Article Image
IPFS News Link • Philosophy: Conservatism

Is Government Ever Necessary: A Conservative-Libertarian Debate

by Scott M. Rosen and Jason Richwine (Please comment on this discussion)

2 Comments in Response to

Comment by William Shaw
Entered on:

Retoric, is all I hear.
Lets solve the problem !
Yes a government is a must ! However the government MUST abide by the 9 commandments, statutes & judgements of our creator. These are the essential wisdom to live and prosper by. No matter your own beliefs or
religeous brainwashing.
No one has come up with a better,nor more just idea.
PS if you think there were 10 commandments ,look again. Why would God have the so called 1 st love your God, commandment , when he would know you loved him if you kept the rest ? Think for yourself ! This one was added in new test.

Comment by Dave Gallagher
Entered on:
I will say upfront that I am one who views "some" government as a neccessary evil... I will agree it is usually more evil than neccessary, but I am of the belief that even in the most utopian of anarcho capitalist societies governence will emerge. Whether tribal war lords, local assemblies or corporate alliances. Human nature seems to be such that leaders, tyrannical or otherwise will always emerge to satisfy the need of the people to be defended from threats real or imagined.

Once this is accepted the challange it would seem is to maintain the minimal neccessary government to prevent the emergence of, or takeover by, other more intrusive potential governments.

History and human nature seems to suggest that it is the nature of collective governments to grow in power and scope. Thus we undertake the often futile effort to hold back the growth of the state.

As for the debate, it begins by rulling out arguing the merits of individual sovreignty. As Jasons states in his opening:

"Your argument, and apparently the Austrian position in general, is not that humans possess a large set of natural rights, but simply that government always destroys wealth when it intervenes, whether in people's private lives or in the broader marketplace. It is this utilitarian argument for libertarianism that I believe is unprovable and almost certainly incorrect."

While I disagree with Jason that the utilitarian argument is "certainly incorrect", I believe this argument is secondary to the fact that individuals DO in fact posess natural rights. Thus whether some particular state meddling in private matters (such as seat belts) can be proven to have made a statistical impact that some, most or all people value as positive, it is still violating the right of the individual to make the decision to use or not use a seat belt as they see fit.

If we accept the notion that perceived "performance" of state initiatives (based on some value judgement and cost benefit analysis) is the primary determination, we then inplicitly accept that there are no limits to where or how far the state can go. All intervention into the personal lives of citizens can be justified with the right statistics and value judgements.

While I have opinions on the detailed merits or lack thereof regarding the War on Drugs and seatbelt laws, I feel commenting on those now would detract from the point I have attempted to make.