Friday, December 15, 2006

[Davis County Watch: Creative Solutions] Politics is not that important

It's often bemoaned that so few people are interested in politics, or that so few participate in it. I've often felt that I would rather that many people were not attuned to politics, and that the engine that drives political action would not require constant vigilance.

Some people get a buzz from politics, a thrill from implementing change, or being part of the progress that is our government.

I do not feel this way.

I surprise people when I say this. After all I operate a political blog, and from time to time, I spend my own time at meetings. I speak to, and correspond with politicians. How could I not, also, derive some pleasure from it?

Years ago, it was all that I could do to get the latest writings and thoughts from *Hugh Nibley (more liberal politically than myself). He once identified a distinction between goods of the first, and second intent. The distinction he gave is this: goods of the first intent are things that are desirable intrinsically, but goods of the second intent only have value in that they may enable one to achieve those things that are inherently good.

Politics is not that important, or rather, it should not be that important. Or, put another way, the engine of government is best that operates with little or no attention.

Now, I've covered Bastiat a lot lately, and I won't make this post the exception. He said that there are two types of plunder-- legal, and illegal. He had little worry about the illegal variety in that it is obviously wrong. Legal plunder, however, is accomplished by the law itself. It is a perversion of the law, and can be operated by a majority. For, when people see what is gained by those in power through the act of plunder, they have two reactions. They, either, seek to join those who plunder, or they seek to stop the plunder from occurring. Bastiat felt that legal plunder led to an exaggerated emphasis on politics.

So, when I go to these public meetings, and hear an elected official, or a citizen complain that so few are present, I recognize in them the desire that more people would flock to stand behind their own special interest. They may be interested in stopping plunder, or they may be interested in furthering plunder for their group.

I wish that fewer would show an interest in politics that do. I wish that politics were relegated to the order, in the large picture, that it belongs. Politics belongs behind family, second to progress, and under economy. Those who have given sacrifice to this country have not done so to its politics, but to its right government.

Politics and government are not equivalent.

When we focus on goods of the first intent, we do not need to justify our expenditure on a ledger, or explain it to ourselves. It is simply good. Others may not understand why, but it is only our feeling that has any merit.

We should remember the difference between first and second.

*The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Volume 9: Approaching Zion

Posted by Tyler Farrer to Davis County Watch: Creative Solutions at 12/15/2006 03:00:00 PM