Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; (D&C 98:10)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Recovery of the Constitution

"What is the nature of the choice [between two ideas of government]?"

1) "The same thing that makes us need laws, makes it necessary that those who administer the law also live under law and restraint."


2) "A government really about progress, about history, about changes over time.  The claim of that kind of government is, we've advanced to a place.  And science and technology and organization and knowledge so that we can actually take control of everything.  That means the government can be big and needs to be because it can do so much more than used to be possible. And because so much more in a modern, complex society is needed to be done. And the old restraints are in the way and they impede us from being what we can be.

Those are the two claims. They are not compatible with each other.  You can have one or the other but you can't have both.  And that's the choice that's pending."

(Larry P. Arnn, "The Recovery of the Constitution" lecture 10 in a series from Hillsdale College)

Update 2016-06-22

My FB Comment

Any new law may be a new infringement on a natural right.  
The central issue is whether humans are flawed and must live within checks of our tendencies to abuse power or if we are innately good and therefore government made of people is innately good, ergo more laws would be good.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Value of Compromise and Civility

In the great debate in the Constitutional Convention, the populous states compromised over the popular election of US Senators.  Here is an exchange between the characters of George Washington and James Madison

GW: A simple majority is not enough. What we need Mr. Madison is consensus among us, harmony. That alone will ensure the Constitution's success.

JM: History will not forgive us.

GW: You persuaded me to come to this convention. Well, here I am, Mr Madison, and I will not see this convention crumble around me because the brightest and stubbornest of us will not yield the Senate to the states.

Earlier in the exchange (8:50) Washington comments on the music playing. He says that the flute is a noble instrument and that Jefferson prefers the violin. 

I love the allusion Washington makes here. That it is possible for all kinds of instruments to make harmonious music. That even their collaboration might make a greater creation that they could on their own.

Each of us has our own political opinions. Some stronger than others. Some pointedly opposed to the other. If we allow ourselves, we can make the circles where we talk about politics, bitter. Accusations and flaming tongues break apart what might be a good place to discuss where we might agree.  What we might do to effect change on the agreed points. To learn what we might not be aware of otherwise.

In order for that to happen, there must be a degree of friendship among the group.  A spoken or unspoken agreement to seek to understand before we seek to be understood.  A measure of good will must be cultivated among those who wish to constructively discuss politics.  Even more is needed for those who wish to identify common ground and want to act to make it reality in our public policies.