Saturday, July 28, 2007

A sustainable and just civilization requires that we adhere to moral principles when we engage in political action.

Civilization is doomed to failure when we use powerful instruments (such as the voting booth and political process) in ways that are not consistent with our basic moral principles.

If we enter the voting booth and pull the lever for a candidate who promotes policies that would mean government exercizing power against peaceful people, then we have violated the Golden Rule. This fundamental moral principle strongly suggests or even requires that we let people be when they are not bothering anyone. (Don't do to others that which you would not have others do to you.)

We need to look not for Republican or Democratic candidates. We need to look for candidates who put libertarian and green together. Republicans and Democrats both support policies that involve coercion against peaceful people. Republicans and Democrats want a government that regulates private behavior. But since no person has authority to compel or coerce another person's private behavior, we cannot legitimately delegate such authority to governments.

If we are electing representatives to act in our name but we do not insist that their action be limited, so as to keep within the principles that we believe in, then we will have representatives who act on our behalf in ways contrary to our principles. In such a situation, it becomes more likely that representatives will be distracted by excessive demands for government action that would impinge on private behavior, to the neglect of necessary action by government to regulate public behavior. This necessary action, which appears to be neglected in today's politics, would include efforts to limit the rates of taking of natural resources and the putting of pollution, efforts to limit the extent of paving and monoculture on the Earth, efforts to manage allocation of broadcast spectrum space for various public interest uses, etc.

When I asked my Congressman where is the source of the authority of government to initiate force or violence against peaceful people, I got no reply. (If no individual has such authority, no group of two or twenty has such authority and if no group of 49% of the people has such authority, then how could 50% of the people plus one more person have authority to enact policies that involve coercion against non-offending people? Government gets its power from the consent of the governed, but if the people have no power to initiate force or coercion, then they cannot delegate such power to government.)

My friend says that I can't raise a philosophical point with my Congressman. He says that lawmakers can only understand appeals for concrete action. I think we must be able to raise moral questions if we want a sustainable and just civilization.

A cure for what ails the planet