Thursday, April 23, 2009

Self Sufficiency and Self Government

Before writing this post I want to say that I usually can't stand writing or philosophy that discredits social norms but gives no answers. However, I have been thinking about this and wondered what other people thought.

Our founding fathers believed self governance was one of the most important forms of government and critical to the success of a free nation. They also lived a self sufficient life. Most of the things people needed could be produced in their town, or at home.

Today people are not self sufficient. Hardly anyone grows their own food, and we buy everything from stores that have the products shipped in from every part of the globe. Most people can't hunt or live on their own in the wild for an extended period of time. We are also now worried of the possibility of a cyber attack from the other side of the globe taking out our infrastructure. Self government is also all but dead. Whenever things go wrong whether it is from natural disasters, economic problems, or medical concerns people expect the government to take care of their needs.

I think these relationships might be more than mere coincidences. I think that self sufficiency leads to a desire to be politically self sufficient and be self governed.

I am in no way advocating isolationism, or spurning technology, but simply whether or not there is a connection between self sufficiency and self government. What do you think? Please comment and let me know what you think.


Priscilla said...

This has been a big issue in almost all of my theory classes this year, especially in Family in Political Thought. Because of the welfare state, families no longer need to stay together to depend on each other for life. Women can leave their husbands because they can just go on welfare, and husbands do not feel obligated to support their families. The lack of responsibility tears apart families, and the state has to step in to mediate conflicts, deal with legal hassles, and decide what happens to the children.
This is also related to economics, in that if you are providing for yourself, you have incentive to care for your possessions and make sure your land/business is healthy and thriving. If, on the other hand, you will be able to eat whether or not you do a good job and are faithful in your work, then you have little incentive. Since you no longer have a reason to work, someone has to govern you to make sure you do your job correctly.

David said...

I see what you are saying, and suspect that there is a connection. But, instead of looking at all the social, political, and economic side effects, you might want to consider the source of all the trouble.

I know Will that you would agree ultimately the source of all evil is sin. But the break down might still be helpful to look at. When people hold to a stronger sense of morality, lots of things fit together. (I am not talking about true Christianity, but instead general morality) In the time if our founding fathers people understood the ideas of personal responsibility and hard work. The "you dont work you dont eat" idea. But that was partially premised on the fact that that is what is required of mankind.
For the last few decades our society as a whole has had a "me first" and "take the easy road" mindset. Everything should be done to make MY life easier, and MY comfort a priority. Thus, the out come is a society like ours.
This applies to the common man, on up to the corporations. Just look at the bail outs and welfare and subsidized housing efforts.
I realize I am rambling, but to sum up, the problem starts with the "general morality" of the people, and works its way out in the business world, and political policy.