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Government: A concept by "nature" rather than a necessary evil

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Throughout my quest between the rather large caves of "Conservatism" and "Libertarianism," I have come across another camp that hides in the shadows, and they call themselves "Anarchists" and "Voluntaryists." These people will assert that the concept of government is inherently evil by nature, and that taxation, which is used to fund governments, is a form of stealing. In this article, not only will I attempt to defend the assertion that government isn't a "necessary evil" nor "inherently evil," but I will also attempt to shoot down the idealistic camps of "anarchism" and "voluntaryism."

[What is government, and what encompasses its history?]

Merriam-Webster defines it in three ways (although there are several more):

  1. The group of people who control and make decisions for a country, state, etc.
  2. A particular system used for controlling a country, state, etc.
  3. The process or manner of controlling a country, state, etc.

*The first known usage of the word was during the 14th century (1300's).*

To further define it, government, is a system of selected individuals (sometimes selected by force and other times by Democratic means) which governs and makes decisions for a country. It is there to make decisions for a country in which the people are not necessarily versed in making for themselves, and to do so in an efficient way.

"There are certain basic principles regarding the proper role of government. If principles are correct, then they can be applied to any specific proposal with confidence... The true statesman values principle above popularity, and works to create popularity for those political principles which are wise and just." by the Honorable Ezra Taft Benson

Further reading: (http://www.laissez-fairerepublic.com/benson.htm).

"Some traces we can still discern of the history of primitive societies. As fragments of primitive animals have been kept for us sealed up in the earth's rocks, so fragments of primitive institutions have been preserved, embedded in the rocks of surviving law or custom, mixed up with the rubbish of accumulated tradition, crystallized in the organization of still savage tribes, or kept curiously in the museum of fact and rumor swept together by some ancient historian. Limited and perplexing as such means of reconstructing history maybe, they repay patient comparison and analysis as richly as do the materials of the archaeologist and the philologian. The facts as to the origin and early history of government are at least as available as the facts concerning the growth and kinship of languages or the genesis and development of the arts and sciences. Such light as we can get from the knowledge of the infancy of society thus meagrely afforded us is, at any rate, better than that derived from a priori speculations founded upon our acquaintance with our modern selves, or from any fancies, how learnedly soever constructed, that we might weave as to the way in which history might plausibly be read backwards." by Woodrow Wilson

As Wilson stated, the concept of government has come from that of primitive societies. Therefore, we can derive that the origins of government are merely "natural," as the want for collectivizing and creating societies based on a hierarchical structure of leadership has come from that of natural consequence throughout human history. Even Karl Marx claimed that the first form of government came from primitive societies, although he stated that the first form of government was "primitive communism" for which tribes collectivized and shared everything. I would contend, however, that, that was not "communism" but just mere "collectivism." Communism requires that the government force people to do as it sees fit, whereas those "primitive" tribes naturally shared things based on the basis of survival and collectivism. Never the less, it was worth mentioning because even Marx could note that the concept of "government" is a concept that reigns true throughout human history. The reason for stating such will come later.

[What is the role of government?]

The following is a compilation, which I believe to fully answer the above question, of the works of the Honorable Ezra Taft Benson on the proper role of government. You can read it in more depth by clicking on the highlighted "Ezra" name.

{THE CORRECT ROLE OF GOVERNMENT} by the Honorable Ezra Taft Benson

These are the principles which, in my opinion, proclaim the proper role of government in the domestic affairs of the nation.

"(I) believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society."

"(I) believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life…"

"(I) believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, which protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience." (D&C 134: 1-2,5)

{THE MOST IMPORTANT FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT}

It is generally agreed that the most important single function of government is to secure the rights and freedoms of individual citizens. The great Thomas Jefferson asked: "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?" (Works 8:404; P.P.N.S., p.141)

Starting at the foundation of the pyramid, let us first consider the origin of those freedoms we have come to know as human rights. There are only two possible sources. Rights are either God-given as part of the Divine Plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan. Reason, necessity, tradition and religious convictions all lead me to accept the divine origin of these rights. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government. I, for one, shall never accept that premise. As the French political economist, Frederick Bastiat, phrased it so succinctly, "Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." (The Law, p.6)

In summary, government is needed to protect civil rights and liberties, as such believed within the political philosophy of Classical Liberalism, and it is necessary to point out that human rights and liberties are not defined or derived from that of government, but rather from that of "God" (a higher and perfect power). To those who do not believe in God, the substitution of "universal rights and liberties," such as those that foster that of freedom and protection of life, can be used instead.

[Is Anarchism and Voluntaryism the answer?]

To answer the above, I will state, simply, that, I do not believe so.

Anarchism (also known as "Libertarian Socialism") is defined by Merriam-Webster as: "A political theory holding all forms of governmental authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups."

Voluntaryism is defined by voluntaryists themselves as: "the doctrine that relations among people should be by mutual consent, or not at all. It represents a means, an end, and an insight. Voluntaryism does not argue for the specific form that voluntary arrangements will take; only that force be abandoned so that individuals in society may flourish. As it is the means which determine the end, the goal of an all voluntary society must be sought voluntarily. People cannot be coerced into freedom. Hence, the use of the free market, education, persuasion, and non-violent resistance as the primary ways to change people's ideas about the State."

Both are very similar, and many would claim that they are exactly the same; however, there are differences between the two for which I will not go into. If you want to find out more about them, you can go to the following links (take them for what you will):

Despite debating the differences between "Voluntaryism" and "Anarchism," they both, however, agree that government is not necessary and that taxation is a form of stealing. Recently, "Being Classically Liberal" (a political Facebook page) stated that: "The tax system's goal should be to fund the government." I am glad that "Being Classically Liberal" can at least admit that. There are so many anarchists and voluntaryists (many of whom will claim to be "Libertarians" and "Classical Liberals") out there that continue to claim that "taxation" is the equivalent of "stealing" and that we just shouldn't have a government at all.

First of all, "taxation" is not stealing because you accept it by becoming a citizen. It would only be stealing if you had no choice but to become a citizen and were forced to pay taxes. However, you can choose to "live off the grid and not reap the benefits of being an American citizen" or to move and go elsewhere.

Second of all, such societies depend on everyone's collaboration and agreement, which is not likely to happen. Due to human condition to want power and to have leaders, it is also not likely that 1. Governments/regimes/empires will die off permanently and 2. If those governments/regimes/empires die off, doesn't keep others from forming again (especially dictators that can garnish up the masses; especially during hard times like natural disasters and terror acts). It is human condition (as stated earlier) to naturally crest power structures like governments, and it is unachievable to get rid of them all. As long as any governments exist, none of these idealistic societies can come to fruition.

As humans, we improve and learn from mistakes. Ever since the birth of tribes across the world, humans have naturally formed societies with hierarchy (governments/authority/leaders). Some people lead by nature within those hierarchies and most follow. Never the less, these hierarchies will (and have always) naturally form and cannot be destroyed. If you have a problem with that, take it up with the gene pool.

[Is government inherently evil, or is it a "necessary evil?"]

The answer is, simply, neither.

I do not hold the view that government is a necessary "evil." First of all, the definition of "evil" varies greatly with people's views/beliefs and therefore is not a good word choice. Second of all, government is not necessarily "necessary," but rather that it is "natural" (which, one could consider something that is "necessary" but I would venture that it is a "natural" necessity, rather than a human construct that is necessary and most efficient for society). I would say that it is an inevitable conquest for humans to create governments, become leaders, and add hierarchies to that government/leadership. Throughout human history, humans have always collectivized and formed "hierarchies" and a leadership structure for small communities, which then eventually led to empires and larger governments. It is just in our nature to form such structures. Therefore, I believe "anarchy" and "voluntyrism" to be idealist systems, which are insults to human intelligence and nature. They sound great on paper, but are not practical or realistic.

[Conclusion]

Government is a natural necessity, which is a concept that has been derived from human condition throughout human history. It is meant to govern and run a country, as well as to protect the civil rights and liberties of the people in which it governs. To claim to be able to "rid ourselves of such slave states," is mere quackery. I would end with saying that Voluntaryism and "Libertarian Socialism" (Anarchism), or the philosophies and systems that declare the previously stated belief, are all idealistic political philosophies and systems, which will never come to fruition, and rightfully so, I might add.

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