Thursday, February 4, 2016

Why Government should NOT be run like a Business

I think this conclusion should be a no-brainer for anyone who takes the time to think about it. What is the primary function of business? On the most basic level, the function of business is to generate profit. Profit is good and necessary for any successful business. But, profit is a motive without conscience. When profit is the guiding force, higher human motives such as patriotism, fairness, social responsibility, loyalty, honesty, generosity, and kindness become subordinate.

What is the primary function of government? The function of government is to serve the citizenry. The US Constitution articulates this purpose very eloquently: "establish Justice (fairness), ensure domestic Tranquility (peace), provide for the common defense (protection), promote the general Welfare (social responsibility), and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity (protect the rights and freedoms of current and future generations American citizens)."

Consider a hypothetical individual, modeled after business, who is motivated by personal profit to the exclusion of all other influences. This individual would be characterized as a sociopath and government would be charged with protecting the populous from him/her.

Now, consider a hypothetical individual, modeled after government, whose dominant motivators in life are to stand up for people who are being treated unfairly, to maintain social harmony, to protect those who are in danger, to share with those who are in need, and to support the freedoms and rights of all people. This person would be characterized as a hero.

Running government like a business is not just a bad idea. It is an immoral one. Government protects society by enforcing laws and regulations that restrict individual citizens and businesses from engaging in behaviors that harm others. This must be accomplished while ensuring that the liberties of each individual are protected and that there is a level playing field for the free market. 

This is not rocket science. When one’s moral compass is not compromised by base motives (greed, bigotry, selfishness, arrogance, clannishness, indifference to the suffering of others, cruelty, etc.), direction becomes clear and obvious. 

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