Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Some Personal Views on Government

In one of the many discussions I've been involved with at the LDS Liberty discussion group, a friend asks, "How long can self government by self sustaining?" I'd like to share here my latest reply to his inquiring on how I (and the others in the group) see things. This is not all-encompassing when it comes to my personal views on government:

A few points and then I can answer some of your questions:

(This is from my own understanding. I consider myself a student, and probably always will.)

First, Minarchism is the political philosophy that holds limited-government as the ideal. Many libertarians and Constitutionalists are minarchists, at least on the Federal level. I've heard from Constitutionalists that held rather statists views when it comes to State and local governments. I've also heard from libertarians that advocated centralized, Constitutionalism (14th amendment promoters). Wikpedia's entry on minarchism is found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minarchism

Second, Anarchism is the political philosophy that holds self-government as the ideal. Many libertarians are anarchists. There are several different implementations and views on anarchism. Wikipedia's entry on anarchism is found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism

Third, political philosophy is quite expansive and covers everything from anarchism to totalitarianism. The forms of government Wikipedia entry is found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forms_of_government

Fourth, though I think everyone in this group desires and wants to promote liberty, we are diverse in that we see how to do so differently. This is okay since if we all believed the exact same way, we really wouldn't have a discussion group. This is a great place to come and see other points of view, discuss, debate, and to do so respectfully.

It is my belief, that all of the above forms of government are are incomplete as they are man-made and hold man as the final authority. Minarchists fail to see the anarchy that prevails among officers of government (http://truth.skylerjcollins.com/2009/09/do-we-ever-get-out-of-anarchy.html), and the myth that is the "rule of law". For a great essay on the myth of the rule of law, I recommend this by John Hasnas: http://faculty.msb.edu/hasnasj/GTWebSite/MythWeb.htm

As I've explained before, I am not an Atheist. But I am an atheist when it comes to every other conception of God than the Mormon conception of God. Likewise, and I've only recently began feeling strongly about this, I am not an Anarchist. But I am an anarchist when it comes to any other form of government than the form of government that will be instituted during the millennium, when Christ will reign as King.

I view the Constitution as a standard for public government, albeit an impossible standard. It is said in the scriptures that God rose up wise men to bring forth the Constitution (D&C 101:80). This makes for interesting imagery but fails to explain the motivations of the actors. There were sometimes bitter disagreements between the anti-Federalists and Federalists. (The Federalists wanted a centralized national government, the anti-Federalists wanted an extremely limited, de-centralized federal government.) The difference between the political philosophies of Jefferson and Hamilton is hardly reconcilable, and although it appeared Jefferson's views prevailed at first (anti-Federalist), it is Hamilton's views that prevail today (Federalist, Nationalist). A great short essay on what I mean can be found here at the Future of Freedom Foundation: http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0906f.asp

I have also pondered on which direction the inspiration came. Perhaps it came from both. One direction is that of creating the federal government. The other is that of limiting the federal government. Again, because I see the Constitution as a standard for public government, is it out of the question that many actors during the founding era wanted to create a broad federal government (Hamilton), and could have gotten their way had other actors not stepped in to provide the necessary opposition to create what we now know as the Constitution? I don't think so.

There are many anarchist-libertarians that view the secession (revolution) from Great Britain as a good thing (moving towards their ideal), but the formation of the federal government and Constitution as a bad thing (moving away from their ideal). Others see the Constitution as a culmination of the founders efforts to break away from Great Britain and establish their own federal government.

Perhaps also, most of the inspiration came with the passage of the Bill of Rights. The Constitution as it was prior to the Bill of Rights was clear that the federal government could only do what the Constitution said it could do. Why was the Bill of Rights even necessary since the federal government was already prohibited from doing what the Bill of Rights prohibits it from doing? I see the Bill of Rights as wise considering how the federal government has evolved. It would probably be worse today without the Bill of Rights, yet it seems the Bill of Rights only bought time, enough time to establish true religious freedom in America. If only we had a First Amendment for commerce: http://truth.skylerjcollins.com/2009/09/first-amendment-for-commerce.html

This is about where I'm at right now and like I said, I consider myself a student and I am constantly reading and learning new things. I run a blog (a few of them) to share what I've encountered: http://www.skylerjcollins.com. I do this so that I can educate others and to foster discussion, and sometimes debate. Everyone learns and grows that way. Why? Personally, I feel it is our duty to seek out truth and share it when we find it. I also feel accountable to God for the beliefs I hold and hope that they conform to the truth as He sees it. I never served a mission and hope to do so one day with my companion. I read the scriptures every day and have begun raising a family. I want to make sure I hold true beliefs as they will be passed on to my children and hopefully they will pass them on to my grandchildren. I'm sure everyone here feels the same way.


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