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Waxing Philosophical

…or your mustache or surfboard.  Your choice.  🙂

(from Free North Carolina)

David Hume, Republicanism, and the Human Scale of Political Order

Hume 2

Aristotle taught that “To the size of states there is a limit, as there is to other things, plants, animals, implements, for none of these things retain their natural power when they are too large or too small.”1 In this paper I want to explore Hume’s views on the proper size and scale of political order.

Size and scale are not the same thing. The scale of a thing is the size appropriate to its function. Scale for human things is the human body and its capacities. Classical architects have longed explored the relation between the human frame, its sensory capacities, and the proper size of doors, windows, courtyards, gardens, the width of streets, plazas, and so forth.

What is the proper size and scale of political order? The answer depends on what we think the function of political order is. Plato and Aristotle thought the function of political association is to achieve human excellence. Since virtue is acquired through emulation of character, face to face knowledge is required of political participants, and this places a limit on the size of the polity.

Aristotle said it should contain “the largest number which suffices for the conduct of life, and can be taken in at a single view.”2 Another classical measure was that one should be able to walk across the polity in a single day. The ancient Greek republics were of this human size and scale.

I’ve asked this question previously.  What is the function of political order? (government?)  Is it to ‘nanny’ the population into some pre-determined ideal – pre-determined by the (almighty, all-knowing) government?  Or is it to allow individuals to be FREE; free to make their own choices and mistakes, and perhaps learn from them?  Or not?  THEIR choice?
And allow them to follow whatever path they choose, as long as it doesn’t impinge on the ability of others to follow THEIR path?
Sadly, I believe most Americans are so fed-up by the ongoing political machine that they don’t care.  And, anyway, they are too busy trying to eke out an existence for themselves and their families, with the ever-present demon of surveillance and taxation wolves at the door.  Or already inside.
How many different taxes and fees are you forced to pay?  And how many agencies are recording your movements, actions and attitudes, through direct physical surveillance, monitoring email, cell phones and social media?  Information many times given up by you voluntarily.
What kind of political order do YOU want?
And do you even have a choice, anymore?
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About guffaw1952

I'm a child of the 50's. libertarian, now medically-retired. I've been a certified firearms trainer, a private investigator, and worked for a major credit card company for almost 22 years. I am a proud NRA Life Member. I am a limited-government, free-market capitalist, who believes in the U.S. Constitution and the Rule of Law.

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"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…

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