Utilitarianism vs Idealism

Kyle Lahnakoski kyle@arcavia.com
Tue, 29 May 2001 22:54:29 -0400

Francois-Rene Rideau wrote:

> > I do not agree with the axiom:
> >> The people cannot delegate to government the power to do
> >> anything which would be unlawful for them to do themselves.
> >>       -- John Locke, "A Treatise Concerning Civil Government"
> > A society is different than a person.  To arbitrarily restrict society
> > to human rights is naive.

> If you find justification in government powers that be not individually
> delegated, then you must justify either normatively
> what is the source and limit of these powers,
> or phenomenologically how it is possible for these powers to lead
> to a better society notwithstanding the difficulty of keeping
> these powers from corrupt, ignorant, and/or incompetent hands.

I see Locke's statement as a restriction of government(society's)
power.  I do not see any reason to make that restriction.  I see this
from two points.

1) Government can change law to make any action lawful anyway.
2) To say that government is to be restricted as person, when they are
not even the same type of thing, appears arbitrary.

Government should be efficient and be able to act above the law; saving
time on rewriting law when it needs to do something unlawful.  Anyway, I
am not concerned with government's apparent super-freedom.  As you said,
because I lack a normative statement, there is no discussion.

I am concerned with what government does with this super-freedom,
specifically with respect to implementing copyright/patent law.  I would
like to go back to that discussion.

I am not sure how such a small sentence in one of my replies could have
gotten so far as to deserve a new subject heading.  I am now on
unfamiliar ground.  If you have a link to some fundamentals, I would be
more than happy to read.

Kyle Lahnakoski                                  Arcavia Software Ltd.
(416) 892-7784                                 http://www.arcavia.com