From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption.Human redemption. Through the instrument of rule of law.
re·demp·tion - [ri-demp-shuhn] – nounFrom Thomas Sowell's A Conflict of Visions:
1. an act of redeeming or the state of being redeemed.
2. deliverance; rescue.
3. Theology. deliverance from sin; salvation.
4. atonement for guilt.
It is hardly surprising that the reasons why government exercises power in the economy also differ between the two visions. In the unconstrained vision, it is a matter of intentions while in the constrained vision it is a matter of incentives. The government's intention to protect the public interest forces it to intervene in the economy to undo the harm done by private economic power, according to the unconstrained vision.You will never see a clearer example of what Thomas Sowell was talking about in 1987 that Al Gore's statement above. Al Gore sees the job of government - through the rule of law - to redeem humanity. His is the "unconstrained vision" at its purest.
And he is the kind of person that James Lileks is talking about when he said:
Personally, I’m interested in keeping other people from building Utopia, because the more you believe you can create heaven on earth the more likely you are to set up guillotines in the public square to hasten the process.Al Gore would be today's Robespierre.
I am also reminded of something Jonah Goldberg said in Liberal Fascism:
Progressivism, liberalism, or whatever you want to call it has become an ideology of power. So long as liberals hold it, principles don't matter. It also highlights the real fascist legacy of World War I and the New Deal: the notion that government action in the name of "good things" under the direction of "our people" is always and everywhere justified. Dissent by the right people is the highest form of patriotism. Dissent by the wrong people is troubling evidence of incipient fascism. The anti-dogmatism that progressives and fascists alike inherited from Pragmatism made the motives of the activist the only criteria for judging the legitimacy of action.He also said this:
All public policy issues ultimately boil down to one thing: Locke versus Rousseau. The individual comes first, the government is merely an association protecting your interests, and it's transactional, versus the general will, the collective, the group is more important than the individual. Everything boils down to that eventually. And the problem with "compassionate conservatism" is the same problem with social gospelism, with Progressivism and all the rest: it works on the assumption that the government can love you. The government can't love you. The government is not your mommy and it's not your daddy, and any system that is based on those assumptions will eventually lead to folly.And government is most certainly not our savior.