What is the purpose of a government? (Magn Nyang, PhD)
By Magn Nyang (PhD)
The purpose of government is to provide a system in which individuals give portion of their freedom in order to pursue needs and wants without the fears that are inherent in a state of anarchy.
In an anarchic system, individuals must protect and provide completely for themselves, and those with greater power are able to offend those with lesser power without consequence. In a system of government, the freedom to acquire and offend at will is subjugated to the will of the governed; and, in return, the governed are better able to produce without fear of loss.
Therefore, at its most basic level, the purpose of government is to protect the people from threats, both within and out.
Government also ensures justice within the nation. Meaning, the law must be fair, unbiased, and logical, provides a basic system of defense against enemies of the state, and provides education, infrastructure, and health facilities. The most fundamental of human needs which includes education, food, health facilities are satisfied through the policy of governance. Government provides infrastructure so that these needs are met.
Some naïve Ethiopians are foolishly praising the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) for providing education, infrastructure, and health facilities. The EPRDF is expected to provide all these services to Ethiopians. In fact, EPRDF is required to provide more services than it has provided thus far. I, personally, do not see the logic of praising a government when it is minimally doing only what it is supposed to do. Instead of congratulating a dictatorial government, we, Ethiopians, should be asking about human right issues. Where are our freedom, equality, and liberty?
In 21 years, the EPRDF not only failed to move Ethiopians toward self sufficiency, it has managed to effectively reduce Ethiopians to nothing, but recipients of foreign donations. For the past 21 years, the EPRDF did not only block us from realizing our dreams of freedom, equal rights and self-determination for all, it also subjected us to decades of subjugation and exploitation.
Over the years, I have also heard some EPRDF officials and their supporters say that “Ethiopians are not yet ripe for democracy/freedom.” They say that it will take more time to prepare them or to get them ripped.
If one accepts this assumption, democracy/freedom will never be achieved in Ethiopia; for one cannot arrive at the maturity for democracy/freedom without having already acquired it; one must be free to learn how to make use of one’s powers freely and usefully. One can achieve reason only through one’s own experiences, and one must be free to undertake them. To accept the principle that freedom is worthless for those under one’s control and that one has to sit idle to let his rulers rule forever, is an infringement on the right of God himself, who has created man to be free.
All men have rights to be free and equal, and governments are instituted among men to secure these rights. The government in Ethiopia has become illegitimate for it continues to block Ethiopians from achieving their freedom and equality. Thus, when a government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right, it is the duty of the people to abolish it and institute new government.
Dr. Magn Nyang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org