Every year American citizens celebrate the foundation on which the United States was built. And yet at the same time, every year we are traveling farther away from the very principles of individual rights and freedom that our nation was built on. As government becomes bigger, the number of rights recognized by that government gets smaller and smaller. Every time Americans allows the right of one person to be taken away by government, they can be sure that next time, it will be their right. The more laws government makes in attempt to control, the more laws they make to rectify the situations they have caused with their original laws. Where does it end??
Objectivism holds, essentially, that government serves only one purpose: to protect. They are there to protect from foreign forces, thus a nation needs a military, and to protect from domestic forces, thus it needs a police force. "The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man's right, which means: to protect from physical violence". Later, I will go on with some personal opinions about political issues which mostly reflect Objectivist ideas. In this section, however, I would like to directly quote Ayn Rand herself on the proper purpose of government. All quotes are taken from The Lexicon, a mini encylopedia of Ayn Rand writings.
"If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules. This is the task of the government- of a proper government- its basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government. A government is the means of placing the retalitory use of physical force under objective control- i.e. under objectively defined laws."
"The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law."
"The source of the government's authority is the 'consent of the governed'. This means that the government is not the rule, but the servant or agent of the citizens; it means that the government as such has no rights except the rights delegated to it by the citizens for a specific purpose."
"The difference between political power and any other kind of social power between a government and any private organization, is the fact that a government holds a lgal monopoly on the use of physical force...No individual or private group or private organization has the legal power to initiate the use of physical force against other individuals or groups and to compel them to act against their own voluntary choice. Only a government holds that power. The nature of government action is: coercive action. The nature of political power is: the power to force obedience under threat of personal injury- the threat of property expropriation, imprisonemnt, or death".
"UNder a proper social system, a private individual is legally free to take any action he pleases (so long as he does not violate the rights of others), while a government official is bound by law in his every official act. A private individual may do anything except that which is legally forbidden; a government official may do nothing except that which is legally permitted".
"The basic premise of the Founding Fathers was man's right to his own life, to his own liberty, to the pursuit of his own happiness- which means: mans right to exist for his own sake neither sacrificing himself to others nor others to himself; and that the political implementation of this right is a society where men deal with one another as traders, by voluntary exchange to mutual benefit".
Americans today, at least I think for the most part, are concerned with making laws that prohibit the "bad" and allow only the "good". But they are ignoring a HUGE factor: Who has the right to determine what is good or bad and in what situations?
The answer to that question is simple. As long as it affects only themselves, each individual has the right to decide what is good and bad in their life. I can swing my fists in the air all I want, as long as I do not hit anyone else. The government is not our mommy and daddy. They are not there to tell us what is right and wrong for our personal lives, they are only there to protect us from those who wish to take that freedom to make choices for our own lives away. What right does the government have to say what I do with my own body? None whatsoever.
Take cigarette smoking, just for example. We are all now very aware of the health risks involved in tobacco use. But who are we affecting when we smoke? If a person knows what they are getting involved in when they smoke, and choose to do so anyway, then they are willingly harming themselves, not me or you. Therefore, it is their body, and their life, and regardless of whether smoking is right or wrong, it is up to each person to decide whether or not they are going to smoke. For the record, I do not smoke, but I have no right to tell someone else that they cannot.
Think about all the money the government takes from you, and then spends on the "drug war". It is illegal to do drugs because they destroy the lives of those who choose to do them. So the government destroys their lives another way by throwing them in prison. How simple and logical is this: Let the punishment for doing drugs be the consequences the drug presents itself. There are so many drug awareness problems, I would have a hard time believing someone was ignorant about the risks involved. If someone knows they could die from the first hit of crack, but does it anyway, then their punishment is whatever comes from taking that hit. Personally, I would rather give money to an awareness and prevention program then have the government spend that money on "criminals" who smoke pot on the weekends.
Many people have the question, if government controls so many things now like education, and welfare, who will control those things if the government no longer did? The answer is of course, the citizens. People would be free to send their children to whichever private school they chose. They would decide what their children were to be taught, and by who. Without the government taking billions of dollars away from us, more people would be able to afford private school, and for those who cannot, there is always help programs, like charities. Speaking of which, while there may be some on welfare who have kids and literally cannot work, there are some who can work. Why should I work to support those guys? I have no duty to them. But as long as no one is forcing me to give my money to people, I could choose which charities I thought gave help to people who help themselves. Of course this is a one paragraph summarization and there's more to it than this, but this is just a basic idea. And just to add something here, I just heard on the TV that while Julia Roberts makes about 20,000,000 per film, the government takes nearly HALF of that, per film, in taxes. It's robbery.