The Role of the Government

Discussion in 'Politics & Law' started by nanite1018, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. nanite1018

    nanite1018 Registered Member

    The government exists to protect each individuals basic rights. It can only protect rights. Any attempt to act for the betterment of one group at the expense of another (marriage definition laws, welfare/entitlement programs, etc.) necessarily results in the overstepping of the mandate of government. If government oversteps its mandate it no longer is a legitimate entity, but is rather an instrument of tyranny for the benefit of a group against another group.

    Does anyone disagree? And if so, please say why.
     

  2. Corona

    Corona Registered Member

    The government exists to enact the will of the majority while protecting the rights of the minority.


    (Minority=Individual)
     
  3. Malificus

    Malificus Likes snow

    The role of a government is to maintain stability and hopefully promote the growth of the country.
     
  4. pro2A

    pro2A Hell, It's about time!

    The role of the government should be to protect people’s rights. Read the first 3 articles in the Constitution, it tells the government what it can and can not do. The government is there to make sure I don't infringe on another’s right to life, liberty or pursuit of happiness. If I were to allow my dog to take a crap on my neighbor’s lawn daily, congress or the state could pass a law saying not to do that because it’s infringing on my neighbors property rights. If I want to smoke weed in my home, congress can not pass a law saying I can because it would be infringing on my liberty. They can pass a law saying I can't smoke weed and drive a car because I would be infringing (putting in danger) the lives of others on the road.

    Each law passed falls into 2 categories. They are constitutional laws only if they infringe on someone else’s rights.

    Anything else is not.

    Then you have grey areas, where it is questionable. The federal government should stay out and allow the states and localities to deal with such laws.
     
  5. ExpectantlyIronic

    ExpectantlyIronic e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑

    I think a government should just work to bring about the best state of affairs possible, as dictated by human nature, and the specific state of the situation as it stands, including the values of those people it governs. Even though there seems to be some human rights that a government should respect or protect in all cases to bring about the best state of affairs, I don't think that we can define with any confidence a universal role for governments based upon the idea of rights. I'm not sure how to begin such a project, first off, and don't think one situtation is necessarily analogous enough with another to think that one static system will always work best.

    I also think that the mere protection of rights leaves justice too far in the hands of uncaring forces of nature. Anyone who defends such a system seems to implicitly believe that the status and resources that men compete for will end up in the hands of the deserving, but I think enough happens by accident and general freak circumstance to cast doubt on the notion that nature is just. Given that nature certainly isn't good, in that it is the cause of much suffering, I don't know why we should extend to it the role of judge. Furthermore, I feel it is unnatural, in any case, for men to not take upon themselves such a role, and the only way to keep it from the hands of specific men is for other men to take it upon themselves and enforce unnatural cirucumstance.

    So if we could define a particular non-utilitarian role for government, we would have to include for it a role in ensuring justice, as well as a role in protecting individual rights. It is not just, for example, for men to discriminate against others on unreasonable grounds, in such a manner as to put them at a significant disadvantage in their pursuit of a livelihood, even if the rights of any individual are not violated to do so. It would seem that if such a traditional role were to be excluded from the hands of a government, very solid factual grounds would have to be evinced as to why it should be, when intuition leads many to think otherwise.


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  6. Raak

    Raak Guest

    Government is the exact opposite of human nature. Government is established to bring men out of the state of nature to protect each individual from another. A government is basically an institution of selfish individuals each trying to better themselves.

    I personally feel that the government involvement should be limited, especially in the economy. I'm what you would consider a conservative libertarian.

    EDIT: Oh wait...ExpectantlyIronic...by state of nature did you mean all mens inherent rights to life, liberty and property? If so then I agree mostly with what you say.
     
  7. rozzlapeed

    rozzlapeed Guest

    I have to specifically disagree with this on principle. The government should not play around with enacting the will of the majority. The majority has many private institutions through which it can exert its will. The government should be restricted to its central role of protecting the rights of individuals.
     
  8. ExpectantlyIronic

    ExpectantlyIronic e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑

    Raak,

    I didn't mean to suggest that human nature leads to the utilitarian notion of government that I put forward, but that such a government needs to take into account human nature to determine what the best way to govern is. I must have worded things poorly in my original post, as I don't think nature provides for us any particular model to follow, without us also taking into account what we want as humans and products of our society and culture.

    I'd contend that governments are established for the same basic reasons that most co-ops and communes end up appointing managers or leaders. There is something undeniably useful about management. There are plenty of situations in nature where people working as selfish individuals will be unable to make a rational decision about what they should do, given that their fate rests in the decisions of others. I like to use an example of a soldier trying to figure out what to do in a battle. It may be best for him as an individual to cower and not fight, but if enough of his fellow soldiers do as much, the battle will be lost, and he may die or be captured. In such a situation, the soldier is unable to make a rational decision as to what he should do, whereas it is clear from the perspective of an observer impartial to his individual success or failure that all the soldiers in the army are best off fighting as opposed to cowering.

    The situation above illustrates where leadership comes in, as a commander will be able to easily determine what the soldiers should do, and insofar as he has power over them, can arrange for the best outcome for everyone involved. It seems clear from such examples that organized men will inevitably succeed in a competitive world over those who aren't so organized. In a way this means that a government's purpose is to protect individuals from others, but this protection isn't only from theft or bodily harm, but from the many poor decisions men can make to harm a society.

    If so, then that illustrates why democracy is so important for society. As, in a democracy, the individuals who comprise a government can only continue to better themselves by doing what their constituents will approve of. This means that the personal gains of those in the government will be necessarily tied to that of those they govern.


    rozzlapeed,

    That doesn't necessarily work to the advantage of those individuals though. If the fate of men was not tied to the decisions of others, and they could make a rational choice in all cases as to what best to do to better their situation, then it would be ideal to provide them only the security they need to do as much. That isn't the case though, and the decisions we end up making depend to a large degree on the decisions we think others will make. We simply don't exist as atomic individuals, and there are many cases where a society will succeed or fail as the outcome of how many men take a course of action that only best serves them if others also do as much.

    For example, it's to the advantage of a society to have secure banks where people can keep their money and know it's protected, and also so that they have a place to go to in order to get a loan, so that they can then invest that money in something that will allow them to create wealth for themselves. It isn't, though, a good idea to put money in a bank if you think everyone will withdraw their money. So here is a good place where a functional government can step in and take measures to increase confidence in banks by insuring savings and whatnot.

    To think that trust isn't a solid basis for a functioning society is understandable. Nevertheless, it's a necessary basis for a functioning society, for exactly the reasons I gave. It's better for two men who are hunting for food to work together to kill an antelope, than it is for them to go off alone and hunt rabbits. In order to kill the antelope, though, they need to trust each other to not run off and just hunt rabbits for themselves. Those societies where men work together to hunt the metaphorical antelope are those that succeed. A good government is, in part, one that helps to facilitate this.
     
  9. pro2A

    pro2A Hell, It's about time!

    Agreed. The government has no business butting into neither personal peoples nor business affairs unless of course it is an illegal activity or is infringing on others rights to property or privacy.

    Funny... thats what I consider myself too :yes:
     
  10. ExpectantlyIronic

    ExpectantlyIronic e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑

    Given that the government determines what's illegal, I'm not sure what it is that you're suggesting they have no business doing.
     

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