The question ‘’What is the worst thing that could happen to you?’’ gave rise to four worst case scenarios: death, debilitating injury, loss of wealth and slavery. From this we identified two principles these undermine, a persons freedom and persons property both of which are worth protecting.
A very simple question has established a basic role for government. Now it is incumbent upon you the people to GIVE mission to government to protect your freedom and property if you so desire.
So far I am going to assume that you agree with me and that your freedom and property are worth protecting.
As a result you and other likeminded people have decided to create a government, but there is a problem, a contradiction at the heart of what government is. For although the government you will create will act to protect your freedom and property on your behalf, it does so at a COST to both your freedom and property rights.
A government protects you by imposing laws, and it funds itself by tax contributions paid for by you the people for its administration. As a result enacting government requires that you give up some of your freedom and private property.
This is a necessary step, for absolute freedom allows people to do what they want, when they want and where they want without regard for your freedom or property. In a society populated with moral ‘law abiding’ people that has no enemies foreign nor domestic absolute freedom may be possible and there would be no need for government at all. It is self-evident however that the world around us does not work like that.
A government of you the people therefore protects your freedom and property but requires you to give up a little of each allowing you to enjoy maximal permissible freedom provided your actions do not infringe on another person’s freedom and property.
Maximal permissible freedom is achieved by minimal government, it is self-evident that the bigger government gets the more tax it requires from you for its running and, and depending on the role government assumes, it can also reduce your personal freedom. Indeed governments can get so large and intrusive that it has at times it become the vehicle for restricting freedom and private property rather than the vehicle for protecting it.
When a government stops acting on behalf of the people and for the people, the consequences for the citizens can be disastrous. Obvious examples that come to mind are the Soviet Union which sent millions of people to their death at forced labour camps.
A government of you the people must therefore be instructed on how to act, rules which constitute a role for government are often written down, outlining the scope of government, what it duty bound to protect and the limits of its powers.
Next: A Constitution.