Just and Unjust Government

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about something involving the premise of government, which, of course is force. Force is what government stands on and can only exist through the threat of force. Government is also the enforcer of the law. So let's have a thought experiment on just what laws the government can justly enforce.

Can a person, say me, force a person, say you, to drink an alcoholic beverage? Can I personally force you to smoke a cigarette? Can I force you to believe in and follow Jesus Christ? The answer to all of these questions is a big fat NO. I cannot justly force you to do any of those things. I can only use peaceful persuasion. What about non-objectionable things? Can I force you to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages? Can I force you to abstain from smoking cigarettes? Can I force you to be a pagan? The same answer, NO.

Does it follow then that although I can't force you to do, or not to do, any of those things, that I can band with my fellow citizens and use the threat of force, the government, to get you to drink, smoke, or worship? No, it does not follow, and therefore it would be an illogical and unjust use of government.

Let's now talk about the various uses of government supported by either "the Left", "the Right", or their political representatives. The Left believes it just to use government and its threat of force to get productive citizens to pay for various "philanthropic" programs such as welfare, universal health care, public schooling, etc. The Right believes it just to use government and its threat of force to prevent adults from getting paid to prostitute themselves. The Left believes it just to use government and its threat of force to prevent adults across political borders from trading with one another. The Right believes it just to use government and its threat of force to prevent adults from consuming whatever they so desire, be it food, drink, or drug. The great majority of political representatives for either side believe it just to use government and its threat of force to get some citizens to pay for special interest earmarks, farm subsidies, etc. for other citizens.

I believe that all of the above and more are illogical and unjust uses of government. A just law cannot be anything that one person does not have the right to personally do to another person. Just as I cannot force you to abstain from drugs and drinking, I cannot give that right to government to force you to abstain from drugs and drinking. And just as I cannot force you to pay me welfare, I cannot give that right to government to force you to pay for my welfare, or anybody's welfare. When government is used in these way, it is not a just goverment, it is a tyrannical government. And I believe both "the Left" and "the Right" use government in tyrannical ways. "Society" does not have any rights that a single person does not have.

To conclude, I give you a thought on what liberty is, provided by Frederic Bastiat in The Law:

"Actually, what is the political struggle that we witness? It is the instinctive struggle of all people toward liberty. And what is this liberty, whose very name makes the heart beat faster and shakes the world? Is it not the union of all liberties—liberty of conscience, of education, of association, of the press, of travel, of labor, of trade? In short, is not liberty the freedom of every person to make full use of his faculties, so long as he does not harm other persons while doing so? Is not liberty the destruction of all despotism—including, of course, legal despotism? Finally, is not liberty the restricting of the law only to its rational sphere of organizing the right of the individual to lawful self-defense; of punishing injustice? It must be admitted that the tendency of the human race toward liberty is largely thwarted… This is greatly due to a fatal desire—learned from the teachings of antiquity—that our writers on public affairs have in common: They desire to set themselves above mankind in order to arrange, organize, and regulate it according to their fancy."

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