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categories of selective perspectives on government as an ethical and practical means to various ends

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I recently read a piece connecting the War in Iraq to the mRNA vaccines. It reminded me of the common inconsistencies we see in the average layperson’s “political philosophy”– as people think govt is unethical and impractical in one or more areas, but then they imagine it must be different in other realms (or it’s ok as long as they control the power). Broadly speaking…

A Statist is one who through ignorance or religion imagines that the State is usually really good at wielding power.

A Conservative is one who thinks the State is generally terrible at wielding power, except in terms of social matters and probably foreign policy.

A Liberal is one who thinks the State is generally bad at wielding power in military and social matters, but fond of their efforts in the economy.

A Libertarian who thinks the state is generally bad on ethical and practical grounds in all of these areas, preferring a minimal state that lets people do what they want, as long as they don’t do direct and significant harm to others.

There aren’t many people in any of the above categories. Most folks are mere partisans, a moderate mush of policy positions, or apathetic– since it’s quite rational to spend so little time on public policy and a coherent political philosophy. 


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