Thursday, August 04, 2005

Four Keys to National Survival

Our government does many things. There are persuasive arguments that it does too much and opposing arguments claiming it does too little. However, there are four things that a government must do right for a nation to survive and prosper. They are:
  1. Internal Security. Citizen's persons and property must be protected from the human predators that every society spawns. Citizens should feel safe in their homes, workplaces and in public places.
  2. External Security. Government must be able to effectively defend the nation from external threats to its vital interests.
  3. Political Economy. Government must remove obstacles to economic growth while at the same time insuring that neither workers nor consumers are ill-used or exploited in the process.
  4. Accountability. Government must a provide a peaceful means by which it can be changed if it fails meet its fundamental obligations.
Everything else is frosting on the cake -- political luxury items if you will. They are not essential to national survival although they may be very desirable and nice to have.

Is American government doing a good job on the basics of national survival? How to find out? The list of links provided to the right is aimed at helping people figure that out. They are with one exception (Lucianne) links to think tanks or publications that debate and analyze public policy. All but one of the think tanks is either conservative or nonpartisan. The liberal Progressive Policy Institute earned its place because it publishes some very good analysis. It is a "Third Way", centrist Democrat endeavor that does not reject free-market solutions out of hand and it isn't driven by a radical ideology.

Is our foreign policy sound? Does it serve to protect or advance out vital national interests? Is our military sound? Are our defense dollars being well spent and are we spending too much or too little? What can we do to increase employment and alleviate poverty? How can we balance human wants and needs with our desire to conserve or improve the environment? How can we do a better job of growing our economy without doing more harm than good to workers and consumers? While you will not find definitive answers to all of those questions by exploring the links I have provided you will uncover some of the pieces of the puzzle and be exposed to some good ideas of what the rest might look like.

You will find no links to sites involved in the day-to-day partisan mud-wrestling that is offensive to anyone seriously interested in good government. There is nothing useful to be learned from either Paul Krugman or Ann Coulter or Al Franken or Rush Limbaugh when it comes to essential matters of sound public policy. I have little regard for partisan mobs brandishing their torches and pitchforks over issues of little substance or consequence.

Sound public policy can be a matter of life and death. It can be the difference between starvation and food security, chronic illness and health, economic growth and stagnation for many millions of people. Done wrongly it can break a lot of what works and done right it can fix a lot of what is broken. It should be taken seriously.

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