quinta-feira, fevereiro 19, 2004
Governed by Rules Not Men
This year billions of dollars and billions of hours will be spent campaigning for this or that candidate in our national elections. Can we argue that the nation's welfare is served best by picking the "right" person? I think not. The nation's welfare is served best by focusing not on political personalities but on neutral rules of the game and their even application and enforcement.
Think for a moment about sports, say basketball. Teams play one another. One team loses and the other wins, but they and their fans leave the stadium peacefully and most often as friends. Why? The game's outcome is seen as fair because there are fixed, known, neutral rules evenly applied by the referees. The referee's job is to apply the rules - not determine the game's outcome. Imagine the chaos on the court and among the fans if one team had its paid referees to help it win while its opponent had theirs.
In the political arena, the Framers gave us reasonably fair and neutral rules of the game, otherwise known as the United States Constitution. If our government acted, as the Framers intended, as a referee and night watchman, how much difference would it make to any of us who occupied the White House or Congress? It would make little, if any. It would be just like our basketball game example. Any government official who knew and enforced the rules would do. But increasingly who's in office is making a difference since government has abandoned its referee and night watchman function and gotten into the business of determining winners and losers.
In many places around the world, the prospect of, or the result of national elections leads to all manner of violence and mayhem. Why? Because the political arena plays a much larger rule than ours in determining winners and losers, and in some cases who wins can literally mean life or death. We need only to look at the history of countries in Africa, Middle East and Southeast Asia. Where governments decide winners and losers, the most effective coalitions are those based on race, religion, region and ethnicity - the bloodiest coalitions in mankind's history.
So which is it: do we want government as referee and night watchman or the decider of winners and losers?
posted by Miguel Noronha 4:48 da tarde
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