Thursday, April 19, 2007

Liberty Re-examined

I have always considered myself a Libertarian. When I take political quizzes, they consistently identify me as a Libertarian because I usually choose any options that require the least amount of legislation.

Donald Rumsfeld is famous for making the quote "you go to war with the army you have, not the army you want". Recently I have been thinking, similarly, that you must create laws for the society you have. In an ideal "Libertarian" world, there could be no laws at all. But in reality, you must legislate to the extent that society has weaknesses.

For example, there is very little liberty in a mental institution, or prison. This is because the residents of these "societies" have not demonstrated an ability to properly conduct themselves without outside intervention.

Once you accept the fact that some laws are required, it simply becomes an issue of examining each aspect of society to determine if it has degraded to a point where legislation is required.

For example, if you have a society where people regularly commit mass shootings to become an instant celebrity on 24-hour TV, then at some point laws will be needed to restrict the access people have to guns. It is wrong, and goes against the way things should be, but at some point it becomes necessary. You create laws for the society you have, not the one you wish you had.

So when someone asks "are you in favor of stricter gun control?" the answer should depend on when they are asking the question. If they are asking in 1776, the answer would probably be "no". But if they are asking in 2007, I would probably say "signs point to yes".

1 Comments:

At 8:09 PM, Blogger Jay said...

I really thought that when I read:

For example, if you have a society where people regularly commit mass shootings to become an instant celebrity on 24-hour TV, then at some point laws will be needed to restrict...


that you were going to finish the sentence "24-hour TV".

 

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