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Force- or Freedom-Government

Force- or Freedom-Government

June 22nd, 2011 // 10:22 am @

Two Kinds of Government

Government was invented by people for two reasons:

  1. To institutionalize force over others
  2. To protect the inalienable rights of all people in its care

Or, in other words, for force or for freedom.

All governments in history have tended toward one or the other.

When a force government attempts to protect the inalienable rights of its people, it loses strength and power. This is the message of Machiavelli.

When freedom government attempts to institutionalize force over others (of the poor by the rich or of the rich by the poor), it loses its strength and power. This is taught at length in The Federalist Papers (see papers 16-20, 51).

Because of this, free government should not do anything except protect inalienable rights.

If it attempts to do more, it moves into the realm of force government.

Unfortunately, the left has too often forgotten this limit of free government, and the right has forgotten that the people, all of us, must address and fix social challenges in private—non-governmental—ways. The problems of the poor, the downtrodden and the struggling are not government’s problem.

These are our problems. Both the left and right need to get clear on this, and in our day we all need to take massive action to address the multiple social challenges of our world. The role of free government is to protect inalienable rights; the role of free citizens is to take action to solve the plight of the needy.

“Did we come here to laugh or cry?
Are we dying or being born?”

—Carlos Fuentes


odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is a co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the co-author of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller LeaderShift, and author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

Category : Blog &Culture &Government &Liberty

3 Comments → “Force- or Freedom-Government”

  1. Blake Elliott

    12 years ago

    Ah Oliver, have you been reading Bastiat’s The Law lately? I would agree with this article in every way, except in the ideal democratic township governments. For then, couldn’t a small group of people legislate morality upon themselves in a productive way from time to time? I’m sure you weren’t talking about this level of government which doesn’t even exist anymore, so in current practicle politics your absolutly right.

  2. Oliver DeMille

    12 years ago

    Right. I don’t think the small townships alone are the ideal. But the small townships *and* the constitutional state/federal system–that’s the ideal. Either without the other reduces freedom.

  3. Blake Elliott

    12 years ago

    Well yes, you do have to have the other levels and forms of government in addition (sorry for not being clear on this).
    I’m curious due to this article though whether making drugs illegal is force or freedom government. This is something which isn’t very clear to me which I’m trying to sort out.

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