A just government governs by the consent of the governed.
Which, in a pluralistic society (shaddap about Denmark), it’s not a high school civics class platitude. It’s not easy. Few large, pluralistic societies pull it off well.
And we’re getting worse at it.
I’m going to pullquote the conclusion from this Kevin Williamson piece on the subject – but I suggest reading the whole thing:
It is hardly surprising that, as we have seen in recent weeks, the two major tribes of American life cannot achieve widespread consent to a policy consensus during a time of acute national emergency — because there is no consensus about the facts of the case, which is itself the result of there being no consensus about who it is we can trust to document and adjudicate those facts. The falling dominoes of institutional failure and intellectual malfeasance have left standing very little of the institutional credibility we need to develop and implement useful and necessary public policies. The dangers and harm resulting from that are obvious even to a fringe libertarian like me. I do not want government to do very much, but I want government to do the things that we need it to do, and to do them effectively.
With the economy cratering, unemployment at unthinkable highs, tens of thousands dead and thousands more to die, it is almost impossible to write this, but: We are lucky that this epidemic is not a great deal worse than it is, because we are not ready for it and do not seem to have the capacity to get ourselves ready for it.
The whole point of politics – the very root of the word – is the art and craft of getting people to agree well enough on what needs to be done.
And we’re doing very badly at it.