Missouri's 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives




Congressional Issues 2012
The Nature of Government

What is "Government?"

The word "government" can be used in different ways.

  • Personal responsibility is "self-government."
  • We can speak of a "well-governed family."
  • The owner of a business imposes a form of government on his employees.

In family, school, neighborhood association, and groups of all kinds, there is "government." When we obey "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," our society is orderly, peaceful, harmonious and well-governed. James Madison, "the Father of the Constitution," is reported to have said,

We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves ... according to the Ten Commandments of God.

Every individual and every business and institution created by voluntary associations of individuals is morally obligated to be well-governed, and to respect the rights of others to life, liberty, and property. "Self-government" creates a society of "Liberty and Justice for all."             

What is "THE Government?"

"Self-government" -- following the commandments of God -- is what it means to be human.

But "the government" ("the State") claims the right to seize the property of others by force, have those who resist beaten and raped, and kill all those who get in the way. "Self-government" is vitrue. "The government" is violence.

George Washington is reported to have said,

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. . . .

Sociologist Max Weber says "the State" is "a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory."

Augustine, in his book City of God, wrote this:

Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you who does it with a great fleet are styled emperor.

It is for this reason that libertarians do not trust "the government." Libertarians do not believe anyone, under any name or label, has the right to use force to impose his will on others.

Libertarians are often portrayed as being "anti-government." But it is this "anti-government" attitude that made America the freest and most prosperous nation in history.

"Trust No One"

How do libertarians respond to the accusation that they do not have enough trust in government? John Adams wrote in 1772:

There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty."

Should libertarians have more confidence in their government? Thomas Jefferson, 1799:

Confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism. Free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealousy, and not confidence, which prescribes limited constitutions to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power.… In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.

James Madison warned the people of Virginia (1799):

the nation which reposes on the pillow of political confidence, will sooner or later end its political existence in a deadly lethargy.

Madison added in Federalist No. 55,

[T]here is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust. . . .

Trusting government, having "confidence in government," is un-American.

The British historian Lord Acton put it this way:

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.

The exercise of political power is problematic. We should assume that "great men" -- that is, powerful men -- men who wield the force of "the government" -- are morally corrupt. This assumption should be considered confirmed if he increases his own power during his time of "public service."

Larken Rose writes:

Most people, looking at our troubled world with its long history of injustice and human suffering, will attribute social evils to the greed, ignorance, hatred, or lack of compassion of others.

Rarely does anyone consider the possibility that his own attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs may be the root cause of most of the world’s suffering.

But in almost every case, they are.

The vast majority of theft, extortion, intimidation, harassment, assault, and even murder – the vast majority of man’s inhumanity to man–comes not from the greed, hatred, and intolerance that lurks in our hearts, but from one pernicious and almost universal assumption, one unquestioned belief, one irrational, self-contradictory superstition that infects all races, all religions, all nationalities, ages, and income levels.

If humankind could give up this one false idea, even without otherwise acquiring another scrap of wisdom or compassion, the vast majority of injustice and oppression would instantly cease.

But this cannot happen until people are ready and willing to turn their judgmental eyes upon themselves – to objectively examine their own belief systems, to recognize and understand, and finally to abandon, the most dangerous superstition.

If you love death and destruction, oppression and suffering, injustice and violence, repression and torture, helplessness and despair, perpetual conflict and bloodshed, then teach your children that "government is an inescapable necessity, and teach them that obedience to government commands, even if immoral, is a virtue.

If, on the other hand, you value peaceful coexistence, compassion and cooperation, freedom and justice, then teach your children the principles of self-ownership, teach them to respect the rights of every human being, and teach them to recognize and reject the belief in “government” for what it is: the most irrational, self-contradictory, anti-human, evil, destructive and dangerous superstition the world has ever known.

Contrary to what nearly everyone has been taught to believe, “government” is not necessary for civilization. It is not conducive to civilization. It is, in fact, the antithesis of civilization. It is not cooperation, or working together, or voluntary interaction. It is not peaceful coexistence. It is coercion; it is force; it is violence.

It is animalistic aggression, cloaked by pseudo-religious, cult-like rituals which are designed to make it appear legitimate and righteous. It is brute thuggery, disguised as consent and organization. It is the enslavement of mankind, the subjugation of free will, and the destruction of morality, masquerading as “civilization” and “society.”

The problem is not just that “authority” can be used for evil; the problem is that, at its most basic essence, it  is  evil. It supersedes and destroys moral consciences, replacing them with unthinking blind obedience. It cannot be used for good, any more than a bomb can be used to heal a body.

"Government" is always aggression, always the enemy of peace, always the enemy of justice. The moment it ceases to be an attacker, it ceases to fit the definition of “government.” It is, by its very nature, a murderer and a thief, the enemy of mankind, a poison to humanity. As dominator and controller, ruler and oppressor, it can be nothing else.

Why a Bill of Rights? | Walter Williams
Why Bad Men Rule | Hans-Hermann Hoppe

"Good intentions will always be pleaded for any assumption of power. The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters ... but they mean to be masters."
~ Daniel Webster

A well-governed person, who yearns for a well-governed society, wants to place firm limits on "the government."

But can there be too many limits on "the government?" What if the chains of the Constitution strangle "the government" or "the government" is abolished all together?

I believe this would be a good thing.

"But wouldn't that be anarchy?" some might ask.

If you equate "anarchy" with "lawlessness." then "anarchy" is a bad thing. But if you understand that "anarchy" means "the absence of archists," then your next question should be, "What is an archist?" Keep reading on this page if you want to learn more about "law" and "lawlessness," or click the link below to find out why good and moral people are against "archists."


"There Oughta Be a Law!"

Actually there already is a Law. The Declaration of Independence speaks of "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God."

When someone says
"There ought to be a law!"
he really means
"There ought to be government action
 -- there ought to be vengeance --
there ought to be misery and pain inflicted on the person who offended me!"

And when the government says "Mr. Smith has a right to quality health care," that usually means that Mr. Jones better pay for Smith's healthcare, or pain and misery will be inflicted on Jones.

"Government" is force
and threats of violence

Consider this opinion from the Los Angeles Times in June of 2001:

  Here's what California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer said at a press conference about Enron Corp. Chairman Kenneth Lay: "I would love to personally escort Lay to an 8-by-10 cell that he could share with a tattooed dude who says, 'Hi, my name is Spike, honey."'
     Here's why Lockyer should be removed from his office of public trust: First, because as the chief law enforcement officer of the largest state in the nation, he not only has admitted that rape is a regular feature of the state's prison system, but also that he considers rape a part of the punishment he can inflict on others.
     Second, because he has publicly stated that he would like to personally arrange the rape of a Texas businessman who has not even been charged with any illegal behavior.
     Lockyer's remarks reveal him to be an authoritarian thug, someone wholly unsuited to holding an office of public trust.
     But his remarks do have one positive merit: They tell us what criminal penalties really entail.
     Contrary to some depictions of prisons as country clubs, they are violent and terrible places.
Tom G. Palmer, 'Hi, My Name Isn't Justice, Honey,' and Shame on Lockyer, L.A. Times, Wednesday, June 6, 2001

You pay your taxes to finance government projects which you know are unconstitutional, wasteful, and undermine your moral values. You pay because you know if you don't, you will be audited, harassed, and, quite possibly, locked up with carjackers and rapists, brutalized and sodomized in a government prison. If you decide to stand on principle and you're willing to take the risk, your employer will still withhold your taxes from your salary because he knows if he doesn't he might meet "Spike" in a government prison.

Incredibly, millions of Americans still believe that bigger government will bring a better life.

       It is important to remember that government interference always means either violent action or the threat of such action. The funds that a government spends for whatever purposes are levied by taxation. And taxes are paid because the taxpayers are afraid of offering resistance to the tax gatherers. They know that any disobedience or resistance is hopeless. As long as this is the state of affairs, the government is able to collect the money that it wants to spend. Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen. The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning. Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.
       [I]n face of the modern tendencies toward a deification of government and state, it is good to remind ourselves that the old Romans were more realistic in symbolizing the state by a bundle of rods with an ax in the middle than are our contemporaries in ascribing to the state all the attributes of God.

Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, 1949

"Fasces" from the shield of the
Partito Nazionale Fascista

The Fasces: Weapon of Political Thugs
see fascism

"New Deal" fasces,
Mercury Dime

What kind of "government" do we need in order to fully protect "the good life?"

What is "the Good Life?"

America's Founding Fathers described it as living safely under your own Vine & Fig Tree.

America's Founding Fathers believed "the good life" was the enjoyment of God-given unalienable rights:

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

 Life, faculties, production

— in other words,  

  individuality, liberty, property

   — this is man. 

And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, 
these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, 
and are superior to it.

—Frederic Bastiat, The Law, p.6

What is Good Government?

It is easier to say what good government is not than what it is. Good Government does not violate our God-given rights to Life, Liberty and Property (also called the Pursuit of Happiness).

"No person shall be . . . deprived of 
, liberty, or property
without due process of law. . . ."
—The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

When "the government" violates these rights, there are two views: the "divine right of kings" says that the people must submit to government force; the "consent of the governed" holds that the government which threatens life, liberty or property, must be altered or abolished.

WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government

Declaration of Independence

Those who ratified our Constitution believed that "religion, morality and knowledge" were "necessary for good government and the happiness of mankind" (Northwest Ordinance, 1787). They believed that without virtue, the by-product of "religion, morality and knowledge," no government could be powerful enough to maintain social order, that is, protect our Life, Liberty and Property. In fact, the greatest threat to social order is often the government itself.


We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Today our government works to destroy our posterity, not secure the blessings of liberty for our posterity.

chbook.gif (22217 bytes)iraqmed.jpg (8977 
bytes)Across the globe, for millions, maybe even billions of people, the federal government is a threat to life:



Libertarian Party Home Page


More on The Pursuit of Happiness

When the 14th amendment guaranteed "life, liberty, and property," it was echoing a basic theme of our Founding Fathers, a secular trinity, each of which is an essential component and guarantee of the others. Life, liberty, and property--they are like three pegs holding up a table. Remove one, and the whole thing comes crashing down. It seems almost old-fashioned to talk about property rights these days, but to our Founding Fathers, property rights were part of the natural law, the self-evident rights granted by God. Governments were instituted among men to guarantee them, not to take them away. A man's home is his castle--that is the foundation of civilized order, an ancient statement of individual rights that comes down to us through English common law. But in the last several decades, it seemed that the Government saw a man's home as simply another source of tax revenue. Marginal income tax rates soared as high as 75 and on up--90 percent. They were, to use another old-fashioned term, "confiscatory."
—President Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a White House Briefing for Minority Business Owners, July 15, 1987, Public Papers of the Presidents, 1987, p. 828.

If they could travel through time into the 21st Century, our Founding Fathers would be shocked at the growth of government power and the assault on Life, Liberty and Property. 

The Myth of "The Government"

The central message of this website is that in order to protect "the good life," we must eradicate the entire concept of "the government."

"The Government" is institutionalized violence, systematic murder and theft.

True government is self-government. True government is true religion in practice.

America's Founding Fathers identified the government over them as a "tyranny" worthy of being abolished. Today's government is 20-30 times more tyrannical, by nearly every conceivable measure. America's Founding Fathers recognized that true government -- a well-ordered society -- does not come from the barrel of a gun. America's Founding Fathers were ahead of their time, but did not see clearly enough to abolish the government over them, and not replace it. Belief in government is idolatry. Belief in Providence is capitalism.

Government and our Worldview

Please become acquainted with the concept of a "worldview" if you are not already. One's worldview determines the fundamental categories of interpreting the facts of our world.
  • Human Nature: Do human beings need to repent of rebellion against God, or are human beings impersonally and naturally evolving into perfection?
  • Eschatology: Should the world be abandoned to "tribulation" and imminent catastrophe, or should we be making plans to create peaceful and orderly human societies which will last for millennia into the future? Our position on "government" is written from an "optimillennial" rather than "pessimillennial" perspective. We look forward to a future global "Christocracy."
  • Law: Our position on "government" is written from a generally "Theonomic" pro-law perspective.
  • Society: Our position on "government" is written from an individualistic rather than collectivist perspective. A "capitalist" perspective rather than a "socialist" one.
  • Government: We contend that the greatest progress in human culture will take place when the entire concept of "the State" is as distant a memory and as absent from the planet as "animal sacrifices," though both at one time dominated human society.

Ultimately this issue will not be resolved by the exegesis of a handful of Bible texts or phrases from the Constitution. This is really an entirely different way of reading the Bible and looking at human society.

"The State" owes its existence to extortion and threats of violence ("taxation"), and its core purpose is vengeance, both of which are forbidden by God's Law.

There is no legitimate human social function which cannot be more efficiently and humanely carried out without "the State." Self-government, family government, schools, hospitals, grocery stores, insurance, home security, dispute resolution and other businesses will all thrive without "the State."

Among anarchists there is a debate as to whether our present huge global multinational corporations would exist without the State, e.g., whether Exxon would have its present form without the full resources of the million-man nuclear-armed military forces of a superpower State (the U.S.) overthrowing the government of Iran in 1953, raising up Saddam Hussein's army to battle Iran for over a decade in the 1980's, overthrowing Soviet-influenced governments in Latin America, creating "al Queda" to counter the Soviet Union's disruption of oil pipeline construction in Afghanistan, and myriad other ways in which a "Free Market" in energy has not existed since industrialists like Rockefeller created today's "Administrative State" to carry out their corporate policies. (Pro-special-interest regulation was once "progressive" or  "populist," said to be in the best interests of "the poor" or "the people," but today's regulation is now often carried out in the name of "de-regulation," just as "free trade agreements" do not make trade freer, but create huge new systems of government which are not bound down by "the chains of the Constitution.")

"The government" continues to create popular support for its own existence by manipulating education and the media to create the widespread popular belief that without "the State," "criminals" would "take over." We have all been trained to believe from our youngest days that "The State" protects "Life, Liberty and Property." Today's federal government takes over half of everything you earn. If we remove our patriotism-colored glasses, it will immediately become apparent that "the State" destroys more lives, enslaves more individuals, and confiscates or destroys more private property than all the "anarchists" and "criminals" in the world combined.

The entire concept of "the State" is unBiblical and supremely dangerous.

Our worldview needs to exclude the whole idea that a group of people have the right to confiscate wealth ("tax") to fund acts of vengeance. We do not allow this idea to become socially accepted in the world of business. The idea must become as socially unacceptable in the world of "government."

Weber and Augustine quotes suggested by @darjeelingzen: What is "Government"?.

next: First Steps to Restoring the Constitution