Reply to this post!!!Paul Strickler
Before we discuss constrained and unconstrained visions, we first need to define what a vision is. Thomas Sowell defines vision as, “Visions are like maps that guide us through a tangle of bewildering complexities. Like maps, visions have to leave out many concrete features in order to enable us to focus on a few key paths to our goals. Visions are indispensable—but dangerous, precisely to the extent that we confuse them with reality itself” (2022, Chapter 1). With that idea of vision in mind, we can now look at constrained vision which is defined as, “essentially economic—a system of moral incentives, a set of trade-offs rather than a real solution by changing man” and unconstrained vision defined as, “man was capable of directly feeling other people’s needs as more important than his own, and therefore of consistently acting impartially, even when his own interests or those of his family were involved” (Sowell, 2022, Chapter 2).
This trade-off versus solution (Sowell, 2022, Chapter 2) idea when it comes to vision is one way to explain the divisions that we see today. The divisions within America have only deepened over the last few years, “As Ezra Klein and other writers have noted, divisions between the two parties have intensified over time as various types of identities have become “stacked” on top of people’s partisan identities. Race, religion and ideology now align with partisan identity in ways that they often didn’t in eras when the two parties were relatively heterogenous coalitions” (Dimock & Wike, 2020). This division, when looked at through the lens of Sowell’s constrained versus unconstrained vision, is clear to see and it is clear to see why. On the conservative side, you have a more constrained vision approach while on the liberal side of the aisle it is often unconstrained. A great example of this would be to look at the idea of limited government. The trade-off to limited government is more personal responsibility. “GOP groups, by similar margins, favor smaller government” (Beyond Red Vs. Blue: The Political Typology, 2022). Conversely, if you believe that government expansion is a tool that can be used to force people to change for the better then you would believe that the solution warrants the action. “About eight-in-ten Establishment Liberals (83%) say they favor a bigger government providing more services” (10. Establishment Liberals, 2022). When one side sees the government as a series of trade-offs, they will want to limit the negative effects while maximizing the positive effects; while the other side will see the solution and use whatever means they can to achieve that solution.
When looking at constrained versus unconstrained vision, I believe that a constrained vision aligns better with a Biblical view of government. The constrained idea that “A necessary but not sufficient condition for a constrained vision is that man’s intellectual, moral, and other capabilities are so limited, relative to his desires (not only for material things but also for justice and love, for example), that his desires inherently cannot all be fully satisfied” (Sowell, 2022, Chapter 5) aligns with 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 which states, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ” (Bibles, 2018).
reply to this post separately!!!!Kaylor Bachler
YesterdayOct 25 at 8:28pm
Discussion Board: The Two Visions
Sowell, T. writes about two visions – Constrained and Unconstrained Visions. Both are of equal importance. However, both differ in meaning. While the Constrained Vision focuses on the sinful. nature of humanity and the reality of humanity’s flaws, the Unconstrained Vision believes that humanity is inherently good while focusing on a utopia that’s not rooted in reality but rather ideological belief in what a society could be and look like when the good in man emphasizes others interests over one’s self. These Visions both played and still play a critical role in the upbringing of society and the future of whether society will remain civilized through a Constrained Vision or become uncivilized through the implementation of an Unconstrained Vision.
In the book A Conflict of Visions, Sowell T. analyzed that the constrained vision is rooted in the belief that human nature is inherently sinful, therefore, contributes to self-serving and individual selfishness that clouds human judgment. He argues that the belief in a constrained vision focuses heavily on the idea that the functionality of a society is dependent on services of checks and balances that overrule personal human experience because of the idea that human nature is unable and unwilling to disregard their selfish-desires and inherent disobedience for the greater good. “Each person acts as if his little finger is more important than the lives of a hundred million other human beings” (Sowell, T. Ch. 2. 2007).
Sowell, T. continues his book but defines that the Unconstrained Vision , however, is rooted in the idea that human nature is inherently good and is grounded in the better well-being of others. “Godwin regarded the intention to benefit others as being “of the essence of virtue” (Sowell, P. Ch. 2. 2007). He states that with every problem lies a solution, and man’s natural tendency is contingent upon other people’s emotional well-being. “The unconstrained vision is a moral vision of human intentions, which are viewed as ultimately decisive” Sowell, T. Ch. 3. 2007). He prioritizes others over himself. Sowell, T. outlines the potential of mankind that is enriched by generosity and selflessness on the basis of a utopia-style society that is reflected in Biblical Scripture; “Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4 ESV).
Constrained and Unconstrained Visions in Today’s Society
Sowell, T. Diachotnomy of Constrained and Unconstrained Visions are relatable to society today. In the current political state of American politics, the increasing division and polarization are only getting worse due to the hyperbolic rhetoric of both parties and the refusal to work together on a bipartisan basis of comprise, which is reflected in the belief of Sowell. T.s Constrained Vision. The Constrained Vision reflects the Right’s position and policy initiatives that acknowledge the need for systems and laws to maintain a civilized society. The Right’s policies reflect the need for law and order, strong borders, and a small and limited federal government because of man’s flawed and corrupt nature. However, Biblical scriipture also demands man obey governing authorities because God put them in place. “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work” (Titus 3:1 ESV).
The Right acknowledges that a civilized society is contingent upon a safe society that enforces law and order; without law and order, safety and security are unattainable. Without safety and security, you cannot maintain a civilized society. The most recent demonstration of this is highlighted in the 2022 midterm elections, where crime is among the top issue and concerns for American voters. “More than three-quarters of voters said violent crime is a major problem in the United States” (Schneider, E. 2022). The right also expresses the importance of having. a Competitive economy consists of lower taxes, less regulation, and free but fair trade, and a free market economy prioritizes the individual rather than government intervention to achieve economic success. The constrained vision reflects this belief; “What mattered to Smith were the systemic characteristics of a competitive economy, which he saw as producing social benefits from unsavory individual intentions” (Sowell, T. Ch. 2. 2007).
The Left aligns with the Unconstrained Vision because of the ideological utopia society that most on the left want to achieve in the name of social justice. The refusal of the left to recognize that man is not inherently good but rather is inherently sinful has negatively impacted the inner cities in America. Policy initiatives pushing for less policing, cashless bail, and social justice reform that seeks to decriminalize certain drugs and downgrade felonies to misdemeanors have contributed to an uncivilized society. Certain Left DA’s in California, New York, and other left-ran cities and states and left DA’s like George Gascon, are neglecting their oath of office by not prosecuting crime, resulting in a less safe society that incentives criminals at the expense of innocent lives. “The very nature of criminal justice—to protect the innocent and increase public safety—is today undermined by a group of district attorneys (Das) in America’s big, mostly Democratic-run cities” (Smith, Z. 2022). Regardless of the left’s intent, ignoring the reality of humans’ sinful nature is detrimental to society’s well-being. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV).
Constrained and Unconstrained Biblical Affiliation
Both visions are related to Biblical scriipture, however, for different reasons. The constrained vision better aligns with a Biblical worldview based on the understanding of an imperfect world and man’s inherently sinful nature. God and Biblical scriipture demand humanity to submit to governing authorities but also acknowledges the inevitable sins of governing authorities. “For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4).