The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Kent McManigal
Local columnist 

Opinion: Attempts to govern irresponsible

 

August 19, 2020



There’s a lot of irresponsibility and selfishness in the world around us. We can choose to not be part of it.

People who litter or dump their trash are childishly irresponsible.

People who leave shopping carts in parking spaces instead of making the small effort to put them in their corrals are showing self-centered irresponsibility and a lack of respect for others.

Another example of parking lot irresponsibility is the people who park on the yellow-striped zones. This is a violation of the lot owner’s property rights; it’s trespassing. I have a name for those zones and those who park in them, but it’s not suited for polite conversation so I won’t mention it here. I also have an idea for special “parking stickers” for the windshields of those who park there.

All this is to point out that any freedom can and will be abused by someone.

I’ve seen people argue that commonplace irresponsibility shows why political government is necessary. They never explain how these naturally irresponsible people who won’t govern their own lives can be expected to responsibly govern the lives of thousands or millions of others once getting elected. I’m not buying it, and the evidence seems to support my views.

Individual irresponsibility pales in comparison to the tragedy that occurs when you give flawed humans-- which is all of us-- power over others. Giving people who hunger for control the power to impose their opinions at gunpoint is what political government is at its foundation.

I believe it was irresponsible to shut down the economy to fight a virus that is losing its power to kill — as all such viruses seem to do over time. Irresponsible governing has damaged the economy and undoubtedly killed people, and yet this is supposed to be better than the alternative of letting people run their own lives.

I’m in favor of letting people live with the consequences of their choices, while everyone else is free to defend themselves from those bad choices when necessary. Government often makes this reasonable path illegal. All this accomplishes is making it safe to be irresponsible, encouraging more of it.

Irresponsibility is just one human flaw among many.

Libertarianism isn’t a denial of human nature’s flaws. It’s the recognition that those flaws are universal and those who seek to govern aren’t immune. In fact, seeking to govern anyone besides yourself is among the worst of flaws. It’s not something I would encourage; it’s irresponsible.

Farwell’s Kent McManigal champions liberty. Contact him at:

[email protected]

 
 

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