"I have always believed that government had a limited capacity
to do good and a virtually infinite capacity to do harm..."
by:
Neil Hamilton
[Mostyn Neil Hamilton] (1949- ) former barrister, teacher and Conservative Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom
Source:
House of Commons debates, 8 February 1994
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When government, in particular the U.S., operates the way it's supposed to, including the checks and balances of the citizen both through his representatives but also with his power in the jury box the infinite capacity to do harm would be minimized.
 -- Anon     
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    A government whose sole purpose is to protect the natural rights of the citizens who created it can do only good. A government whose sole purpose is to infringe upon the natural rights of the citizens who depend on it can do only harm. Do our governments spend more time protecting our natural rights or infringing upon them?
     -- Justin, Elkland     
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    Anon, If governments acted the way they are supposed to, their existance could scarcely be detected.
     -- Justin, Elkland     
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    If ever there was an absolutely true quote, this is it. No mans life or property is safe while the congress is in session.
     -- jim k, Austin     
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    It has the capacity to do great things but rarely does - in more cases its the latter.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    So for goodness sakes, RBE, how can you say this when you argue for MORE government takeover of our personal lives, for mandatory health insurance, welfare, subsidies, license, government ownership of business, and on and on? Something does not compute...
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Exactly Justin. Hardly detected because hardly needed.
     -- Anon     
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    Archer, Obviously, you don't know me and only read into my commentaries what you wish to believe. For the record, and I'll make it easy for you, I believe in an effective government, which usually means less government; I believe in a flat tax off the top (no exemptions), no subsidies, no individual or organization funding of political parties, a government and its worker's who have the same deal as the people, I'm against mandatory health insurance, though I am for universal health care, I'm against religious organization funding political issues, and so on - I am considered a Progressive Liberal. And, why I'm on this blog I have no idea but it fun listening to different points of view. By the way TJ and BF were good man and did wonderful things (age of enlightenment) but they couldn't keep their trousers up.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    RBE, while you may have the heart of a liberal, your stated beliefs are in contradiction to 'progressive liberalism' to whit: A flat tax on sales is in fact an excise tax -- the only tax the government is lawfully allowed to collect. So why isn't it enough? Whereas taxes on labor are a socialist policy designed to keep the working class in its place -- thus the 'progressive income tax' which taxes the rich at a much higher percentage than the rest (also one of Marx's 10 planks). If political parties cannot be funded by individuals or organizations (including the political party itself?) then politics will simply become an aristocracy for only the rich will be able to promote themselves. May I ask what is the difference between mandatory health insurance and universal health care? How is universal (the universe? c'mon, please -- I guess 'national' health care would have a fascist ring to it) health care paid for if not through the obligatory taxing of us all (i.e. mandatory payment for future potential medical care -- i.e. insurance)? Would Buddhists be able to contribute to your campaign if you were to run for anything? So, if you are religious, you may not fund anything political, but if you are irreligious you can? ;-) In other words, you do not want others, individually ore in groups, who have opposing viewpoints to have any power over your life? Hmm -- me, too! Except that I do not want the government being used by anyone to steal from me what I have earned fair and square. For the record, RBE, I do believe you like to listen to different points of view but that the cause of Liberty has yet to win you over (not very liberal of you). I see little difference between a compassionate progressive and a generous christian except that the christian's faith is in his god and his charity is his own whereas the progressive's faith is in his party and his generousity is with other people's money gained by force. BTW, less government is the platform of the conservatives and libertarians, not the progressives, not in the least...
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Archer, Progressives are rationalists who work in reason - something I'm your above commentary is lacking. Rich avoid like the plague paying taxes, only 30% actually do. A flat tax would stop that. And your statement re funding is truly twisted. It's the rich that can afford to fund thereby influencing change to their advantage. If you are unable to see the difference between mandatory health insurance and Universal Health Care then I'm afraid the argument is mute. Obviously you didn't read my comment on funding politicians - I said groups or individuals - funding is mandated by the state with regards to representation. Liberals is Liberty ("FREE"). I'm sorry Archer, but your retort reminds me of how politicians can twist any statement to meet their agenda - its fun to see it in practice.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    to: Archer & RBE (& others, as appopriate) People who think they know it all upset those of us who do. Keep it simple. The best government is that which benefits most; no matter the name tag. If simple is best, it then falls on the individual to exercise whatever is at their command, albeit only a vote. It also points to less government but this assumes the absurd, that there are none among us of larcenous spirit.
     -- REC, Atlanta     
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    RBE, you conveniently avoid answering any real questions putting the blame on me -- an old tactic to divert attention. Honestly, what is your definition of Universal Health Care and how would it be funded? As re funding, how to prohibit personal spending on political campaigns? Politics is the game of the rich and powerful -- do you expect it to change? Every attempt made in new communist countries to tear down the wealthy and lift up the poor has resulted in the destruction of private enterprise, massive confiscation of properties from all classes enforced by an elite few who ultimately become the new rich and powerful -- all the while the poor crushed to Earth, living on bread and potatoes, communal housing, slave wages, state control of everything, etc.. While your heart may be in the right place, 'universal care' is 'universal control' and 'universal obligation' to the political classes. Beware a flat tax before rescinding the other taxes -- what eventually happens is we get both!! But it is all a moot point when the only real purpose of income taxes is to keep the middle class from reaching higher. Frankly, RBE, with a fiat currency, there is no need of taxes at all, if simply the government printed up all the money it needed interest-free (by the way, they could do that -- the question is why that power has been granted to a private institution?) then inflation would be the only tax -- and it would require no forms, no IRS, no government bureau -- and those with the most money would not be able to put that burden on those with less. Those in debt benefit as the money they have to pay back would be less than they borrowed. Inflation would be a fine tax if that was all we had. But that would challenge the wealth and power of the government creditors... No new taxes until we deal with the dishonest money system which breeds the kind of greed and 'derivatives' that have destroyed the economy. People keep thinking that the crash was due to greed in Wall Street rather than blaming a money system that allows the creation of money to be loaned at interest for which our taxes merely pay the interest. Liberal, Conservative -- it doesn't matter -- what matters is the PROCESS of production and economy. When the system is 'hacked' to funnel trillions into the hands of the most powerful, it is the system that we must fix -- the puppets will change, but if the system isn't changed, it doesn't matter if a GOPer or Demo is leading the pack. BTW, RBE, if you think progressive liberalism means less government, you are sadly deluded.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Archer, Your astute commentary is refreshing to read. RBE, on the other hand, is way off base. I urge everyone to read the book by David Barton titled "Original Intent, The Courts, the Constitution, and Religion." It will make clear exactly what the Founders intended when writing the Constitution. Not only the Constitution, but the intention behind it must be known and understood in order to know why it worked so well for so long. So much of the misunderstanding is due to a lack of education. We can thank the Liberals and Progressives for the revisionist history that is, and has been, taught in our schools for decades. The American People are sorely in need of the information in the aforementioned book.
     -- Carol, Georgia     
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    " Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who would labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the Oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
    It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of Free Government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric ? Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institution for general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlighten."
    President George Washington's Farewell Address.
    If government powers extend further into philanthropic endeavors, government becomes so limitless that it can grow endlessly. The correct response to both socialist and corporatist is to cease All " legal plunder." Bastiat
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
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    It really doesn't take much government to secure the rights of each and every individual sovereign (all being equal before the law). It takes a much bigger government to address the continual enslavement of the masses.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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