WasÂ watchingÂ a movie set in the 1960’s last night. There was a lot of talk about fighting Communism during the movie. I get that, I was indoctrinated by these beliefs. Â I watched the Berlin Wall fall in 5th grade on a t.v in our class room. It was quite the day. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for economic freedom. In that very same grade I was brought into contact with Greek Mythology, aÂ precursorÂ to my love for Socrates and the ideals of a Capitalistic Democracy.
Looking back, with the benefit of 28 years of education, I am beginning to see more commonalities in the doctrines thanÂ differences. The major theme in both systems is the belief that an ideal system can be created by that can optimize the well being of a human being. The lens of history will show that both systems have hadÂ achievementsÂ and failures with this basic measure. During the Enlightenment there were clearly differences of opinions on what the ideal system was, we are dealing with the fallout of those classical philosophical debates. TheÂ tragedyÂ is that we have forgotten that it is a debate. Human history spans hundreds of thousands of years, fighting over this issue has only been going for about 300. We need a little perspective. We cannot sit on our laurels and quit trying to improve on the systems of government that were handed down to us. One look at Capitalism or Communism will show that there are elements of both in each other, even if it won’t be admitted.
Toward the end of my undergraduate education, I can into contact with the teachings of John Rawls. He famously conceptualized Justice As Fairness. Without getting into too much detail, he thought that there should be a minimumÂ standardÂ below which no one could fall, and yet there should be room for people to rise within those bounds. Â A Theory Of Justice is more detailed than my short handÂ explanation, and it changed my life. ItÂ especiallyÂ put into perspective the fact that Democracy,Â andÂ Communism areÂ fictionalÂ systems, neither of them is in any way a natural form. There is no reason we cannotÂ take theÂ works of our most excellentÂ scholarsÂ andÂ improveÂ upon the concepts of government that we have. If we are really going to hold to the ideals ofÂ theÂ American Revolution we are actually mandated to do so. Those great men took the body of knowledge of their day and came up with a system that would address the concerns of their time. If we fail to do so, we fail to honor their courage. It’s time to stop treating our systems as churches to indoctrinate with, rather we should look upon them as ever evolving humanÂ institutions. We can add our voices to the debates of the Enlightenment, it is time we do so.
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