"By the way, government is not the place to which I look for ethics or morality, either"My thought: It ought to be.
Craig R. Harmon, commenting about the Omnipotent Poobah's post about ethics in government.
While the primary function of government may be protection, unless we are no better than chimps there ought to be an ethical facet to it, also. Ethics is what makes the difference between a good government and a bad one. Americans are lucky in that we get to (theoretically) choose which set of ethics we would like running our government every couple of years. Some choose Democrats, who tend to believe that the duty of the government is to make life better for its people. Some choose Republicans, who, whatever they may say, by their actions appear to believe that the duty of government is to make profit better for its people (the ones lucky enough to be able to make a profit, that is, something that gets harder and harder the less capital you have), with an exception to this, perhaps, for social conservatives, who seem to believe that the duty of government is to make the people better ("better" as defined by the social conservatives, of course).
I tend to side with Democrats, not because I particularly like them (I dont), but because far too often, Republicans put profit before people, except occassionally when its Authoritarian wing is using government to remake people in its own image of what they thinks God wants.As for Libertarians, if the only function of government is to "protect" its people (and their property), then we might as well go back to medieval times, ’cause we havent got enough open space for the Wild West. Maybe if Libertarians worked to unshackle people from the chains of corporations as well as the chains of government, I’d be more sympathetic to them, but as it is they strike me as anarchists, and anarchy is only good for the strongest few.
Democrats these days are spineless cowards, afraid of upsetting their corporate sponsors, but at least the base impulse is the right one, so there’s always hope that they might actually grow a collective pair. I find Republicans to be more and more heartless as the years go by; whether that’s them or just my perception of them I’m not sure, but I find their naked worship of money absolutely loathsome and antithetical to the basic purpose of government (except to a lucky, lucky few, who are very well protected indeed). I still have hope that Democrats may wake up one day and discover just how many people actually like the policies they’re supposed to be advancing, or at least realize that the Opposition is as important to any organization as those in power are; so far, they havent manged to be either. Sadly, Obama has turned out to be just another pol*, but if nothing else, he gave us all a taste of something better, and if we get mad enough we may just decide to demand a whole bowlful. Whether the Democrats currently in power will give it to us, or we'll be forced to spend hard years cleaning house, I dont know. I'm not very hopeful about the next few decades though. Unless something radically unexpected happens, I think the supertanker of self-interest that our nation is currently riding on will be very difficult to turn.
There's more to the conversation if you follow the link, mostly on Harmon's part. I could keep going and present more to you, but quite frankly I dont care enough to do so (or if I even care to continue the conversation at the Poobah's, for that matter). I just thought it'd be a shame to leave that long almost-coherent comment hiding over at Poobie's place when my own blog has been fairly void of posts.
* Perhaps. It's still early, he may surprise us**.
** But that's hope speaking again.