Much has been said by a great many people about the various possible forms of government. I have read or otherwise been “subjected to” a variety of presentations on the matter at hand.
It’s also true that I maintain active “conversations with” others where possible on this consideration.
All of this “put together,” has caused me to come to somewhat of a revelation where government is concerned. That being that, for all intents and purposes, there are only two actual forms of government where societies exist and one of those is transitional.
I can argue for a third under some very specific circumstances, but that third is truly a “subcomponent of” one of the other two.
What are these forms of government? They are oligarchy and anarchy—anarchy being transitional.
The third for which I can argue, is something along the lines of monarchy (you can call it tribalism if you choose). The problem with the “third form” is that, except in very small groups, it “doesn’t last for long. Put another way, monarchy or tribalism is also typically transitional in nature. The reason? For the most part, monarchy turns into a system of leadership that so greatly resembles oligarchy, that it may as well be considered such by the time things are all said and done.
If one consider that all oligarchical governments “take control of” the “means of production,” to some greater or lesser degree, it becomes obvious that all governments, excluding anarchy (because there is only one in anarchy, so the “populace” and the “government” control the “means of production.”), are socialist in nature, the only question being one of degree.
I have heard folks argue that certain goods and services needs must be “managed by” government, and that as such, government must control the means of production for those goods or services. I maintain that, where it may be “more efficient” (not highly likely) or in some sense “more fair” for them to do so, it is not a necessity that they do so. As such, even a very limited set of “goods and services” controlled by government, amounts to socialism in my view.
As to Communism, in its true, final and “pure” form, it amounts to anarchy. As such, it “doesn’t deserve to” be named among governmental forms.
Republicanism is pretty much always enacted in an oligarchical structure and, as such, is not a form of government in and of itself. Rather, it like some others, specifies how the oligarchy is to be structured.
At this point, you may be thinking that I’m saying something I am assuredly not. You may think I am saying, “All governments are essentially equal.” This is definitely not the case.
There are at least three factors that are a basis for differentiation, comparison and contrast, that should be considered.
The first of these is, “How did the government come into authority?
Believe it or not, this question is not as important as it initially seems. That’s not to say it’s unimportant, just that in the end, this question ceases to be of as much significance as the others here listed.
When a government comes to power though, if it comes to power “by force” as opposed to some sort of consensus, that which brings it into place may well cause a great deal of “damage” to the people it is supposed to represent.
As well, this matters because, when a government comes to power “by force,” there is a tendency for people enact and enforce “heavy handed” policies and laws on the people over which it becomes “leadership.”
In the end though, whether a regime does badly or well by its people is what largely (though obviously not entirely) matters.
Even if a group comes to power by “taking over forcibly,” it may end up being the best thing that has happened to the entity it comes to control—possibly even with hopes for a better future.
Technically, the original government of the United States of America, by way of example, came to power, “by force.” Granted, it was largely with the consent of the country at large.
The next question one probably ought to ask is, “How does the government stay in power (or decide to leave it)?”
I make the point that the U.S. had leadership that come into their positions “through force.” That being said, the earliest acts of those leaders, was to design a system wherein it can be argued they “worked themselves out of a job.”
General George Washington was rumored to have been offered the position of “king” in the U.S. He was rumored as well though, to have politely declined it.
Other leaders have come into power, and have clung to that power for dear life. Most of the time, this has proven to be a terribly bad thing.
One of the things done by early “founders” of the United States, was to argue for the idea that government should occur “by the consent of the governed,” not “by the might of the government,” and its ability to stay in power.
As such, the U.S. and other countries routinely hold “free and fair” elections, in which leaders may or may not change. Some others make a pretense of this, but in actuality, offer no such thing. The system in the U.S. is far from perfect, but it does generally accomplish the desired ends.
The last question I will ask in this post is, “To what degree does government control the liberty of the population at large?”
This is one of the two most important questions it appears to me one might ask. It actually has three “facets,” all of which must be given stringent attention. Something I have not the ability to “do justice in” around a thousand words (my self-imposed limit).
The first is, “How much control is exerted?”
It turns out that, as a rule, the less control exerted, the better! There are limitations to this, but by and large it is the case. The fewer rules and regulations can be employed, the better. I won’t get into the reasons for that here (probably something worthy of another article).
The second is, “At what level is control exerted?” One of the “lessons learned” that U.S. Founders employed, is that the lower the level, the better. Again, I haven’t a great deal of “space” to discuss why that is here, so I’ll leave this where it is.
Finally we must ask, “What kind of control is exerted?” Again, I haven’t space for details, but the “simple answer” is, “Only absolutely necessary control should be enacted and enforced.”
Well, this subject is sufficiently deep that I may have to pen subsequent articles to touch on more subjects as time goes on. For now though, I’ll “call this good” and get back to other things.
Here’s hoping your time is good, and again, thanks for taking the time to read this.