Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We Need More Idealism?

The headline to this article from The USA Today reads, "Nation Needs Youthful Idealism More Than Ever."

Notice the sacrifices that the author and editor made in order to publish such a title. It might have read "Nation Needs Common Sense More Than Ever," or "Nation Needs Good Ideas More Than Ever," or "Nation Needs Wise Policy Makers More Than Ever."

Instead, the article refers to "Youthful Idealism," whatever that means. Does that mean the puppy-eyed wish for everything just to work out? Does that mean the belief that if you want something bad enough it will come true?

What this nation needs if for people of all ages to realize that governments on all levels have us astray--and by their very nature always will. The article mentions a "can-do" attitude that is apparently one of our core-values. Were this the case, then the federal government would be smaller even than Jefferson imagined. Instead, Americans don't really value the "can-do" spirit, otherwise they wouldn't employ bureaucrats backed by well-armed soldiers to make policy by fiat. There are no bailouts in the "can-do" spirit.

Part of the problem is that Americans have developed a foolish idealism that envisions the government as the best and primary instrument of progress, when history shows that what governments do best is wage wars, tyrannize subjects, and loot economies of their resources.

Saying we need more idealism is like saying that we need more voo-doo, but worse.


  1. I would equate this characterization of government being inherently bad to the argument of an atheist apologetic who argues against religion because of the harm that "religion" has caused. It is far to easy to put things (politicians, catholic priests, etc) into one basket and judge that basket on the averages, or more precisely our perception of the averages. While a non-relativist perspective would gather that only one religious view could be characterized as correct, thus yielding all others invalid (to some degree), governments do not seem as black and white.

    While some are obviously tyrannical and unrighteous, the righteously or relatively goodness of different semblances of states is debatable, e.g. a monarchy could be as effective as an aristocracy depending on who is in charge.

  2. You stated what they really mean at the end of your rant. They want more of that "foolish idealism that envisions the government as the best and primary instrument of progress." Just substitute "youthful" for "foolish", and you're there. Any intelligent person over 30 will probably realize the similarities between youthful and foolish anyways.

  3. Drew:

    Some things are always bad, no matter who is behind them.

    The list includes murder, rape, theft, assault, Keanu Reeves, kidnapping, and government.

    Just because it seems "like" the atheist argument--which we both reject--doesn't mean that it falls into the same trap.

    Study history. So-called "Good Governments" are those that violated the rights of the people much less than other governments.

    Just because 500 degrees is much less than 50,000 degrees doesn't make it much better for me.

  4. Thomas Paine said that government, at its best was "a necessary evil," and at its worst was "an intolerable one."

    Evil is evil. Good is good. There is no good in evil. Evil is the absence of good, just as dark is the absence of light, and cold is the absence of heat.

    What history proves is that government in all forms--whatever deprives a man of his life, liberty, or property (which ALL governments do--admittedly some to a lesser extent, but still all do)--is evil.

    Are you to argue that some form of evil is necessary?

    I think not. Evil, even in its lesser forms, must be stamped away.

    You know this!

  5. Wow, you really got bent out of shape over that one. I didn't know that Bob dragged you all the way down the anarcho-capitalist rabbit hole.

    Seems like your taking it personally - as if I learned nothing from you. I've come to the conclusion that people are the problem. In the absence of gov't people would still impose violence on other people; they would still steal; they would still extort. People are the problem - no matter how they choose to organize (or disorganize).

    Do not store up treasures in this realm, but store up treasures in heaven. This realm is fleeting...

  6. Yes, people are the problem. You are right about that!

    When organized into such a powerful position as government, the people in that government make the problem even worse.

    Think about it. Which has caused more destruction of life, liberty, and property: some guy in Idaho who hates Jews, or the GOVERNMENT of Germany in the 1930's and early 1940's?

    Government just gives too much power to people, which you readily admit are the problem.

    Should we start assigning confirmed pedophiles to elementary schools?

    Of course the answer is no.

    Similarly, you should see my point.

    History provides example after example of how governments are bad. Every good thing that any government has ever done could have been accomplished by plain folk. Everything awful that governments have ever done could only be accomplished if they were governments.


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