Mission Statement

Mission Statement: This blog is dedicated to both political philosophy and application to current issues based on the ideas of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty. Additionally, this blog strives to create an atmosphere where intelligent discussions based on the principles of logic, no matter the viewpoints expressed in their conclusions, are not only welcome, but also thrive.

To learn more, feel free to read the introduction and subsequent posts which explain the aforementioned philosophy and purpose of this blog in more detail.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Foundations 4: Not Anarchist

As I discuss politics with people, I sometimes have people say “how can you think that there shouldn’t be a government?  How can you think things like the FDA, protecting us from greedy drug companies, are not good?”  This shows how little some people understand about a libertarian or minimalist government.  I not only support, but think that a strong, ethical, limited government is essential to a nation’s well-being and even existence.  However, government has only certain purposes, which, like a good court decision, should be well-defined and narrowly applied.
In a nutshell, the purpose of government is to prevent one person or group from infringing on the liberty of another person or group.  This mostly happens through force or fraud, which government must be strong to prevent. 
Let me share some examples, starting with the obvious—police.  A police force fulfills this definition of government by preventing or punishing crimes such as robbery, murder, arson, etc.  A military does largely the same thing, but on an international rather than domestic level.  Government policies such as requiring warning labels on cigarettes prevent those companies from hiding the nature of their product and thus hurting people through fraud.  The government however, has no right to tell a person they are not allowed to hurt themselves by smoking the product anyway.  Another example of government fulfilling its purpose in a more subtle way is laws against unethical business practices such as price fixing.  A business cannot conspire with a competitor to set a price for a certain good, but must rather compete in a free market.  On the surface this may seem to some people like stifling an economic liberty, but it is one that hurts a customer’s ability to access a free market through force or fraud.
An issue that has come up in several discussions is the FDA.  Under the view of government I propose, the purpose of this body would be to ensure that food and drug companies properly disclose all information about their products that people may want to know prior to using it.  It should not in any way be used to tell people what they can or cannot eat or use.  As you can hopefully see, contrary to some misperceptions, this view of government does not mean “no government,” does not mean that “big corporations can just screw people over because they have the money and power,” and does not mean that “people will just be able to whatever they want without regards to others.” 
The purpose of this entry was to clarify the principles upon which this model of government is built.  The ideas of the proper roles for government have been debated since antiquity by some of the greatest philosophical minds in history.  I welcome discussion, especially about whether this form of government is practical in our world today, but I do not expect any great revelations.  In the next entry I will start discussing how to apply this philosophy to particular issues and how the libertarian idea is best for America.

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