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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. This explains the proper role of the government. Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , 24 pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
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Feb 14, Roslyn rated it it was amazing. I can now see more clearly why it takes a moral, educated people to be governed by our Constitution.
If people do not value truth more than convenience, and principle more than entertainment, this form of government truly is inadequate to govern them. This book helped me to see that we are far more Socialist as a nation than I had before understood.
Jul 21, Leopold Benedict rated it did not like it Shelves: nonfiction , usa , politics-international-relations. Benson expresses a classical American conservative viewpoint of government. The government has the duty to protect individuals rights, liberty and property but no right to redistribute wealth or establish welfare programs.
This relies on the premise that individuals rights are god-given and the government is created by men. Thus the government is not legitimized to infringe on the individuals rights. The problem is that he just claims that these rights are given by God.
If you don't already happe Benson expresses a classical American conservative viewpoint of government. If you don't already happen to believe that, there is nothing that Benson tries to convince you with.
This fundamental premise is set completely arbitrarily. The same way you could just claim that collective rights, social equality and economic rights are god-given and you would end up with a completely different role of government.
Actually the individual right to personal property, that Benson claims is god-given and eternal, has been developed in the enlightenment merely years ago. For most of its existence human communities have been living in sharing economies.
Individual property is a socially constructed right that was needed by economic elites at the outset of the Industrial Revolution to cement their privileges in society. You don't believe that? Okay, let's have a debate, but please don't just claim that what you happen to believe is god-given. Moreover, Benson relies in his argumentation on extensive quotes from Smith, Jefferson, Bastiat and others and he contributes very little argumentative value himself.
Often he just says "as history has proven" without elaborating any further what he means or acknowledging that there are many different readings of history. The fact that he marks competing political ideas as "cancer" that have to be cut off from the political body is off putting and reminds me of the language that totalitarian regimes use to discredit their political enemies. Overall, I don't think this is worth reading, unless you are a conservative American and you want to read something that reaffirms what you already believe.
Jul 01, Linous rated it it was amazing. Short and good description on Role of government. May 19, Darryl rated it it was amazing Shelves: politics. This book is a very short, powerful essay on exactly what you expect--the proper role of government. The author shows very clearly the fundamentals of government and compares the good--the proper roles of government--with the bad--the improper roles that have entrenched themselves in modern America.
My favorite bit is his test for government programs that all citizens would do well This book is a very short, powerful essay on exactly what you expect--the proper role of government. My favorite bit is his test for government programs that all citizens would do well to implement before supporting any government action or law: Ask yourself whether or not you would have the authority as an individual to forcibly take life, liberty or property away from one who breaks the proposed law.
Only when the answer is yes can you delegate such power to your agent, the government, to do so on your behalf. Feb 18, Kursten rated it it was amazing. This is a quick read but you will want to spend some time with it because it is so meaty. Benson's arguments are very solid as he describes the role of government and why we have them.
I especially love the examples about how taking from one group and giving to another is really legalized plunder. He got some of his ideas from Frederic Bastiat who he quotes extensively Benson is much easier to read. It makes so much sense that our leaders and the way we vote should be based on principles and n This is a quick read but you will want to spend some time with it because it is so meaty.
It makes so much sense that our leaders and the way we vote should be based on principles and not just issues. May 18, Robert rated it it was amazing. Definitely worth reading. It is short and to the point. Even if you don't agree with everything in the book it is very informative on the government and the constitution. Aug 09, April rated it it was amazing Shelves: freedom.
The most succinct treatise of our government's ills, and how to fix them! May 23, Deozaan rated it it was amazing. The edition I read was full of typographical errors that at best made it slightly difficult to read and at worst completely changed the intended meaning of a sentence. For example: "If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can h.
I, for one, shall ever accept that premise. Obviously "h. In some cases sentences ended or began halfway through, sometimes in the same sentence: "They are the result and reward of hard work and have one loaf to eat. What are those sentences trying to say? It's really a shame that Benson's message is so muddled by typographical errors because it is a message that needs to be understood. View all 4 comments. Nov 14, Brant rated it did not like it Shelves: punditry.
Starting with the dictionary-defined flaw that we should all agree on, Benson speaks of socialism as if synonymous with "feeding the poor" but fails to mention economic subsidies. By this l Starting with the dictionary-defined flaw that we should all agree on, Benson speaks of socialism as if synonymous with "feeding the poor" but fails to mention economic subsidies.
By this logic, the Soviet Union fell because it fed the poor. This is the corrupted proof he uses to claim we should not have welfare programs. He does NOT extend this to any talking points against energy subsidies, pharmaceutical subsidies, and doesn't even discuss the agricultural subsidies that occurred while he was Secretary of Agriculture. He doesn't mention that Russia used similar tactics to manipulate global oil markets, and even though those subsidies in America have cost far more money than food stamps for the working class.
Benson doesn't argue against the New Deal by pointing to any plateau in GDP, rise in unemployment, or correlating decay in "national character" - just by pointing out that it's approaching socialism. He makes no effort to demonstrate that Stalin's version of Socialism and Roosevelt's New Deals are equivalent, he simply takes the similarity for granted under the umbrella term "socialism.
He forgets the economic stagnation that occurred at the end of the 19th century when capitalism pooled America's money into the hands of the railroad and banking families, and the legislative redistribution that democrats and republicans universally agreed needed to happen for our nation to grow.
There is a reason Reagan distanced himself from these extremist views near the end of Benson's time as secretary of agriculture. Reagan believed welfare had limits - not existential flaws. Benson's religion often preaches that the forces of evil assume the appearance of good, calling for members to assume multiple perspectives, think critically, and avoid being deceived. This book fails to follow that advice. For the millions of Latter Day Saints who admire Benson's theological wisdom, it's important to note that his economic wisdom struggled to keep pace.
Perhaps the best reading one can find in this pamphlet are the Frederich Bastiat quotes, but what any 19th century French philosopher would no doubt have been quick to point out is, refusing to feed the poor has had a consequence or two for at least one aristocracy.
Mar 18, Patrick rated it it was ok Shelves: economics , religion , political-philosophy.
The Proper Role of Government
If principles are correct, then they can be applied to any specific proposal with confidence The true statesman values principle above popularity, and works to create popularity for those political principles which are wise and just. Right and wrong as moral principles do not change. They are applicable and reliable determinants whether the situations with which we deal are simple or complicated.
Men in the public spotlight constantly are asked to express an opinion on a myriad of government proposals and projects. All too often, answers to these questions seem to be based, not upon any solid principle, but upon the popularity of the specific government program in question. Seldom are men willing to oppose a popular program if they, themselves, wish to be popular - especially if they seek public office. Government Should Be Based Upon Sound Principles Such an approach to vital political questions of the day can only lead to publistions of the day can only lead to public confusion and legislative chaos. Decisions of this nature should be based upon and measured against certain basic principles regarding the proper role of government.