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Human relations, markets, and government power

Posted By: Nick Weller on August 6, 2002
When determining the role of government one must deal honestly and candidly with the fact that it is essentially a discussion of when force is appropriate in society. There are only two ways to structure relations between people. Either individuals make decisions for themselves, or someone else with legal authority (government) makes decisions for people.

Markets and all other voluntary (non-political) institutions rely on voluntary behavior, but do not impose any particular conception of the good or of appropriate interaction as long as behavior is peaceful and between consenting adults.

Although economic rationale is frequently used, eliminating trade barriers, lowering taxes and reducing the government's role in life are all profoundly moral decisions designed to allow individuals to pursue their own best conception of the good, not to impose on them a majoritarian vision through the power of government.

If one wishes to advocate government authority he/she must have a powerful argument to justify controlling another's life and liberty. It is not enough to simply not approve of their lifestyle or the choices they make. How does one justify enforcing morality, regardless of what it is, on others?

A peaceful, cooperative society will be one where civil, voluntary interactions are maximized and violence and government power are minimized.
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 Human relations, markets, and government power by Nick Weller on August 6, 2002
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