The Purpose and Function of Government

What is the purpose and function of Government?

The first obvious function is to help create an environment in which people can create and live a good life.

Government’s responsibility is to provide a framework and ecosystem that supports its citizens living a good life.

This necessitates a few things.

First, we must understand Human Nature to first understand what is a good life for a human.

So, what are humans? We are a being comprised of Body, Mind, Soul, and Spirit.

{I have written extensively on my theory of the Quadripartite nature of humanity before, but as a quick refresher:
1. Body – The physical and biochemical processes of matter and energy dictated by physics and biology.
2. Mind – The rational conscious thinking part of ourselves.
3. Soul – the creative and emotional part of ourselves. (Not a religious/eternal soul). Part of the subconscious.
4. Spirit – Will, desires, inner power, character, instinct. Part of the subconscious.}

(I am Not going to argue for that breakdown here, as I have done it many times before. It is here merely as a reference to my building blocks and foundation of thought.)

We are beings in relationship to the Universe: We relate to the physical world around us, to nature. We relate to the people around us: to society and our community. We relate to ourselves. We relate to our concept of the divine, be that God, the Muses, Enlightenment, etc. Our individual Relationships constitute the essential truth of ourselves. How we behave and desire to behave toward all of those elements is at the core essence of who we are.

We are Free Will beings of matter and energy living in a physical world that we impact through our choices. We be, while we become. We have physical biochemical needs that keep us alive. We have emotional/creative/psychological/intellectual needs that give us quality of life. We feel a need to have some overarching purpose. We experience time linearly and thus create narratives of our lives. We constantly develop this narrative and accept or reject pieces and parts based on how they fit. Some pieces we have forced into our narratives, and we then must adjust our story to accommodate it. We are social beings. We thrive in a society, and while we can survive completely on our own, we are much more efficient and are better able to meet our needs in a community of our choosing.

We are beings that start with some limited processing power that grow and develop through time in response to stimuli. Our early years are quite formative. Our environment (socio-economic, actual climate, rural/city, country, intellectual, worldview, memes, etc) and relationships all impact the stories we tell ourselves.
Events happen to us, and we process them, creating narratives around them, which are informed by our past experiences, and how others teach us to react to them.

We are creatures that seek pleasure, and tend to avoid pain. We seek fulfillment. We tend to be creatures of habit. We Create and build. We also destroy and ruin. We desire. We crave and need love, and to feel and be empowered in our lives. We seek happiness. We seek to live a good life, by whatever standard we have constructed/been taught. We seek to do good actions, and be good people. We usually seek to live lives of character and integrity, for a variety of reasons. Humans have traditionally been religious beings seeking answers to large questions of meaning, purpose, and living well, outside the physical universe in the realm of the metaphysical and Theological. Due to biology, the normal basic family unit consists of a father and a mother and a child. This, of course expands, and permutates in infinite complexity. Humans tend to bond and feel most strongly about those closest to them in appearance and DNA. Next, they bond through shared experience and taste. Thirdly, they bond through affiliation with tribes, clubs, teams, etc without real prior personal contact.

Humans need Food, Shelter, Protective clothing (personal and portable shelter), oxygen, water, excretion, and general homeostasis in order to merely survive. Sex is important to create and build family units, and propagate the species. These things in proper balance provide health. Proper shelter usually turns into property. The tools by which you gain these basic needs are the most important possessions toward self determination. Shelter grants physical safety for both you and your family. Security of employment means that you can have the means to secure the aforementioned needs. Being able to protect your self and your family means that you have the ability to continue to survive. When your physiological and emotional needs and security are covered, we can have a stable family life, and develop friendships and intimacy with our family and community. This in turn creates confidence and respect for ourselves and others. It allows us the ability to succeed and achieve, if we are so inclined. At this point, our lives are functioning so well, we can create and appreciate creation. We can enjoy leisure, and be spontaneous. We can see possibilities, not just actualities. We can philosophize. In short we can attain our highest personal potential. In rare cases, some people short circuit these, and go out of order, but throughout history, the vast majority of people function this way.

Speaking of Sexuality, humans generally are either male or female, and generally sexually desire the opposite. Now, there obviously are genetic aberrations and socialized differences. Humans, though we tend to be, are not only sexually binary. There are scores of other variations upon the theme. However, the binary propagation model tends to be the normal standard. There is no right or wrong here. It merely is.

We are much more than this. We explore, we discover, we go new places and seek new things. We are curious about the unknown. We also fear it. We are brave. We are courageous. We are timid. We are loyal to our groups, and fiercely protective of them. We can yet transcend our identities and our groups, though. We can see generals, and infer specifics, and vice versa. We can learn and grow. We seek to change and grow in as much as we seek stability and comfort, and to remain the same.

We are spontaneous, impulsive, and creatures of habit and routine. We are logical, based on known quantities and we are erratic and insane. We see the world as we have been taught to see it, and we can see it as we want it to be. We have vast imaginations that create new possibilities and impossibilities.

We want everything, and nothing.

We destroy. we seek conquest, power, and glory.

We seek immortality, and devise a myriad of ways to achieve it. We fear death, and the idea that there is nothing beyond what we see and feel. We are faced with our own mortality, and insignificance.

We seek to glorify ourselves. We seek to propagate our name through works or through children. We seek to provide for our future immortality lineage.

We take what doesn’t belong to us for them. We think that we deserve rewards for goodness. We do evil things. We think that the world works in certain ways, and we delight and fear the surprises that expectation brings.

Humans are complicated. We think. We feel. We act. Or not. We destroy ourselves and enjoy the destruction. We build ourselves, and love the work. Or we hate all of those things.

What are humans? What are we? We are all of these things and much more.

So, what is the purpose of Government?

Proper and healthy Government is supposed to create an environment in which we can become fully human and reach our fullest human potential, by regulating each other to prevent the unjust exploitation of each other through a system of checks and balances, and watched watchers that answers to the people, is created by the people and is comprised of the people in order to best care for each other and protect each other from each other, in a global community. It is ideal to create a government that allows maximum personal freedom to self-determine our own individual purpose and fulfillment and allow us each the freedom of self-discovery and maximum personal development and growth. This personal realization of potential is great for everyone, for it helps foster an environment of success. Our greatest potential can only be realized in a community. Our greatest potential helps the maximum amount of people in the world. Everyone has a different potential.

Thus the true purpose of Government is to help us each discover our highest potential, and to create an environment in which everyone can potentially discover their highest potential. Our highest potential might be called living “the good life.”

Our highest potential is that which helps the most people in the greatest manner, while providing a sense of fulfillment, and purpose. How can we best positively impact all of our relationships (Divine, IntraPersonal, Societal, environmental, and cosmological)?

How can we most fully create the best possible version of ourselves?

It starts by being people of our word. All character flows from commitment to honesty, and doing what we say we will do, every time. Being trustworthy is the foundation to all other character traits. Foundational in that honesty is a respect of the human dignity and the view of absolute human equality. We respect our equals. We value those equal to us, and thus honor them with our honesty. If all men and women are equal, then we must unequivocally be honest and deal with them as equals. We treat others as we want to be treated because they are equal to us. We help our equals and are kind in the way we want to be helped and have kindnesses done to us. Loyalty, friendliness, conscientiousness, patience, gentleness, discipline, courteousness, cheerfulness, bravery, cleanliness, etc all stems from treating others as equals: the way that we want to be treated. These are the basis of integrity and character. All proper morality and ethics must stem from this basis of human nature and equality. It is more than just a trite truism, it is a foundational truth that underpins all Law, Ethics, Morality, Social Contracts, and social dealings.

So, with these foundational truths as a basis, What is the purpose of Government? How does it look?

Government originated through tribal nomads. The family unit was the original basis of government. Families and small groups were able to diversify their talents and secure the basic necessities. Because strength secured the ability to breathe, get food, build shelter, choose better choices, and maximize freedom, strength was originally most prized. Strength allowed the ability to have freedom. Strength also gave the ability to take freedom away from others, and to take their resources. Wisdom quickly developed as an alternative, and soon whomever held both wisdom and strength ruled the tribe of families, and later cites, then city-states, then kingdoms, and empires. Wisdom alone is not enough to rule. Strength must necessarily be a part of it. Wisdom also governed Strength’s targets, timing, tactics, and reasons for attacking. It also countered other Strength’s attacks. Thus Government was born to lead people to safety and security, as well as to protect against outside uses of strength. It is very difficult for one man to grow food, build shelter, and care for all of his needs with any long term stability. More people meant that more tasks could be outsourced to others who were better and more productive at certain tasks. At first, all was held in common, and the Patriarch ensured that all received what they needed or at least received a fair share. As groups grew larger, it became increasingly difficult for one person to arbitrate and to ensure universal dispersion of resources to the needy. Trading the fruits of the labors became currency. Hard work creating desired resources necessary to the survival of the tribe became important. And with the burgeoning trades came people who helped the suppliers get their goods to the demanders. And relative value currency was created to help arbitrarily evaluate the relative value of one good to another, or one service to a good. Government helped ensure that this ran smoothly, and took a tax as payment for creating a safe environment in which to trade, without fear of robbery, cheating, or other hazards to livelihood. It also became necessary to create arbitration and means of recourse for wrong doing. Thus courts were born, and legal standards that were held as equal for all men. No men were above the law, not even kings or government. It created a standard of punishments as deterrents and a system of justice. Also, in primitive societies, Kings had counselors who gave recommendations to the ruler on how they thought society was best run, or on matters of immediate policy or danger. In early societies, this was a counsel of elders elected by the people to speak for them, and represent their interests around the counsel fire as matters of grave import were discussed and decided on. The king could either reject or accept their counsel, but often found that his rule was easier if he listened to the popular votes of his counselors. He found that they became his careful allies and helped convince people of long term strategy and of what was truly in the tribe’s best interest.

Thus, the basis of a democratic republic has its foundations in the earliest forms of human government. Our three branch system has existed in one form or another, with varying degrees of balance since the earliest tribal nomadic days of human history.

The King casts a vision for his people, and makes decisions with much input from the popular representatives and counselors, while a court system arbitrates disputes, and ensures that the King and Counselor’s decisions are based on precedent, and law, and are in the best interests of the country.

In the earliest tribes, people all lived as one. They all either starved, or feasted. When there was plenty, everyone succeeded. When there was famine, everyone starved. Everyone lived and died as a unit. They cared for each other, and made sure that everyone was cared for. If someone didn’t have enough, or have what they needed, their contribution was significantly diminished, so it was in everyone’s best interests to make sure that everyone was properly taken care of. As the support net has grown, the individual impact of successes and failures has diminished. It is spread out over a much larger area. It has become easy to ignore the devastation of others’ lives. It has become easy to ignore those who are starving, who are naked, who have no water, or who have no shelter or home. They have no means of contributing to society, for they are often ostracized.

What a job really is is a means to contribute to the success of the whole. Can you hunt? Can you cook? Can you farm? Can you create art? Do you build fire? Do you craft tools? DO you watch children? etc. How do you contribute? If a stranger wanders in out of the cold, and is naked, without food, and is sick, get him warm. Feed him, heal him, then figure out how he can contribute to the whole.

All that democratic socialism proposes is to help the people who cannot feed themselves, who are sick, and can’t heal themselves, and who have no homes, and cannot build one do these things. Once you care for the body, you can care for the spirit and mind and will. When these things are cared for, we can help them become a productive and contributing member to society. This is the central and core tenant. Help people survive long enough and raise themselves up to no longer worry about the basic essentials of life. Then habilitate them toward meaningful productivity and contribution.

The purpose of Government is to help people live the good life. Other people create the environment in which you live. If you help others, or empower others to help others, all of those others will help you create a better environment in which you can grow and live a good life. When the tide rises, so do all of the little boats.

Streamlining Immigration is about helping people become good citizens that can contribute to the overall well being – combining the other tribes resources into our own. Universal Healthcare is about the developing a populace that doesn’t need to fear disease and be destroyed by it. Welfare, the same purpose. Foreign Policy should be about how best to help the whole world live the good life, for that helps us life a good life.

Government is merely the extension of ourselves to help us live a good life, and to help others live a good life, and that requires that we contribute to the betterment of the government and society. It means that the way to best maximize our personal freedom and benefit is to force each other to pull our own weight and the weight of the cart. The role of government is to help get everyone off of the cart, and get everyone running toward a better tomorrow, without leaving anyone behind.

Let us help each other reach our maximum potential. We really don’t have a choice, if we want to truly be free.

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