October 11, 2004

"The Government is Best That Governs Least," My Ass.

What Thoreau and Emerson just dont seem to understand is that man cannot possibly be classified as a moral animal. Everyone has a conscience, and yes, that conscience governs that person, but every one of those conscience's is different. What to one man might be just and moral, to another man might be the foulest sin.

Perhaps you could say that man is generally good, but the problem with this is that there is then no set definition of what "good" is. If one man believes he is justified in killing another, then mightn't that action be considered good? At least to one with moral values similar to his? Think back to the classic tale of Robin Hood; A band of men who steal from the rich and give to the poor. They were still stealing, but for a "good" cause. When reading this story, the reader tends to get the impression that Robin Hood is the good guy, even though he is breaking the moral rule we are all brought up with: that it is wrong to steal.

This is why man will always need an organized government; to enforce, through laws, a strict definition of what is "good," and what is "evil."

Posted by PaulCrossman at October 11, 2004 1:30 PM

Robin Hood was breaking the law, though still maintaining the "good guy" image. The law was the one that was wrong in that case. How then is the government enforcing the "good guy/bad guy" image?

Posted by: Diana at October 11, 2004 2:14 PM

Robin Hood was stealing. Just because the government was wrong does not mean that Robin Hood cannot be wrong as well. The two are not mutually exclusive. I didn't say that all governments were right, merely that without government there would be no common ground on which to judge moral values.

Posted by: Paul Crossman at October 11, 2004 2:28 PM

Thomas Paine never advocated anarchy. He certainly understood the necessity for government. The fact that government is necessary
does not contradict the premise of "government is best which governs least", except in the minds of those with an insatiable appetite for controlling the lives of other people, or those who love and find security in being controlled.

Posted by: Charles Wilson at October 19, 2004 10:06 AM

I understand, poster, but you are applying the mindset to today's society. If governed, then all of a sudden, no laws, that would create disorder, yes. But the theory of little governing by big brother is a slow gradual process, where one is born into this anarchaic world where one knows not of the possibilities of doing wrong. One would be raised knowing that wrongs go punished by guilt and loss of respect, like a child. Mothers need no government to keep their childred from commitinig murder. One would learn that you just dont do it, another thing, Thoreau, the one who's quote oyu are questioning, was also against large societies. This means to television news telling you that it is perfectly normal to do wrong. Thoreau, a Harvard graduate, lived in the woods for two years to prove to the world that it is a very rewarding lifestyle, the only law that Thoreau broke was refusing to pay taxes when he knew his tax money was going to fight the Spanigh-American war, sir.

Posted by: paul at November 21, 2004 4:40 PM
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