1994-08-31 - Re: Bad govt represents bad people?

Header Data

From: jamesd@netcom.com (James A. Donald)
To: sw@tiac.net (Steve Witham)
Message Hash: c1b0a58a8c533bbb884bdd996d5db54fb6678baedce28aa3ef090ec02b032c8e
Message ID: <199408311747.KAA22083@netcom8.netcom.com>
Reply To: <199408310638.CAA14167@zork.tiac.net>
UTC Datetime: 1994-08-31 17:56:34 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 31 Aug 94 10:56:34 PDT

Raw message

From: jamesd@netcom.com (James A. Donald)
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 94 10:56:34 PDT
To: sw@tiac.net (Steve Witham)
Subject: Re: Bad govt represents bad people?
In-Reply-To: <199408310638.CAA14167@zork.tiac.net>
Message-ID: <199408311747.KAA22083@netcom8.netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Steve Witham writes
> Right, and I was saying maybe not even majority rule or will of the herd,
> but a system with a dynamic of its own.  People get the government they
> don't know how to stop.  I don't know what to expect of everyday people
> when even the brightest anarchists haven't found a working solution.

Actually several solutions were discovered long ago.  After Athenian democracy
self destructed, the various warring parties found that they could only
have peace if they disowned omnipotent government.  They put together a 
peace agreement that in part proclaimed limits to government,  in part
acknowledged inherent limits to what was proper for governments to do
and in part guaranteed that the government would not go beyond what 
it was proper for government to do, that the majority could not do 
as it pleased with the minority, that not any act of power was a law, 
that law was not merely whatever the government willed.

They did not agree on a constitution but agreed to respect an
unwritten constitution that already existed in some sense.

A similar arrangement underlies the American constitution (now defunct)
and the English declaration of right (also defunct)

The problem with such formal peace agreements is that they can only be put 
together after government has substantially collapsed.  Some
of us wish to try other possibilities in the event of collapse.

The American constitution collapsed because of the rise of nominalist
theories "The constitution says whatever the courts say that it

If they needed a constitutional amendment to ban alcohol, why did
they suddenly decide that they did not need a constitutional amendment
to ban cocaine and tommy guns?

Despite frequent violations, the American Constitution was substantially
observed for 150 years, and only was massively violated with the 
rise of nominalism.

Rand's theory of concepts seems like hokum to me, but her argument 
that philosophy matters is absolutely true.

Rights and sound philosophy are like condoms.  The usual cause
of condom failure is that you did not actually wear the condom
when you should have.