Tag: Limited Government

Member Post

 

One doesn’t normally expect to find one’s faith in God validated by a video game. But if you are one of the millions of gamers with access to the open beta of Tom Clancy’s The Division this weekend, you might consider how the game’s “Dark Zone” relates to the problem of evil.  Preview Open

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Why ‘Small Government’ Isn’t Enough

 

shutterstock_269057810About a year ago, I generated some controversy around here with a series of threads on something I called “virtue conservatism.” Originally, I was merely looking for a new name for what we now call “social conservatism.” Over the course of the discussion, it became clear that this was about more than just branding. The central idea, however, is that conservatism needs to be about more than just beating back the administrative state. Small government principles are important, particularly in the realm of policy, but our vision needs to be more substantive that. And that broader vision should be evident in our rhetoric and our culture.

After that rather interesting conversation, I distilled some of my thoughts in a longish essay. It got sidetracked several times, and finally made it into print just today! But since the piece was very much inspired by conversations here at Ricochet, I thought I would post it with my thanks, and also invite commentary (or criticism!) from anyone who is interested. The title is: Slaying the Hydra: Can Virtue Heal the American Right?

Here’s the central metaphor, which is entirely Ricochet-inspired:

Clarence Thomas and the Rule of Law

 

There is an article by Dan McLaughlin in the latest issue of The Weekly Standard that you can find online and that you should take the time to read. Entitled “Giving Thomas His Due: The Justice Who Stands Alone,” it is a careful analysis of the jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas — the only Justice on our Supreme Court who takes the Constitution with full seriousness and rejects Woodrow Wilson’s demand that it be treated as a “living political constitution” subject to interpretation in a Darwinian, as opposed to a Newtonian, manner as an organism that evolves in a progressive manner. Here is a snippet:

Thomas’s opinions this term form a coherent whole, one that places no trust in institutions—in the wisdom of judges, the expertise of bureaucrats, or the evenhandedness of either—but depends instead on clear, written rules and structural checks and balances. And his philosophy, while grounded in the same principles as our Constitution itself, should not surprise us. Thomas is not so far removed from his upbringing in segregated Georgia that he cannot remember what it was like to live in a place and time in which the government was staffed and run by people who had no intention of treating you fairly.

Member Post

 

It appears that a number of those in the crowded field of Republican hopefuls for President, and other Republican candidates for other offices are likely to appear on various Ricochet podcasts.  What questions would you like to see asked?  What tough questions? Here is my request:  Preview Open

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Member Post

 

Let me give you a hammer. It’s my own hammer. A regular carpenter’s hammer, nothing special, but it is mine, and I like it. I’m giving you my hammer because I need you to build a bridge for me. It’s a very useful and very needed bridge, and building it will be beneficial to you, me, […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Member Post

 

From Bleeding Heart Libertarians: The state should require parents to be licensed. That is, there is no moral right to raise a child, and we would do well to think of it as a privilege that the state grants and can refrain from granting to certain individuals. If you don’t like that way of putting […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Member Post

 

As you all know, there is a divide between conservatives and libertarians. I am wondering if one of the reasons is that conservatives and libertarians define “limited government” differently. What do you think? Do we? I raised this issue on my recent post, but thought it deserved it’s own post since, if there is a […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Totalitarian Democracies and Cloistered Kings

 

shutterstock_141024430When President George W. Bush and many others were trumpeting the need for democracy throughout the world, some conservatives were keen to remind us that “democratic” is only an adjective in the USA’s formal identity as a democratic republic. The noun — the republic — is primary. Still, it has become normal to cite democracy as the fundamental principle on which any free society is built.

Yet, as has become increasingly evident in Western governments, democracy and the totalitarian impulse are not mutually exclusive. Expansion and centralization of power seem to be the natural inclination of any government, regardless of how that power is derived. The emergence of the nanny state in America did not slow with the Amendment affording citizens the direct election of Senators or with improved communication between voters and representatives.  

As conservatives, we don’t seek Utopian perfection in government. We acknowledge that no system can completely overcome the complexity, the errors, and the temptations of human interaction. So my question is not: “What alternative to democracy can keep government limited and local?” Rather, it is this humbler but equally difficult question: “Do democratic systems offer the best possible restraints on centralization and expansion of power?”