All governments rule with the consent of the masses. This may be a hard pill to swallow for those living under a tyrannical system. Nevertheless it is true. The proof is in the recorded histories. These clearly show, again and again, that a people who held no “legal” political power simply seized the governmental power for themselves.
There is not much need to discuss tyrannical governments. They are well covered and seem to be a popular topic of discussion. I would like to discuss good government and what is required to make truly moral government.
First, a government must start from a solid premise. For this I would consider the inherent rights of humanity are this solid premise. Those rights are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness/property.
The right to life means that you have the right to live at your own accord without interference. Your inherent right to life does not confer upon you any ability to claim that another man must provide your life for you. Yes, this right can be violated. You could be killed. Society should rise up and remove the threat and the anti-social element that violated that right. In order for the individual’s right to life to be held as valid all people’s right to life must be respected. This illustrates the nature of functional society.
The right of liberty is the most often violated. Liberty is that natural condition of humanity in which we are free to grow, think, and be. Much like the right to life, this right does not confer upon us the authority to interfere with another person’s liberty. Violating the inherent rights of any person nullifies the violator’s claim upon his own rights. This right does not confer upon any authority, person, or group of persons the right to limit anyone else’s liberty.
The pursuit of happiness or property as it were, is the inherent drive which is enabled by both life and liberty. This right is the most interesting of the set. Through the understanding of this right we come to know that man is an end unto himself. He is not an automaton designed to spew meaningless platitudes into the darkness. He is not a herd animal designed to provide sustenance to others. He is a functioning being who is designed to fulfill his own needs. Through fulfilling the most basic levels of the hierarchy of needs he is able to rise higher to the levels of self actualization.
Note that all of these rights are entirely individual. These are the inherent characteristics of a human being. To aid in protecting these rights men came together into groups of mutual filiations. This required the development of government.
Government exists only to protect the rights of the citizens of those in the society. In order to do this authority to exercise power must be vested in the government but must be limited. It must be limited so that it will not limit the governed. Government is the servant of society. This must never be forgotten as it is the basis of good government. Society exists by the volition of individuals. The individual exists as created with certain inalienable rights. Government, society and the individual have entered into a relationship to ensure and protect the rights of the individual. Of these three only the individual possesses certain inalienable rights. Society has no rights of its own. Government has no rights of its own. Only the individual exists in state of natural freedom and liberty.
The proper job of good government is to provide a police force/justice system and a military. The police force exists as the strong arm of free society to protect citizens from criminals. The justice system exists so that free citizens can resolve disputes and for justice under the natural law of humanity to be administered. The military exists to protect the citizens from foreign aggression. Notice that there is nothing to protect society or the government. They do not exist as individuals. They are “legal fictions” upon which individuals have agreed. They are the tools by which we work together.
The deluded thug Mao once said that all political power comes from the barrel of a gun. In that one statement he summed up the immoral and corrupt nature of his mind and his government. Any person that believes that governmental power comes from force lacks understanding of what it means to be free.
The only true crimes are force and fraud. No man may initiate force on another. Since society was formed to protect the rights of individuals then an anti-social behavior is contrary to the protection of our rights. To initiate force on an individual is an attack on the fundamental premise of good government. This anti-social behavior should be met with derision and violence of a level necessary to remove the threat.
Fraud is also a danger to society (and therefore to individual rights) because it causes a breakdown in trade. Fraud, being a violation of our social contract, should also be met with violence of a level necessary to remove the threat.
Rights that we do not have:
No person has the right to not be offended. No person has the right to force their beliefs on another. No person has the right cause another to live for his benefit. No person has the right to compel another to give up their inalienable rights.
Authority extends only so far as the social contract allows. If the governed no longer wish to confer authority then the legal fiction ceases to exist and can be replaced. This was well illustrated when the states of the United States of America declared their independence. They realized that all governments exist to serve the governed. A government ceases to hold moral authority when they cease to serve the governed. When a government becomes self serving and enslaves the governed it is no longer valid. All people that serve the enslaving government have become slavers themselves and are enemies of society.
Submission to unjust and immoral authority is not a trait that I wish to hold. So I don’t.