Why Government Must Be Limited

limited government

Why Government Must be Limited

In the world of man there is a need for many goods and services.  These goods and services require people to be productive in order to create a surplus beyond their  immediate needs.  They need to be able to acquire that which they cannot or choose not to produce.  There are goods and services centered around food, clothing and shelter, health, sanitation, etc.  But there is one fundamental need that is unique and that is the protection from the initiation of physical force. That is why we need a government.  The government is structured to deal with combating force inflicted on its citizens.  It has an army and a navy to ward off invaders.  It has a police structure to insure peace on the domestic scene and ward off force from the criminals who would initiate force against their fellow citizens .  It has a court system to interpret the laws and resolve disagreements in a rational nonviolent way.  This is the nature of a government and what it has to offer in the world of man where trade satisfies human wants and needs.

There are two fundamental flaws in the current understanding of government’s role.  First there is the premise that funding for such a service must be mandatory ( i.e. taxes ) which is only applicable if you grant the government the same means of acquiring it’s revenue that you want to prevent from criminal behavior ( i.e. taking by threat or by force ).  What good is it to have a protector that indulges in the same activities you are seeking protection from?  This is the Mafia offering protection program.  And if the Mafia decides their protection is worth more than you are willing to pay they break your knees or worse. What the government does is demand payment in a somewhat more subtle fashion.  They debase the currency, They print money to the point it loses its value and they grant themselves credit that eventually leads to bankruptcy in the most absolute sense.  And in true Mafia fashion they demand direct payment from your earnings in the form of taxes.

Secondly there is the commonly accepted idea that government can and should do more than its basic nature requires.  If this premise were applied to any other business it would instantly be seen as favoritism and unfair.  But because government has a monopoly on the use of physical force, and there are many who think it’s okay to join the robbers if you can get a piece of the action; the myth prevails that government can get away with spending beyond it’s means and operating any way it wants to as long as there are people voting for this self destructive behavior.  Votes won’t change the reality.

jeffersonSince government is capable of taking on the characteristics of the villains it is charged with subduing and conquering,there must be a means of restricting it from acting outside of its definition.  This requires that it police itself.  This is requirement that no other endeavor is faced with.  All other businesses and organizational activity can appeal to the government for resolution ,but the government must look at itself as the resolver of last resort.  This is what the Founding Fathers attempted to construct.  But as with all construction it is subject to the wear and tear of the ages.  In this case the wear and tear is the grinding away at the foundational flaws the Fathers could not perfectly defend against.  They knew fundamentally that too much government translated into eventual tyranny.  And the structure of checks and balances addressed that issue.  What they were unable to formulate was a foundation so grounded in reason that upon reexamination and review it would emerge as solid enough to prevent the excesses of government.  This is still what is needed and since it is a derivative of reason, it cannot come from dictates, prophesies or claimed revelations. These are not subject to review by questioning.  Reason is.

When the government becomes more of a burden than a benefit it is time to reexamine its adherence to its role.  There must be a recognition that it is growing out of control through historical data and performance. There must be a willingness to forget about the short term election prospects and look at the long term which entails the future of the government’s survival.  There has never been or may never be a government so self restrained that it will voluntarily reduce its growth without an impending crisis.  To avoid such a crisis is just the reason for putting into place the kind of restrictions on government that are required for stability and keeping the functions of security and protection in place.  How do we do this?

First there must be a recognition that government is not the end all to all the problems and concerns of the human race.  Government represents an important value centered around our concerns with security but it has nothing to offer in the wider activities of production and trade. The government produces nothing.  Currently it redistributes a whole lot of commodities and services but it produces none of them.  A redistribution agent is not necessary nor is it a legitimate function of government.  Notions that some should get what others have produced because they have a need has been thoroughly refuted with the Soviet “experiment’.  American politicians who don’t see that what they are equating with freedom is a variation of the same old collectivist scheme we have seen fail miserably before and reveal a far darker nature than a representative of American citizens should have.

Nothing in the current  situation will change as long as there are dominant voices saying our fate is inevitable, there is nothing we can do , it will always be this way ,” I’ll get mine before the collapse” or it is the best of all worlds and improvement isn’t something I’m concerned about. These are the kinds of attitudes that feed on the short term and when the rumblings begin, wonder why they didn’t heed the warning signs until it was too late. It is the attitude of the powers that could have prevented the collapse of the levees, the coming bankruptcy of Medicare and Social Security, the lingering stalemate in the Middle East and the consequences of the ever mounting national debt.  America has always been a can do nation from it’s beginning and now is not the time to change its attitude into one of resignation.  We are confronted with a bombardment of attacks from outside and within our country.  Many are by citizens who either don’t understand what a great country we are or have a dark streak like an arsonist that wants to view destruction for its own sake.  These are not the builders but the barriers that  simply will need to be ignored as progress continues.  The first objective to conquer is the corralling of government to its proper role.  The Constitution must reflect more than it currently does.  It must openly state, “ Government , by its nature’ must be limited to the role of protecting the individual rights of it’s citizens .  It may not step outside this role to influence or control the requirements of it’s citizenry to earn and trade.  In return it has a reasonable expectation that it will be voluntarily funded in the same way its army relies on voluntary manpower to staff it. And laws passed contrary to the proper function of government will be promptly repealed.

A limited government must be explicitly restricted.  You have seen by the Republican “ experiment’ that rhetoric and promises are insufficient.  For if it is not restricted government that is desired there is only the repetition of the centuries to look forward to.  A limited government shows far more promise.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.

Dale Netherton

Author of four published books, former Marine, forester, former plant services manager,former KT facilitator, former campgound builder and manager, handyman now retired to writing , chess , golf and fishing. ISU graduate, M.B.A. from Nova University and longtime supporter of ARI. http://www.amazon.com/Dale-L.-Netherton/e/B00G1T6A26/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

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