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The Way Things Can Be

A variety of forms of social organization and governance have arisen or been advocated throughout our history. These include monarchy, anarchy, theocracy, democracy, socialism, communism, capitalism and fascism, among others.

Ideally, the purpose of government is to protect and sustain those who would otherwise be exploited or destroyed if no such social order existed. We want to care for each other–particularly for those who have a harder time providing for themselves in a harsh world ultimately governed by force.

The challenge, when attempting to organize a group of peers, is determining who will take charge and by what justification? We referred earlier to the idea that there is “no sheriff in town.” If no one has a clear right or responsibility for governing, then who can rightly say how this social organization should take place?

Who will determine the laws? Who will punish the offenders? Who will protect the weak? Can, and should one person, or group of people rise above the rest to perform this function? Or do we think all people and their opinions, should be considered as equal?

And most importantly: Once we establish a structure strong enough to accomplish all this, how can we make sure that strength does not become corrupted such that government no longer protects equally and itself becomes an oppressor?

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