The Purpose of Government

And so we begin!

This will be the first post at HugAJackass.com and I find it critical that we should start with a solid foundation. I believe that all discourse on political debate has to start with a basic understanding of, and agreement on, the purpose of Government. The role of Government needs to have a clearly defined and supported purpose, without which it is impossible to determine what the limits (if any) of said Government is. How can we know if a Government has done enough, or too much, in regard to any given issue if we don’t know the reason why that Government exists in the first place?

The American Revolution brought forth a very unique time in history that never happened prior and will likely never happen again. It was a unique opportunity to look back over all of history and put together a system of government that was built with human nature in mind. So, they had to answer for themselves the question of purpose.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” – Declaration of Independence

They came to the conclusion that the purpose of Government is to safeguard the liberties of it’s people.

What was incredibly fortunate for mankind is that these men were very very educated with a classic liberal education. They were the product of the ages of Reason and the Enlightenment.  They knew that mankind was extremely flawed and therefore anything that man is involved with is also flawed as the nature of man was inescapable. They knew that in order for man to be civil, he must appeal to something higher than himself. Since, Government is made of men, it couldn’t be government, since that would inherit all of the characteristics of human nature. It had to be higher yet. They had to appeal to their Creator.

 

“But what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”–Alexander Hamilton

The concept of Natural Law states that the rights of man are coded in nature itself by God. These rights cannot be granted nor taken from man, only infringed upon. The rights exist simply upon the basis that man exists.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” – Declaration of Independence

So, with all of this in mind, they set out to form a system of Government that recognizes that man is flawed, and therefore since Government is made up of man, it too possesses the selfish and flawed traits of man. They acknowledged that Government needed to be reigned in by man, and that man needed to be reigned in by religion. The need for both were paramount for this system to function. If either one was allowed to run a muck, the nature of man would cause the whole thing to crumble.

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams

The Federal Republic that they left us was a whole new system that even they referred to as an experiment. Instead of a supreme leader like a Dictatorship or mob rule like a Democracy, they chose a system in which the Rule of Law was the supreme authority. The rule of law was so absolute that the Government was only allowed to exercise power that was expressly granted in the Constitution and no more. This is the concept of Enumerated Powers. All other power was relegated to the individual States. This is the construct that they figured would be the best at safeguarding the liberties of the people.

The purpose of Government isn’t to provide for people. It’s to safeguard the liberty of people to be able to provide for themselves. Any policy that takes from people the ability to exercise their liberty, and grants that to the Government is absolutely contrary to the whole purpose for which this system was put together. The founders correctly called this tyranny.

The founders believed that any Government that operated from a position of tyranny, was illegitimate and therefore no Government at all. If the liberties of the people were not protected, then it was upon the people to protect them, themselves by replacing the Government with one that will fulfill its purpose.

 

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