Sunday, September 06, 2009

"The Common Good"

"Common" in this case means "collective", rather than "ordinary". Its meaning is closer to "communist" or "everyone" than to the more "common" meaning. "General welfare" is another way to say the exact same thing.

What is "good"? Good is something that actively helps or benefits someone who is not harming others. It isn't just an absence of "evil" since there are neutral acts that are neither "good" nor "evil", such as walking across the room. (It is never "good" to help harm innocent people. This is an excellent reason to refuse to help the police. Ever.)

So, "the common good" (or "general welfare") would be something that helps "everyone".

The only way to help "everyone" is to help the individual. Yet, most of the time "the common good" is invoked as an excuse to harm the individual. When that individual is not deserving harm right now, then the act of harming him is evil. Violating the rights of an individual; taking away the freedom of an individual, except as an act of individual self-defense, is not serving "the common good" in any way. It only serves the state and other parasites. Instead of imagining you are helping the majority, you need to think about the minority you are harming. That is the true measure of the "good" of your acts. It is better to do nothing (and therefore not help some people) than to do something which harms some who do not deserve to be harmed right now.

Government is good? Part 1

I believe in fairness, especially if there is no danger in being fair. Since my offer to a supporter of government (a person who actually dared to say "I like government") to write a guest column on why government is so wonderful never materialized, I offer an dissenting voice today.

I found a website, named "Government is Good", and it is astonishing. I highly recommend you go read the entire article I am discussing today (as well as the other articles therein), and as you do, rationally and logically dissect the claims made. I think you will see that the entire premise is dependent upon an utter lack of understanding, or "creative defining", of "freedom" and "good". Since the author is a professor of politics at a university, I have to assume he is an intelligent person. Unfortunately, that also means I must assume he knows better. I think he is displaying an abominable level of intellectual dishonesty.

Let's look at his claims:

"Let’s start by seeing what is wrong with the assumption that there is an
inevitable trade-off between government and our individual rights and

If something always, without fail, happens, is it not "inevitable"? Point to an actual extant or historical example of a government that hasn't violated individual rights in any way. Any "trade-off" must be considered. You must include violations on those points where you happen to think the violation was necessary or good- if you are being honest.

What is "government"? It is a system of control. What is "control"? It is a loss of freedom. Some "freedoms" may not be ethical and may not be a "right", but the only reasonable way to deal with this is to let people set boundaries and enforce their own rights without fear of being further violated by government enforcement of some nonsensical "law".

Then he goes on:

"So the size and extent of government activity, by itself, tells us nothing
about how free or oppressive a society is."

Perhaps, if you don't consider that everything the government does requires money, and that governments do not earn money; they take it. Under threat of force. The bigger the government is, the more expensive. The deeper the government reaches, the more expensive it is. Are you just as free if 70% of your money is taken by government as you are if "only" 10% is taken? I think not. Is not a slave oppressed simply because he lacks the final say in running his own life? He must ask permission for the majority of his actions. Just as government, even the most "non-intrusive" government, demands.

We can see the creative mind tricks the author is passing off as "scholarly observations". Do we fall for them?

Due to the length this column has already attained, and the importance of countering such absurd claims, I have split this article into two parts. Please join me tomorrow for Part 2.