The title sounds a little rebellious, but it is not. It is a fundamental question that should be answered and known by all people. Since governments exist in all people groups, it is assumed that they are the natural and normal functions of a society. They are, but if the reason and support for the very creation of their existence is ignored and forgotten, then they will always corrupt into tyranny of some form or another.
In the latter half of the 19th century (1850), Frederick Bastiat, a French writer offered an answer for this question. He addressed the question because Karl Marx, who had been hired by the Rothschilds, wrote his Communist Manifesto in England (1848), which makes the government the final determinant of law. Bastiat’s was a first generation child of the French Revolution whose bloodbath deposed the king of France (1789-1799) and formed a nascent government. So he answered the question in his treatise called, “The Law.”
The work was timely for the godless trend continued rapidly after him. Charles Darwin wrote his evolutionary thesis in his “Origins of Species,” (1859) which gave a natural explanation for man’s existence apart from God. In this same period of time, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1885) declared God dead, Sigmund Freud gave the world the new “religion” of psychology (1899). And American humanist, John Dewey (inventor of the Dewey Decimal System in libraries), had signed the Humanist Manifesto (1933), which declared that men did not need God and were self sufficient.
In his book, “The Law,” Bastiat uses an elegant simplicity, he outlines the basic principles of the right of governments. He begins with the individuals and concludes with the society.
- Everyone has the right to live, for life is granted to us by God.
- Since we have the right to live, we also have the right to labor for those things necessary for life: food, clothing, and shelter.
- Since the individual right to live comes from God, no other individual has the right to take our lives.
- Nor do other individuals have the right to deprive an individual the right of the personal property labored for survival.
- Therefore the right of self defense is a God given right of self preservation.
- Of course, if they do not have the right to take an individual’s life and property, neither do we as individuals have the right to take the life and property of another.
- If this right exists individually, then it is a logical extension that individuals have the right to band together collectively to form governments that protect the right to life collectively.
- However, just as an individual does not have the right to deprive life and property of another, neither do governments have the right to deprive the right of life and property from the individual or another collective government.
With these basic principles laid out the rest of Bastiat’s book argues against socialism and communism which he calls, “legal plunder,” in their transfer of wealth. The justification for the government’s creation, then, according to Bastiat, is for the common defense of the people governed, not for wealth transference. Bastiat does not say that governments exist because God creates government. Rather God gave the right to life to people, and people have the right to create governments to preserve that life.
As Christians we naively assume that governments are created by God. This is only partly correct as I will show the reader. Let’s start at the beginning of the scriptural support of governments. The first government ordained by God is the family, which began with Adam and Eve. Families are the nucleus of all societies. The patriarchal society was governed by the elders of the families who had joined together to create a community.