Rule Five Friday

2016_01_29_Rule Five Friday (1)Now, before I post this story, I will point out that while I am a fairly staunch libertarian in most respects, I am not an anarchist; I do see a legitimate role for government, even though that role should be strictly limited.  With that said, I will admit to finding this a little intriguing, if not particularly realistic:  Why Do We Need Government?  Excerpt:

Rousseau was perhaps the first to popularize the fiction now taught in civics classes about how government was created. It holds that men sat down together and rationally thought out the concept of government as a solution to problems that confronted them. The government of the United 2016_01_29_Rule Five Friday (2)States was, however, the first to be formed in any way remotely like Rousseau’s ideal. Even then, it had far from universal support from the three million colonials whom it claimed to represent. The U.S. government, after all, grew out of an illegal conspiracy to overthrow and replace the existing government.

There’s no question that the result was, by an order of magnitude, the best blueprint for a government that had yet been conceived. Most of America’s Founding Fathers believed the main purpose of government was to protect its subjects from the initiation of violence from any source; government itself prominently included. That made the U.S. government almost unique in history. And it was that concept – not natural resources, the ethnic composition of American immigrants, or luck – that turned America into 2016_01_29_Rule Five Friday (3)the paragon it became.

The origin of government itself, however, was nothing like Rousseau’s fable or the origin of the United States Constitution. The most realistic scenario for the origin of government is a roving group of bandits deciding that life would be easier if they settled down in a particular locale, and simply taxing the residents for a fixed percentage (rather like “protection money”) instead of periodically sweeping through and carrying off all they could get away with. It’s no accident that the ruling classes everywhere have martial backgrounds. Royalty are really nothing more than successful marauders who have buried the origins of their wealth in romance.

The author, Doug Casey, is certainly correct about the earliest origins of autocratic government.  He is also correct about the formation of 2016_01_29_Rule Five Friday (4)the United States government – and, incidentally, about the correct role of government, which is to protect citizens against the initiation of violence.  That, in the case of a Federal government, primarily means running a military.

That’s the flaw in the anarchist/no government argument.  It’s hard to understand how a distributed interest like a national military could be handled by private means.  The capital costs are too high – no corporation or municipality is capable of investing several billions of dollars to build an aircraft carrier, especially when there is no means to return a profit (unless piracy is an option.)

2016_01_29_Rule Five Friday (5)There are two other legitimate roles of government that Casey doesn’t mention, and that is protecting private property and safeguarding the natural rights of the citizenry.  Here’s the onion:  It’s trivially easy to point out how badly the Imperial City is failing us in both of those obligations today.

Limited government is the answer, not no government and certainly not the debt-ridden Colossus that our Imperial Federal government has become today.  Our own Constitution lays out a framework for a Federal government strictly limited in the scope and framework of its powers – and that Constitution is, today, effectively a dead letter.

Is there any way back?

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