EZRA TAFT BENSON THE PROPER ROLE OF GOVERNMENT PDF

Proper Role of Government "There are certain basic principles regarding the proper role of government. If principles are correct, then they can be applied to any specific proposal with confidence The true statesman values principle above popularity, and works to create popularity for those political principles which are wise and just. They are applicable and reliable determinants whether the situations with which we deal are simple or complicated. There is always a right and wrong to every question which requires our solution. 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.

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Photo via screenshot. Benson served in this capacity until January 20, He gave the following speech on a number of occasions. A video version of it is available at the end. Editorial Note: There are three primary influences that ultimately led to the creation of The Minuteman.

I first came across the speech about 25 years ago. The principles contained in it are worth revisiting. Our nation — including North Dakota — is in desperate need of them. I highly recommend the read or actually watching the video version at the end. Men in the public spotlight constantly are asked to express an opinion on a myriad of government proposals and projects. All too often, answers to these questions seem to be based, not upon any solid principle, but upon the popularity of the specific government program in question.

Seldom are men willing to oppose a popular program if they, themselves, wish to be popular — especially if they seek public office. Government Should Be Based Upon Sound Principles Such an approach to vital political questions of the day can only lead to publications of the day can only lead to public confusion and legislative chaos.

Decisions of this nature should be based upon and measured against certain basic principles regarding the proper role of government. If principles are correct, then they can be applied to any specific proposal with confidence. It seems to me we could relieve ourselves of most of the bewilderment which so unsettles and distracts us by subjecting each situation to the simple test of right and wrong. Right and wrong as moral principles do not change. They are applicable and reliable determinants whether the situations with which we deal are simple or complicated.

There is always a right and wrong to every question which requires our solution. The Correct Role Of Government I should like to outline in clear, concise, and straight-forward terms the political principles to which I subscribe. These are the guidelines which determine, now and in the future, my attitudes and actions toward all domestic proposals and projects and projects of government.

These are the principles which, in my opinion, proclaim the proper role of government in the domestic affairs of the nation.

But, what are those rights? And what is their source? Until these questions are answered there is little likelihood that we can correctly determine how government can best secure them. That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? There are only two possible sources. Rights are either God-given as part of the Divine Plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan.

Reason, necessity, tradition and religious convictions all lead me to accept the divine origin of these rights. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government. I, for one, shall never accept that premise. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.

But I am opposed to the doctrine of separation of church and state as currently interpreted to divorce government from any formal recognition of God.

The current trend strikes a potentially fatal blow at the concept of the divine origin of our rights, and unlocks the door for an easy entry of future tyranny. If Americans should ever come to believe that their rights and freedoms are instituted among men by politicians and bureaucrats, then they will no longer carry the proud inheritance of their forefathers, but will grovel before their masters seeking favors and dispensations — a throwback to the Feudal System of the Dark Ages.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Man is superior to government and should remain master over it, not the other way around. Even the non-believer can appreciate the logic of this relationship. The Source Of Governmental Power Leaving aside, for a moment, the question of the divine origin of rights, it is obvious that a government is nothing more or less than a relatively small group of citizens who have been hired, in a sense, by the rest of us to perform certain functions and discharge certain responsibilities which have been authorized.

It stands to reason that the government itself has no innate power or privilege to do anything. Its only source of authority and power is from the people who have created it. Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess. So, the question boils down to this. What powers properly belong to each and every person in the absence of and prior to the establishment of any organized governmental form?

A hypothetical question? Yes, indeed! But, it is a question which is vital to an understanding of the principles which underlie the proper function of government.

If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two.

For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but and extension of our faculties? At this precise moment, government is born.

The individual citizens delegate to the sheriff their unquestionable right to protect themselves. The sheriff now does for them only what they had a right to do for themselves — nothing more.

Thus the principle of collective right -its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. But now we come to the moment of truth. Obviously not! If his neighbor wishes to give it or lend it, that is another question.

They cannot delegate a power they themselves do not have. By deriving its just powers from the governed, government becomes primarily a mechanism for defense against bodily harm, theft and involuntary servitude. It cannot claim the power to redistribute the wealth or force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will. Government is created by man. No man possesses such power to delegate.

The creature cannot exceed the creator. In general terms, therefore, the proper role of government includes such defensive activities, as maintaining national military and local police forces for protection against loss of life, loss of property, and loss of liberty at the hands of either foreign despots or domestic criminals.

The Powers Of A Proper Government It also includes those powers necessarily incidental to the protective functions such as: 1 The maintenance of courts where those charged with crimes may be tried and where disputes between citizens may be impartially settled. Since my conscience will never permit me to physically punish my fellow man unless he has done something evil, or unless he has failed to do something which I have a moral right to require of him to do, I will never knowingly authorize my agent, the government to do this on my behalf.

I realize that when I give my consent to the adoption of a law, I specifically instruct the police — the government — to take either the life, liberty, or property of anyone who disobeys that law. Furthermore, I tell them that if anyone resists the enforcement of the law, they are to use any means necessary — yes, even putting the lawbreaker to death or putting him in jail — to overcome such resistance. These are extreme measures but unless laws are enforced, anarchy results.

For in all the states of created beings, capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom. But a liberty to dispose and order freely as he lists his person, actions, possessions, and his whole property within the allowance of those laws under which he is, and therein not to be subject to the arbitrary will of another, but freely follow his own. We should fully recognize that government is no plaything. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master!

I regard this inspired document as a solemn agreement between the citizens of this nation which every officer of government is under a sacred duty to obey. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.

First, the community or city. If the city cannot handle it, then the county. Next, the state; and only if no smaller unit can possible do the job should the federal government be considered. This is merely the application to the field of politics of that wise and time-tested principle of never asking a larger group to do that which can be done by a smaller group.

And so far as government is concerned the smaller the unit and the closer it is to the people, the easier it is to guide it, to keep it solvent and to keep our freedom. Let the national government be entrusted with the defense of the nation, and its foreign and federal relations; the State governments with the civil rights, law, police, and administration of what concerns the State generally; the counties with the local concerns of the counties, and each ward direct the interests within itself.

What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and powers into one body. The Federal Government did not create the states. Things The Government Should Not Do A category of government activity which, today, not only requires the closest scrutiny, but which also poses a grave danger to our continued freedom, is the activity NOT within the proper sphere of government.

No one has the authority to grant such powers, as welfare programs, schemes for re-distributing the wealth, and activities which coerce people into acting in accordance with a prescribed code of social planning. There is one simple test. Do I as an individual have a right to use force upon my neighbor to accomplish this goal? If I do have such a right, then I may delegate that power to my government to exercise on my behalf. If I do not have that right as an individual, then I cannot delegate it to government, and I cannot ask my government to perform the act for me.

To be sure, there are times when this principle of the proper role of government is most annoying and inconvenient. But if we permit government to manufacture its own authority out of thin air, and to create self-proclaimed powers not delegated to it by the people, then the creature exceeds the creator and becomes master.

Beyond that point, where shall the line be drawn? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong.

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The Proper Role of Government Study Guide

Shelves: politics This book is a very short, powerful essay on exactly what you expect--the proper role of government. The author shows very clearly the fundamentals of government and compares the good--the proper roles of government--with the bad--the improper roles that have entrenched themselves in modern America. My favorite bit is his test for government programs that all citizens would do well This book is a very short, powerful essay on exactly what you expect--the proper role of government. My favorite bit is his test for government programs that all citizens would do well to implement before supporting any government action or law: Ask yourself whether or not you would have the authority as an individual to forcibly take life, liberty or property away from one who breaks the proposed law.

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Ezra Taft Benson: The Proper Role of Government

Photo via screenshot. Benson served in this capacity until January 20, He gave the following speech on a number of occasions. A video version of it is available at the end.

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The Proper Role of Government—Ezra Taft Benson

It was published in , and covers the subjects the title suggests. Government should be based on sound principles. 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.

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The Proper Role of Government

I am humbly grateful to God for the blessings we all enjoy as citizens of these great United States of America. I am grateful for our Founding Fathers who were raised up with the courage to give their lives, with the unselfishness to give their fortunes, and the vision to pledge their sacred honor in order to establish a new kind of government of their own choosing where men might be free. I am additionally grateful that these Founding Fathers had the faith and humility to accept the divine inspiration so necessary in setting forth the Constitution as the foundation for their new Republic. Men are often asked to express an opinion on a myriad of government proposals and projects.

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