The Cellar Door: New Ideas

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November 2010: “New Ideas”
By MITCHELL CHAMBERLIN
Columnist

In the Old Testament, the Bible is very clear about the laws the Israelites needed to adhere by and the political philosophy which the government is supposed to be built upon. However, the New Testament moves on from the theocracy that God created in the Old Testament and changes the focus of salvation less from national identity and more towards individual conviction. This change of focus leaves a void in religious governmental structure and a relative freedom in regards to forms of government.

Because of multiple trials and ultimately failures of government in history, our country uses a form of democracy, a valid and free form of government which, at its best, adheres to the wishes of the majority of the people. This form of government leaves room for multiple philosophies which serve as the foundations to the way a nation functions.

The basest philosophy of Social Conservatism is that the government has two purposes in society: to protect its citizens and to provide infrastructure for society. Beyond that, personal conviction, social establishments, and the free market are the governing factors in society.

In other words, the government should provide a police force and a military to protect its people from inside and outside threats; and roads, dams, bridges, etc. for infrastructure. These types of services are essential to a properly working economy and government and provide multiple positive externalities (benefits that affect everyone.)

This list of services and programs is a far cry from what the United States government is currently doing for its citizens. One would think that a nation could not survive on this small of a government. What about welfare? Don’t we need the Federal Drug Administration? Can a person even retire without Social Security? Does Social Conservatism simply ignore the needs that those programs address?

Yes and no. Social Conservatism affirms that hunger, drug safety, and geriatric needs do exist and that those needs do need to be met. However, Social Conservatism denies that the government can address those needs best and instead offers the solution of individual choice and the free market as more efficient and quicker acting competitors.

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