It is sometimes said that if people are good, then we don't need government; and if people are evil, then we don't want government. The first part of this statement is pretty straight-forward. The second part alludes to government power. In our society, government has the ability to do things that individuals don't. But government is just a collection of individuals classified as having this ability. So if people are evil, then why would you want to give them power? Or why would you trust them to vote to put people in power?
by Nick Coons
This isn't to say that all government is bad, but rather that government reflects society. We can see this in many correlations, such as the federal government's $11 trillion debt that it will never be able to pay off, and the credit card debt incurred by many American families that they will be making payments on for the rest of their lives. The problems in government are a symptomatic effect, not the cause. The cause is in the understanding of human interactions that many people have.
For instance, most people interact with each other well on an individual basis. Very few would steal from or physically attack their neighbors or others on the street, and those that do are properly labeled criminals. We know that if we allowed this behavior to continue unchecked, society would decay.
But on a collective level, we don't seem to understand that the same principles apply. We know that individually we can't steal from our neighbor and expect to live in a prospering environment. However, we often think that if we join a group that steals from other groups, we can. We may want to build a new road, and may lobby our local government to tax our neighbors to build the new road, whether they want it or not. Our neighbors, possibly not wanting the new road, may feel justified in turning government against us when they want something. And so the cycle continues as we take turns looting each other through the force of government.
If we want to change government from an irresponsible tool of looters to a responsible steward of protecting our rights, then we must individually understand that aggression causes strife and poverty; whether it's one person against another, one interest group against another, or one nation against another; the effect is the same.
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