Government is a weird thing with lots to balance. And I’m gonna take an ignorant stab at making the goals of government and the limitations of government simple.
Assumption 1: The government exists for the people to preserve in as much as is possible the ability for people to choose their own path promoting life, liberty and their self defined pursuit of happiness.
Assumption 2: Happiness is a highly subjective, relativistic effect that does not correlate in a predictable way with safety, danger, or a view of the consequences. All of these things can affect happiness, but they don’t affect happiness in a consistent way person to person.
Government By Choice: A government is a voluntary organization designed to protect each person’s individual choices. Each person is on their own path to life, liberty and the pursuit. The protections of government should be automatic for people under a specified age e.g. while a minor, and then an adult should opt in the government system or join a preferred group of like minded people elsewhere.
While the government relies on its constituents for service and finances, the benefits the government provides should be clear enough to encourage voluntary membership. It is my opinion that the government needs to work diligently to make sure groups of people who may become disenfranchised have something to gain from maintaining membership.
Limited Government: Government should not be able to protect an individual against themselves. Actions in which the intiator and the victim are one and the same are included in the freedoms provided for every person. Actions in which the initiator and all the victims are involved voluntarily are also free of government regulation.
I would have as much freedom as possible granted to every individual. Restricting freedom places the freedom of judgment on the shoulders of the governing people, increasing their opinion at the cost of every other person. I would prevent as much government interference as possible. And I would have the rule enforcing and creating entities bound by strict due process. Where there is a need that outweighs the freedom of an individual, that need should be defined and reviewed. Rules that are never violated should be stricken from the rulebooks as unnecessary. Rules that are violated by the majority of the governed population should be investigated using the highest standards of reason and should be rewritten to be attainable. Since a government represents the compulsory will of the people, when the majority of the people dissent, the rule must change.
Freedom is intricately related to knowledge thus the pursuit of knowledge and the desire to verify existing knowledge are important. The style of debating dissenting viewpoints needs to be basic to our education so that claims may be reviewed informally as much as is necessary.
The government is not free to protect me from myself nor the people from themselves. The governing bodies should provide transparency so that other people may autonomously assist the government or dissent with reason. This should improve the quality of government actions and raise the common system of ethics. I belong to myself to include the right to destroy myself. A voluntary group of people may form a community with the right to the same destruction. However, I am not free to destroy others nor am I free to limit choices that affect only the dissenter or a voluntary group of dissenters. My ability to interfere with the choices of others only exists when my freedoms are challenged or the freedoms of one person or group are being challenged by a separate person or group.
Tradition is an emergent property of the choices a society of people made. Therefor, tradition does not stand on its own and each actual choice is reviewable.
Ignorance is an excuse. The government and society should work to reduce the merit of that excuse because the absence of knowledge happens before knowledge even though we are still capable to act.
While life is meaningless, my life matters to me and other lives may matter to themselves. This is why during the span of our existence, I need the freedom to explore what matters to me.
Please note that all rights are defensive in nature such that in a person’s own private domain they may reasonably exercise greater flexibility with their communications and assumptions then they might in public. There should be a manner to find topics and dissenters of specific topics for public and individual discourse, but choices that lead to the limitation of freedoms of others must not only be carefully analyzed, the reasoning behind the limitation and the limation itself must be available in plain language and reviewed periodically to determine if those limitations provide a greater benefit toward invidual freedoms than they cost individual freedoms.
My words, my opinions.
ADDENDUM- Check out this good quote found in the comments section. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/05/31/civility-and-the-new-atheists/#comment-18074 . A quote of a quote of Mills saying “That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” I might need to do my reading.