Sunday, November 8, 2009

An Open Question For Liberals

If Man's nature is essentially good, then why does he need to be governed?


Anonymous said...

That's not an open question, but a guided question, for its starts with the assumption that 'man's nature is essentially good.' And how do you know this? It's a trite phrase, based on a positive humanist perspective, that cannot so clearly be backed by facts. Man's nature is quite diverse, not essentially good or bad, but complex, variable, and impressionable. So, to answer your question, some, who's 'natures' are more 'bad' need to be governed so that they don't screw life up for everyoen else. Thus, the ones who are more 'good' need to be governed only so that they are not perceived by those who must be governed as receiving a special entitlement of not be governed. Comprende, amigo? LOL

Josh Haden said...

thanks for the comment, anonymous!

out of curiousity, do you identify yourself as a liberal, or a conservative, or perhaps a mixture of the two, or neither at all?

the reason i ask is that the question, "if man's nature is essentially good, then why does he need to be governed?", was specifically put towards those who identify themselves as "liberals" (full disclosure: i proudly identify myself as such).

the reason being, if i were to take out my long list of registered liberals and their phone numbers, and called 1,000 of them, and asked them, "is man's nature essentially good?", i'm making a sweeping generalization here, but i would deign to posit that the overwhelming majority of them would say "yes".

by "open", i meant that the question itself was being posed to liberals in general, and that all liberals who may read it should feel free to chime in on an answer. i meant "open" in the sense of, my comments section is open for all liberals to write an answer. And also, "open" in an ironic or even sarcastic sense, perhaps, even in a slighting way, taking liberals who may feel that man's nature is essentially good, to task, to challenge them, if i may, to back up the claim, underneath the contradictory evidence, that is, namely, if they are correct in their assumption that man's nature is essentially good, then why is it that man needs to be governed?

Josh Haden said...


keeping this context in mind, which, with all due respect, you may have missed, and if i steered you in the wrong direction on this i apologize, but, keeping this context in mind, i'm not sure if your answer would be the same as it is here presently. i hope i've made it clear that i didn't mean for the question to labeled as "open" in the sense that it makes no preordained assumptions, which it most certainly does. the belief that man has a nature is, in all respects, a closed belief, as it by its very definition precludes any other possiblity, for example, the possiblity that man has no nature, or perhaps, there is some alternative explanation for man's behavior and beliefs.

you stated in your response, in your opinion man's nature is not essentially good or bad. but you do believe man has a nature. in your opinion, man's nature is diversity, complexity, variableness, and impressionism. without questioning the meanings of these concepts, and the relationships between them, you are quite clearly positing the fact, as you see it, that man does have a specific nature, and this positing, just as the positing that man has a nature that is good, or man has a nature that is bad, needs, as you pointed out yourself, to be based on facts, which you, for better or worse, don't provide here.

leaving this, you write that you are answering my question. i beg to differ with you. if you were to answer my question, namely, if man's nature is essentially good, then why does he need to be governed, you would, firstly, have to agree with the statement, man's nature is essentially good, and then you would tell me why, in your opinion, he needs to be governed, or that, in contrast, why, in your opinion, man doesn't need to be governed. But your answer, which i may suggest, is more of a response or opinion, is that man's nature is not essentially good, or essentially bad, for that matter. however, you go on, later in your paragraph, to say that, in actuallity, you do believe that man's nature is, after all, good, albeit in varying degrees, and bad, albeit in varying degrees. This is contradictory at best, forgive me for saying so.

also, your explanation that those whose nature is more "good" than "bad" need to be governed only to avoid some kind of jealousy on the part of those whose natures are more "bad" than "good" is spurious to me. if i were to take you seriously, then "governance", to the "more good" would be like some kind of mass illusion or inside joke that is kept from the ignorant "more bad" to keep them from the truth that, in actuallity, governance is just a big comedic gesture, and if only the "more bad" could become "more good" the need for governance in general would simply disappear!

the other thing i would like to add is that this "open question for liberals: if man's nature is essentially good, then why does he need to be governed", was meant to be read in tandem with my previous post, an "open question for conservatives: if man's nature is essentially evil, then why is it important that he have freedom?" it can be found on the page immediately preceeding the first page of my blog by clicking on "older posts" (for some reason blogger isn't letting me put the link here). perhaps this is something you weren't aware of. hopefully this information might make the intent of the present post in question more clear.

anyways, thanks again for your comment! it is much appreciated!