Government: A Big, Dumb, Slow Tank


We need to be mum on our personal ideas about nutrition, health care, child raising, marriage, interior design, transportation, energy, morality, and religion. The government must be thought of as a big, bloody, unwieldy tank. It can have no position save protecting its citizens from attack by its enemies. Any and all other issues must be deferred to its citizens. Its private and free citizens should have the right to make the biggest, most successful economy the world has ever seen, or the poorest most destitute. Whichever its people choose, the tank can do nothing to help. It’s a bloody tank! The government is a big, dumb, slow tank. It can only destroy. It can only force others to submit.

Tea Party and Religion

"The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man’s self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force. The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law. But a government that initiates the employment of force against men who had forced no one, the employment of armed compulsion against disarmed victims, is a nightmare infernal machine designed to annihilate morality: such a government reverses its only moral purpose and switches from the role of protector to the role of man’s deadliest enemy, from the role of policeman to the role of a criminal vested with the right to the wielding of violence against victims deprived of the right of self-defense. Such a government substitutes for morality the following rule of social conduct: you may do whatever you please to your neighbor, provided your gang is bigger than his." -- Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual

"The difference between political power and any other kind of social “power,” between a government and any private organization, is the fact that a government holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force. This distinction is so important and so seldom recognized today that I must urge you to keep it in mind. Let me repeat it: a government holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force.

"No individual or private group or private organization has the legal power to initiate the use of physical force against other individuals or groups and to compel them to act against their own voluntary choice. Only a government holds that power. The nature of governmental action is: coercive action. The nature of political power is: the power to force obedience under threat of physical injury—the threat of property expropriation, imprisonment, or death." -- Ayn Rand,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal