My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. When I get really frustrated with government, my habit is to retreat into first principles to center myself. Go pick up a copy. Here’s a part:
We take it as a matter of principle that all people are created equal. Whether one considers that equality to spring from God, nature, or some other ethereal font is immaterial. We take our equality as fact. That is not to say that we are all equal in physical condition or material circumstance, but that we are equal in terms of our individual liberties and right to exercise thereof. As we are all equal, then all our individual liberties are equal and must be equally defended irrespective of our physical, mental, moral, or pecuniary strengths.
Without equality and individual liberty, we would not need government. We would be merely pigs in need of a good swineherd. If we had no inherent rights to self-determination of our bodies and our minds, then there is no need for any collective power to protect those rights. When conflict arises between two pigs, the swineherd does not dwell on the just cause of the afflicted or on the encroachment of rights. He simply slaughters the fatter pig to maintain order.
If we are to accept that we are not swine and, in fact, are human beings with inherent individual liberties, then we must accept that we must have civic order to coexist. That civic order must be enforced by someone or something. Without civic order, each human is left to defend his or her liberties from the onslaught of those who would take them by force. It is from the friction of grinding conflict that we generate the heat to forge government as a collective shield to protect our individual liberties.
The primary function of government is to define and enforce a civic order for the purpose of protecting our individual liberties from within and without.