Conservative First

February 22, 2009

The Key Question about Government

Filed under: Culture,Politics — Sofie @ 3:01 pm
Tags: , , ,

Yesterday I finished a class offered by the Independence Institute, taught by Penn Pfiffner, and titled Free People Free Markets: Principles of Liberty. (It will be offered again starting June 27.) Penn gave us copies of his freedom reading list, which included The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein.

I first read this book, and a lot of others he wrote, when I was in junior high or high school, and I’ve been rereading it the last few days. The following exchange struck me more this time than when I’ve read it before. Manuel Garcia O’Kelly, Wyoming Knott, and Professor de la Paz have just decided to start a revolution against the governing authority on the Moon, and the Professor is trying to determine what Mannie’s political philosophy is. (I took out the extraneous dialogue and identified each speaker for the sake of clarity.)

Prof: “For example, under what circumstances may the State justly place its welfare above that of a citizen?”

Mannie: “Prof, as I see, are no circumstances under which State is justified in placing its welfare ahead of mine.”

Prof: “Good. We have a starting point.”

Wyoh: “Mannie, . . . that’s a most self-centered evaluation.”

Mannie: “I’m a most self-centered person.”

Wyoh: “Oh, nonsense. Who rescued me? Me, a stranger. And didn’t try to exploit it. . . . Mannie was a perfect knight.”

Prof: “Sans peur et sans reproche. I knew, I’ve known him for years. Which is not inconsistent with evaluation he expressed.”

Wyoh: “Oh, but it is! Not the way things are but under the ideal toward which we aim. Mannie, the ‘State’ is Luna. Even though not sovereign yet and we hold citizenships elsewhere. But I am part of the Lunar State and so is your family. Would you die for your family?”

Mannie: “Two questions not related.”

Wyoh: “Oh, but they are! That’s the point”

Mannie: “Nyet. I know my family, opted long ago.”

Prof: “Dear Lady, I must come to Manuel’s defense. He has a correct evaluation even though he may not be able to state it. May I ask this? Under what circumstances is it moral for a group to do that which is not moral for a member of that group to do alone?”

Wyoh: “Uh . . . that’s a trick question.”

Prof: “It is the key question, dear Wyoming. A radical question that strikes to the root of the whole dilemma of government. Anyone who answers honestly and abides by all consequences knows where he stands–and what he will die for” (63-64).

The Professor is right: That is the key question about government. If it’s wrong for me to use force to take money or land from another person, how is it right for the government to do so?

Work Cited: Heinlein, Robert A. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1966.

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December 10, 2008

Display of Ignorance at Change.gov

Obama’s Change.gov website has a page where people can ask and vote on questions for the President-Select.  (I don’t believe that the Electoral College has met yet.)  Here are two of the top twenty questions right now:

  • “Will you introduce legislation to enable refinancing of older student loans with high interest rates (8.5% and more) into the lower rates currently available? You can refinance any other kind of loan except student loans and that’s not fair.” [liked by 507 people and increasing]
  • “What legislation will you introduce to preserve Net Neutrality and stop the telecom industry from eviscerating the greatest communication medium of all time?” [liked by 461 people and increasing]

Have these people forgotten or did they never learn that it’s the legislative branch that introduces legislation not the executive branch?

By the way, how much legislation did Obama introduce while he was in the legislative branch?

This site could provide some humor and insight into the liberal thinking processes–or lack thereof–in the near future.

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