What is the purpose of a blog? I suppose that depends upon the blog and one’s perspective. From my perspective, this blog exists to encourage people to discover through discussion both the Bible and our country’s history. So I try to encourage comments, even from those who disagree. In fact, when it serves my purpose, I will go so far as to let commenters drive the discussion. Thus, we have this post.
I notice that you have not disputed my proposition that our military service was and is, by definition, a socialistic governmental institution necessarily paid for by enforced taxation. (There are other ways to do it, such as a mercenary army contracted by the rich or by corporations to support and defend only their pecuniary interests rather than to support and defend our Constitution, but because of the obvious consequences, no serious citizen from either political persuasion really desires such a purely capitalistic and libertarian alternative). Apparently, like most good conservatives, you accept this socialism and this enforced taxation as a good thing, or at least a necessary evil. In doing so, you must concede that it appears that you are not consistently against the concept of socialism or even of enforced taxation, but, inconsistent with your stated extreme ideological principles, against these useful institutional forms and mechanisms only when they are applied in areas that you simply do not like. (from here)
Did I accept by default Tony’s contention that the military is a socialist institution? As often happens Tony and I were talking past each other. Whereas I wanted to talk about the ethics of government, Tony appears to be devoted to making the existing system (based upon robbery) work more efficiently.
Since Tony likes quotes, let’s quote Mr. Dictionary. MSN Encarta provides several definitions, however, the first seems most applicable.
1. political system of communal ownership: a political theory or system in which the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people and operated according to equity and fairness rather than market principles
With respect to the military, the key phrase is “the means of production and distribution.” Is the military part of the means of production and distribution? To say that it is is a stretch. What the military is is a two edge sword. The military can either be used to abuse our rights or to protect our rights.
- When government is of the elite, by the elite, and for the elite, government uses military force to control the means of production or distribution — and the People.
- When government is of the People, by the People, and for the People, government uses military force to protect the People’s rights to life, liberty, and property (i.e., pursuit of happiness).
In the first case military forces exist as parasites feeding upon civilization. In the second case, military forces protect civilization from predators and parasites. Providentially, the United States military still serves as our protector.
Our military forces exists as an organ of our government. Thus what is true of our military is also true of limited government.
But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. — James Madison from The Federalist No. 51
Consider our Courts, Congress, the IRS, US Customs and Border Protection, the Patent and Trademark Office, and so forth. Much the Federal Government, particularly those parts which existed before the 20th Century, exist solely because we are not angels.