Setting aside everything we think about politics, when you get right down to the core of it, there is one central question: to what extent and for what purposes can one person legitimately control the actions of another?
There may not be a simple and universal answer, but it is an interesting question to explore. Fortunately, we can infer a handful of principles by observing the lessons of nature and history.
We have learned that liberty is generally a good thing. We have also learned that human beings can abuse liberty to harm themselves and others. And while we find that rulers and laws can be instructive, guiding individuals toward a fulfilled life, political power can also be a corrupted and abused. Navigating a history of ideas, we have come to accept democracy as the Gold Standard of political systems. Yet, even democracy has different meanings, and each meaning comes with its own subset of requisite characteristics.
Today we stand at a crossroads in political philosophy. We each share the same general goals but have vastly different ideas on how to achieve them. Some see a greater role for government actions to orchestrate society, distributing resources, opportunities and punishments in the manner that political officials deem most just. Others, like myself, believe that autonomous individuals, families and communities—given a few essential political protections—are capable of orchestrating their own affairs most effectively, and that this is much more just. Still, others would eliminate governments altogether. I see this as an impossibility just as naïvely conceived as progressive ideals. Chasing Utopia, in any form, is bound to bring disaster.
In this fallen world, I do not believe we will ever see the end of war and want. But I believe in pursuing the maximum achievable peace and prosperity through strong military defense, strategic diplomacy, limited government, separated powers, the rule of law, federalism, free trade, strong families, flourishing communities, and moral and civic virtue.