Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Basics

Political discourse should proceed from a set of fundamental principles, similar to the axioms of Euclidean geometry. As a starting point, I would propose the following:

1.) Human beings are tool users, and naturally exploit things, even for purposes for which those things were not intended (cf. government).
2.) Value is subjective.
3.) Economic wealth depends on how much someone has of something that only has value because other people think it does.
4.) The use of force is the last recourse when two parties cannot otherwise resolve a dispute. The human mind has not not found a substitute for force as the ultimate decider, except more force.
5.) The use of force must always be “justified” to be acceptable because civilized people assume that it is unjust unless shown by circumstances to be otherwise.
6.) “Rights” is a concept that only has meaning in the setting of human beings interacting with one another. So is justice.
7.) “Fairness” is an attribute of a process, not an outcome.
8.) The vast majority of all human beings that have ever lived have been religious to one degree or another.
9.) Religion is one of those tools that tool users exploit for purposes other than those originally intended.
10.) There are far more people on earth now than could be supported by hunter-gather economies. If not for man’s technological progress a whole lot of people would die horrible deaths.
11.) Because of the political penchant for favoring the ideal over the reasonable, a whole lot of people have died horrible deaths.

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