Thursday, January 13, 2011


Fear and Mistrust of Strong Government

Conservatives and Liberals both have this fear and distrust.  Conservatives fear that a strong government will take away their property or limit what they can do to conduct a profitable business.  Liberals fear that a strong government will take away their civil rights in an effort to enforce public order and safety.

The murder of six people last Saturday in Tucson has brought out a discussion of actions that a strong government can and ought to take to prevent such things from happening again.  Here are some of the suggestions:
And so on.  Add your own suggestions.  There are practical limits in how far we can follow any of them.

It's politically impossible to impose a sufficiently strict ban on firearm sales and ownership to prevent another lunatic from obtaining a gun and setting out to kill an elected official.  Conservatives would object loudly to such severe restrictions.

It is politically impossible to put every person with mental illness in an institution.  There is the danger that unscrupulous judges may put innocent and sane individuals away because of political opposition.  Liberals would object loudly to laws that enable judges to put people away because of fear that they might do something, whether sane or not.

Screening and metal detectors for every member of Congress doesn't sound practical.  It is important that a member of Congress be approachable by any constituent, even one who disagrees with the member.

Toning down the rhetoric is a nice idea and I'm all in favor of it.  How do we square limitations on what can be said about a political opponent with the first amendment?

It's a quandary.


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