In many developed democracies today, it often appears that the major political parties are abandoning extremism and aiming at some nebulous middle ground. New Labour bravely clings to its socialist name while claiming a middle ground barely distinguishable from the Tories middle ground. But while parties attempt to appeal to the perceived desire of the public for more neutral policies, old loyalties and traditions remain in the background: Right is for the Bosses, Left is for the Workers.
Throughout most of our political history government has pursued a policy of laisser-faire or minimal intervention in the affairs of society, thus allowing freedom for those with superior forces of personality, intelligence and wealth to increase their wellbeing by diminishing that of others. Insufficient government protection permits citizens to exploit one another. That is the essence of Right Wing Conservatism.
The Socialist reaction gave government, or the State, considerably greater powers designed to help the poor by reducing perceived exploitation and using increased taxation to effect a major readjustment in the balance of wealth. But excessive government creates its own form of exploitation and tends towards oppression by the State. That is the essence of Left Wing Socialism.
To put it simply, the Right permits aggression and exploitation between individuals, while the Left creates exploitation through excessive, intrusive government.
Government based on the principles of Peace and Non-Aggression would lay claim to the real centre ground, for it would neither permit, nor create aggression. The purpose of government becomes, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “to prevent men from injuring one another”.
The idea is similarly summarized by one of the leading figures in British justice, the late Lord Denning, in his book The Family Story: Each man should be free to develop his own personality to the full; the only restrictions upon this freedom should be those which are necessary to enable everyone else to do the same.
This is the Principle of Liberty: freedom limited only by the need to respect that of others.
The purpose of government is to prevent people from injuring one another, and injury can take many forms which grow in number and complexity as the world develops.
One can injure ones fellow citizens by making and selling a machine which is unsafe in use; or through incorrect labelling of a food product which results in a user consuming an additive to which he or she is strongly allergic. There are many ways in which we can injure one another, in our personal activities, in commerce and industry, in our use (or misuse) of natural resources. Government for Peace would identify and define those actions leading to the injury of others, then prevent them through appropriate laws and enforcement.
By adopting the Principle of Liberty as a guide and basis for all legislation, we can achieve:
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