Setting aside everything we hate about politics, when you down to its core, the central question of politics is critical for human justice: 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 like collective parents, protecting and guiding citizens 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—if not in form, at least in spirit. Yet, even democratic ideals have different interpretations on which to hold our debate.
Today we stand at a crossroads in political philosophy. Most of us 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 one group of voters and politicians deem just. Others, like myself, believe that free-thinking individuals, families and communities—given a few essential political protections—are capable of orchestrating their own affairs most effectively, and that this self-ownership of liberty and responsibility are the essence of justice.
In this fallen world, I do not believe we will ever see the end of war and poverty. 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.