Why Government is the Solution – Part 2: The importance of Self-Government
In my last article I wrote about how adding more laws, law enforcement, and prison capacity are solutions that do not address the root problem of more and more people failing to exercise self-control, or self-government. I further stated that unless our culture gets a handle on this, we will continue to see civil government increase to meet the demand created by the cultures lack of self-government. In this article I will elaborate on the principle of self-government and why it is critically important to all of us.
What is self-government?
When we hear the word government we usually only think of civil, state or political authority. However there are at least four other spheres government besides the state. There is personal or self-government, family government, church (ecclesiastical) government and business government. In this article I’m just focusing on self-government because that’s really where all human spheres of government start. After all, without people there are no families, church, state or businesses.
As with any kind of government there’s the issue of limitations based on some standard enforced by the governing authority over those within its legal jurisdiction. If any of these are missing there is no real government in effect. Self or personal government is no different in this respect. When we speak of personal self-government, we are really speaking of our authority to exercise restraint over the jurisdiction of one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires. When a person fails to govern their impulses, emotions and desires, they are no longer free since their thoughts and behavior are controlled by these things. In other words, a person who does not govern themselves is essentially a slave.
The foundation of Self-government
As I alluded to above, self-government is foundational in relation to the other spheres of human government because without people there are no families, church, state or businesses to be governed. Personal self-government is also foundational because people do not derive the authority and jurisdiction over themselves from the state, family, church or business government, but from God, the Creator of mankind. This is not a new concept. This is the same truth that the authors of the U.S. Declaration of Independence observed and correctly declared as self-evident.
The importance of self-government
The fact that self-government is foundational is precisely why it is critically important. In order for any people group to thrive, prosper and really be free, self-government must be encouraged and exercised. And even more importantly, the limitations and jurisdictions legally put in place have to be based on a truly wise and morally sound standard which apply to the least and greatest among us. Otherwise, instead of producing men and women with knowledge, wisdom, and consistently demonstrated character, it will produce a nation of slaves and the pool from which subsequent generations of leaders will come from.
The importance of self-government and the standards on which it is based cannot be overemphasized. For how well, and to what end can leaders who are slaves to their impulses, emotions and desires be expected to lead a nation just as unequipped and unable to govern themselves?