Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Is Man Basically Good?

Is man basically good? If he were then:
  1. Gun control laws would work, but would be unnecessary.

  2. Welfare would work, but would be unnecessary.

  3. Socialism would be the norm, and it would work.

  4. Separated governmental powers would be pointless.

  5. The military would be unnecessary.

  6. The IRS would be unnecessary.

  7. Deficits would be nonexistent.

  8. Unions would be unnecessary and nonexistent.

  9. A large police force would be unnecessary.

  10. The religion of Environmentalism would be unnecessary.

  11. Criminal rehabilitation would be unnecessary, but if it were necessary, it would work.

  12. Government would only consume a pittance of man's productivity, for it would be cheap; perhaps as cheap as the price of a benevolent dictator and his staff who would earn no more than their fellow man.

  13. Genocide, mass murder, the holocausts, and terrorism would be meaningless words.

  14. Democrat party policies would, for the most part, be good policies.

  15. He would be living in Utopia.
In fact, if man were basically good, he could not be deceived into believing that his current existence, complete with crime, scandal, oppression, deceit, prisons and big government to control his fellow human beings, is the result of the cumulative results of billions of other beings who are basically good.


Fredd said...

Nice list, Bumbling. "IF" all men were good, you betcha, we would all be living in Utopia.

But now, on to the real world. Humans are, at their basis, animals. Accordingly, their basic instincts are selfish and survivalistic.

As time has passed, we invented 'societies' to keep people from eating each other, and they are currently getting the job done in that regard, more or less.

Being a big believer in 'The Bell Curve,' (Herrnstein & Murray, 1994), most of us in the middle of the bell curve abide by social norms, but we always have folks on the extremes (saints and scoundrels) for whom we all have to make adjustments. Well, for the scoundrels, not so much for the saints....

Adjustments such as police, prisons, mental institutions and the IRS. And governments. And don't get me started about that last adjustment, Bumbling...

Brandon said...

I really enjoyed this list!

christian soldier said...

answer to primary question-

Joe said...

I think the Bible has something to say about this. It is not true because it is in the Bible, it is in the Bible because it is true. Always has been...always will be. Since the fall, mankind is not and never has been basically good .

Stan said...

Jonathan Edwards suggested that the easiest Christian doctrine to prove is the doctrine of Original Sin -- that all men are, by nature, born sinners. In his essay on the subject he referred to it as "the great Christian doctrine of Original Sin". Oh, sure, it's there in the Bible, but, like your list (and, oh, so much more), it's all around us, too. And if Man was basically good, there would certainly be some who didn't need a Savior.

Nancy said...

Good List! Even if man were basically "good" there is still a large gap between "good" and "perfect", and a learning curve; under neither would we "get a pass"... We would still be missing the mark of God's standard (perfection)! Even the "good" must use the only available access to the Father...The redeeming blood of Jesus Christ!

Craig and Heather said...

He would be living in Utopia.

This is exactly what you had me thinking by about point #7.


Dan said...


I was aware of this truth as I wrote this post. Even the Bible, which is clear on the ultimate condition of man, refers to some men as being blameless and the like. There is a real sense that some people are pretty good while others are pretty bad. But this is always measured against one standard, as you point out. That standard is perfection. Some come much closer than others to that standard as compared to other men, and in that respect are good. But we forget or downplay the ultimate standard at our own peril, both eternally and in this present time. When we see ourselves as only needing a nudge to help us that last little bit over the wall that is the sin that separates us from God and justifies his wrath against us, we bring ourselves up and diminish God in our own minds. Also, in this present time, we gleefully trot down glittering roads that lead to despair by thinking higher of man than we ought. Minds drunk on the ultimate goodness of man institute devastating policies as he seems to be ever reaching for his heaven on earth. As Johann Christian Fredrich Holderin put it: "What has always made the sate a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven"

Dan said...

Fred said:

"Humans are, at their basis, animals. Accordingly, their basic instincts are selfish and survivalistic."

I have to differ with you on this Fred, even though I know our worldviews currently bring us to the same conclusions. The very definition of "good" in this context needs an objective truth, and an objective truth giver, as a reference point. Man needs to know, and in fact he is, much more than an advanced variant of the animal kingdom. He must establish this as foundational if he is ultimately to be civilized. Even communist societies have a social compact. These societies differ from free societies only in the way they approach the individual and his ultimate liberty to direct his own life as he sees fit.

As for the bell curve, I question this thinking as well. I do see what you're getting at, and agree to a degree. But I challenge this thinking by asking you to consider it as applied to a, say, Pakistani culture. It would work the same, but my guess is that the fattest part of the bell curve would be made up of those who think that the killing of infidels is a good thing, and would gladly carry it out. Also with liberals. The idea that one neighbor should be robbed to feed another neighbor, or to pay for economically unfeasible schemes such as green energy, would make up the fat part of the bell as a goodness, at least today anyway. Who knows what it will consist of a decade or ten from now.