Government's proper sphere

Reader comment on: Mexico Gas Privatization

Submitted by Harry Binswanger (United States), Jul 14, 2017 23:15

"... conversely are there other tasks that government employees do better and should be reserved to them?"

Who does a job better isn't the real question. The real question is: are there tasks whose nature is such that government and only government must perform them?

And the answer is: yes. Government is the entity that is granted a legal monopoly on the use of physical force in a given geographical area. That force must not be wielded by private individuals (aside from emergencies when there's no police around). It is necessary and proper that the police and the military use force; it is anarchy, vigilantism, or civil war if private individuals or groups start "taking the law into their own hands."

We delegate to government our right of self-defense; otherwise social existence wouldn't be possible. "A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control—i.e., under objectively defined laws." (Ayn Rand, "The Nature of Government" quoted at

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The Future of Capitalism replies:

It seems to me there are some things that private security guards do better, or at least cheaper, than police. Armed guards of bank-cash trucks, for example. How would you distinguish between voluntary, private self-defense/security and government?

Other reader comments on this item

Title By Date
Privatization and the Public Sector [54 words]Michael GreenbergJul 15, 2017 06:51
⇒ Government's proper sphere
[w/response] [164 words]
Harry BinswangerJul 14, 2017 23:15
Government has to be in charge of private force [119 words]Harry BinswangerJul 18, 2017 09:27

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