Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” – George Washington, attributed
In my last post we explored the principle of Natural Law, and concluded that since our Creator had placed certain laws in nature, these laws bind all men equally. We ended by asking two questions: can any other law or piece of legislation be legitimate in the face of Natural Law, and who should enforce Natural Law? At first glance, these two questions may seem only marginally related, but closer examination will reveal that to answer one leads into the next.
First, who should enforce Natural Law? (Yes, I’m going to deal with these questions in reverse order, for it serves our purpose better.) Ask most people this question, and their answer will most likely be rather ambiguous, undefined, and predictable: “the government.” What they mean by this phrase is that institution that (in America) is based at the national level in Washington D.C. and is made up of the president, Congress, and the Supreme Court; consists at the state level of a governor and state legislature; and can be broken down further into county, and sometimes city, governments, with county councils, mayors, and city councils to run them.1
Let’s examine this answer for a minute: the government. How does the government operate and enforce law and legislation? Well, as Mao Tse-tung once wisely admitted, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Everything the government does, it does because we are, simply put, afraid of men with guns. Think about this: the punishment for not complying with the legislation the government has passed into “law” is arrest, fines, imprisonment, or some combination of the above, all carried out by men in black or blue with guns.
And all this, by its very nature and definition, goes against Natural Law.
Which brings us to our second question: can any law or legislation be legitimate in the face of Natural Law?
By now, I hope you’re beginning to see that the answer must be an unequivocal “no.” Individuals cannot give to other individuals more rights than they themselves have. And if individuals cannot encroach upon others and coerce them, than neither can a large group of individuals who call themselves “government”…even if it be for the sole purpose of enforcing Natural Law.
So where does this leave us? If government is, by its very nature, coercive; and if men, under the guise of “government,” will do things to their fellow man that they would never dream of doing otherwise; and if all this goes against Natural Law…then what?
The institution we call government simply has no grounds for existence, leaving it up to individuals to obey or not obey Natural Law, and to suffer the consequences accordingly.
And lest you think I’ve fallen off the deep end, this visiting alien will explain all. Enjoy!
- Around the world, government takes many different forms, from constitutional monarchies to democracies to dictatorships. Though these systems of government vary in their makeup, ultimately they are all the same, with power over the citizenry centered in the hands of the few. [↩]