Thursday, July 2, 2015

Accountability of Government

One key thing about good government is it should be accountable. The idea that any individual or group of individuals should have absolute and unquestioned power is very dangerous. Human beings are, with One notable exception, imperfect and need to be held accountable for their decisions. Also there is truth to the old saying of Lord Acton that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Where should this accountability come from. One place is from the other branches of government, hence the idea of separation of powers. But more importantly from the people.

But even this can be a problem. The will of the people can become a tyranny of the majority. But the majority is not always right. It is my clear impression that the majority of the people in this country once believed it was perfectly okay for people with a different color of skin to be expected to ride in the back of the bus. There needs to be some kind of check even on the will of the majority. The basic answer is there needs to be a rule of law. But where does this law come from? Is it merely the will of the majority. Is it whatever the society (which means who ultimately?) finds convenient?

There needs to be something beyond mere personal opinion to base this on. There needs to be an absolute morality. From the Christian viewpoint this must ultimately come for God. But wherever it comes from it must be above human whims and desires. C. S. Lewis wrote of what he called the tau. And he saw it as a common possession of all mankind. I am convinced it was a deposit originally given by God which was passed down and to a certain degree distorted by all people. There has been a tendency in modern times to emphasize the variations, which of course there are. And ignore that general similarities which are more obvious. Does this mean I deny Christianity has the correct moral position. No, but I while I believe Christianity has the correct moral position because it comes from God, but I do not believe it is a radically different moral position. What is radically different is God becoming a man to save us from our sin (Romans 5:6-8; Philippians 2:5-11; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Also there is God coming to dwell inside us to change us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:29). Now there does need to be a correction of the distorted parts of the moral standard that was passed down. Also there is still need for a number of people involved in the accountability to avoid actions based of a distorted conscience. But without the standard there is nothing for the conscience to based on.  And we need a standard to genuinely hold government accountable.      

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