Archive | November 2015

Should social problems be solved through government activity?

 Should social problems be solved through private actions and interests or through government activity?

by Shane Goodrich

 

Social norms guide our actions. Our view of the world shapes what we think is right and wrong. When it comes to current social issues, for example my personal views regarding things ranging from discrimination of transgender folks to drug addiction I tend to get along quite well with hard leftists, hippies and Bernie Sander supporters. I think everyone should be accorded respect, people should have no problem serving or dealing with the transgendered community and so forth. I want many social ills from racism to drug addiction to go away.

Where I tend to differ with these folks is how I want to get there. I want private action to be the motivating force. It’s difficult to force a belief system on someone. Forcing someone to treat people better often does not work. After the North won the civil war and Slavery was abolished across the nation the personal views of former southern slave owners did not magically change. They did not wake up one day in May of 1865 and think to themselves you know slaves really are people. Blacks and Whites are equal. No we got Jim Crow and the systematic mistreatment of blacks for another 100 plus years.

This leads me to another point, many social ills are caused by government laws in the first place. Slavery was legally sanctioned in the south, afterwards Jim Crow laws abounded in the region. Top-down solutions to social problems only tend to work when government activity is being curtailed. When it was bad laws perpetuating the problems in the first place. The protests of people like Dr. Martin Luther King brought light to the harsh realities of being a black person in the south (or really anywhere in the U.S) at that time. It was this bottom-up approach that helped change hearts and minds.  The government might put its stamp of approval on something and seem to help bring about social change but that tends to be after popular opinion has changed.  Marriage equality is a recent example of this. Until very recently even democrats on the national level were against gay marriage.  But once it become political viable as a position the pols jumped aboard the band wagon. Another similar issue in this regard is drug prohibition.

I think the drug war is a terrible immoral mess and that marijuana prohibition is especially absurd. Until very recently (when the popular opinion on legalization of recreational pot changed in this country) few politicians would advocate for legal weed. But now people are starting to “evolve” on the issue. Politicians are pandering to the masses, but most of them will have been behind the issue, not ahead of it. Social changes happens from the bottom-up not the top-down.

So Before we think about using the government to solve social problems can we at least stop the government from causing social problems in the first place?

Shane Goodrich Co-Host and Video Editor for Local Liberty

 

How Restrictive should Voting Laws be?

How Restrictive should Voting Laws be?

by Shane Goodrich

            In general I have a very grim view of most people’s ability to vote in an informed and capable manner. I never support generalized get out the vote drives. I encourage most people to not vote. On a small scale I don’t think people should have any say in matters they don’t understand.

For example, I am on the board of Directors for The Windham Textile and History Museum. I am new to the board and often abstain from voting on certain topics as I don’t feel qualified to make an informed decision. I also vote in elections and when I go into the voting booth It has been a common occurrence (in some years at least) for me to skip certain races as I just don’t know enough to make an proper decision.

People in general I find are prone to voting regardless of their knowledge of the issues or of those they are voting for if given the chance. In meetings of all kinds’ people less often abstain from voting and more often just go along with the popular view. I recall handing out flyers for Doug Lary running for 3rd Registrar of Voters in Windham in 2014. I had an interesting conversation with one man where I gave my spiel (imagine in your head a really awesome and persuasive tone of voice):

 

….The Democrats and Republicans are guaranteed a registrar. They can’t lose. If Doug “wins” he will just be added as a 3rd registrar. Doug actually needs votes to win, the other people don’t. Voting for Doug will not affect the Democrats or Republicans registrar at all, their seat is secure. Voting for Doug will be a vote for a diversity of voices in politics. For fairness.

 

The man throughout the conversation was on board, “that is not fair” or “that makes senses” he would say in response to my points. I thought I had him, then at the end. “Sir Can I count on your vote?” The answer: “sorry I vote straight line Democrat”

Arrggh! After talking to dozens of people my view of the general voter became even lower than it already was.

So with all this said how restrictive should voting laws be? As least restrictive as possible. Felons should be able to vote, we should be able to vote online, same day registrations should be the norm. You should be able to vote ahead of time. And why should this be the case when I have shown the lack of understanding I think the general populace has regarding politics? Because some of those same people that don’t get politics and make decisions about things they don’t understand will also be the ones to make decisions regarding who is or is not a qualified voter.

We also know from things like Gerrymandering that people in power will manipulate things to stay in power. Look at the Jim Crow south, keeping the black vote out kept many politicians in. We can’t risk that situation arising. As much as it pains me, let the people have their voice, let them vote.

-Shane Goodrich, Co-host and Video Editor of Local Liberty