Thursday, June 24, 2004

First Principles, for the Second Time

After reading the effusions of Cass Sunstein at The Volokh Conspiracy (see previous post and links therein), I needed to come up for air. What better way than to republish the text of an earlier post? Here it is:

A society is formed by the voluntary bonding of individuals into overlapping, ever-changing groups whose members strive to serve each others' emotional and material needs. Government -- regardless of its rhetoric -- is an outside force that cannot possibly replicate societal bonding, or even foster it. At best, government can help preserve society -- as it does when it deters aggression from abroad or administers justice. But in the main, government corrodes society by destroying bonds between individuals and dictating the terms of social and economic intercourse -- as it does through countless laws, regulations, and programs, from Social Security to farm subsidies, from corporate welfare to the hapless "war" on drugs, from the minimum wage to affirmative action. On balance, the greatest threat to society is government itself.

The constitutional contract charges the federal government with keeping peace among the States, ensuring uniformity in the rules of inter-State and international commerce, facing the world with a single foreign policy and a national armed force, and assuring the even-handed application of the Constitution and of constitutional laws. That is all.

The business of government is to protect the lawful pursuit and enjoyment of income and wealth, not to redistribute them.

Liberty is the right to make mistakes, to pay for them, and to profit by learning from them.

The most precious right is the right to be left alone.