For today’s politically incorrect lunchtime musing, I wanted to post something about one of my favorite topics: the purpose of the government.
My definition of the purpose of the government comes from the Declaration of Independence, from a few key statments in the 2nd paragraph:
- all men are created equal
- that they are endowed with certain rights, that among these are Life, LIberty, and the pursuit of Happiness
- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men
My interpretation of these three statements is as follows:
The purpose of the government is to secure the rights of it’s citizens.
The purpose of the government is NOT to protect it’s citizens from themselves. It is NOT to provide them with all the comforts of life. It is NOT to take care of them in their old age. It is NOT to provide health care, education, social security, job security, or any other social program.
While many of these programs are good and do not interfere with the primary purpose of the government, they are NOT the purpose of the goverment, and their implementation should not ever interfere with the actual purpose of the government: to secure my rights and yours.
The list of things that I have a right to do is intentionally very vague.
The types of activities that might provide happiness to people is as varied as the number of people.
Some find jumping off a mountain wearing only a small parachute terrifying. Others find it rewarding.
Some want to taste every type of wine and experience all the flavors and nuances there. Others choose not to drink at all.
Some want to sit and watch a butterfly or flower or bird, where others would find that dreadfully boring.
The fact is that everyone has things that bring them some sort of happiness, and it would be a terrible mistake to try to list them all to say “these activities are legal and all others are illegal”. The definition of the Declaration of Independence leans to an alternate definition “all activities that bring happiness are legal unless…”
The conclusion of this phrase provides (in my opinion) the perfect definition of crime.
The phrase “all men are created equal” provides the only sure way to define where a person’s rights end.
My right to do something ends at the point in which it begins to infringe upon your rights to do something. In other words, all activites that bring happiness are legal unless they interfere with someone else’s rights.
Based on this definition, there are many things that are illegal in our country that I absolutely do not agree should be illegal, despite the fact that I also agree that they are wrong. These include drug use, prostitution, gambling, and many other such activities.
To be absolutely clear, I do NOT do drugs. I never have and never will. For personal and religious reasons, I believe that it is wrong. But I do not recognize the activity of doing drugs as inherently illegal. If someone wants to use drugs, that in and of itself does not infringe upon my rights. Now the minute they decide to drive a car while under the influence, or neglect a child they are responsible for because they are high, or steal to support their habit, then they have committed a crime. But the crime was one of driving under the influence, or child negelect, or theft, NOT of drug use.
Likewise, a sex act between consenting adults is not illegal (regardless of whether money was exchanged or not). As with drug use, I believe that it is wrong… but I do not believe that it should be illegal.
Stated simply: I do not agree in the concept of a victimless crime. There is not such thing. If nobody’s rights were infringed upon, or in other words, if there was no victim, then there was no crime.