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 Ayesha Speaking

Current speaker OK. I've talked with everybody and I have some very short descriptions of what each of us believes about society, politics, government, and related subjects. Here goes.

Dee is a libertarian. (I think we are going to have to start calling her a "right libertarian" because Elijah considers himself a "left libertarian.") She believes in very strong individual rights, including strong property rights. Governments exist to protect those rights and not a whole lot more. We should have minimal government -- something like the classical liberal night watchman state -- that monopolizes the use of force, defends the nation, and enforces contracts. Social interaction should consist of voluntary action and agreements. The modern welfare state is morally unacceptable.


Ann is a utilitarian. She believes that institutions and policies should be chosen in order to maximize human welfare. She tends to favor some form of a welfare state and certain welfare rights.


Fred considers himself a typical American conservative. He believes in a strict interpretation of the Constitution, limited government at all levels, a less intrusive federal government, more power to state governments, lower taxes, and relatively free markets. Like Ayesha, he is a Catholic; but his interpretation of Catholic social thought is much more conservative than hers.


John is not easy to classify, but he has offered us a description of an ideal society as a goal to be sought. In his ideal, everyone has the freedom and resources to develop his or her capacities. As a means to reaching this ideal, he tends to support welfare state measures.


Ayesha is a Catholic. She has been very impressed by Catholic social thought as expressed in both Papal encyclicals and statements made by the American bishops. She rejects both socialism and free market capitalism. She sees Catholicism as a "third way" that avoids the problems of those two alternatives.


Vera is a strong feminist and tends to be skeptical about many of the claims of traditional political philosophy. She rejects both the natural law and the social contract traditions, but she is attracted by what recent philosophers call "virtue ethics." Her feminism tends to inform her views on political philosophy. In particular, she believes that women's interests and women's experience should be given more weight in political affairs.


Diego is an Evangelical Christian. He tends to base his political views, including his views on political philosophy, on Christian principles. His most important source is the New Testament. While he often agrees with Fred and other more secular conservatives, his emphasis is on stopping the moral decline of our society and the weakening of the family.


Elijah describes himself as a "left libertarian." He agrees with Dee that individual people own themselves, and he derives strong individual rights from that premise. On the other hand, unlike Dee, Elijah believes that human beings in some sense collectively own the earth's natural resources. As a result, when some people take full individual ownership of resources, others are owed some form of compensation.

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