Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A common defense is the first purpose of government

As the election cycle approaches, those that are running for office including the presidential suite, will be telling us all the things government should or shouldn’t be doing. If we don’t layout a frame work of the purpose of government in advance, we could be pulled in many directions. We will also shift our own positions a dozen times as we hear good words from each of the candidates at all levels.

In the last post we outlined four primary pillars. They are protecting, educating, innovating and building. Clearly, the first, protecting, was the first reason individuals decided to create a community. Living together in an agricultural setting made individuals and families venerable to outside raiders. If everyone in the community came to the defense of any individual, the outside attacks were less likely.

Life in a community has evolved since that time and the definition of a common defense has expanded. Now there is still the risk of outside invaders. A strong military is needed to protect the territorial boundaries of the country. Not only from other countries with their military but also from their business practices, non military invaders, migration and diaspora.

But threats to the individual and the community come from three other areas. First, there is the criminal threat. This threat comes in big and small packages. It, of course, comes with the common criminal that local law enforcement can tamp down, but also from large organized criminal operations. This needs a national law enforcement agency that can move around the country where ever the threat exists.

Second, there is the threat that develops when there is a lack of standards in business, medical, construction and other industries. By establishing and maintaining common practices and standards, those that are honest can depend on them and those are not can be stopped.

Finally, the last is our own civil rights. This not only includes the encroachment of government on the individual’s liberties, but also those that would like to marginalize individuals that don’t fit a very narrow mainstream definition of behavior. It is just as important to enforce laws that prevent criminal activity as it is to prevent marginalizing individuals whose behavior may not be common, but their actions do not cause any injury or loss to any other individual.

As you can see, defense comes in many forms and at many levels. The ability of a community to defend individuals from many threats is the first priority of government. By creating an environment that allows individuals to freely live their own lives is the healthiest environment for the other three pillars.

More to follow on education, innovation and building.

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