Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Do we need 'regulating'?

Do we humans, the citizens, the punters, the 'great unwashed', need 'regulating. Are the police the 'thin blue line' separating us from anarchy. Would it all fold like a pack of cards if government wasn't a central influence?

I was talking to my workmate Mal today, and, although he posed the question purposely as an extreme view, that is the question he posed. Do people need government to organise things, to make sure we do the right thing?

I don't doubt there are a minority of people who will do the wrong thing without compunction (probably about 5-7% from what I've read and seen - that is the criminal fringe), and another group who aren't terribly nice (maybe 20%?). But I believe most people are good folk who want to help, or at least don't harm others.

I also believe reasonable laws are not transgressed not because they are the law, but because that is what reasonable people would do anyway. Law is in my view not the hard and fast skeleton of society that some think it is. Rather I think it is the way that has evolved to counter that 7% fringe that is where most of the problems seem to come from.

An interesting and thought-provoking session. One we have at work from time to time.


Anonymous anothermous said...

Humans have always needed a guide, a pilot,a steersman, a captain.
We need a map to show us the way, to point out the reefs and shoals that may undo us if we are not careful.
Because if we, as a society, just go blundering around,it is inevitable that the strongest, not necessarily the best, will grasp the lead and take us into dangerous currents.
So we need laws and we need strong,diligent government to protect us and take us by the safest routes.

Friday, March 03, 2006 2:20:00 pm  
Blogger Phil said...

Thanks for your comment 'anothermous'.
It probably won't surprise you that I disagree. That pilot, steersman, captain that you speak of, is just another human. If we are but sheep, then just another sheep. Not a shepherd, but perhaps, occasionally, a wolf (if history is any guide).
For most of human history, we have not been 'blessed' with government, or police, or an elite class of captains or steersmen. But we have progressed, survived, even thrived.
If we look around the world, 'diligent' government is rare. The best are those selected by democratic principles, and lmited by the public's consent (public opinion counts in a democracy, it is meaningless in a dictatorship).
In other words, I argue we are best off when the public is the steersman and the electorate the overall captain, piloted by individual effort and reason.

Sunday, March 12, 2006 7:15:00 pm  

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