This year citizens of Yuma have the opportunity to select individuals to represent them at the local level. Next year they have the opportunity to select government officials to represent them at the state and national levels as well. Before citizens go through the selection process, though, it is imperative they decide what the responsibility is of the government official. This requires an understanding of the true function of government in a free society, whether it is local, state, or national.
As George Washington described, government is nothing more than force and like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Like fire, government force must be contained, otherwise it can become very destructive. Fire is corralled in an outdoor pit, a barbeque grill, a fireplace, or an oven in order that it does not get out of control and burn down one’s home or a community. Government is corralled through city charters and state and national constitutions, the purpose for which those documents are written. The primary purpose of any government official, then, is to abide by those documents, if written properly, in order to make sure government is restricted to maintaining the peace.
The first consideration when starting a fire is how to keep it under control. Likewise, government officials at the local, state, and national levels must have the mindset of how to keep government under control whether it is through annexation or increased programs. Individuals may want to join and become a part of a local, state, or national government, but that would be voluntary on their part, and there is a constitutional procedure when exercising that process. It is quite another situation when government uses its force to include individuals into its domain.
A police department, highway patrol, and a military are justifiable uses of tax money in a free society so long as they are only used to keep the peace. However, utilizing those entities to get involved in business and interfering with the lives of individuals is the same as allowing the fire to escape the barbeque pit and fireplace. Those are not proper functions of government in a free society.
The reason is force replaces voluntary action to accomplish an end no matter how good the end. Therefore, in a free society, deciding who gets to transact business, what products are to be sold and for how much, and impact fees are decisions reserved for the parties involved. Only in a government controlled society, such as a socialist or communist system, is government allowed to interfere with such transactions as is government licensing and permits.
Government is never the solution to any particular circumstance unless force is required to correct the situation. Force is only required if force is initiated.
In a free society individuals decide the worthiness of any entity through buying and not buying whether it is an educational institution, an ice cream shop, or builders of arenas and ball parks.
To have local, state, and national government do anything requires force and that force is exemplified through taxes. The job of any government official, then, is also to make sure that tax revenues, therefore government expenditures, remain as low as possible, not as high as they can be; just like making sure that fire remains at the very lowest level possible, not the highest. In this way, freedom flourishes, incomes rise, and standards of living grow exponentially.
The United States of America did not result from government control over the individual. It resulted from individual control over government and that means government officials have a most important duty of restricting government from involving itself in the lives of individuals except when force is necessary. It was the freedom of the individual and the constraint put on government by city charters, and state and national constitutions that allowed more individuals than ever before to experience the current general standard of living in America. Both government officials and citizens must be mindful of government’s proper responsibility in a free society if standards of living are not to be thrown back to the dark ages.
The public is invited to view the screening of “Sophie Scholl – The Final Days” hosted by The Freedom Library, Thursday, August 16, at the Historic Yuma Theatre. Doors open at 6:30 PM. The two hour movie begins at 7 PM depicting the true story of Germany’s most famous and fearless anti-Nazi heroine of the underground student resistance group, The White Rose. The $3 charge per person goes toward The Freedom Library Scholarship Program as do the funds from the raffle that will be held.