Hall: The Power of Government

Los Alamos

Government has a monopoly on force, transferred to it by the citizens. I don’t seek revenge on a murderer, I rely on government to do it in my stead. I don’t incarcerate those who break laws to harm me, I rely on government to do it in my stead. I don’t retrieve my stolen goods, I rely on government to do it in my stead. Government uses force to carry out the will of the people, and can potentially remove life, liberty, or property from its citizens.

This transferred force is a sacred power, and should not be used lightly.

Governmental force should only be used in situations where citizens are justified in using force to protect their natural rights – the rights John Locke enumerated as life, liberty and property – and to protect those same rights for its citizens in aggregate. This includes such things as local police, public safety, and national defense.

The recent concentration on “nuisance code enforcement” oversteps these ethical bounds. It uses the power of government to enforce arbitrary laws based on the aesthetics and whims of individual preference. Weeds above a certain height, peeling paint, and people living their lives by pursuing their hobbies in the public eye are not justification for exercising the entrusted power of force.

These nuisance ordinances do not protect any natural right. There is no right to a beautiful neighborhood or the nebulous upholding of property values by pleasing surroundings. These are not the province of government.

Numbers do not matter. Principles matter. To indulge the desires of the few, or the many, to co-opt the power of government is base and evil. Do not be a part of it.


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