Friday, June 12, 2009

Purpose of government?

What is the purpose of government? Is it to to provide for security and national defence? Is it to provide a social safety net for those who are unable to do for themselves? Is it to ensure equality for all? I am sure there are many other interpretations for the purpose of government that are not listed here but probably are felt by many others.

There are those who feel that government is a necessary evil which should be limited to only a very few specific purposes and should otherwise allow people to live as best they can. After all, government is such an over-arching figure with no other peer (aside from other governments) that it is very powerful by its very definition. Limiting its power ensures that the rights and liberties and its citizens shall never be infringed upon. This belief assumes that government, granted more power, will eventually fall into the habit of exercising its power - often at the expense of its citizens.

Others feel that the role of government is to help provide for its citizens. After all, the world is Darwinian in nature and someone should be able to help those less fortunate fend off the predators. If wealth is a guarantee of the right to do as one wants, it also can lend itself to the feeling of being able to coerce the less wealthy into doing as the wealthy wants. It can also engender a perpetuation of the haves versus the have-nots. The only way to ensure some sense of parity is to have a government that will ensure fairness for all regardless of circumstance. This belief assumes that government will always be benevolent and operate with the best (which is a rather subjective description) interest of its citizens at the forefront of its decisions.

Frankly, both of the preceding views are right but the world does not operate in such a black and white manner. Therefore, the best (there's that subjective term again!) solution is one that operates somewhere in between. No one will be happy all of the time with everything done by government but compromise between opposing points of view is necessary.

1 comment:

  1. Compromise don't win elections. "I told you so" wins elections.

    The point of government (in the US anyways) seems to be to give the people a way to re-select their corporate overlords from time to time, without coming right out and saying it.