- - Wednesday, October 19, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Given where we find ourselves politically, what are we to do? Thomas Mann said, “In our time the destiny of man presents its meaning in political terms.” Given the tremendous power derived from government’s monopoly on the legal use of force, make no mistake: It is unwise to ignore politics. Politics is the imposition of will.

The political spectrum finds the anarchist and the libertarian on the right, and shades of socialists on the left. Individuals, not parties, calibrate the line. We suit our definitions and take our chances.

Anarchy had its modern political moment in the Occupy Wall Street movement. In somewhat like fashion, the libertarian movement is also the odd man out. On the left, there is the example of the tyrannical government kept in place by the small number of well-armed zealots. With such government, there is no hope in the vote. There is also the brighter example of the Scandinavian socialists, the passion of the Scandinavian heart. How does socialism work, exactly? Did it work for the French in 1789? Will it work for America today? We can pretty much agree that Brussels socialism is not working for the rest of Europe.

Good government requires that we focus on rights rather than fulfilling need. Forcing others to fulfill our need is not about rights. The American experiment in democracy and self-government turns on the collective wisdom (democracy at its best), and on self-government (self-virtue). Today, plutocrats, aristocrats and kleptocrats use law-as-means to impose their will. Yes, beware of the government that sees a need to take your gun.

What are we to do? Govern small, not large. Confront force. Welcome the division of power. And throw the bums out.

PAUL BURTON

San Francisco

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