Limited Government

Government is a useful and necessary goal for any large population of people.  In general, when you can help a group of people work together and abiding by the same general principals you form a civilization.  I mean you don’t want one group of people to decide they want to drive on the left side of the road and another group of people to drive on the right.  Too much non-conformity becomes chaos. 


On the other hand individual choice is important too.  A person doesn’t want a Government to tell them what they can have for dinner or how they dress – even if what they are eating is unhealthy.  There is definitely a fine line between what we want our Government to help us organize collectively and what we want to decide for ourselves.  Over that time it seems like people have forgotten the role of Government and the line between individual liberty and common good has become increasingly blurred.

People have become used to being provided for by the Government.  From entitlement programs to the legislation of morality – we have it all.  It’s part of society now.  We look for the Government to tell us what’s right and wrong – not ourselves.  Illegal drugs are bad, legal ones are acceptable.  Food is safe, it’s Government approved.  Abortion is okay, but two individuals of the same sex getting married is bad.  The list goes on.

My point is that Government has become much too engrained into our personal lives.  Worst of all we’ve accepted it – even embraced it.  Why do we need the Government to tell us not to do Drugs?  Does it even help that they do?  Why do we need Government to tax the people so our aging mother can go on welfare?  Does that alleviate my responsibility to help?  Why is my personal relationship a Government issue, but the life of an unborn child not?  Where is the consistency?

Most of all, why have we put so much trust in the system?  Why have we put decisions about our personal lives in the hands of a mostly wealthy elite that clearly cannot relate to the majority of Americans.  How can we expect an individual with no stake in an issue to vote any other way than how it will personally benefit themselves?  It’s illogical.  Yet we continue to beg for Government to run our lives.

We demand for Government to make reinforce our personal beliefs via legislation and complain when they enforce something different.  We fail to appreciate the value of personal liberty and an option that allows each individual to decide for themselves.  We ignore that moral legislation fails anyway. 

The Government says drugs are illegal, we do them anyways and drug cartels exploit it.  The Government says no to gay marriage, we make gay porn.  The Government forms the EPA then bails out an industry responsible for the most pollution.  Using our stolen tax dollars to fund every decision. 

Even many self proclaimed “conservatives” are more than willing to use Government to enforce their personal ideas on the population if it fits suits them – all the while shouting “limited Government” rhetoric.  We can’t have both.  We can either expect the Government to intervene in our lives or not. Beg them to pay our bills with tax dollars or not.  Beg for more legislation so my kids know how to behave or teach them myself.

So do we continue to ask the Government to make our choices for us?  Do we trust them to make the right ones?  I think not.  The only solution is to demand a limited Government and demand our society to take responsibility for itself.  Each individual has a role to play – each community.  Hold your neighbors accountable, hold yourselves accountable, and leave the Government to truly provide for the common good.  That’s the best thing we can do for the nation.


22 thoughts on “Limited Government

  1. galudwig

    Good post and I of course agree with almost everything. But, disregarding the practical considerations of getting there (which are as much of an issue with a nightwatchman state as well), why do we need government at all, if we have private property?

    >In general, when you can help a group of people work together and abiding by the same general principals you form a civilization. I mean you don’t want one group of people to decide they want to drive on the left side of the road and another group of people to drive on the right. Too much non-conformity becomes chaos.

    This is true, but only if the government owns the roads and gets to force people to use their infrastructure and make arbitrary rules regardless of consumer demand. If roads were private, there would be a clear incentive for road-owners to have similar, almost identical, traffic codes, so as to maximize the efficiency of the system.

    There is plenty of voluntary non-conformity on the market, yet it does not lead to chaos. There is no profit to be made from chaos. Order is formed spontaneously, without some guy with a top hat and a gun telling us what to do.

    1. Atticus Finch Post author

      I see where you are coming from, but I do think that Government has a limited role in our lives. In early American history there were a lot of businesses – especially in the oil and steel industry – that ruled the markets unfairly and with an iron fist. They jacked up prices and had predatory practices with other businesses.

      I suspect that if something as vital as roads were controlled by private businesses it would be very easy for a business to form a monopoly and hijack the roads. On the other hand, I suppose sooner or later the market would adjust and people would innovate and find other means of travel – and when the monopoly couldn’t make money prices would go down…

      1. galudwig

        How were the markets ruled unfairly though? True unfairness in my view is manipulating the force of law to keep competition out. It is not offering a product for sale that is so cheap that no one is able to compete. I’m not particularly familiar with the era, but I’d like to know whether there are actual examples of predatory pricing actually working. I personally haven’t really come across any. And theoretically, it doesn’t seem to make much sense as a tactic either. If prices are jacked up, then how are new competitors kept out? By continuing to sell at a loss? How is that bad for consumers?

        As for roads, you’ve touched upon the issue of alternative modes of transportation which would keep private road-owners from charging exorbitant prices. But I would add that, to me, it seems unlikely that a single corporation would easily form a giant monopoly *without the help of the government*, just like it is unlikely that a single company would monopolize any other industry entirely. It’s just not that easy.
        But even supposing that it were to happen and a monopoly would arise. Except for the fact that this monopoly would still be subject to the undeniable laws of the market, how would that be different from the current situation?

        Let me say though that I find the prospect of freedom in everything somewhat uneasy myself. However, I find the clearly unfair monopolies that exist today and are based purely on weapons and “legal” coercion much, much worse, which is why I argue for the former..

        1. Atticus Finch Post author

          The biggest problem was predatory pricing to eliminate competitors. For example, Carnagie Steel would move into an area with rediculously low prices until their competitor go out of business – essentially closing all the small businesses – then once they were the sole owner of the market place they would jack prices up and make rediculous profits. Since the barriers to entry in the oil and steel industry were so high no one could compete, but were forced to pay the high prices.

          This wouldn’t be a problem in many industries such as the restaurant industry where barriers to entry are low, but in industries such as pharmasuticals and raw materials industries could certainly take advantage.

          I do think you make an excellent point that many monopolies were formed with the help of the Government. So whether we would be better off in theory with or without the government intervention AT ALL is certainly debatable.

          One fact is abundantly clear though, the government has WAY too much intervention in the markets today. The governments role should be restricted to enforcing contracts and protecting property rights.

          I think I’m going to write about this in more detail in a post soon.

          1. galudwig

            I must say I still find the concept of predatory pricing hard to swallow.. But yes, it’s clear that today, the state is totally out of control. Contracts must be enforced and property rights must be protected. I’m just not so sure that the state is the best way to go about this.

            But I’ll wait for your post before writing more about it. Looking forward to reading your thoughts 🙂

      2. galudwig

        Ha, just realized I just wrote a somewhat oversized comment again, next time I feel the need to spout my opinions, I’ll make a blog post about it myself and refer to you, if you don’t mind 🙂

  2. amelie

    I think the problem with pot and such is that eventually, people get into their cars and drive. With cell phones and drunk driving, we certainly do NOT need any more impaired drivers in the road. Same with gun toting idiots who get drunk and endanger others.

    What is the solution? I don’t know. But I agree witht the guy who said the driving age should go up to 21, and the drinking age should drop to 16.

    1. Atticus Finch Post author

      The problem is you can’t legislate behavior. If you make a law people will break it. That’s why prohabition is failing and only caused criminals to form cartels formed around alcohol sales. We see the same thing with drug use.

      People are going to do what they want to do. We have drug addicts with laws saying you can’t do those drugs. We have drunk drivers though it’s illegal.

      If you ciminalize guns you only prevent people who plan on following the law from having them. Criminals will break the law no matter how many we have.

      Drugs should all be treated the same. Keep them from children, educate people on the consequences, and let people start legitimate non-violent businesses with them where concenting adults can decide for themselves how to behave…

      Of course no one should be operating a vehicle while under the influence of any substance… 🙂

  3. amelie

    Well, that is the problem I’m talking about. In our state we’ve had five time DUI offenders eventually kill others in a car crash. So actually, that is legislating behavior. And for good reason.

    1. Atticus Finch Post author

      Well, my point is they were driving while drunk – which is illegal – but they still do it. It’s evidence that you can not *effectively legislate morality. It doesn’t work.

  4. amelie

    I am certainly not against hunting for food. However a Canadian study showed that gun owners (and children who live in that household) were 30 percent more likely to die in a homicide or suicide. I don’t think that qualifies as protection

  5. amelie

    Ps education works. I am for that as a first line of defense before legislative control.

    Sorry Atticus, that should have been one comment, not three. Won’t happen again.

  6. amelie

    As with education though, we can say that people still do the wrong thing, but we can’t “count” how many people the law prevented from doing the wrong thing, and how many lives and how much money that may have saved.

    1. Atticus Finch Post author

      I have trouble believing that people would suddenly start doing drugs if they became legal. There might be a brief blimp, but over time I think it would surely even out and violent crime would go down drastically. A major source of criminal revenue would be gone.

      Portugal made all drugs legal and drug use actually decrease and drug related crime virtually disappeared. We see the same effect in holland where marijuana is legal.

      Prohabition is also evidence that legalizing drugs would do more good than harm. It seems obvious that outlawing alcohol is a bad idea (we know this from experience) and the principal still applies to all drugs. All evidence points towards the legalization of drugs doing more good than harm.

      It’s about educational, personal, and social responsibility. Legilation inadvertantly created a market for criminals and keeps the jails full – which breeds and turns non-violent criminals into violent lifetime ones.

      Maybe I’ll write about this in more detail soon. 🙂

      1. amelie

        I’d like to see that. It’s a good topic and you do a good job covering the subject.

        I agree it would probably not reduce useage – but if it were illegal at least those committing DUI could be charged with something where they would actually go to jail. I am surely biased because I live in a state where people already drive like sociopaths and do not care one whit about other people’s safety.

        But I have seen both alcohol and drugs make the situation far worse.

        Interesting though about Portugal. I think other cities too like Amsterdam and such would provide a good model on rate of crime etc, althogh there are so many other factors it’s hard to say.

        I’d generally be for the legalization of pot however other factors such as high rate of car accidents and general sociopathic behavior would have to be addressed first. Don’t know where you live, but in Massachusetts it’s off the hook obnoxious.

        1. Atticus Finch Post author

          Just a fun fact – I am very biased about drunk drivers. A DUI should be taken very seriously! My mother was actually paralyzed from the waste down from a hit and run due to a drunk driver.

          Post coming soon :).

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