The purpose of Government should be to protect the natural rights of citizens (or, in the case of this monarchy, of subjects). Those rights are inherent in the human condition, and are summarised in the American Declaration of Independence and associated documents, and are well described by Thomas Paine and others; the rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. Government exists to protect individuals against each other – so we need a police force; to protect us all against foreign invaders – so we need an armed service; and to arbitrate matters of dispute – so we need a judiciary. These three basic functions are both necessary and sufficient for a civil society. But, most important, we need to be proteced against Government itself.

The single guiding rule should be that no-one, including Government, may initiate violence (including, but not limited to, physical violence) against the person or property of another. Thus, assault, theft, coercion and fraud are prohibited, and such prohibition should be robustly enforced, but all other human interactions are voluntary, and should not be the province of Government.

Why is this idea important?

When constrained to its legitimate functions, Government no longer has need of enormous quantities of our hard-earned money. However, governments tend not to constrain themselves to these functions because it is politically expedient for them to award entitlements to those it wishes to court; these entitlements cost money, and Government has none of its own.

When a Government introduces entitlements – which it describes as "rights" – for certain people, these always involve the (partial) subjugation of others. One person's "right" to "free" healthcare involves another person's obligation to pay for it. One person's "right" to roam on another's land involves the diminution of property rights. Note that the (genuine) right to the pursuit of happiness is not the (supposed) right to be provided with it; it is simply the right not to be hindered in that pursuit, while not infringing on the similar right of others.

A just society recognises that we are all equal and should be treated equally. A society which permits us to retain the fruits of our labour is likely to be just, because this notion can be applied equally to everyone. Conversely, a society which requires that some people work to produce wealth, which is then given to those who have not produced it, is inherently unjust, because that concept cannot be applied equally to all. Such a society puts some of its members in the position of slaves, working while not receiving the benefits of that work, and others in the position of masters, benefitting from the work of others while not working themselves. Such a situation is morally unjustifiable.

This is not to say that those genuinely uinable to provide for themselves are ignored; we have a rich tradition of charitable giving, and, when we are no longer obliged to turn over our hard-earned wealth to anyone deemed to be entitled to it, we will have more for what we consider to be worthy causes. Those who question the dignity of relying on charity should examine the dignity of coercion.

A Government performing only its legitimate functions is more likely to perform them well than if it constantly involves itself in the minutiae of our private social interactions.

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