Thursday, January 24, 2008

Progressive Liberty: Subject to Democracy & Constitution Respectively

Principles of Progressive Liberty suggest any humane society should provide for the most basic needs of all its citizens. This means, among other things, that government should guarantee that every man, woman, and child have access to basic healthcare. It's a cop-out to suggest that government is incapable of organizing a working and efficient universal healthcare system - look at the various alternatives in Europe, Canada, and elsewhere, and pick the best aspects of each. It's not rocket science, folks.

Does this mean that the Constitution mandates such government involvement?
In a word: No.

The Constitution sets up the structure of the government and imposes strict limits on governmental infringements of individual liberty; policy decisions, by contrast, are properly left to the democratic process. If the People desire a Progressive Society - as I believe they should - then they have the opportunity to create that society by voting for representatives who will legislate to that end. That's what republican Democracy is about - accountable majorities enacting policy; and if the majorities don't adequately reflect the People's wishes, someone else is elected who will.

Then if at any time the democratically-accountable majority legislates in ways that inappropriately infringe individual Liberty, the Constitution (as enforced by the Court) steps in. That's what Liberty is about - limited government constrained by a Constitution that protects, above all else, individual freedom.