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Old February 4, 2012, 03:14 AM   #1
MLeake
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Good Intentions and Government

My dad has added a new tag-line to some of his more politically minded emails. He took the quote from Daniel Webster. I had not come across this one before, but I like it... and I think it actually has some application for a lot of gun control legislation counter-arguments.

Quote:
"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." -- Daniel Webster
Something to think about, next time some legislator or executive says he wants to pass a bill for public safety, for the good of the children, etc.
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Old February 4, 2012, 08:50 AM   #2
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I'm flagging this thread, just so that I can come back to copy and paste that quote. That's excellent.
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Old February 4, 2012, 04:03 PM   #3
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This ties in nicely with how the "do gooders" in power are more dangerous than a tyrant. Tyrants eventually lose interest in oppressing their subjects. However, do gooders in power never rest in their desires to control our lives as they do so with "good intentions". Some famous person summarized this in a popular statement, though I can't recall who that was.
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Old February 4, 2012, 11:11 PM   #4
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"The road to hell is paved with good intentions," is often attributed to Samuel Johnson, but literary authorities say he didn't actually say that.
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Old February 5, 2012, 11:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Tyrants eventually lose interest in oppressing their subjects.
Want to prove that with historical evidence? Oh, come on now.
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Old February 5, 2012, 11:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
This ties in nicely with how the "do gooders" in power are more dangerous than a tyrant. Tyrants eventually lose interest in oppressing their subjects. However, do gooders in power never rest in their desires to control our lives as they do so with "good intentions". Some famous person summarized this in a popular statement, though I can't recall who that was.
Either way it is a power trip. Whether you are a tyrant or a over zealous do gooder you are trying to press your will over other people.
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Old February 5, 2012, 11:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USAFNoDak
This ties in nicely with how the "do gooders" in power are more dangerous than a tyrant. Tyrants eventually lose interest in oppressing their subjects. However, do gooders in power never rest in their desires to control our lives as they do so with "good intentions".
I don't recall too many tyrants losing interest in oppressing their people. That's a very strange saying.

Do-gooders can be problematic in their own right, but I'm pretty confident that tyrants don't quit being tyrants.
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The problem with do-gooders is that there's always another problem that needs to be fixed. They never realize that you eventually get far enough down the list that a "problem" is really just a matter of freak accidents and uncontrollable circumstances.

There's always more to fix.

The recent requirement (I think it's a NY thing) that the inlet pumps on pools have protective screens on them to keep kids from getting their arms stuck and drowning is a good example. Is it tragic when it happens? Yes, it is but it's a rare, rare event and it's not really "new".

One must wonder, why is it suddenly an issue? Because the do-gooders finally made it that far down the list. They made it through all the stuff that kills 10,000 kids a year (and needed to be fixed) and all the other "real" problems and now they're down on the things that kill like 3 people a decade. Freak accident stuff.

But, their "do-goodery" knows no bounds and the rest of us are uncaring animals for daring to question if we really need to make a law that every pool inlet pipe has a protective screen.

Then, there's some other issue below pool screens, that even they haven't thought of yet because the pool screens got their attention.

It never ends.
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Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; February 5, 2012 at 11:45 AM.
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Old February 5, 2012, 11:40 AM   #8
Glenn E. Meyer
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Let's turn away from silliness. Trying to fix swimming pools is a different beast than being a genocidal tyrant to your own people and invading other countries. No offense, Peetza - I know you were responding to the initial silly bit about tyrants as I did.

The basic point is that those who strive to have power have the motivation to be masters. But some have an evil motivation vs. a surface level good motivation.

Sauron vs. the beautiful Elf Queen Galadriel - both with the ring - would be crappy to live under. But we would love her.
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Old February 5, 2012, 11:43 AM   #9
Brian Pfleuger
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Should have separated the two points a bit.... second part was in response to the OP, not the tyrants.... editing....
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Old February 5, 2012, 12:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Sauron vs. the beautiful Elf Queen Galadriel - both with the ring - would be crappy to live under. But we would love her.
Not for long.

I have never know a tyrant to lose interest in exercising their power. I'd love some examples of that occurring.
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Old February 5, 2012, 01:01 PM   #11
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“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis

Meaning that a selfish individual with tyrannical power interested in power only for his own ends may often choose not to exercise that power except when to do so meets his own personal needs and desires. Whereas individuals concerned with what is best for others and that the world is fair and just for everyone - when given tyrannical power may use it without ceasing in all areas of life touching everyone - as your business is their business, as you are their business.
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Old February 5, 2012, 01:31 PM   #12
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"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C.S. Lewis


thanks mack59. That's the quote I was thinking of in my earlier post. I just couldn't remember the owner of the quote. In my earlier post, I didn't mean to claim that a tyrant would completely stop oppressing his subjects as some folks seemed to assume I was saying.

To keep this gun related, there are people out there who believe, to their very core, that if you could make gun ownership by the common citizen illegal in society, gun crime would virtually disappear over night. Some of these people have attained high levels of power within our own government. They see gun control as being "for our own good", when it would likely be to our own detriment as a free people. Those people are like the eye of Mordor, which does not sleep.
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Old February 5, 2012, 01:59 PM   #13
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The gun control advocates for our own good are quite similar to many other advocates of behavioral control for our own good. All parties have moral tyrants.
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Old February 5, 2012, 02:21 PM   #14
USAFNoDak
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And we have gun control advocates in both major political parties. I agree Glenn.
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Old February 5, 2012, 03:18 PM   #15
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Agreed that both parties have moral busy bodies.
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Old February 5, 2012, 04:14 PM   #16
Glenn E. Meyer
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They should look in the mirror.
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Old February 5, 2012, 08:23 PM   #17
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Quote:
I don't recall too many tyrants losing interest in oppressing their people.
Study Roman (or better yet, Russian) history. Tyrants start as reformers. Then they expand their ambitions. Often, they want to use the government as a tool to make us better. When the results fail to match the ambitions, frustration sets in. Then there's hostility, and paranoia. Then there are things like secret police. Always with the secret police...

Quote:
All parties have moral tyrants.
Agreed. "Won't someone think of the children?" is the shrill and cheap rallying cry of many causes, from gun control to speech suppression to the infliction of moral standards.

Social engineering isn't the province of one political ideology or the other; it's endemic to both. They just want to engineer different things.

Gun control is a prime example. It's a shortcut in a way. Ban things, and we become better people, right? That's far easier than expanding youth outreach programs or improving school conditions in our inner cities, and it makes for more succinct soundbites on the 6:00 news. We need to get these awful things off the streets. Won't someone think of the children?

Now compare this to the banning of a controversial art exhibit, perhaps one with conspicuous nudity. The rallying cry is the same: we need to get rid of those awful paintings! Won't someone...well, you get it.
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