My Ideal Government

I feel divided about governmant.

I want a liberal government. This means a government that tolerates diversity and privileges no group. This means a government that isn’t oppressive and authoritarian. This means a government that is built on and promotes a positive, shared vision expressed through a sense of community belonging.

I want a conservative government. This means a government that conserves the best from the past and conserves public resources. This means a government that follows the precautionary principle, considering very carefully and with great deliberation before acting. This means a government that thinks about long term sustainability and values social order, both in terms of responsibilities and obligations, both in terms of the collective and the individual.

I want a democratic government. This means a government that is participatory and based on the consent of the governed. This means a government with transparency and accountability. This means a government that is separate from and independent from religious authority, corporate power, and the undue influence or unfair manipulation of any other private interest.

I want a socialist government. This means a government that puts public good above and before private interest. This means a government based on compassion and cooperation where there is a functioning safety net that ensures no one falls through cracks. This means a government that stops people and organizations from privatizing benefits while socializing costs (and other forms of externalizing costs).

I want a civil libertarian government. This means a government that upholds and defends basic human rights and freedoms. This means a government that allows and promotes individual choice to the degree it doesn’t infringe upon others, inluding future generations. This means a government that treats all people equally and fairly, no exceptions, no unjust discrimination or special privileges.

I say I feel divided because I live in a society that is divided, not because there is any inherent conflict between these political views. Instead, I see all of these as being inseparable. They are equally necessary for creating and maintaining an effective government while also guaranteeing basic moral standards.

So, despite there being no inevitable conflict on the level of theory, these ideological principles and values have never been fully nd functionally combined in a single government. Part of me is drawn to side with the anarchists, whether anarchosyndicalists or anarchoprimitivists. Maybe the problem isn’t in any particular form of government so much as it is a problem of big government or modern government in general. Civilization has grown so large as to have become seemingly unwieldy.

However, to some extent, government grew larger in response to the problems of small government or else entirely lacking. Complaining about the solutions that have developed isn’t necessarily helpful in dealing with the original problems that preceded them. Plus, we’ve become so adept at creating collective problems (war, overpopulation, plagues, mass starvation, pollution, global warming, etc) that we don’t have the luxury of ignoring collective solutions, assuming we don’t want all of civilization to collapse.

I’m fairly sure we are past the point of no return. We seem stuck on the path we are on, although we could always try to blaze a new trail in a direction never before taken. One way or another, we have no choice but to move foreward somehow. Some look forward and see dystopia or doom, but I’d like to believe that humanity might one day live up to at least a small fraction of its potential.

3 thoughts on “My Ideal Government

  1. I think government is a work in progress. In order for it to be effective it needs to combine all of the characteristics you describe above. The European social democracies seem to have done a better job of this than we have in the US, their financial difficulties are due in large measure to the shenanigans on Wall St. But I’m optimistic that perhaps with the re-election of President Obama we might be going more down this road, but I acknowledge that it will be a difficult battle.

    • I more or less think along those lines you describe. I don’t know to what extent we are actually going down this road. My view is just that I’m unconvinced that either Republicans or the Far Left are offering good alternative possibilities. Most doomsayers look backward which is the opposite of helpful.

      • Yes which is why you can’t put too much stock in what the doomsayers say. Many look back at a time that a) never existed and b) had different challenges than the ones we face today.

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