Monday, September 22, 2008

Morality and Government

So I usually group myself into the Libertarian category, mostly because when people ask me my political affiliation I have to give them a short answer. But I don't find myself in total agreement with the Libertarian Party itself. This is probably because it is mostly a party of secular atheists who believe in limited government. Don't get me wrong, I know that if they got their act together, I would vote for them. Unfortunately, they have never presented themselves as a viable third option given their failure to stick to the real issues that matter, such as limited government, and instead focus on gay marriage or open borders, both issues could be marginalized if limited government was in place in the first place.

In any case, I usually have to identify myself as such so that the dumb masses have a vague idea of where I'm coming from. Usually this is followed up by being called a "liberaltarian." Basically, I am get called a social liberal and fiscal conservative in the same word. I find that term to be incredibly insulting because, usually these idiots have no idea what of person they are talking to or the reasoning behind my selection of the political affiliation.

Chuck Colson said that Western Capitalism rests on three pillars: economic freedom, political freedom, and moral restraint. I agree with that statement because we are seeing how holding back one pillar can cause the others to crumble and fall right now in the United States. And of the three, the only one that the government cannot control is moral restraint. While economic and political freedom require limited government, as both supported by conservatives and libertarians alike, moral restraint is difficult to enforce or effectively manage.

In any governmental system, the most basic flaw in that it is run by human beings. If you believe in the God of the Jews or the Christians, then you will acknowledge that human beings by nature are sinful. That is, we have an innate tendency towards evil in various forms depending on who we are. So given that premise, any "perfect" system of government will be trashed when enough corrupt individuals take power, as evidenced by the current state of the union.

Legislating morality is especially dangerous in a democracy. This is because in a democracy, the people will always lean toward the immoral rather than the moral. Say you have five people in a room, three men and two women. Now one man raises a vote as to whether he and the other men should rape the two women. Without moral restraint, these poor women would suffer a serious and humiliating sin against them. With moral restraint, the idea would be shot down as at least one man would vote against the other two.

This is a small example and there are certainly many other factors to consider. The United States was fashioned to be a Republic, so this is different. The problem with a Republic is that instead of having the dumb masses corrupted, a handful of elites will run things on behalf of the people. The problem is again that if the people are corrupt, so will their representative be.

But moral restraint cannot be created in a Republic, such as the United States, precisely because immoral people will inevitably get elected. And with enough immoral people in office, you will eventually see the other pillars fall as well. It comes as no surprise to me that the Democrats happen to be among the most corrupt politicians I've ever seen. I don't know anyone in my life who behaves like many of them do. While Republicans have their own corrupt among them, they are usually caught and crucified in the press.

I personally believe that morality comes from God alone. He had laid down before us a guide with which to life and while I am not perfect in following it, it has given me much moral restraint in my own life. As such, I don't believe that the government can come even close to enforcing such restraints without severe infringements on personal liberty, a necessity for political and economic freedom. Ultimately, moral restraint is up to the individual.

And there's the fundamental reason why I am pro-limited government when it comes to morality. No matter how many drug laws, gambling laws, and prostitution laws you pass, individuals, even in Federal prisons, will still manage to break those laws. So why waste the effort and the tax dollars? In a sense, if the government got focused on its very few responsibilities to the people, the consequences of sin would force people to either engage in moral restraint or destroy themselves in the process. Substance abuse, prostitution, and gambling can all lead to horrible consequences and they are more likely to with government out of the way.

Now, I do take exception to certain things the violate the rights of an individual to life, liberty, and property. In that context, I believe that crime laws should only focus on one individual taking away another individual's life, liberty, or property through force or fraud. Other than that, everything else is fair game.

The only group that I would feel sorry for in this scenario is Christians. This is because in the context of limited government, their job to evangelize to the masses gets harder. But then again, it always was and it will be until He comes back.