Yes, How do we differentiate between the thugs demanding fire insurance, and the state demanding taxes to fix the potholes on the roads all of us drive? It is an important distinction –and one that’s likely to be blurry a good deal of the time in a nation of over 300 million, with extraordinarily diverse needs and issues.
If you’re only willing to pay to fix the potholes on the roads that you drive personally, then we’ve got a problem. Most of us are probably willing and understanding of the need to keep our entire infrastructure functioning well, but again what is one community’s basic infrastructure looks like big boondoggle to someone else — and this is true for most government spending.
So, back to how do we make good decisions, when people have strong and perhaps equally justifiable positions, and when resources are very limited?
RE: Right & Wrong. For me, too, there are some choices that are clearly right and clearly wrong, and I believe it is important for each of us to be very clear about what we value and what principles we believe are worth living and dying for.
Yet, we all make compromises in the public sphere, when we have to make decisions that involve others, because sometimes even our own values and principles compete.
For example, national safety conflicts with the Biblical injunction, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” We are all asked to pony up and pay for an enormous fighting machine that is dedicated, prepared for and chooses physical intimidation, and war as a means to solve problems almost to the exclusion of preventive strategies (like having more than 18% of our covert operatives speak the language of the foreign culture in which they operate, or like having an ‘army’ of trained and experienced intercultural mediator/facilitators to assist in the peaceful resolution of community issues BEFORE they flare into violence, or like spending even 1/100th of the money spent on weapons on providing safe water, food and schools in developing countries where instability threatens our safety…)
I could make a pretty good case that there is a “Church of Correct Right Godship” that believes in “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” and “Shock & Awe,” and invade (‘cause that’s the only other option to appeasement), and if you question even $1 of Defense funding you’re an unpatriotic, sniveling, girly-man, wuss. Everytime I read that we spent 5 hours (and millions of dollars) dropping bombs on some cluster of 2-3 mud homes to kill a couple of ‘suspected insurgents, that often turned out to be wedding parties, I resented being compelled to contribute to this insanity.
RE- the rest of the issues around debt, labor, and taxes. They have a simple solution: take the power to create new money away from the private banking sector and return it to the people and put serious boundaries on the entire fractional reserve banking system. It’s possible we could reduce taxes down to maybe a flat 1-2% on every bit of income for every individual and every business, with an exemption for the first $25-30K to cover basic living expenses, AND have more than enough to provide excellent schools, infrastructure (roads, telecommunications), healthcare for all….but that’s a book, which I’m working on, to explain how that could work.