Wednesday, November 20, 2013

No way to run a society

Recently the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, hosted a debate on the Common Core State Standards, a set of federal standards for school curricula.   At about the 53 minute mark, Chester Finn, who according to Wikipedia is a former professor of education and an educational policy analyst, was responding to a question about letting parents (and therefore the free market) make the decisions for their children s' education.  He made the statement that parents won't do the work needed and then followed it up with this doozy:
 “is that a way to run a society?”
In response, I'd like to quote from the Constitution.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Near as I can tell, nowhere does it suggest that we formed a government to run our society.  We formed our government for the things listed above, we can damn well run our society on our own.  The purpose of government in this country, and what it should be in more countries, is to free up the people to live their lives, not to run us.  The more I study, the more I think that this is the biggest problem in this country (and in most of the "free" world), the idea that the government exists to run the society.  There is no logical progression of thought that doesn't eventually lead from this point to absolute totalitarianism.  If the government is there to run the society, then the government gets to decide what aspects are the most in need of being run, and do what is needed to make them run "properly".  What argument can be made that government should not do a particular thing once that point is conceded?


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