Re: Church-State -- some history

From: bivalve <bivalve@mail.davidson.alumlink.com>
Date: Thu May 27 2004 - 15:59:56 EDT

>> But what can one expect in the long run of a government in which the highest moral authority is "we the people" and not the word of God?
> I expect less abuse of power than I see in states that exploit their "right"
> to do almost anything in the name of a privileged status relative to God or
> Allah.

Such expectation seems highly unrealistic in light of the behavior of governments that explicitly claim as highest authority "the proletariat" or "the master race."

It's probably a bit simplistic, but I think a general correlation exists between the assumptions made about human nature and the effects of the government. Assuming that a select group of people are good (true believers, the proletariat, the master race, the nobility, conservatives, liberals, etc.) and other people are bad tends to produce despotism. Assuming that everyone is good, but needs a little help, tends to produce a welfare state, with associated inefficiencies. Assuming that everyone is inclined to evil and needs checks, balances, protective (not protectionist) rules, etc. seems to work best. The latter could go with assorted systems. For example, the ideals for kingship described in Deuteronomy require the king to obey the law and serve the people, though this was rarely true of the kingd of Judah and Israel.

    Dr. David Campbell
    Old Seashells
    University of Alabama
    Biodiversity & Systematics
    Dept. Biological Sciences
    Box 870345
    Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0345 USA
    bivalve@mail.davidson.alumlink.com

That is Uncle Joe, taken in the masonic regalia of a Grand Exalted Periwinkle of the Mystic Order of Whelks-P.G. Wodehouse, Romance at Droitgate Spa
Received on Thu May 27 16:35:41 2004

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