B: Ya know…considering your concern about people abusing their freedom you mentioned before…I’m wondering if you think that giving everybody freedom would lead to chaos, or some kind of anarchy, as people would look out for themselves only, since they are inherently “evil” and would use any means to achieve their ends, if unchecked by some governmental authority?
A: Well, I certainly think it’s a worthy concern. Surely an anarchical society would be about as undesirable as any that has existed in the world’s history. If people were given so much freedom, with all their irresponsibility, it seems a lock that society would devolve into just such anarchy.
B: I can imagine we can come up with a bunch of examples from history that appear to support that perspective, in fact. For instance, it certainly seems the Dark Ages lasted a lot longer than they had to because so many clans were constantly warring with each other, trying to gain the upper hand on local power.
A: Huh? I don’t think…electricity was invented – er – discovered…or understood, or harnessed very effectively, back then.
B: You know what I mean, ya goob. I’m talking about government power. Some places back then didn’t have the large central authorities we tend to have now, where one federal government tries to handle all the demands of millions of people spread out over areas of thousands, or perhaps millions, of square miles. As I understand it, in the Dark Ages they kept fighting over relatively small pieces of land until finally somebody gained the upper hand and somehow managed to “unify,” to some extent, larger domains together, which turned out to be the beginnings of a lot of the nations we know of in modern times. My point is that, if they hadn’t been constantly fighting with each other, but just came to some kind of agreement to be unified peacefully, they would have gotten out of that miserable cycle a lot sooner.
But this wasn’t the primary point I wanted to make. The thought is that unchecked freedom led to endlessly warring tribes, and it wasn’t until somebody took charge with a government that peace was restored. And let me tell you, I think some kind of government is necessary to preserve the peace, and not only that, I think it’s obvious that it’s necessary. Otherwise, as you say, the nature of people is such that anarchy will likely prevail.
So the proposal that government of some kind should exist is accepted as necessary. The real question I want to address right now is, how would people behave if government preserved only the most basic of freedoms that people should have – things like “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?” Would people take advantage of each other to whatever extent that they could?
A: I think the answer to that question has already been given. Look at what’s happened in the history of the United States: people have been taking advantage of each other since its very inception; yea, even before.
B: How so? Are they killing each other as in the Dark Ages?
A: Well, in some cases, but mostly they’re cheating and deceiving each other – you know, swindling, lying, indulging in debauchery, hating, and so on.
B: Does the law not protect against these things? Is it not being enforced?
A: Well, of course the law can only do so much, but it’s certainly trying to. They’ve made a bunch of laws barring a lot of these things. But of course you’ll always have those people who try to get around the law.
B: Would you suggest making a law barring every possible way a person could mistreat his neighbor?
A: I dunno. Maybe. Why not?
TUNE IN FOR THE EXCITING CONCLUSION NEXT TIME FOLKSY FOLKSY FOLKS