Friday, January 25, 2008

I'd like to try something different and something to ponder...

I'd like to talk about some of the readings I must do from a course I have in political philosophy. Perhaps I can interest people in this type of stuff and hopefully you can do some reading on your own. I would to do this every weekend and starting this weekend I will do Plato's Trial and Death of Socrates.

I have to do some catching up on the reading itself but what I've read so far looks pretty good. The lecture confirmed what I have concluded about that particular reading. I'll discuss more later on.

Oh I've got a question. This came up in class. Being a liberal. Someone asked a question along the lines of liberals are for big government. The professor had to clarify that.

A liberal sees a positive role for government.

I guess then that it should be agreed then, this doesn't necessarily mean BIG government. Then the question is what is a positive role for government?

You know I have an idea there is such a thing, for example, as negative rights. That is government has the right to protect you from the abuses of government such as a right to free speech, free exercise of religion, right to petition the government, or (and yes this could be argued) the right to bear arms to not be abridged by government.

Then positive rights might be rights to education or health care. Thusly positive rights are those that are provided to you as a citizen.

Unfortunately people argue about these things all the time. People argue about whether American citizens have the right to bear arms, especially if it was only for their own personal defense. Even if the only people doing the shooting out in these streets are knuckleheads!

Also people argue about the "rights" to health care or education. The argument might not necessarily be over whether or not you have these rights. The argument could be over who should provide these things. Is it government's job to provide these things? Is it better that private individuals or associations (I mean companies or charities for example) provide them? Should it be a combination of both options, you know like a public-private partnership? Or should one or the other provide it exclusively?

Well I know there are a lot of things to chew on here, but if you have an interest in taking this on, tell me what you think. And I'm going to present Plato to you over the weekend!

1 comment:

Third Generation Chicago Native said...

Positive Government

Like the Government making sure your rights are used in a positive way. Such as the right to bear arms.......hmm for law enforcement,or to hunt for food. The right to know that only people who bear arms have the right reason to do so?

As far as healthcare the right to have licenced and professional people treating you with approved (safe) methods regulated by the government.

Education, the right to have qualified people teaching quality subjects.

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