Jimmy Carter's "goals of society"

December 10, 2002

During his lecture after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, President Carter said "I am not here as a public official, but as a citizen of a troubled world who finds hope in a growing consensus that the generally accepted goals of society are peace, freedom, human rights, environmental quality, the alleviation of suffering, and the rule of law." On the surface, I completely agree with this statement. Each of those things is a worthy goal for a society to have. Here's the problem, though. In the mind of a liberal, there is absolutely no distinction between the "goals of society" and the "proper functions of government". With that in mind, the statement takes on a new, sinister meaning. While some of the things he mentioned belong in both categories, some of society's goals are most certainly not the job of government. Most notably, "peace" and "the alleviation of suffering".

Governments exist to prevent suffering at the hands of others, but not to generally alleviate suffering, in all its varied forms and with all its varied sources. I don't want to dwell on that though, since I've already talked a lot about it. A more timely topic, as we are about to mop the floor with Iraq, is that of "peace". I am not saying that our government should have no concern for peace, only that it was not established for peace. It was established for the security of its own citizens. Ugly as it may be, that means going out and killing bad guys from time to time.

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