When the ‘’What is the worst thing that could happen to you’’ question was asked, there were at least four answers that will likely come up time and time again. It is when these ‘worst cases’ are inflicted by other people that there exists a role where you the people can form a government to protect against them.
Here once again are the four worst cases, in brackets are what we would call the modern day equivalent if they were committed on you:
- death (murder)
- debilitating injury (bodily harm)
- loss property (theft)
Knowing these ‘worst cases’ is only the starting point. Understanding what principles these ‘worst cases’ undermine is the basis which government is INSTRUCTED on how to act and often takes the form of a written constitution. Note the emphasis on government being instructed rather than instructive.
When a person is murdered what do they lose? Obviously they lose their life, but more precisely they lose the ability to live their future, it is therefore the ultimate form of restricting choice, or freedom.
Injury committed by another on you also limits your freedom by restricting your ability to work and therefore your ability to care for others and accumulate wealth.
Theft also reduces your freedom. Freedom to buy food, or to spend your wealth as you wish. Theft steals more than physical assets though, it takes time and effort to accumulate wealth and when a person steals your wealth they are also stealing your time and effort.
Slavery above all others is most obviously synonymous with inhibiting freedom, but it is also theft because it forces you to work for no reward.
From this list there are two fundamental things that the ‘worst four’ undermine. Your ability to live your life according to how you choose, otherwise known as freedom, and your ability to work and to keep the efforts of that work, otherwise called property.
It is no mistake that the freedom to live your life as you choose and the freedom to reap what you sow are often what people choose to protect when they form a government. Most agree these are the most important rights.
This is true of the written constitution of the United States of America, and of the semi- written but more scattered constitution of the United Kingdom, both of which aimed to protect individual liberty (freedom) and property rights.
Next: Contradiction of Government.