I'll begin a series a posts that HOPEfully will be be hopeful, because I refuse to be hopeless. Hopelessness is a dire state of mind. I'll drift around somewhat in these posts and try to bring it all together as I go along.
I see three sources of principles in the political realm, depending on the group, the God-revealed principles of some conservatives, the independent principles of the libertarians and the consensus principles of the liberals.
One thing is for sure, in the political realm there is a lack of guiding principles. Or, is there? But which principles should guide our actions? The conservatives are split, the libertarians are split; however although there is some disagreement among liberals, they seem to have found their consensus, their shared principles, even if it's a matter of making them up as they go along.
As I wrote in an earlier post, the real split in the political realm is between statists and those who believe in a limited government. I will call those who believe in limited government "libertarian" although this term is not sufficient to describe the differences among this group. There are people who uphold libertarian principles and understand the concepts, then there are those who don't understand the concepts, but have a libertarian spirit, nonetheless, and are suspicious of too much government control -- the reasons for resisting big government may be different, but the suspicion is shared.
The liberal political concepts are influencing how we are governed and many conservatives are accepting the statist view that our representatives need to set the course of the economy (and with it, justice), which now effects every area of our lives. There has been such a convoluted shift in mindsets that it's difficult to establish cause and effect, but a trail can be found that leads back to John Rawls.
I'm not sure how many people know anything about John Rawls, or how many have read his work, but ideas have a way of filtering down and creating an "overlapping consensus" in a pluralistic society, even though the source of the ideas are unknown -- thus, we see conservatives and liberals voting on great changes which seem to have no underlying basis for shared values, if you listen to rhetoric alone. But regarding the matter of government control, it appears a consensus has been established, so labels will need to be put aside, except for the two broad labels of statist and libertarian. Within each of these groups there are many differences according to "comprehensive world views" but in each there appears to be enough shared values for this purpose of considering a battle between government control and private freedom.
So the consensus of statists breeds a resistance which then searches for another synthesis, consensus, and this is how it's supposed to go, right? Have we reached a point where there are no set principles which we can agree are sufficient to apply to governance, except on a temporary basis? Does this mean the Constitution will morph according to an evolving consensus, and if so, evolve to what? Is there an end game?
This is what I'll be writing about for while.