political expediency

political expediency

Neuroscientists show how tiny fibs snowball

Rationalizing Lunacy: The Intellectual as Servant of the State

"In modern terminology, we would say that when you substitute political expediency for natural law (which is idolatry), you are in for trouble: civilization becomes decadent and declines." - Frank Chodorov

"To say that government ought to do that which is "expedient," or to do that which will tend to produce the "greatest happiness," or to do that which will subserve the "general good," is to say nothing; for there is infinite disagreement regarding the natures of these desiderata.

A definition of which the terms are indefinite is an absurdity.

Whilst the practical interpretation of "expediency" remains a matter of opinion, to say that a government should do that which is "expedient," is to say that it should do, what we think it should do!

The expediency-philosophy ignores a world full of facts.

It considers the philosophy of humanity easy, the constitution of the social organism simple, the cause of people's conduct obvious; general examination can provide "collective wisdom," the insight requisite for law-creation.

The expediency philosophy thinks that man's intellect is competent to:

observe accurately the facts exhibited by associated human nature;

to form just estimates of general and individual character;

to understand the effects of religions, traditions, superstitions, prejudices, of the mental tendencies of the age and of the probabilities of future events;

to grasping at once the multiplied phenomena of this ever-agitated, ever-changing sea of life, to derive from them knowledge of their governing principles which shall enable him to say whether such and such measures will conduce to "the greatest happiness of the greatest number."

Here, then, we have a rationale of the expediency-ideology of government.

It is the latest and most refined form assumed by this disposition to exalt the state at the expense of the individual. Between that old eastern regime under which the citizen was the private property of his ruler, having no rights at all, and that final state under which his rights will be entire and inviolable, there comes this intermediate state in which he is allowed to possess rights, but only by sufferance of parliament.

Thus the expediency - philosophy falls naturally into its place as a phenomena attending our progress from past slavery to future freedom.

Like each of its predecessors, it is natural to a certain phase of human development.

And it is fated to lose its hold as fast as our adaptation to the complex social state increases.

As far as the state is concerned again comes the inquiry - how does expediency-philosophy propose to determine between what should be attempted and what should not?

To escape the charge of political empiricism, the polity must show us some scientific test by which we can in each case determine whether or not state-superintendence is desirable.

Between the one extreme of entire non-interference, and the other extreme in which every citizen is to be transformed into a grown-up baby, "with bib and pap-spoon," there lie innumerable stopping places; and he who would have the state do more than protect is required to say where he means to draw the line, and to give us substantial reasons why it must be just there and nowhere else.

The proper constitution of governments, their duties, and the limits to their action must be arrived at out of an endless labyrinth of confused debate concerning the policy of these or those public measures, it openly short and easily-discerned ways; and the conclusions it leads to are enforced, both generally, by an abundant experience of the fallacy of expedient decision, and specially, by numerous arguments bearing on each successive question.

If the true end of this conflict of opinion is to keep social arrangements in harmony with the average character of the people; and if the honest opinion held by each man of any given state of things is not an intellectual accident, but indicates a preponderating fitness or unfitness of that state of things to his moral condition; then it follows that only by a universal manifestation of honest opinions can harmony between social arrangements and the average popular character be preserved." - Herbert Spencer

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