Government by Principle

Serious application of the Principle of Liberty would have substantial and far-reaching effects on the whole process of governance, resulting not just from the Principle itself, but also from the fact of having law and the process of governance guided by one single, crystal-clear Principle.

Governance thus becomes a process of interpretation, rather than arbitrary action promoted by hyper-active government, politicians' “bribes” to the voters, or party financial backers requiring their “pound of flesh”.

Since government becomes essentially a process of arbitration, it cannot own or operate any non-government services, welfare, infrastructural or any other kind. For if any such service should fail in, or exceed its obligations, where can the public seek redress?

First, welfare and infrastructural services should where possible be regionalized, thus promoting competition in ideas and systems of production and delivery. Services should then have their objectives clearly defined, with criteria set in place for performance measurement. Regular monitoring by government, together with bench-marking whereby each can aim for the best, will inevitably improve their productivity.

In federal-state countries such as Canada, Australia and the USA, competition between States can provide the necessary impetus, while the European Union can prove its usefulness by defining standards and measures of performance for so that competition for improvement between member states can be encouraged.

Once the non-government infrastructural and welfare services are separated-off, government can focus on its core-function, the essentially legal, adjudicational process of identifying injury in personal conduct, commerce and environmental behaviour.

Where there is injury, the law is obligated to prevent or minimize it through appropriate legislation.

Government must also establish a supra-governmental institution of quasi-constitutional status to supervise government itself, to ensure that government does its job in preventing injury, that no law is passed without the justification of a clearly definable injury, that all infrastructural and welfare services are properly supervised, and that government does its own job with the minimum cost and maximum effectiveness.

* To prevent men from injuring one another
* without further intrusion of their liberties
* and to do so productively and cost-effectively.....
   this is the Art of Good Government.

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