What is government?

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Government. A word that is used over and over again. But what is it? When people are for or against this thing called "government," do you truly know what is meant? I don't.

Garrett78's picture
Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 9:20 am

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That's an enormous question that normally requires entire textbooks to answer. My short answer is that government is SUPPOSED to be our common attempt to manage our common society for the good of everyone involved, but that becomes increasingly complicated as a society grows larger to encompass more people over a greater geographic area, especially when there are diverse peoples included. This was SUPPOSED to be the purpose of reserving for the states those rights & responsibilities which are not specifically claimed by the federal gov't.

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randyscott
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Sep. 28, 2011 4:49 pm

Up to the States Rights meme, you were on track. If you see a balance of micro and macro extending outward from a bottom-up authority of "we, the people," then it is not just about the "right" of localities to impose their own establishmenst of power and privilege and localized slavery. All corruption is local as the concomitant of "all politics is local." Taking seriously the challenge of governing ourselves instead of being ruled over means having political counters to dominators to keep their power in check. There does have to be a commitment to the universality of freedom and to "spread the wealth" as the management of an economy for social democracy and the broad participation in power of workers and 'consumers' instead of the dominance of economic powers.

It is the Progressives like David Korten who oppose the Big Money Wall St. corporados and who look to "indigenous ownership" and "artisanal technology" as the path to successful "development." Being able to increase our commonwealth and provide for the common good and security means putting human needs on a level of civility beyond the naked forces of markets. Real wealth is not finanicialism. It is the creation of real value in products and services; and it is also a longitudinal measure of sustainability and not just the 'harvest of assets' in the present.

All this serves human beings and the world we depend upon. No economic or political 'reality' which degrades our humanity or despoils our world has legitimacy. How about that for what government has to be?

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote randyscott:

That's an enormous question that normally requires entire textbooks to answer.

Yet the word gets tossed around as if it's assumed there is some precise definition. It's easy to go a mile wide and only an inch deep. It's more difficult to go a mile deep but only an inch wide and be okay with that.

Quote DRC:Taking seriously the challenge of governing ourselves instead of being ruled over means having political counters to dominators to keep their power in check.

What if these political (what is the "political?") counters are dominators? Can there be a universality of freedom (do you mean within the US or the world?) within a hierarchical system?

You mention "power" multiple times. Power to do what exactly?

Garrett78's picture
Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 9:20 am

The idea of democracy is that the people participate in power instead of being subjects of rulers or people with power. Political power is about governing, the question you ask about. And, of course the instruments and establishments of poltics can be seized by the few to dominate the many or even by a majority to oppress and enslave an minority. The challenge of democracy is to prevent both by doing governing to pursue "liberty and justice for all."

Why this is difficult is addressed in lots of other threads, but that is what government is about in this nutshell.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Garrett,a question to answer a question,"what is beauty"? Or ,what is civilize? When a word lose touch with its definition vs reality,it is "useless",but except to those who want confusion.

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tayl44
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