“Style of Government” Poll

I’ve just posted a poll asking a very important question: If you had to choose between a government which kept you alive and comfortable and one that gave you freedom, which would you pick?

I understand that most people prefer some sort of middle-ground between the two. That’s why in the comments of the poll I ask the more qualitative question of, “Where is that middle ground?” I’ve heard a lot of people suggest that they’d be willing to give up a few inconsequential rights here and there in order to ensure that everyone has food to eat, a home to live in, a basic education, and doctors to stave off untimely death. But I want to know exactly how far you are willing to go for that cause. If the government told you they were going to put you on a strict meal plan to ensure the poor had food to eat, would you be okay with it? What if they said you had to follow a specific career path of their choice that would be necessary to provide for society? If it took 30% of your income to take care of everyone else, would that be too much? What about 40%? Or 60%?

At what point do your personal freedoms become more important than the survival and comfort of others?

I want everyone who takes the poll to try this thought experiment. I’m interested in hearing what people have to say.

EDIT: Post comments and explanations from the poll here, so that individual conversation threads can be maintained.

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5 Responses to ““Style of Government” Poll”

  1. Joe Antognini Says:

    How about neither — no government whatsoever?

    • Tristan Brown Says:

      The problem with no government is it’s unenforceable. Anarchy is an inherently unstable state which eventually results in some form of government through alliance and conquest, which may not be very favorable.

      I see an overseeing government with a powerful military, a justice system, and a constitution defining the set of basic rights (as described in my first post) as necessary to ensure that no other, more oppressive government takes over.

  2. Robert Brown Says:

    To quote Benjamin Franklin, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” There is never an instance of giving up a little liberty. Government will always try to take more “for out own good.”

  3. Jaktens Tid Says:

    A government that provides basic needs controls one’s daily life by definition. A patron-client relationship is assumed, with the government being the almighty benefactor and the citizen being the subject or serf. Providing basic needs necessarily entails controlling those basic needs, which means that those needs can be cut off arbitrarily and capriciously with serious effects once the recipients get used to not providing for themselves.

    “Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.” – Milton Friedman

  4. Kitty Says:

    Can’t we have a happy medium? The first one was far too 1984, but the other one can’t work either.


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