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  1. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    The Right of a Government?

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Lemex, Feb 16, 2014.

    How big do you think a government should be?

    There are many arguments about this area of political theory. Noam Chomsky once commented that 'abolishing the state is not an option' simply because if it was such a good idea it would have been tried already. Some people believe that governments are what stops a people from descending into a lawless, tribal, free-for-all anarchy, other people think that governments are the problem and that if left to their own devices people will get along essentially fine without any external influences or governing body needed.

    On small islands millionaires are attempting to set up tax-free right-wing Libertarian havens, often consciously modeled on 'Galt's Gulch' and the philosophical writings of Ayn Rand - of unrestricted capitalism and trying to build an anarcho-corporatist utopia. The 2007 video game BioShock served as a pretty decent critique of this idea with it's underwater Objectivist haven of Rapture, and poses the question (one of many): can a society function without a government? Or is it just natural that some form of government must exist, regardless of what it calls itself?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Never so large as to suppose that the people are there to support the government, rather than the other way around.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Libertarians want a world that does not and never will exist. The fantasy is not substantially more unrealistic than the communism fantasy is unrealistic.

    I don't understand given the evidence and the reality around us, why so many people fail to recognize a mix of public and private economic structures are what we have and what works best.
     
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  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I believe in a large government by most standards. If the government is too small, it won't provide services like maintained roads, a police force, firefighters, etc. Thus, cities will need some sort of volunteer force. The upside of this is that you pay less taxes. But I'm OK with paying more taxes for the services the government provides. I do think, however, that someone from a poor neighborhood will feel differently. Government service providers do a relatively bad job in poorer neighborhoods.

    Big governments do have a bad habit of spending unnecessarily. The more they spend, the more they have to tax, which means more government interference in our daily lives. There are pros and cons to both small and large governments. The key is finding the right balance (if there really is one).

    As for your other question, I'm going to agree with John Locke and say that governments are a necessary evil. I'm not convinced people can live peacefully in the absence of a government. And even if there was no government, our pack mentality would lead us to form several small governments (sort of like the smaller German states in the 18th century).
     
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  5. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    What if all businesses are run by the government and people are given their jobs based on an intelligence test. Then all things like food is given out evenly. Now sometimes people might get extra in the way of perks for making special accomplishments. All health care is free, education is free, and everyone gets the same amount of sick, vacation, and personal hours off. Everyone works 32 hours per week. People start working as soon as they finish high school, or after college if they pass the test to go on. If someone quits school early then they start work right away. At the age of 40 people get to retire.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Some government is necessary. If people have rights, there has to be a government to protect those rights. Someone has to operate a police force and courts of law. There also has to be a government to represent the people in dealings with other nations.

    I was a libertarian when I was young and stupid. Fortunately, I was bright enough to outgrow that stage. I now call myself a liberal, and I support things like universal health care and affordable higher education. I grew up in Canada and we had these things, and I have spent the past eighteen years in the USA, where we don't. I can say from personal experience, and from the experiences of the people I know here, that the Canadian system works better. I also believe (though I don't have data to back this up) that Canadians are generally happier and more fulfilled than Americans.

    The Canadian government costs more per person than the American government, and, of course, taxes are higher in Canada. Big deal. Canada consistently scores higher than the USA on lists of the best countries to live in. I sure wish Americans would relax and stop thinking that every little liberal idea means the communists are taking over.
     
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  7. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    There are too many factors to decide. The United States, for instance, is the fourth largest country and third most populace. I believe the country is too large and too diverse to have such a powerful centralized government that couldn't be less centralized geographically. Federal government should be used for interstate and international commerce and armed forces. Local governments should be more powerful.

    All the other countries that our government is compared to have one tenth the population and are the size of a state (Canada is larger but only 36 million peeps)
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Ahem. Are China, Russia, and India not countries, not large and/or not diverse?
     
  9. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Ahem, how many times have you heard America should be more like India or China? Read for context
     
  10. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I hear it all the time from the Americans that are moving there to get jobs and live...wait a second...
     
  11. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    They're just going to get their old jobs back.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  12. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    This is a continuation from the debate room guidelines thread. This is a more appropriate place to have this discussion.

    In the Athenian system, certain people couldn't vote because they weren't considered citizens. So that eliminates a bunch of people already. Also, I have no doubt that a certain percentage of the population agrees with some of the things the WBC has to say. So if all the anti-WBC citizens forget to set their alarm clocks on a particularly important day, the WBC wins (the Athenians never liked spending more than one day on an issue).
     
  13. Herbert H Hebert
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    Herbert H Hebert Member

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    What exactly does it mean for a government to have rights?
     
  14. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    History shows, over and over, people do poorly at policing themselves. Corporations, citizens, politicians, etc. All have corrupt elements.
     
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  15. Herbert H Hebert
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    Herbert H Hebert Member

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    Who governs the government? And why should we consider people on the public payroll any more trustworthy than the general populace?
     
  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    In the USA, it's the Constitution and the voting public. In a place like North Korea, it appears to be, ah, nobody.
     
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  17. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    In an ideal democracy, the government works for the people. While nobody governs the government (because that doesn't really make sense), it is expected that the government be kept under check by the people. To somewhat address this problem, the US has a system of checks and balances, though that doesn't seem to work as well as it should. In the end it all boils down to the question posed by Juvenal: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"
     
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  18. Herbert H Hebert
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    Herbert H Hebert Member

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    We have governments because people are by nature untrustworthy. But governments consist of people. Who are by nature untrustworthy.

    A government is humanity's attempt to outmaneuver itself. This attempt does not always succeed. However, this business of checks and balances is very clever. It's like putting crabs in a bucket.
     
  19. the1
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    People complain about governments all the time. Yet how many people have come up with an alternative idea that will work? No one has, because if they had we would be living in it right now.

    Lately Russell Brand, the popular comedian, has been receiving a lot of press concerning his idea of a 'revolution' or an overhaul of the current democratic system (you can watch a video here:
    - he has also spoken about it elsewhere) I've actually listened to some of the stuff he has been saying and some of his arguments are quite valid in my opinion. However, he has been pressed to come out with some sort of solution and has repeatedly fallen short. He admits it is quite difficult to formulate a system that will work. Maybe our current democratic system is the best we can do?
     
  20. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    ^That interview was ridiculous. He basically just said 'things should change, I just don't know what or how'. You hear that in cafes and student bars all the time, why is Brand being labelled a hero for that? All he really did was de-value the word 'revolution'.
     
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  21. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Haha. That is so true.
     
  22. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Once the government got into the business of 'helping' people, it all went downhill. The government should be only large enough to provide for the needs of a community, such as roads, bridges, taxes, etc... We've lost sight of the purpose of our government. Just look at New York City to see where all this is going.
     
  23. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm assuming you're referring to universal health care, right?
     
  24. Herbert H Hebert
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    Herbert H Hebert Member

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    Better that than people who think they know exactly how and are dead wrong. And the word 'revolution' could use some de-valueing.

    The first step to solving a hard problem is admitting there's a problem. The second step is admitting the problem is a hard one, amenable to no easy solution. The third step is doing research into why there's a problem in the first place, and why it never got fixed. The fourth step is thinking logically but not necessarily linearly about what you've uncovered in step three. There are other steps, but hardly anyone ever gets even this far.
     
  25. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Nah.

    There is research into the problem and how to fix it. Lots of it. Check out Noam Chomsky; he's good, has been saying things since the 1970s at least that have been far more constructive and intelligent as an alternative to our current economic system than. Saying that hardly anyone gets 'this far' seems to me just a ridiculous thing to say.
     
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