Thursday, June 25, 2009

UUA GA Quickie #1

Last night, the opening sermon was given by a young and talented raised UU minister. Her speech was intricate, optimistic, and contained a call for action. It even saw the logic behind "We affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person" and transformed that into "we are already holy". Magnificent, moving stuff.

I profoundly disagree with her, however, on the necessity of evil in the systems that oppose us. It goes too strongly against my faith in humanity, and in my understanding of politics. Closest to this sentiment, I think, is James Madison, writing in the Federalist No. 51
But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature. If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to government, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In forming a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
We are not more holy than any other in creating our governance, and while I do feel that crafting society is sacred work, I do not see the evil inherent in its creation, nor in its creators. If there is evil in the result, it is because humans cannot foresee every problem, and because systems are slow to adapt to change.

But that does not make the opposition evil. It may make it obstructionist, misguided, or harmful. But that doesn't make it evil. That makes it human.

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