September 15, 2006

What is Government and Why Do We Need It?

Submitted by worker
From AC - Associated Content

Do we actually need government? Is it possible to live without laws or rulers? Because man needs a moral limits, government is absolutely necessary.

A government is a body that has the power to make and enforce laws within an organization or group. In the broadest sense, “to govern” means to manage or supervise, whether over an area of land, a set of people, or a collection of assets. A God-ordained government acts like a restraint on man’s selfishness and regulates his societal interactions when necessary. The primary duty of a government is to reward the people who do good things and punish the wrongdoers.
[Every man needs moral limits!]

There are a wide range of theories about the reasons for establishing governments. There are four major reasons for establishing a government: greed and oppression, order and tradition, natural rights, and social contract.

Greed and Oppression
Many political viewpoints that are opposed to the existence of a government (such as Anarchism), as well as others, give emphasis to the historical roots of governments – the fact that governments originated from authority who took, by force, certain regions of land as their own. Once they took that land they began to exercise authority over the people of that land. It is argued that governments exist to enforce the will of the strong and dominate the weak.

Order and Tradition
Various types of conservatism generally see the government as a positive power that conveys order out of chaos, establishes laws to end “the war against all”, punishes vice while encouraging moral virtue, and respects tradition. At times, in this view, the government is seen as something ordained by a higher power, such as a king, which human beings have a duty to obey.

Natural Rights
The basis for the theory of government shared by most branches of liberalism is natural rights. In this view, human beings are born with certain natural rights, and governments are established to protect those rights. What the natural rights are is a matter of dispute among liberals. Each branch of liberalism has its own set of rights it considers to be natural; sometimes these rights are mutually exclusive with the rights supported with other liberals.

Social Contract
The social contract has been one of the most influential theories of government in the past two hundred years, on which modern democracy and most forms of socialism are established. The social contract theory holds that governments are created by the people in order to provide communal needs that cannot be appropriately fulfilled using purely individual means. Governments exist for the purpose of serving the needs and desires of the people, and the government’s relationship with the people is clearly stipulated in a “social contract” (a constitution and a set of laws). Both the government and the people must abide by this contract.

Governments can be classified in many ways. All governments belong to one of four major groups: theocracy, autocracy, democracy, and republic.

Theocracy is a government under the direct rule of God. The first man, Adam, lived under a theocracy.

Any system of government in which the power and authority to rule are in the hands of a single individual is an autocracy. This is one of the most common and oldest forms of government. Historically, most autocrats have maintained their positions of authority by inheritance.

Several forms of autocracy exist. One is absolute or totalitarian dictatorship. In totalitarian dictatorship, the ideas of a single leader or group of leaders are glorified. The government seeks to control all aspects of social and economic life.
Monarchy is another form of autocracy. In a monarchy a king, queen, or emperor exercises the supreme powers of government. Monarchs usually inherit their positions.

A democracy is any system of government in which the people have the rule. The ancient Greeks used the word democracy to mean government by the many in contrast to government by the few. They key of democracy is that the people hold ultimate power. Abraham Lincoln best captured this spirit by describing democracy as “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Democracy may take one of two forms. In a direct democracy, the people govern themselves by voting on issues individually as citizens.

In indirect or representative democracy, the people elect representatives and give them the responsibility and authority to make laws and to conduct government.

In a republic, voters hold sovereign power. The citizens elect or acquiesce to representatives. These representatives are charged with the responsibility of carrying out the administration of the government according to the law rather than their wishes or the wishes of the people. Under a true republic, citizens are subject to a written body of laws rather than to the whims of one man or a group of men.

In His relationship with man, God has established three institutions for the wellbeing of mankind. These institutions are the family, government, and the church. At different times in history, these authority structures have been more or less influential in the affairs of men. At some times and places, the family was the primary authority; at other times and in some places, it was the church; and at others it was the government. In practically every nation on Earth today, the government is the primary ruling body, and in some cases it has taken the power that rightfully belongs to the family and the church.

Government is a necessity to man. If all of mans laws and constitutions were based on Scriptural principles, then crime and prejudice would be eliminated from our societies, and we would not have to experience injustice, slavery, oppression and war. But the likeliness of all men following the principles is almost nonexistent. Man is too likely to drift from God’s way. Unfortunately, man continues to neglect the principles contained in the Bible.


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