Friday, May 20, 2011

Government- Can man govern himself?

Our founders considered the government they were forming as one of the, greatest experiments ever attempted. The founding of a government elected by the people, a government with limited powers, set within three branches. The three branches of government designed to be checks and balances, to insure that no single branch might obtain power to control the others. Now, other countries have attempted and continue to attempt, such a government, with this exception. Our founders explicitly proclaimed that our aspirations of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were God ordained. And, even more, the aspirations for such are placed within the heart of man.

Now, can man really govern himself? Answers of yes and no abound. Some serious questions arise as one would think on the question. What is meant by govern? What is the purpose of governance? Who sets the standard for actions to be governed? I do not intend to exhaust time listing all of the examples of government and their success or failure. An understanding of world history will easily shed light on the successful as well as the failures, those that espouse liberty and those of tyrants and despots.

There are many fine individuals who could govern themselves. They have, through education, parental influence, religious conviction, understood and live within certain boundaries of actions and influence. They know what it means to be civil in a society that flourishes within those boundaries. In contrast, there are countless individuals who should never be allowed to govern themselves, or others. Yet, we live in a land where self-governing is allowed and encouraged. When those who cannot control their actions or certain influences. and trespass the boundaries of a civil society they are, or should be held accountable.

The actions and influences of people need to understand the sense of control that is placed over them. Governing is the intent and actions of making understandable the rules or directions people are to follow. Self-governing is the application of rules and directions by the people themselves, in macro and micro systems. The federal government down to our local principalities exert government. Those that exert government from great distances are at times questioned about their loyalties to certain groups or locations. Self-governance with representatives far removed is easily distrusted and suspect.

Now, to the point of government and the standards used. Many of the early codes of conduct instituted in our country were based on British Common Law and the Mayflower Compact. Common Law had its foundations set firmly on Biblical Codes of Ethics. And, many of the codes were intrinsic in the souls and conscience of man; murder, stealing, adultery etc. Our ethical system of behaviour is based on accepted actions and non-acceptable actions, or influences. Our system of ethics is based on moral standards which are in fact, accepted principles and instructions stating the way things are or should be done. What you are allowed and not allowed to do.

George Washington, in his farewell to the people he served said the following in regards to governance and morality, "And let us with cautious indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure; reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

Our founders had much to say about the ability of man to self-govern. More than one Founding Father warned of the corrupting influence of power and placing such power in bodies without limitations and controls. I will be using many quotes from them in the next few postings.

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