Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cold Medicine, Force, and Iraq

I feel well enough to write while I'm just off of a fresh dose of cold medicine.

I've been called cynical by both liberals and conservatives for the following statement:

Government is nothing more than force.

Conservatives and Liberals alike love government for different reasons. While I appreciate fully the need for government, I do not however celebrate the need for it, but instead concede that it is a necessary evil in life. I do similarly my prostate check ups at the doctor. Interesting comparison...think about it.

So why Democrats and Republicans alike assume to lecture me on how my view of government is cynical, allow me to just expand on a simple observation.

Even though the war is over in Iraq, we still have a large military presence. Iraq has an elected government and a democratically chosen constitution. So our work must be done and we can start having ticker-tape parades for our returning troops right? Well, no...but why?

We have to setup an Iraqi security force. Is this to protect Iraq from its neighbors or to protect Iraqis from themselves? We alone could protect Iraq from its neighbors but the need for a security force is necessary for the government to be worthy of lawmaking. My point is that government by its very nature is force. To hear conservatives and liberals describe government here at home you'd think that we have government simply to solve every problem under the sun. But when trying to put together a government abroad our biggest concern is to make sure they have the skill and resources to use force against its people.

An even more elementary example was my first home owner's association meeting in my neighborhood. After a board was elected to 'govern' our 141 residences in our little neighborhood it wasn't long before someone asked, "How are we able to force people to follow the rules of the neighborhood?"

Because government is force we must always use force with temperance. This is why government should protect society from people who initiate force against others or use fraud to take property that is not lawfully theirs. These two things a government can and should do well. Once a government is in charge of public schools, medical care, and taking income by force we find that government does not only perform poorly, but it also starts to perform poorly in the basic things we should expect it to do well.

When the government passes laws outside of the boundaries of limited government, the force it uses is destructive. Don't kid yourself; when government is out of control there are two kinds of force remaining when it comes right down to it. Legal force (government) and illegal force (mafia). The difference? The government has flag poles outside of their buildings.


Robert the Grump said...

As usual, you're half right. Government is, to a large degree, about force. Government creates and enforces the law and they defend our rights and property as well as impose our will on lessor nations, like France.

But that's hardly all they do. Government also is balance. You have too much money, so the government takes the excess and gives it to some poor schmuck who needs it more. Government is infrastructure. They create the roads, bridges and dams. If it were up to you ridiculous Libertarians, we'd all have to make our own roads, if we really want to get somewhere.

It is dangerous to resent government. Sure, there is all kinds of danger inherent in the abuse of government power, but name me one civilization that rose from the muck without some form of government. Even if History is the one class you didn't skip, you can't think of one.

Tracy said...

As usual you run a sensible libertarian argument through the whacko-seattle-liberal filter and out comes something different.

Libertarians are not anti-government. I am not an anarchist, I believe that government exists to do specific things and not everything. I believe they should build roads (except to your house) and I believe they should have the power to collect taxes. I believe that the government should protect things that cannot be compartmentalized (air, water) and raise and army to beat down anyone who would try to take away our collective rights.

Our forefathers writings resented the need for government to the extent that they enumerated the powers they felt that government should have. You cannot find a founding father that celebrated the need for government like you do.

If there was even a hint of Scoop Jackson blood left surging through your Democrat voting ways you'd understand this.

I'm starting a petition to have all roads going to your house pulled up and have the remaining property given to poor schmucks to build shanty towns.

Esther said...

By the way. I agree with the idea that government's purpose is force. I think there is a little more to it, but essentially, that's the story.

I go with the Lockian idea that we give government the power to protect our inalienable rights. Which is essentially what you are saying, I think.

Tracy said...

Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. – George Washington

Robert the Grump said...

I have reported you to the IRS, Libertarian swine.

That will teach you to deny me a road.

So the government lacks reason and eloquence? I give you Thomas Jefferson. Abraham Lincoln. Jimmy Carter. Okay, that last one was a joke.

Once again you hide in your survivalist shack near the panhandle of Idaho and twist the quotes of greater men.

The government is only about force? Did they force you to accept welfare? Unemployment? Food stamps? Medicare?

Did they force you to obey the laws that they craft? I hope not, because only criminals have to be forced to obey the law.

You forget one small fact in your crazy rant: the government is us. We are the screaming idiots who voted in George W. Bush, it surely wasn't the French or Germans who did it to us.

So when you say the government is force, you say that it is the manisfestation of the will and power of the people. Is that so wrong?

You may now go back to reading about Waco and harboring grudges against Janet Reno.

Tracy said...

Once the road is gone, I'm having my buddy Ron Sims turn your driveway into a tent city.

Robert the Grump said...

HA! I happen to know for a fact that Ron Sims crosses to the other side of the road if he sees you coming!

He probably heard about how you insulted the former governor of Washington state in front of his wife.