What is Government? – a nuts and bolts answer (#2 in a series)

Government is a human Institution, it is made up of the many decision-making managers of an large organization and the government employees directed to deliver those services and government goods to citizens and non-citizens alike.  Government describes both the decision-making structures and operations and the visibly elected body’s of government, legislation (write the Law), executive (enforce the law) and judicial (determine what the law means).

“Government” is also an abstraction, a mental invention which allows us all to act as if we know what it means when someone uses the word “government” in conversation.  The word has extremely broad meanings and use so we would like to be a little more precise.

As an abstraction (a mental fiction) the term “Government” can be used to describe a police department, a court room, a jail, a drivers license clerk, a school janitor, the President of the local School Board or the President of the United States.  All Corporations and States must govern.

Government means many things at once, perhaps something entirely different to every different listener so it will help our discussion to narrow some things down so we can converse intelligently about governments around the globe.

A government governs, it functions as a last-resort decider of disputes in its territory and among its own people or with other nations or people, and it enjoys the right to use coercion under circumstances usually determined by a State Charter or Constitution.

In the West, Civilians believe their Government controls the military and police power of the State.  Western Government rules people who have come to be conditioned by “the rule of law.”  The pragmatic and primary meaning of that term indicates a population who has for the most part come to expect each other to obey the law and believes government and corporations also for the most part obey the law.

The terrible failures of government in Northern Ireland and in Kosovo are examples of society’s who have had and lost the culturally stabilizing influence of the rule of law.  Decades of bloodshed and the senseless killing of innocent people later, the rule of law is under reconstruction as local confidence in government’s willingness to obey it’s own laws is slowly established.

When Government and the color of law is used as a weapon against the enemies of cultural minorities running government, the harm done is so great as to warrant a unified global response as occurred in Kosovo.

A properly functioning government operates as a delivery system of services and government goods and tends to be neutrally delivered to all parties as appropriate if properly managed.

Weak or absent management tends to result in various inside cultural minorities competing to gain control of the organization which can lead to incompetent management and a deterioration in the delivery of goods and services.

In extreme cases the inner-cultural overthrow of management and mission could ultimately lead to formally dissolving the organizational through bankruptcy or sale to another company, or to the violent or non-violent overthrowing of gangster government as the case may be.

So we can see government is a State apparatus that handles the day-to-day business of governing people and territory.

The leaders or directors of that government may come and go through general election or may be hereditary; leadership may pass on through violent overthrow or leadership succession may be secret and rule through the threat of immediate and deadly violence quieting dissenters with a promised threat against their entire family for speaking out; but leadership has a separate interest from the governing operations they lead.

The Nation State is made up of the people, the government organizations and the leadership that constitutes by international diplomatic agreement a Nation State.  Every leadership group does not gain international recognition and diplomatic relations and some territories with the name of a nation have no legitimate and recognized governments.

More soon, so stay tuned for the next post on “What is Government, (to be announced, wait for it…) (#3 in a series)…rgj

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