[EM] Seized by an idea - my changed views

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Mon Jul 29 03:17:08 PDT 2002

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Joe Weinstein [mailto:jweins123 at hotmail.com]
> James worries about infringing on rights or anyhow desires of some citizens
> not to be bothered with full participation in decision-making, even for a
> few days every few years.  I don't want to get into arguments over whether
> government has a 'right' to draft every citizen into a bare minimum of
> equal-burden-sharing service.

I think you are still looking at this world upside-down, which a little surprising, given the view you are promoting.  The
government has no rights.  It has (should have ?) only the rights and powers that we, the people, give it.

That is (was) true at least in the USA, where "the people" or some representatives came together and agreed and wrote a constitution
(that has been amended from time to time).  In the UK all power and rights resided in the monarch and our history is one of "the
people" continually fighting the monarch to wrest away more and more of those powers.  That's why the Pilgrim Fathers left England
and went to what is now the USA and made sure the "new" country operated in a very different way from the old.  Although the monarch
per se no longer holds those powers, our constitutional "monarch in parliament" in effect gives all those powers to the Prime
Minister of the day.  That's why Tony Blair can act in such a presidential way with very little real check on what he does.

But back to the main point.  I wasn't so much concerned with what "the government" has the right to demand of us, but rather what
we, as members of our communities, at all the various levels of community, from street to nation, might reasonably be allowed to
demand of one another.  I may think it would be "better" if everyone in the relevant community did indeed participate, and
participate very fully, but do I have the right to expect or demand that of the other members of my community?  Do they have the
right to opt out, with the proviso that they accept the consequences?


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