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The government can be defined as the legitimate use of force with specified geographical boundaries to control human behavior and it is usually committed to fulfill its obligation to its citizens where it requires that the citizens must surrender some freedom as part of governance. This paper seeks to define the government as well as describe various aspects of governance in America.
Purposes of government
The purpose of the government is to maintain order, to provide for public goods and lastly, to promote equality. The entire three purposes can termed in a more general term as to control (Janda, K. et al, 8).
Maintaining order has the meaning of establishing the rule of law to preserve life as well as protect the properties of people. According to the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes considered the role of preserving life as the most crucial function of the government among the three functions. Hobbes described the life without government as life in a state of nature where people live like predators as they will engage in stealing as well as killing one another for personal benefit and believed that this life will be short, nasty, brutish, poor as well as solitary and that a ruler must have unquestioned authority. Hobbes gave a name to the powerful government as Leviathan after a sea monster in the bible. A good example of this is the lawlessness that was experienced in Liberia where both preteen children and teenagers engaged government forces in a battle and plunged the country into skirmishes (Janda, K. et al, 8).
This is most controversial function of the government. The government’s role in redistributing income has resulted in a chief source of policy debate in the United States. For instance in the year two thousand and seven, the congress increased the minimum wage for the workers. The government can also decide to promote social equality through implementation of policies that do not redistribute income and this can be attested by Vermont that passed a law that allows persons of the same sex to enter into a marriage and granted them the benefits that are enjoyed by marriage between persons of opposite sex but it be noted that some countries prohibit marriage of this kind (Janda, K. et al, 11).
Providing for public goods
The government taxes its citizens thereby raising funds to spend on public goods which in turn benefit every citizen. For example the government of ancient Rome undertook the duty of building aqueducts to carry fresh water from the mountains to the city and went a mile further to built roads and it is a public good that is provided by the government since the ancient time. Other public goods provided include running railroads, operating coal mines as well as generating electric power (Janda, K. et al, 7).
Concept of freedom versus order
A concept is a generalized concept of thoughts that groups various events or qualities under a common label. The conflict between freedom and order originates from the meaning of government as the legitimate use of force to control human behavior. The ball of contention being the amount freedom a citizen has to surrender to the government forms the basis of the dilemma. The communist regimes gave their police powers to control guns, monitor the movements of citizens, arrest and imprison suspicious people and this enabled them to perform their duties well. Most governments claim to preserve individual freedom while at the same time maintaining order (Janda, K. et al, 12).
Concept freedom versus equality
Freedom and equality go together but they may clash during government enactment of policies intended to promote social equality. One of modern dilemma of politics is making decision among policies that intend to promote equality but results in compromising freedom and vice versa. For instance, the Congress enacted Equal Pay Act that compelled employers to remunerate equal payment to both men and women for equal work in 1960s and in 1970s courts gave orders of black and white children to be fairly distributed in public schools.
This can be analyzed to have infringed freedom of choice but promoted the concern for equality in education. Another inherent example where the Congress banned discrimination in employment, public services provision as well as public accommodation on the basis of physical disabilities. The clash between freedom and order is obvious as compared to the clash between freedom and equality that seems to be more subtle. When Americans are forced to choose between the two, they are expected to choose freedom over equality as compared to people in other countries and this explains the conflict in United States (Janda, K. et al, 20).
Ideology of libertarians
Libertarianism draws on liberty as its root and opposes all government action except something that is important to protect the life as well as property. The Libertarians recognizes the importance of existence of the government but they tend to believe that it should be limited and it should not either order or equality. This is shown through the libertarians’ grant for the need to establish automobile traffic laws that ensures safety of the people when they are travelling but they consider the laws requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets important. They also believe that the social programs that provide basic goods and services are outside proper scope of the government and issues like assisting the needy is a choice of an individual. They further oppose the idea of the government of owning basic industries and they oppose government’s intervention in economy and this economy is known as Laissez Faire with the meaning of let people do as they please. Libertarianism therefore treats freedom as a pure goal (Janda, K. et al, 22).
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Ideology of communitarians
It is an economic system that is based on Marxist theory and the scope of government extends up to the ownership as well as control of basic industries that produce goods and services. It allows less room for private ownership of productive capacity (Janda, K. et al, 21).
Ideology of liberals and of conservatives
Liberalism leaves people to pursue private goals and over time its meaning is turning to imply generous or some thing related to it. Liberals favor the government more as compared to conservatives and this is exhibited in instances when the issue is a government spending to provide for public goods. The liberals tend to be biased as they favor generous government for education wildlife protection, public transportation and social programs. Liberals value freedom more than they do value freedom and equality (Janda, K. et al, 23-28).
On the other hand the conservatives require smaller budgets and fewer government programs. They also support free enterprises and are against government jobs programs, business regulation and legislation of working conditions as well as wages rates (Janda, K. et al, 24). They value freedom more than they value equality (Janda, K. et al, 28)
Federal government and California state government
The California Supreme Court relying on the state constitutional (chapter six) provisions struck down legislation limiting marriage to opposite sex partners in the year two thousand and eighty. The same ruling was made in the federal government in the year two thousand and three where the highest court in Massachusetts mandated state legislature that accepted homosexual marriage as a fundamental right under state laws. The two therefore acknowledge same sex couple marriages (Janda, K. et al, 488)
The purpose of the government is to maintain order, to provide for public goods and lastly, to promote equality and this is the most controversial function of the government. Maintaining order has the meaning of establishing the rule of law to preserve life as well as protect the properties of people while providing for public goods is done by the government through raising funds to spend on public goods which in turn benefit every citizen.