Friday, January 9, 2009

Long break is over...

Well, after weathering household sickness and the Nativity season, I'm back. Yeah.

I found this over at New Republic:

“Liberalism wagers that a state... can be strong but constrained – strong because constrained... Rights to education and other requirements for human development and security aim to advance equal opportunity and personal dignity and to promote a creative and productive society. To guarantee those rights, liberals have supported a wider social and economic role for the state, counterbalanced by more robust guarantees of civil liberties and a wider social system of checks and balances anchored in an independent press and pluralistic society” – The New Republic

Absurd, isn't it? Despite being completely unfounded in any of the traditions that founded this country, it's full of logical holes. Let's tear it apart.

1. A state cannot be both strong and constrained. A strong entity seeks to break free of or subvert its constraints, by definition. Otherwise, it is not strong. History shows a strong state will exert its strength and trample on the rights of its subjects, on a continuum from simple self-preservation to the consolidation of maximum power and control in the hands of a few, with the rest being functional chattels of the state

2. If a man is truly free, his personal development and security (physical, social, economic) is his responsibility alone to secure, and is limited only his own innate ability and desire. To suggest that the state has a role in providing for an INDIVIDUAL’S development and security is to admit that a man is NOT free. For men to be free, government must be limited to the protection of the lives and property of the people and enforcement of contacts freely entered into between people.

3. Government cannot counterbalance itself, and strong government inevitably tramples on civil liberties. A “social” system of check and balances, as opposed to the constitutionally defined system, is inherently flawed. Society is fickle and prone to sway by demagogues, and a “pluralistic” society can be set against itself by fear-mongers and people who would exert control over others for personal gain. The press is only as independent as the political attitudes and opinions of its members, and indeed each member’s concept of the role of journalism in society. Should a majority of journalists become aligned with a particular political philosophy, or be of the opinion that it is the journalist’s duty to press for change rather then report events, the press ceases to become independent.

As always, comments are welcome.