Sunday, June 25, 2006

Gobal Family Picnic

Everybody eats, nobody hits and there is no third rule.
-- Rev. Billy Hults
When I first read this aphorism, I thought it was supposed to be an angry parent coming down on the unruly kids at a family picnic. (Maybe that reflects my own experience of growing up.)

Then I realized that it also works nicely as a summation of my ideal political worldview.

"Everybody eats..."

We know there is plenty of food -- and clothing, and shelter, and medicine -- to go around for everyone. It's not that we have more people on the planet than we can support (although, if population growth rates were not declining, we could be headed for trouble), it's that we lack the humanist consensus and political will to make sure everyone has enough.

"Nobody hits..."

Disagreements will occur, we know that, but they must be settled through means other than force. This should include a prohibition on other forms of coercion too, except those necessary to implement the first directive.

"There is no third rule."

The point of this is that everyone is free to do and believe as they choose, assuming the first two rules are followed. It's in the spirit of the Libertarian approach -- the part I like -- which is that individuals and groups should have the liberty to do as they please, as long as they do not harm others or trample on their rights.

So, this nice little one-sentence dictum incorporates global liberalism (ensuring that everyone's basic needs are met), conservative strength (using might to protect freedom), and hippie individualism ("whatever turns you on, man" or "different strokes for different folks").

Got it? Everyone agree? Good, then let's enjoy the fried chicken.

3 comments:

Dale Carrico said...

Of course, the devil's in the details. Apart from that, if you're bringing the chicken I'll bring the tofu! I could use a good picnic.

Robin Zebrowski said...

I really enjoyed this post (like Dale, I'm in for the tofu though - the chicken is all yours) :)

Mike Treder said...

Mm, more chicken for me!