It seems to me, ideal government would be invisible to those “governed.” Imagine bringing up your children in a place where politics doesn’t matter because the government is limited the way the founders intended? Under such a system you and I would go about our lives not having to interact with government at all. No bribes, no political favor, no licenses, no taxes, very limited legal code, well, you get the picture. If we lived in that way, with only the most limited amount of government possible to provide for common defense, and standards to facilitate commerce, our interactions with government would be few and far between. Moreover the ability of a faction to seize control of government and drive their agenda down our throats would be eliminated. Prosperity would be the norm and the wealth gap would naturally contract under such a system, but then again, that is exactly why it would never be allowed, and anything like it is so hated and vilified by the elite.
Under such a system, where government is strictly limited to national defense, protecting the property rights of the people and providing standards, (not regulations), to facilitate commerce, people would have little need to engage government. Most people wouldn’t even know where the town clerk’s office was because there would be no need. But that is exactly the rub, isn’t it? If that were the case, government officials would not be able to make such large amounts of money, their ability to enrich themselves through crony capitalism, graft, bribes, and outright theft would be eliminated, if we didn’t need government permission for everything.
Every time you have to go to the town clerk’s office to get the government’s authorization to engage in some activity, the role of government is enlarged and power of government is enhanced, with a commensurate increase in the status and wealth of those in government. The cronies of government officials would have to work for their wealth instead of having it bestowed to them. Regulations create the conditions where some people, those with the right connections, can become immensely rich while those without the connections must stay in the station they were born into, regardless of their abilities and virtues.
The ability of potential despots to seize power would be eliminated. If government is limited so it is not allowed to monitor it’s citizens, pass reams of laws and regulations that empower the state over the individual, control the people with military power, seize the property of individuals, or practice arbitrary power, a would be oppressor could not oppress. There is not one case in human history where a power given to government has not been abused, no matter how much the people agreed when that power was given, that power has always been abused. That is because giving power to government is stepping out onto a slippery slope.
Without the friction that regulations, licenses, fees, taxes, and political favor create, the economy of a nation would operate at maximum efficiency. Without the elite controlling who can get ahead by rewarding their friends with favors, the ability of people to become uber rich would be lessened, and the wages of the bottom rung of the economic ladder would be increased… such that the gap would naturally become narrowed. The resulting rise in demand for labor would drive up the wages for that labor. The supply demand curve would swing to the advantage of workers, instead of management, because rapid economic expansion that such a system would encourage would keep the demand for labor high.
The power and prerogative of the elite would be limited as well. Which of course would be unacceptable to them. Those who wield power are always loathe to relinquish that power. They take, they never give, that is why the natural progression of every government, political system and republic that has ever been constituted, has been eventual tyranny. The elite convince us that if only they had a little bit more power… oh, the good they would do for us. Conversely they claim that any small taking of their power would result in calamity. Anyone trying to limit the power and role of government therefore becomes a de facto enemy of the state.
The goal of limited government is not a pipe dream, it has been achieved in the past, it is the limiting of government absent violence and revolution, that eludes humanity. People vote with their feet whenever they are allowed to. No one flees to Cuba, people flee from Cuba to the US, Canada and Europe. No one is migrating to North Korea, people risk their lives escaping that tyranny. Venezuela doesn’t have a problem with people from other South American nations rushing their border, people are trying to get out. Yet the elite in the media, government and academia fill the airwaves with propaganda that if only we could become like North Korea, Venezuela, or Cuba, life would be a utopia.
Every human being yearns to be free, prosperous and moral. That is why people vote with their feet, fleeing despotism to places that are only marginally more free. Despite that reality, anyone who seeks to limit the power of the elite are enemies of the state, and are treated harshly while those who seek to unshackle the power of government are hailed as heroes… like Che Guevara. We could achieve near universal prosperity, if only the friction to the economy was removed, by limiting the ability of government officials to decide who gets what. Limited government creates the conditions where a despot cannot amass the governmental might he or she would need to usurp power, by eradicating arbitrary power itself. Yes, limited government would be a boon to humanity, that boon would come at cost to the elite however, and as such, will be fought at every turn, but the gain by winning the battle, even engaging in it… ideal government, is well worth the effort.