So, I am having a moral quandary. I think my upbringing and my professional training are becoming more and more at odds with what I am learning for myself. There is a core question and how you answer that question will determine how many things which you label right or wrong, best or ok are weighed and measured.
The question is, can mankind be trusted to govern himself. My instinctive response to that is no, he cannot. My upbringing leads me to believe this. Having heard about original sin all my life, I am abundantly aware that our natural drives tend to pull us into self-destructive behaviors (sin). Also, even though we were far from being wealth, both my grandfathers modeled a form of paternalism and noblesse oblige that far exceeded their monetary station in life. This was a very beneficial form of service to those they considered under their care in the model of Christian selfless service. Based on these and other influences growing up, my view of the State was of a larger but, at least in theory, similar dynamic. We pitched in with taxes and by obeying the law. The State provided security.
As I have grown older, and have been a servant of the State now for many years, I have come increasingly to doubt that my grandfathers’ service to those they considered that they had a duty to in their communities is a concept that can be writ large on society. The layers of bureaucracy insulate the State, even at the local level, from the bonds of loyalty and mutual respect that informed the relationship between my grandfathers and those they cared for.
It would seem, then, that a better way of living in peace and harmony with our neighbors would be to take the model of the Libertarians. To live with respect for individual and property rights and to observe the Zero Aggression Principal. Thus, all decisions are again local, made where there is conflict between two individuals, rather than treading along the arbitrary set of administrative regulations in the U.S. Code.
But, here is where I come to my doubt. I know people. It’s what I am good at. I have worked with all types of people from all types of backgrounds and many different cultures around the world. While Liberty and free markets does, I believe, provide a much more consistently “good” result than bureaucracy, I cannot trust, at a gut level, that enough people will discipline themselves to follow those principals to allow the system to flourish. I have seen too many people who, out of spite or ignorance or willfulness, will do things they KNOW to be contrary to their own self-interest to believe otherwise. And, I think those people outnumber those who “get it”.
Where does that leave me? The system of inter-relationship among mankind I believe most moral and most advantageous in all ways I also believe to be unworkable because mankind cannot yet handle it. A lot of that can be mitigated with education and great reduction in the restrictions on free markets. Take away the incentive to cheat the system by removing the system. A true Anarchist will tell me that the percentage, take away the stress of the current system, who are unable to handle freedom is small. And that what arbitration and security that is needful is still better handled by private agreements than State ones. In theory, I agree. I just think the wolves outnumber us now, enough so that I cannot find it in my heart to make the leap of faith. So, in many ways I feel stuck upholding a system fundamentally unjust and less productive than other systems I know of, because I cannot bring myself to overlook what I see as a fundamental human flaw that induces a form of self-sabotage. I don’t yet have an answer to this.
I believe…help my unbelief.