Jan 4, 17 / Aqu 04, 01 08:17 UTC
What is government? ¶
Government is an aggregate of force that should be used only to protect rights.
To explain in detail I will have to summarize my views on the role of a government, so I apologize for the text dump. Please understand, if I would for example say that a government should not provide schooling, I am not saying that we as a society should not provide schooling but that it is not the government's place to do so. Rather, it should be offered (perhaps still for free) privately instead of using public funds.
To be direct, I believe in the natural rights of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness, among others. These rights are born from natural functions, duties, of humans. The specifics of that are a subject on its own so for the rest of the post lets assume that these rights do in fact, exist. Taking that assumption, it is very important to understand fully their nature. Natural rights are all "Negative rights". This means we are not entitled to them, but protected from their removal. The right to own property does not mean man should be given property, but that he may own possessions that no other man may take away.
Given this, Natural rights have a very special relationship with force. Force can be defined as an entity enforcing it's unwanted will upon another entity through violence, exceptional coercion, deception, or other means.The only permissible time for an individual to use force is in defense of his rights. This is because force by it's nature violates it's victim's liberty, and often other rights as well. On an individual level, this is easy to understand and accept. No one would argue that an individual can never be permitted to take another's life without just cause. Stealing is widely understood to be wrong, and thankfully most societies around the world now understand the evils of slavery.
If we expand on this, it can be said that to protect the philosophy of rights, stealing must always be prevented. No matter how hungry a man may be, he should be prevented from taking the food of another, even if it could be considered wrong for those with plenty to not assist him. However, to protect this hungry man's life, we must ensure he is provided opportunity to earn food. Without the right to work, the right to life is meaningless. Life requires food which requires work. Notice this does not entail providing a hungry man with a "job". The rich are not obligated to offer "jobs" to the hungry poor, they do so because it is in their own best interests. These "jobs" are merely a contract whereupon a person agrees to work a set amount for a set amount of pay over long periods of time. One can be assured that as long as mankind has unmet needs, work will be available in abundance, and the right to work merely assures that everyone receives the fruit of their labors.
The way force should affect this principle is actually very minimal. Imagine a man who sustains himself by selling handmade carvings of wood. He works on his own, and for that he gains wooden carvings. If these carvings are worth money then he is successful. If these carvings are worthless then he is not. He may use force to protect his work from theft, but no one would say he can use force to make others buy his carvings. Yet, when the lens is widened to include an entire nation, most people will forget this basic rule of force.
To understand this one needs to understand what government truly is. Government is the instrument with which a society projects it's collective force. A government necessitates power. Without power it is no longer a government but a grand, wasteful committee offering advice to it's people. As an aggregate of force, a government's first and only acceptable job is to protect the rights of the citizens it derives it's power from and serves. Notice this is no different from the acceptable function of force on an individual level. Both an individual and a state have the same restriction on force, that it may only be used to protect the natural rights of individuals.
This is a simple thing to accept in a simple fashion, but the ramifications are widespread and easily misunderstood. A government must protect it's citizens that much is simple. It also has a responsibility to do this in the most cost effective fashion possible, usually through diplomacy. If diplomacy fails then a government inherits the responsibility of war. Thus, a government should handle foreign affairs and national defense. It also should handle internal defense. This means the defense of it's citizens' life, liberty, and property. All three are equally necessary for without property one cannot live and without liberty life has no meaning. Given this, a government has the infinitely complicated task of safeguarding it's citizen's lives and property without erasing their liberty as modern governments have, all while using the least amount of resources possible.
This is the entire extent of a government's responsibility.
If the list seems short that's because it is. Any tasks that go beyond this scope are no longer directed at protecting rights but at improving lives. It is not a government's place to improve lives. A government cannot donate because it does not work. A government takes from its' citizens using force to sustain itself. This is acceptable to protect rights and nothing more. A citizen can not take from a neighbor on his left to help a neighbor on his right and so neither can a committee of citizens, no matter how prestigious. A government embodies force and cannot take any action without using it. So a government must be confined to the proper role of force.
This does not mean that we should not attempt to improve lives. With the current role of machines in our world there is no reason why anyone should want for food, shelter, clothes, hygiene, or even minor luxuries. We could easily distribute them throughout all of Asgardia, and most of the world as well if we pooled our collective abilities. However, to say the government can, should, or will do this for us is naive. The government cannot help the poor because the government is us. It is our force pooled together. All it can do is deprive us of our liberty and force us to donate in the fashion it chooses. A fashion historically corrupt, inefficient, and sometimes even harmful. At best we place the responsibility of helping our fellow man with a small group of politicians standing in a horrendous conflict of interest.
We have the ability here to do what has never been done before. The wonderful gift of the internet enables us to work together in ways previously undreamed of. We can found a society on the principles of charity, knowledge, and integrity and work together to achieve them. We do not need a government to do this for us. Children need rules to do what is right. If we Asgardians must also be forced to help each other, than we admit that humanity is nothing but a race of children. If we are all children then how can we hope to find enough enlightened leaders for any government to stand the test of time without it becoming eventually twisted by abuse? We must grow up and act together as adults for the betterment of Asgardia and humanity.
No government we can create should be responsible for making Asgardia a utopia for our descendants. We are responsible. Each and every one of us share that responsibility. If we give away that responsibility then we do not deserve what I hope Asgardia can become.