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Question is: What do we want and not want from government?

| September 2, 2005 12:00 AM

To the Editor:

Republican. Democrat. Independent. Third-party. Conservative. Liberal. Constitutionalist. Communist. Patriot. Socialist. Militia. Left. Right. There is more to a person's political philosophy than a mere label could ever tell us.

There are two basic philosophies of government; (1.) That we should have a government, and, (2.) That we should not have a government (anarchy).

There are two basic philosophies of government power: (1.) That government should be limited in scope and power, and, (2.) That it should be expandable without limit. We have had enough experience with unlimited government in the century just finished so that none of us should ever consider giving "all power" to any outfit. However, the unlimited / Hobbsian / leviathan / totalitarian / divine-right philosophies continue to ride herd over most of the people of the world.

Leaving behind the absurd philosophies of "no government at all" and of "unlimited government," we have to consider the real question: How does a given person expect to limit the scope and power of the government?

Plan A: We refuse to accept as legitimate any exercise of power not specified in The Constitution for the United States of America. That is, we treat any rogue agency the same as we would treat any other powerful band of robbers.

Plan B: We complain about abuses, pray for relief, write letters to editors and to our Congresspersons, file lawsuits and donate money to politicians who promise to do things some other way.

Plan C: We whimper, roll over, pull the covers over our heads, bemoan the awful state of the nation and hope somebody will do something about it someday.

Plan D: Other. Specify:

Forget about labels. Labels are continually being changed to attack and defend and confuse and camouflage political objectives. The only two questions that need to be asked are (1.) What a person wants the government to do and not do, and, (2.) What that person is actually doing, himself or herself, to make it so.

Glenn Jacobs

Eagar, Ariz.