Saturday, August 27, 2011

Re: FW: Proper Role of Government

From: Coston, Cory P


The attached essay explains the foundation of my political viewpoints:

Rights only come from God.  Rights include life, liberty, and property (or stewardship over the earth).  We are authorized to defend our life, liberty and property with force, even lethal force should it be absolutely necessary.  Proper government is simply an institution whereby the governed delegate the protection of these rights to their government officials.  Dept. of State, Dept. of Defense, and the Federal Court System are clearly the type of institutions that fit the role of a proper government.

Collective action has no moral authority.  What is wrong for 1 person to do is still wrong for 300 million people to do.  If it is wrong for me extort money from another with the threat of force, then it is wrong for my government to do the same.  Government taxation to pay for anything other than protecting our God given rights is immoral.  Endowment for the Arts, Food Stamps, Unemployment, NASA, Welfare, Medicare, and too many others to list do not protect rights.  If the funds collected to pay for this charitable giving were optional then that would be fine.  However the IRS extorts money from people every day to pay for these programs.

Charity is an individual responsibility which will yield blessings from God.  We do not receive benefits when compelled by force to be charitable.



From: John Coffey 

To say that Rights come from God is to say that we know what God wants.  I claim that we can't know that, nor can we be sure that God exists.  I see very little in the Bible that supports rights, instead quite the contrary.  

Therefore the concept of Rights is largely a human construct.  I prefer to live in a society that respects my life and my property and my freedom, and so does everyone else.   Therefore it is to every one's mutual advantage to form a compact to maintain such a society.

However, that opens the door to for people to interpret what is a right.  One person might think that he has an absolute right to property while another person might think that he has an absolute right to eat even if he can't provide that for himself.  In practice, society defines rights.

If there were such a thing as a natural right then I think that it would be the Libertarian principle:  Everyone has a right to do what they want so long as they don't interfere with the same rights of others.  i.e. My right to swing my fist stops before it gets to your nose.   Even that can be a little vague.  The reason why I think that there is a natural right is because humans for the most part have a strong desire to be free.  

However, as Milton Freedman said, I don't think that freedom is the natural state of man.  Most of the human experience has been some form of oppression.  I think that we are experiencing some form of oppression right now.  This doesn't necessarily have to be limited to the government.  It can happen if some people become too powerful and have too much control over other people, but for the most part I think that government is the culprit.

Best wishes,

From: Larry Trout

I do believe it is governments role to protect property rights.

'The Fifth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution declare that governments cannot deprive any person of "life, liberty, or property" without due process of law.'

Unfortunately governments can deprive us of happiness without due process J

From: Larry Trout

'The seventeenth-century cleric and philosopher Richard Cumberland wrote in 1672 that promoting the well-being of our fellow humans is essential to the "pursuit of our own happiness."[2] John Locke, in his 1689 "A Letter Concerning Toleration," wrote that "Civil interest I call life, liberty, health, and indolency of body; and the possession of outward things..." Locke wrote in his 1693 Essay Concerning Human Understanding that "the highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness." [3] Locke never associated natural right with happiness, but in 1693 Locke's philosophical opponent Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz made such an association in the introduction to his Codex Iuris Gentium.[4] William Wollaston's 1722 book The Religion of Nature Delineated describes the "truest definition" of "natural religion" as being "The pursuit of happiness by the practice of reason and truth."[5] The 1763 English translation of Jean Jacques Burlamaqui's Principles of Natural and Politic Law extolled the "noble pursuit" of "true and solid happiness" in the opening chapter discussing natural rights.[6]

The first and second article of the Virginia Declaration of Rights adopted unanimously by the Virginia Convention of Delegates on June 12, 1776 and written by George Mason, is:

    That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

Benjamin Franklin was in agreement with Thomas Jefferson in downplaying protection of "property" as a goal of government. It is noted that Franklin found property to be a "creature of society" and thus, he believed that it should be taxed as a way to finance civil society.[7] The United States Declaration of Independence, which was primarily drafted by Jefferson, was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.'

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