Originally posted on Voice of Zaggeta

I have mentioned on quite a few occasions my views on the governments sole obligation and responsibility. This article is meant to explain my point of view on the subject and what should be the basics of government. These basics can be summarized into ‘Protection’; protection of the people, protection of the nation and protection of ethics. This is all in the form of the Military and Law Enforcement.

In history, some city states had only a Head of the City Guard. His job was to protect the city from invaders or criminals. This is how the early monarchies also functioned. The Monarch would promise to protect people and they would pay him. Kind of like the modern Mafia but with actual service delivery. Everything worked fine. Only few were oppressed and the economy was self-sustaining. People paid their taxes knowing exactly what they were being used for and would not complain or try avoiding them, and if they did try to avoid their taxes, they were not punished but were instead just left out of the defense agreement. Governments then became more than just a Protector and decided to actually try assert their dominance over the people. Originally governments functioned like a service. You pay me and I will protect you. Of course there were still problems but you cannot get rid of all problems. This just made the problems basic and easy to handle. What is harder to deal with: A small band of robbers or a well armed Dictator with ego-issues?

Once the governments started trying to assert dominance over their people, you started getting some of the worst elements of society; Corruption, autocracy and unnecessary bureaucracy. Governments suddenly started believing that they actually owned a nation. Nation’s are not possessions, they are societies. If anything, a nation owns a government. It is a government’s obligation to protect its people and let the society manage everything else through a process of spontaneous order.

People start saying that the government is around to build infrastructure such as roads, housing and hospitals. Healthcare has been private for millennia, roads used to be built by locals. The government is not needed in this sense. It is little more than a glorified guild. Granted, modern society tends to need an organization to build roads and cannot rely purely on residents and local traders but there is no excuse for nationalizing healthcare or education. A state can fund a hospital or school but it has proven time and time again that when it touches the establishment, everything falls apart.

So what must we do? It’s obvious, stop thinking that the government has other responsibilities and strive to make sure they start only undertaking what they are supposed to; the protection of the people. Only then can we go back to the days of self-sustainability.

 

Nicholas Woode-Smith is co-founder of the Rational Standard and its Technical and Marketing Director. He is a student at the University of Cape Town, with majors in Politics, Philosophy and Economic History. He is the youngest council member of the Institute of Race Relations in history and the Regional Director of Southern Africa for African Students For Liberty. He also writes science fiction – prominently, the Warpmancer and Cape Zero series.