The Role of Government in Socialism

Published by at 2:19 pm under Governance

From: Charles Conn To: M.E. Date: Friday, March 14, 2003 1:25 PM Subject: Re: WHAT IS THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN SOCIALISM on 3/13/03 1:15 PM, M.E. wrote:

I need this information for my school paper

Please help ASAP

thank you

Dear M.E.,

My ideas on governance are expressed in detail in my book “Personalism V. Socialism”. It can purchased either by downloading an electronic version, or by purchasing a hard copy, from Authorhouse

‘Way back at the dawn of time, when people began living together in groups in caves, governments were invented to do the things that couldn’t be done as well or at all by individuals and/or families. The original and basic idea of government was that the people in positions of authority were supposed to serve, support and obey the wishes of the people of the community who chose and paid them. Personal authority was ceded by individuals and families to “governments” in the expectation that those “governments” would better serve the personal interests of those individuals and families.

Through the ages, all governments have had three major functions – legislative, judicial and bureaucratic. In the republican model, these three functions are supposed to be totally independent of each other in order “to protect the freedom of the people”. In the parliamentary model, the three functions are supposed to be accountable to the people through their elected parliament which is supposed to control the judiciary and the bureaucracy. We still have a way to go, but, in my opinion the parliamentary model is closer to the ideal.

The three functions of government are performed by the INSTITUTIONS of a state. The legislature passes the laws that are to govern the behaviour of the people in the state, the judiciary considers whether or not there has been a breach of the law(s) and prescribes a penalty if it judges there has been, and the many branches of the bureaucracy contain the employees who have been hired to execute the directions and judgments of the other two institutions of the state and include the armed forces, police, inspectors, regulators, etc.

Whoever controls the institutions of a state controls the lives of the people in that state.

It is axiomatic that a FREE people should be able to control what their governments do, and, should be able to control the persons in the positions of authority in their governments. The word “democracy” comes from two Greek words – “demos” meaning “people” and “kratia” meaning “power” or “control”. Thus, Lincoln should have talked about “government CONTROLLED by the people”, not “government by the people”. Sadly, with the possible exception of early republican Rome and current-day Switzerland, humanity has never enjoyed democracy. Historically, control of all states’ institutions has been exercised by elites (aristo), the rich (pluto), priests (theo), civil servants (bureau), and single persons (auto).

“Socialism” is a philosophy, a principle, a point of view. It holds that the individual has no value – that only the group or community or state matters. The true dictionary definition is “The principle that individual interests should be completely subordinated to the interests of the community”. Trouble is, whoever controls the institutions of the group or community or state gets to define those “interests of the community”! And if it’s not the people as a whole, it’s a minority.p

The socialist principle has provided the philosophical support for every one of the bloody dictatorships that slaughtered hundreds of millions of people in the 20th century, and are still at it.

“Personalism” is the alternate philosophy, principle, point of view. It holds that since reason resides in the individual, the person is the most important element in human affairs. The true dictionary definition is “Any philosophical system based on the assumption that the human person is the fundamental value”.

A personalist world view begets democracy. A socialist world view begets dictatorship.

The short answer to your question is that socialists think the role of government is to rule and control the people. Personalists think the role of government is to serve and support the people.

Hope this helps.