance outside of squeeaing it into your theory. You start with your theory and look around for information to support it, ignoring everything that doesn’t fit into neat cubbyholes.
Nonsense. I made a statement in a comment. I’m asking you to give me your analysis of why it won’t serve the common good. You continue to do this and dodge the question.

This is dodge three.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
No, my point was, that you guys don’t seem to be able to follow any thought but your own.
You just proved it, by not respoding to my corruption comment.
Really ... why should we respond to your comment about corruption when you’ve thrice avoided a direct question?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"If you asked everybody on this blog for one thing they would support spending more government money on, everybody will have something."

Wrong again dude.



 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
MCQ:
"if government protects the rights of all individuals equally (and I’m talking about negative rights here), the common good is already served and yes, freedom is the result."

Is this what you are referring to?
(I admit that I’m not sure anymore how all this got started._

If so, then it is a prime example of the kind of broad statement that is so overreaching that it loses meaning when applied to particulars.
It’s like the ’pursuit of happiness’, which sounds good, but scholars argue to this day about what it means.

Freedom results? But even freedom is relative. One is certainly more free if he can afford a team of A list lawyers to defend that freedom. One is certaily more free if he has access to a top notch education.

No, I am not arguing for egalitarianism. I am simply pointing out that all these fine soundng words like ’freedom’ are not absolutes, but relative terms, in that they affect different people differently.

Then, too, the government has duties beyond protecting rights equally, It has a duty to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority, for example. That’s where the Supreme Court comes in, another source of ongoing debates about how this is persued in specific rulings.

The common good? No, it doesn’t automatically follow from these simple precepts. First, people have to identify with the nation as a coomon entiry and care enought about it to contribute to its good. So, then we have to debate how that common good should be pursued. Even your rugged self-sustaining farmers of the past had to make a conscous decision to help each other, or not, to co-operate with each other, or not, to built a town hall, or not.

I just heard a devout conservative declare that doubt is at the heart of true conservatism. And that’s my point of contention with you: you are too sure that a few simple maxims will serve not only you, but the common good of the nation. People, and society, are too compkicated and too messy in their interactions for that.


 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
There is no such thing as a "common good". All forced coersion through force or threat of force (which is what government is) creates winners and losers, will have different effects for different individuals and cannot ever hope to be beneficial to all who fall under its jurisdiction.

There really is no such thing as a "common good" because the whole idea of "society" is really an arbitrary, nebulous, imprecise concept to begin with. "Society" is really just the chaotic summation of millions of people making trillions of trillions of actions every second. Trying to affect or control such a thing from the top down is a fruitless exercise. It is fruitless precisely because the government is trying to control the whole but can only act at the individual level.

The government has no power to tax, spend or regulate at the macro, "society" level. All interactions are at the individual level: Taxes cannot be taken from "society" or even from differnt classes, they can only be taken from individuals. Not one dime is spent at the "society" level, it can only be given to individuals or at the largest unit organizations. There are no regulations that regulate "society" they ultimately must be followed (or ignored) by individuals or organizations.

So government tries to regulate the whole by manipulating through coersion at the individual level. But by the time those individual actions ripple through the vast, complicated interconnected network of "society" what the summation effects will be is completely unpredictable. Becasue of feedback effects cause and effect is impossible to discern. Anybody who has ever designed an electronic control system knows that if your output is not directly, or at least predictably related to your input you will get a chaotic system that cannot be controlled. If you can’t even measure or even define the desired output, in this case the "common good", any result will be entirely random.

The only hope anybody who wants to affect the "common good" has is to have a positive effect on those you have immediate contact with. That is all anybody can do. That means take care of your family and friends, and be voluntarily charitable to those immediately around you. Anybody who doesn’t do this and simultaneously calls for government to do these things with other people’s money is doing more harm to "society" than could be fixed by any government program.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
"There is no such thing as a "common good".

There is no way to address this or the other absolutist maxims on this site. These are beliefs, like religious beliefs, and are not transcendental truths.

This exemplifies why I was reluctant to enter into a broad discussion with MCQ and Pablo. When you guys start and end every debate with these axioms, it leaves out everything that constitutes the messiness of people with different ipinions living together in the same country.

I would much rather stand back, look at what is going on in our country, and make decisions on an issue by issue basis.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
There is no way to address this or the other absolutist maxims on this site.
What other absolutist maxims on this site?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
There is no such thing as a "common good".

There is no way to address this or the other absolutist maxims on this site. These are beliefs, like religious beliefs, and are not transcendental truths.

This exemplifies why I was reluctant to enter into a broad discussion with MCQ and Pablo.
Please quote either of us as having said that, or anything like it.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://

 
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