Individual Freedom vs. Unchecked Power. Where is the balance?


I would like to share a discussion string from our community website, “Friends of Sewanee Creek”  Names, other than my own, and emphasis have been changed.

Grant shared an article on 06/13/2011 07:06:20 am
Whoa!! And I thought it was a good thing to be considered a “sustainable developer”.


Jodi – 06/15/2011 01:40:06 pm
Will watch Glenn Beck and Pass the Video to MANY. Thank You!

Debbie  6/18/2011 00:05:37 am
Agenda 21 is very disturbing.
Glenn Beck discussed Agenda 21 on June 15, 2011

Ben  06/20/2011 03:34:03 pm
This is my first introduction to Agenda 21 so I am very unfamiliar with the details but the concept of social engineering is nothing new. I think China is a good example of this with the one child policy. In this case you have a country that is facing a huge ecological mess (pollution, water shortages, decreasing arable land from desertification) where a government steps in and attempts to avert having natural factors like starvation or disease controlling population growth by implementing a law to control population growth.

Again I am unfamiliar with the details of this particular “agenda” but I think it is a reality that increasing numbers of humans in the emerging markets pushing into western middle class lifestyles is going to pose some ecological challenges to the planet. Historical notions of sovereignty create complications when dealing with issues like nuclear disasters, disease, or climate change which do not respect borders. I think many of us see this as the nuclear meltdown in Japan directly affects our welfare.

How does the world begin to deal with these larger transnational issues?

Grant Miller – 06/21/2011 06:41:28 am
Good comment, Ben. It strikes me as both thoughtful and brave, two qualities I admire greatly.

Clearly, as the world shrinks and technology increases the power of mankind to foul his own nest (as well as that of his neighbors) the need for some form of control increases. This need is at the heart of your question.

The dilemma lies in the fact that corruption is endemic to power. I keep coming back to the well worn quote, “Power Corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” How do you have a global government where there is no higher recourse without sacrificing liberty and enslaving the world? Of more immediate concern, why would we want to turn that government over to those who have already proven themselves to be thoroughly corrupt?

I am among a growing population that recognizes the behavior of world, US and local leaders as nothing short of self-serving thuggery. People of all political persuasions are increasingly recognizing that national resources and the wealth of the people have been plundered by those with the power to do so. It is increasingly clear that there is collusion between people with their hands on the levers of power whether at the point of a gun (military or police), through government (congress, parliament, unelected bureaucrats, presidents/kings/czars/dictators) or through sophisticated financial manipulation (Powerful Corporations, Global Banks, Wall Street/The City). Many bury their collective heads in the sand, pretending that none of this exists by labeling it “conspiracy theory”. Thinking people are not cowed by this thinly veiled insult. They recognize that we are all subject to our selfish interests and that as power approaches the absolute, corruption is guaranteed.

The genius of our founding fathers was in their recognition of these facts. Their solution, indeed the only solution that has worked since the beginning of mankind was simple and elegant. To limit all kinds of thuggery, power itself must be limited, checked and controlled.

Ben, you just asked the right question in a forum where you might have perceived a risk of being shouted down. That is brave. In doing so, you elevated the conversation. There is great power in thoughtful, honest questions.  We all owe you a big thank you.

Frankly, I don’t know the answer to your question. I wish I did. The only level at which I think I have an answer is the local one, precisely because I have no power at the global or any other level. But I do believe that if enough people will exercise the power that they do have, locally, to live a thoughtful, wise, brave, chaste and righteous life, the world would change for the better. That is because people with unlimited power have it only to the extent the masses give it to them.

My dream for the Village is that we will have people here who desperately want to live their lives and surround themselves with others of like mind and commitment to virtuous character. Until that small kernel grows into something more powerful, we will at least provide ourselves a measure of insulation from a world that is out of control due to the greed and lust of all-powerful men.

2 thoughts on “Individual Freedom vs. Unchecked Power. Where is the balance?

  1. I couldn’t agree more with Grant’s response. And most importantly, the effort can and must start in our own back yard. Control and thuggery, btw, also happens with those who try to do good, for the good of all, i.e. locking away public land…from the public.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Moral Chemistry « Self-Sufficient Living

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