Do We Need Government? What Limits Government?

What is government? Why is there a need to organize nations?

The need for government arises because there is the potential for conflicts about property. Wherever there is a society, there is the potential for a person to rob your house or to harm your family. For this reason, man needs a principled, organized way to use retaliatory force.

If there were not the threat of force, then there would be no need for governments. People could work out everything individually by agreement. But where men disagree, they often turn to force.

Once a man begins dealing with others by force, it is no longer possible to deal with him by persuasion. He must be answered with force. Governments are instituted in order to make the retaliatory use of force possible, while placing it under strict, objective limits.

Once the purpose of governments is recognized, it also becomes clear why a government must be limited. An unlimited government has the power to act as a thief or murderer on a level no ordinary criminal ever could.

Before advocating any political policy, you must establish the principle by which you believe the power of governments should be limited. Until you have such a principle, you are courting disaster.

At FTNCI, we believe the principle that limits governments is the same as the principle that necessitates the existence of governments in the first place. The facts of reality that give rise to the need for governments are the same facts that ought to limit them.

What facts are those? And which principle?

The facts:

  • The initiation of force is incompatible with human flourishing.
  • Men ought to deal with one another by persuasion.
  • It is morally wrong to initiate force against another person.
  • It is proper to use force in retaliation against those who initiate it (and only in this way).
  • Retaliatory force must be placed under objective control by means of a government.
  • A government that does more than this single job will necessarily become an initiator of force, and, thus, a greater danger to mankind than any other.

The principle:

A sound government exists only for one purpose: To protect individual rights.

At FTNCI, we are radicals for individual rights. This was the view of the Founding Fathers, and it is the view that made America the greatest nation in the world.

Sadly, today’s conservative intellectuals mostly reject the unique vision of America’s founders. They seek to return to the collectivistic vision for government from which the Americans escaped.

Here is a clip of me interacting with one representative of this anti-American ideology:

Do We Need Government? What Limits Government?

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