A Republic – 5.0 Why Government?
“If Men were Angels, no government would be necessary”
James Madison, Federalist #51
That’s a good question. Why can’t people just govern ourselves? Why are humans so bad they have to create something to force them to be at least moderately good? Why does there have to be a power source set up to protect us from ourselves? Why can’t we all get along Rodney King said? Well that is a bigger and more important subject that will have to wait for someone wiser to answer. In the meanwhile here we are, a bunch of very weak and imperfect beings who have invented the concept of government to cover up our weaknesses.
Not society mind you. Society is a natural thing. Don’t confuse society with government. Society is a natural thing, a good thing. It happens because of our wants and the fact that everyone is different. So people do different things for the good of themselves and the whole group. It encourages us to work together to make things better for ourselves. Some people are doctors. Some people are poets. All contribute to the whole.
Government is different. It is there to punish us. Government is a necessary evil designed to force us to keep our bad sides to a minimum. It is here to restrain us from doing bad things to each other. As Madison said, if everyone was good no government would be necessary.
You need to understand that. Many people confuse government with society. That is a dangerous thing to do. The problem is that government is not good. It is, as George Washington said, “a force, like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearsome master”. He went on to say you must watch it all the time if you want to remain free. Do you? You should! We will talk about that later.