Thursday, December 20, 2007

Common Ground

A limited federal government overseeing multiple state governments that each provide a different possibility of government is a result of being unable to find common ground. In the search for freedom, such a solution makes sense.

No matter what community we are part of, we are each individuals. Each of us is different, no matter how much we try to become the same. We each want different things. We each have different perspectives (more to come on this later). We each have a different meaning of freedom (well, some of us have the same meaning, but certainly not all of us).

A decentralized federation is the perfect solution to the completely human problem of not finding common ground in all areas. Such a problem is perfectly normal, as a difference of opinion is what it means to be human and what it means to have liberty.

But, just because we have a government setup designed to deal with such a problem, does that mean we should never bother searching for common ground? On the contrary, I think the search for common ground is more important than ever, because of our situation.

If we live in a government designed to overcome our lack of common ground (which is the case), then it seems to me that it would be important to pay attention to any of the few times we do have common ground.

This could mean something like what I wrote in my last post about voting with your feet, or it could mean establishing a Bill of Rights that includes a various assortment of common ground everyone can agree to, such as freedom of speech and the right to be secure in our own homes.

Sometimes, however, common ground is more difficult to be found. This is because people who have something to lose if we find common ground often disguise the common ground we have. Politicians, pundits, and lobbyists are guilty of this.

For example, we are often led to believe there is nothing in common with those who are pro-life and pro-choice, with those who support drilling for more oil domestically and those who would rather see us use renewable resources instead, and those who support gun ownership and those who don’t.

All Constitutional answers aside, there is common ground to be found among those places where we are supposed to believe there are none.

For instance, the same motivation that drives those who support drilling for more oil domestically is the same for those who would rather see us use renewable resources: A desire for American energy independence.

Contrary to pro-lifers’ belief, those who are pro-choice do not like the idea of abortion. Their argument is not based on the enjoyment of abortion. No one really likes abortion.

Those who would see us with guns and those who would not have the same reason for both: Safety.

If we look past rhetoric, we can often find common ground where we are frequently told there is none.

Does common ground enhance freedom? I think it does. If there is no opposition to your preference, that is freedom. Having multiple state governments is a means to avoid opposition to our preferences and establish such freedom. Such a design is a macro example of common ground itself.

Therefore, I think it would be safe to say that seeking out actual common ground to the best of our ability could always be a worthy endeavor that enhances freedom.

It’s a Free Country!

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