Purpose Of Government, Part 10 to blupete's Essay
"An Essay On Government"
"The purpose of government," as Thomas Jefferson said, "is to allow for the preservation of life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.19 (Note the
use of the words "allow" and "pursuit.") Government cannot give life, it cannot give liberty, and it cannot give happiness; it can only take such things away. Liberty, or freedom, is a topic which arises in any discussion concerning government; and it arises, not because government can contribute to freedom, in any way, but rather because government invariably, due to its very nature, encroaches on freedom. Government is to be treated as a trained guard dog, to be led out into the crowd by its handlers under strict control and sharp command. Usually the mere presence of Government power is enough to remind people to leave the liberty of others alone so that each person, unfettered in any way except by proper law, through individual choice, might create wealth; and to use it or preserve it, as they should choose. Only the individual, each in his own way, can create wealth; and by individuals doing this does the wealth of the nation come about. Wealth thus comes about because people have the freedom to choose, in every instance, what they individually calculate is best for them; the trillions of individual decisions that freely occur every day in our economy is what keeps us all going. To
maintain an environment in which exchanges between people, within the law, voluntarily occur: this, -- if the goal is to increase the store of wealth in the country -- is the sole function of government. It is there to punish the citizen who encroaches on the freedom of another, government's role is as a referee, it must stay clear of the play; it must leave the business of creating wealth to those who can do it, to those that can only do it, to those outside of government. Government cannot create wealth it can only destroy it.
"The object of this essay is to assert one very simple principle, ... that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightly exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his or her will, is to prevent harm to others." (Mill, On Liberty, 1859.)
"If every person has the right to defend - even by force - his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. This principle of collective right - its reason for existing, its lawfulness - is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force - for the same reason - cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups." (Bastiat, The Law,
Or, GO TO
TABLE OF CONTENTS