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What is the proper role for government?(54 posts)

What is the proper role for government?dr hoo
Dec 1, 2003 4:00 AM
Is the government best when it protects our rights, or is it better when it keeps to the punishment of violation of rights?

Is the best government founded on the individual liberty of its EACH of its citizens, or is it best when it does the greatest good for the greatest number... even if a few get screwed in the process?

I just don't know, and my head is spinning trying to think about it! When I don't know something, I can always trust that you all will help me find the TRUTH of the matter.
This thread will get ugly,TJeanloz
Dec 1, 2003 6:36 AM
There are of course no easy answers to these questions, and many people see things very differently. Take the First Amendment; some people clearly believe that it is the Government's role to promote open and honest dialogue - I saw an interview with the Dixie Chicks who said that their freedom of speech was being infringed after their notorious comments; and they believed that the Government should have sanctioned radio stations that didn't play their records. Others, [myself included] see the First Amendment as affirmation of what the Government cannot do - not a license to promote speech of all kinds.

I do think the Government's role is to ensure a basic set of human rights - but not impede beyond those. It shouldn't be in the business of screwing anybody. Ideally, it should execute its functions with a fair hand over the entire population. Unfortunately, what I see as fair, and what others see as fair are very different.
Only ugly because the libs on this boardOldEdScott
Dec 1, 2003 6:59 AM
refuse to see the truth. They've been brainwashed by the media since they were babies, what can you expect?
Least government always best.OldEdScott
Dec 1, 2003 6:45 AM
'Greatest good for the greatest number' just means that the government is sticking its hands into MY pocket, stealing MY money, to give it to people who aren't as hardworking as me -- or who don't even work at all -- and who haven't taken the individual responsibility I did to get an education and make some money so I and my family can be secure. Theft plain and simple, if you ask me.

When you say 'a few get screwed in the process.' I must say that as one of the 'few,' I have contributed a lot more to this society than the 'many' who want a piece of my income. So I believe we 'few' should have more say in how this country is run.

If people aren't even motivated to get an education and hold a job, what makes us think they're qualified to vote and make decisions for our democracy?
So now you're a Republican? nmLive Steam
Dec 1, 2003 7:35 AM
Libertarian. nmOldEdScott
Dec 1, 2003 7:38 AM
Oxydittos! :O)nm128
Dec 1, 2003 7:55 AM
Dammit, Ed. You are so messed up.moneyman
Dec 1, 2003 7:59 AM
Unbelievable how cold and callous you are. "I got mine"? How fair is that? And yes, fair IS what governement is about. It should exist to create a fair playing field for all its citizens. When them what's got keep it from them that needs, it is completely unfair and the antithesis to the very bedrock of our legal, moral and ethical foundation - That all (wo)men are created equal. If that's the case, how can you possibly turn your back on the most needy members of our society? Our collective dollars, as represented by our government, are the only resource large enough to make a difference. Once we eliminate the selfish, disingenuous, "me first" attitude of people like you, we will all be better off.

Cold? Callous? It's MY money! I should decideOldEdScott
Dec 1, 2003 8:04 AM
if, when, how and with whom I 'share' it!

I'm surprised a hardy pioneer Son of Wyoming would take the unself-reliant attitude you take.
But what about the rest of the world?moneyman
Dec 1, 2003 9:22 AM
Where is your responsibility to humanity? Government is the only way to ensure that we are all taken care of. If we left it up to the individual, we'd all be in trouble.

And please don't talk to me about my state. That's another thread entirely.

Dec 1, 2003 8:04 AM
maybe i can get my company to do a direct deposit of the 45% thats left after taxes of my paycheck into the Iaintworkinanddontplanto,orgetoffmyasstowork foundation.
Yeah don't you ...Live Steam
Dec 1, 2003 8:07 AM
think about the poor little guy on the street that didn't have the same opportunities you had? We have a moral obligation to pick that little guy up and provide every opportunity for him to succeed no matter how many times he fails and no matter the cost, because he is the wealth of our nation! It's not always about the powerful and how they can manipulate the system to their favor.
Dec 1, 2003 9:14 AM
i'm with you. why squander what we have on what got us where we are? lets try to make a cfo from the wino on the street, or a senator from the prostitue on the corner? lets take every available dollar and every second of time we have and invest it in those who will always let us down because its the "nice" thing to do. reality is just so overrated, dont you think?
The only fair way...No_sprint
Dec 1, 2003 9:19 AM
is slave reparations.

our government must first focus on making good for all the bad that's been done throughout our history.

everything else is secondary.
Dec 1, 2003 9:22 AM
we start with your house
Dec 1, 2003 9:27 AM
I think it's one of those *wierd* Mondays where we go entirely opposite, therefore, we can start with your place! :)
Dec 1, 2003 9:29 AM
i bet dougs house is bigger, start there.
Rufu's place won't do muchNo_sprint
Dec 1, 2003 9:31 AM
He likely doesn't have a sewer connection or running water. He washes his clothes without soap in the river. :)
What the HECK is "fair"...oldbutslow
Dec 1, 2003 7:34 PM
and who the heck is going to determine what that standard is??? And while your at it, maybe you can define what a "Living Wage" is and who is going to determine that? Oh, wait, I know, the UN. It's the answer for everything!!
Can of worms that I love to open.53T
Dec 1, 2003 7:11 AM
What type of govenment are you talking about? A local town council, a soverign state, a nation, a federation?

The traditional roots of national government date to a time when leaders needed to organize the peasants to raise funds and fight wars. These two central functions are still at the core of most modern governments.

Today, I look to governments at all levels to provide an environment where individuals can put their talents to the best use, where markets can function, where productivity can rise, and greatness can follow.

A good list of roles for a federal government can be found in the preamble to the US Constitution.

To address the questions of your tortured soul: There is little difference in protecting rights and punishing those that violate them. It is not necesarrily a conflict to found a government based on individual liberty, and to strive to do the most good for the most people.

There is no right answer, but I admire your efforts to ask the big questions, and think the big thoughts. Without these efforts we are left to run the nation based on gossip and religion.
I don't see tham being mutually exclusive eitherLive Steam
Dec 1, 2003 7:50 AM
Enforcing laws that are in place vs protecting the rights of individuals, that is. The gun advocates have been preaching this for years. More laws are not needed. Better enforcement of existing laws is needed.

How does the government protect rights other than to impose punishment for those that violate the rights of others? First you need to determine what "rights" the government has a responsibility for protecting. You need to draw a line between what is an inalienable right and what is a social entitlement. They are very different. I think this is where company parts between the left and right - between liberal and conservative. That is why I was surprised to read Ed's response above. He says it's a Libertarian stance. It may very well be but it sure sounds rather like a conservative Republican speaking to me. Aren't the sentiments he expressed where we generally find our division?
proactive vs reactive.dr hoo
Dec 1, 2003 9:10 AM
Criminal penalties are for those that violate rights. You steal, violating my right to property, and you go to jail.

Other laws are designed to protect us. Seatbelt/helmet laws are PROTECTIVE laws. Designed to protect people before something bad happens to them.

In the first case bad things happen to people who do bad things. In the second case bad things happen to people that fail to do GOOD things.

Just a point of clarification.
Yes, but how does that applyLive Steam
Dec 1, 2003 11:23 AM
The seatbelt example is imposed on the individual and is intended to protect that individual from themself. It is not protecting any "right" that is impinged upon by another. It actually impinges upon the right of that individual to live the way they see fit. Not that I have any problem with that. wink, wink After all, the law is not really designed to protect the individual, but rather is designed to protect others from the error of the individual's ways. Society is less likely to have to deal with that particular individual's melon squashed all over Highway 1 and less emergency services will be needed to save that person because they were forced to wear a restraining device.

I need an example that shows how an imposed law on an individual protects the rights of that individual over the rights of the society.
I always learn so much reading your posts!dr hoo
Dec 1, 2003 12:59 PM
"The seatbelt example is imposed on the individual and is intended to protect that individual from themself. "

EXACTLY! And we have the RIGHT to life. So the government using force (fines, threats of armed police) is justified in PROTECTING our lives. Protect and serve.

"After all, the law is not really designed to protect the individual, but rather is designed to protect others from the error of the individual's ways".

See above: right to life. However, you are spot on as usual on the point that we pay for the clean up, so saving money AND saving life is doubly justified!

"I need an example that shows how an imposed law on an individual protects the rights of that individual over the rights of the society."

I am not sure how "society" has rights. Could you expand on this interesting communist concept?

Anyway, an example. Hmmmm, how about child custody rights for parents? We give biological parents this control, EVEN IF there is a better alternative to raise the child (like adoption, more distant relative, etc.) This leads to damaged/criminal children that costs society big $$$. But doing this upholds a critical aspect of the individual RIGHT of REPRODUCTION: the ESSENTIAL biological link between parent and child.
I don't learn much anymore.53T
Dec 1, 2003 1:57 PM
You exactly correct that society has no rights, steam does slip into "popular politics" sometimes ;) Furthermore, the government has no rights, even states do not have rights, despite the way "State's rights" rolls off the tounge.

If you are going to discuss the natural rights of Englishmen, you have to separate the State government from the federal. State Governments have very little to do with protecting your rights, as we now know them. A state will use its "broad police powers" to protect the public safety, health and morals, with little regard for anybody's rights. If a state goes too far in trampling the rights of a US citzen (we are all US citizens since 1870-something) the federal courts will step in and uphold an individual right.

Seat belts are a perfect example of a state government acting to protect the public safety. The feds would have trouble passing the same law, which is a good thing.

As far as parenting rights, well I for one am happy that the states show some restraint in stealing babies from parents. I mean really, there are some limits to the conduct of a just government, are there not?
"ensure the domestic welfare"DougSloan
Dec 1, 2003 7:21 AM
The government can and should do whatever it's citizens ask it to do, and "the welfare of the people shall be the supreme law" ("Salus populi suprema lex esto" -- the motto of the state of Missouri). It is, after all, the "government of the people, by the people, for the people..."

Therefore, if the people want a government that protects our rights, then they get it. But, it probably should be doing both. Corporations, and sometimes municipalities, have vast sums of money available to take on individuals who have had rights violated, and they can't afford to vindicate their own rights. Only the government, like when acting through the EEOC, has the resources to do so. That's exactly what the government should be doing, facilitate and punish.

The government should be neither solely utilitarian nor focused solely on individual rights. It should do both, in balance. Neither is more important. We have evolved, politically, into an interdependent whole, where the individual depends upon society and society depends on the individual.

Bah. At that point we'll be nothing But a welfare state...rwbadley
Dec 1, 2003 8:02 AM
as all those lazy @ss sobs already realize they need do nothing but sit back and wait for the next Liberal 'program' to meet their needs. These bumpkins live far better than the average working stiff in China putting in 14 hours a day of honest work making tennis shoes and such.

The kicker is, who's paying for all this largess for the unwashed masses We are!!
Is it better to have them sleeping in boxes on the street?Live Steam
Dec 1, 2003 8:11 AM
You would rather spend money on bombs than feed your neighbor who may not have things going in his favor at the moment? I say we can't spend enough money on education and programs designed to make the playing field more equal for those who for one reason or another, haven't gotten it yet. You know, a chicken in every pot!
Hey, my grandparents lived into their 80s, and workedOldEdScott
Dec 1, 2003 8:15 AM
every day and slept in a box in the street too. If they can do it, I certainly fail to see why others can't.
Wouldn't you have prefered if ...Live Steam
Dec 1, 2003 8:19 AM
there was some sort of safety net for them? Don't you think they could have used a helping hand from the federal government. I don't care how much it cost nor how many failed programs came befre it. One has to work sooner or later and that will be our saving grace.
I really don't care. They were old, and they'd livedOldEdScott
Dec 1, 2003 8:21 AM
plenty long, and it was time for them to die. No point spending money on just keeping people alive for no reason.
Dec 1, 2003 9:27 AM
maybe they can sleep in the boxes the bombs come in. i hear those are wood and really sturdy.
My tax money paid for those boxes!ColnagoFE
Dec 1, 2003 10:33 AM
I'm not about to let some bum take them for nothing. If they really wanted, they could pull themselves up by the bootstraps and get a job! It's the American way.
Dec 1, 2003 10:44 AM
what if they dont have boots? i suggest we start a domestic spending program right now to buy boots for those who dont have them. not just boots, doc martens. yeah and we call it the "boots for bums in boxes" program! screw the people who earned it and need the money for their kids. those little bastards just drag their feet on the concrete while riding anyway.
There are plenty of good boots to he had!ColnagoFE
Dec 1, 2003 11:02 AM
What an outrage! I'm sure that if they had the gumption they could find a pair of boots that work for 'em in any number of dumpsters around town. Why should my tax dollars go towards these shiftless bums. If they can't hack it then tough--It's called Survival of the Fittest.
They give yu boots when you join the Army, but ...Live Steam
Dec 1, 2003 11:29 AM
I can understand why an able bodied person may conscientiously object at having to carry a firearm or, heaven forbid, use it defending this country. We have no right to demand that someone who cannot carry their own needs, perform any service or deed to earn their keep. That is not the role of the government. They are ther to provide for us not make demands upon us.
Print money, police the state and protect the borders. Period.128
Dec 1, 2003 7:47 AM
Anything more is beyond the Constitutional mandate. Unless of course you believe all that nonsense about welfare, tranquility and freedom. All lies in essence. Rightly put forward by the aristocratic class (Framers) to act as a foil for the unfettered, and proper, maximization of labor.

What most fail to grasp, is that the Framers knew the exact deception they formulated: protect property and contract rights for the risk takers and hold out hope (via lots of flowery, metaphorical language) for the working class that one day they too can be a captain of industry and free. This, when you are strong enough to admit it, is the truth about the governments role: maintain class divisions to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. It is the Noble who knows what's best for the governed. Not the other way round. Nobles oblige. Freedom through industry.
Print money, police the state and protect the borders. Period.bill105
Dec 1, 2003 7:49 AM
Agree, sort of.OldEdScott
Dec 1, 2003 8:00 AM
The Framers allowed for only limited suffrage. You pretty much had to be of the landed, ownership class to hold power in early America, and that was by design.

That's why I think there should be some sort of qualification to vote in American today, not just a blanket privilege for all adults. When you open up voting to a bunch of ignorant people who have no real idea of the complexity of public issues, you end up with a Welfare State. 'I'll vote for whoever promises me a bigger handout.'
Dec 1, 2003 8:33 AM
The US federal government has no constitutionl authority to police the state, and I don't favor creating one.

As far as Ed calling for voter testing, that's a hoot. All through this tread he has been spouting right-wing nonsence, but nobody has called him on it yet!

By the way, I'm a conservative, but voting for whoever gives the bigger handout is a cornerstone of liberal democracy (the good liberal, not like Hillary).
As little as possible....Tri_Rich
Dec 1, 2003 7:54 AM
The government should be merely a disinterested observer of the actions of its citizens stepping in only when there is direct conflict.
Then what heppens to those without power(read money)?Live Steam
Dec 1, 2003 8:35 AM
Who is supposed to look out for their welfare? Aren't they entitled to the American Dream too? We should invest in our youth and citizens rather than spend money on building bombs and providing favoritism to big industry. Everyone should have healthcare as part of their social right as American citizens. Even those that cross our borders illegally should get every opportunity lest they become more of a burden on our system. An ounce of prevention mentality.
the only role for government...mohair_chair
Dec 1, 2003 8:02 AM
Well, if it's the federal government you are talking about, it's role is quite simple: defend the country and its citizens, by any means necessary. Everything else is secondary.

As for the rest, there was a time when there was no income tax in this country, and everyone seemed to do all right. What has changed? Well, for one thing, government has expanded out of control and has created entitlements for all kinds of people. I don't see that in any of the founding father's notes, and while some of it makes sense during wartime or economic depression, it doesn't make sense now.
That sounds like pie in the sky logicLive Steam
Dec 1, 2003 8:50 AM
Who is going to protect the less fortunate? We are not there any more. The realities of life are the poorly educated need our assistance and every opportunity to have what the next guy has. Minimum wage is no way to get ahead and it's generally minorities form inner cities and rural areas that get left behind. You conservatives are always spouting off about how good money is being thrown after bad, but what should we do, stop trying? Many in these communities can't help themselves because they are strung out on addictions planted by evil demagogues who have been entrusted by these people to fight for their rights and needs. They really can't be held accountable for succumbing to these temptations when they have nothing else in their lives. Give them a vocation and they will change their lives.
speaking of pie...mohair_chair
Dec 1, 2003 9:09 AM
My mom was going on and on at Thanksgiving about how Walmart won't pay its employees a "living wage," and I had to jump in and ask, for what? Is dragging stuff over a scanner really worth $20 an hour? Is collecting carts from the parking lot worth $20 an hour? If that's your only marketable skill, maybe you don't deserve a living wage. There are guys stamping sheet metal making less than that!!!

I'm sorry, but there are plenty of examples of people who have risen from poverty to join the middle class or even to become rich. You gotta wonder about the rest. Maybe the so called weak and unfortunate are just weak and unfortunate after all. It's not like they aren't rich because the rich took all the money. They just aren't trying hard enough. It's so much easier, and a lot more fun to take drugs than get an education.
You're missing the point!Live Steam
Dec 1, 2003 11:34 AM
The government should provide everyone with the opportunity to learn skills that warrant higher wages. They should also raise the minimum wage to something that a normal family can live on. These big business' and their stockholders are getting fatter by the day on the sweat of those who for one reason or another cannot get ahead. Who is going to be responsible for them and look out for their welfare other than the federal government?
no I'm notmohair_chair
Dec 1, 2003 12:20 PM
I totally agree that the government should provide everyone with the opportunity to learn skills that warrant higher wages. But that's what it's doing when it prevents foreign invaders from broaching our shores, ruining our economy and running off with our women. The government puts troops up on the wall and says to all of us, "sleep well tonight, you are safe." It says "we will stand on this wall 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can learn the skills that warrant higher wages."

I don't know about you, but I think that's worth the massive amounts of money it costs. It sure beats giving money away to wretched souls who quickly go out and buy meth with it. I would rather enrich all the CEOs in the world than support the untenable lifestyle of those who choose not to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

The lady in the harbor says "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore." It doesn't say "Everyone, come here and look for handouts." The immigrants understood that and worked their butts off for a better life. I know of one poor Austrian who came here with nothing and now is Governor of California! Imagine that. But I guess if you are born here, you deserve a handout. Everyone is required to support you, whatever you choose to do, even if you choose nothing. After all, not choosing is still making a choice, right?
Let the weak fend for themselves. (nm)ColnagoFE
Dec 1, 2003 8:46 AM
The Government should be by the peopleContinental
Dec 1, 2003 8:50 AM
The wisdom of the masses should determine all government policy. The more complex and technical the policy, the better the people can decide. The roll of government is to implement the will of the people. This is why Bill Clinton was a great President. He governed by popularity polls and was just a regular Bubba who liked a little extra action on the side. If our leaders would just try to be more popular and do what the people want instead of trying to impose their knowledge and wisdom on us, then the country would run better. The educated elite have too much power.
I couldn't agree moreLive Steam
Dec 1, 2003 8:55 AM
Clinton had his finger on the pulse of this nation. So he was a little indiscrete about his sex life. He always tried to give the people what they wanted. If his convictions weren't flexible he would have been perceived as being hardheaded and self-righteous, kind of like GW.
did old ed and live steam.....rufus
Dec 1, 2003 9:24 AM
start posting under each others user names? or are they the same person just having a little fun?

something's out of whack here.
I think old Ed has finally come to his senses....rwbadley
Dec 1, 2003 10:09 AM
Steam has a multitude of problems obviously.

The only thing out of whack are these lefto whackos that fail to trust the GW Bush administration to administer the kind of future that is Just, Fair, Right, and Prosperous.
Correct! GWB Uber Alles! (nm)ColnagoFE
Dec 1, 2003 10:31 AM
the proper role for government is to protect my feelingsStarliner
Dec 1, 2003 10:33 PM
and to punish those who hurt them.

Unfortunately I will have to wait until I am reincarnated as an American woman before I can receive such protections -}: