The Proper Role of Government Study Guide

The Proper Role of Government By Ezra Taft Benson

The Proper Role of Government is a treatise by Ezra Taft Benson, the Secretary of Agriculture under Eisenhower. It was published in 1968, and covers the subjects the title suggests.

Government should be based on sound principles. " Unlike the political opportunist, the true statesman values principle above popularity, and works to create popularity for those political principles which are wise and just."

Governments are for the benefit of the populace, for the good and safety of society. To this end, they should secure the free exercise of conscience, the right to own and control property, and the protection of life. All men are duty-bound to sustain the governments of their lands.

Life, liberty, and propery were not created by government - government was created by life, liberty, and property. God created life, liberty and property. On that note, separation of church and state doesn't mean you can't acknowledge God -- just that there shouldn't ever be a national religion.

Government's power is based on the people it governs. Every man has an inherent right to possess and defend his life, liberty, and property. Government's purpose is to secure those rights and arbitrate their interactions. "That the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression."

The Constitution affords the bulk of governmental rights to state and local (rather than federal) governments. The most local possible level of government should always handle a piece of business. The States created the federal government, not vice versa.

No man should afford a right to his government that he does not himself have. For example, no man can force his neighbor to pay into a welfare program; government should also not have that ability. Any such act is a violation of the fundamental rights of liberty and property.

Government cannot create wealth, and should not force its movement through society. Government's role in business is to get out of the way. The needy can and should be cared for locally, without government interference in what is a natural social process.

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