Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Government by Delegation

Where does any government get the right to exercise authority over citizens? Prior to 1776 most in the western world thought that kings had some divine right to rule. That made sense only if you both believed in God and and believed that He had somehow picked the king of your country. Most today would reject that concept. In fact our Declaration of Independence rejects it, as indicated in the following from pp127-128 of my book, Freedom or Serfdom?

“ 'That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.' “That stood previous ideas of government on their heads. Government exists, not for kings and other rulers, but for and at the pleasure of the banker, the farmer, the garbage hauler, etc.

“That phrase deserves special attention. Government power comes from the consent of the governed. In other words, we the citizens delegate our power to the government. It becomes our agent, to act in our name with such power as we choose to allow. That simple phrase not only means that the people are to rule, but adds another requirement for limited government. We can delegate only the powers and rights we ourselves possess. We have a right to defend ourselves; let's delegate at least part of that right to the police and the military. We have the power to build roads and bridges; let's delegate that power to government. We have a right to demand that a factory not dump mercury into our waters; delegate that to government as well.
“There are, however, rights we do not have and therefore cannot delegate to government or to any other entity. We do not have the right to hold other humans as slaves, therefore we cannot delegate to government the right to approve slavery. We have no right to force our neighbor to paint his house the color we prefer; therefore we cannot delegate that right to government. We have no right to force our neighbor to buy the insurance we think he should buy; therefore we cannot delegate such power to government.”

This concept is at the root of limited government – limiting even democratic government. If 99% of the people want to enslave someone, decree how houses shall be painted, etc., they have no right to do so. Numbers may make strength but they do not make right. That which is immoral for an individual remains immoral for a democracy.

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