The founding fathers of The United States of America understood the universe is a machine governed by laws that can be understood by the human mind. Men who broke from all political traditions and originated a political system relying on their own intellect created America. How much government is too much? Where should society draw the line of government involvement? Is the role of the government to act as big brother? Should men pursue self-interest and let the free market determine the imbalances and corrections? Let’s now take a look at history for a moment and start in ancient Greece, around the 4th and 5th century BC. When we look at historical facts, this was a period in human history when scientific and mathematical principles had their foundation for today’s innovation. Around this time period we see not much government involvement. People were allowed to pursue their own self-interest and discover new philosophical and scientific principles to help create western civilization. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle pave the way for modern philosophy and political dialogue. Hippocrates’ scientific methods and study of the human body lay the foundation for modern medicine. Soon after this brief period we see the rise of Alexander the great and his empire, followed by the Roman Empire, benefiting from the discoveries of political and scientific principles during the 4th and 5th century BC. The fall of the Roman Empire gave rise to the dark ages in which society was thrown backwards and there were no new scientific principles discovered.
It was not until the Renaissance period when there was another age of enlightenment from Michelangelo, Galileo, and Leonardo da Vinci. During this period the government was the city-state and a free market along with credit had come of age. Soon after this period we saw the rise of Spanish, Dutch, French, and British empires.
Then came the American Revolution and the founding fathers established a government from principles based on both ancient Greece and the Renaissance period. Thomas Jefferson “Wise and frugal government as one which restrains man from injuring each other and otherwise leaves them free to their own pursuits of industry and improvement” From the constitutional convention came the new US constitution, based on majority rule in public or political affairs, with limits based on individual rights. Along with this new form of government came an economic system based on Adam Smith’s free market ideas and the invisible hand. This was the American system for much of the 19th and early 20th century.
During this period we see Thomas Edison transform electricity and Henry Ford making work more efficient with the assembly line. The Red Cross and other charity-based organizations were founded. This was a period when government was of little importance and people were allowed to pursue their own self-interest. During the late 1920’s through the 1930s we saw greater government involvement to help end a great depression, which was caused by a failure of government according to Milton Friedman. Dr. Friedman noted the Federal Reserve System did not play by the gold standard rules and contracted the money supply.
This greater government involvement hindered international finance and the flow of capital around the world. It was not until the last few decades of the 20th century in which global finance was reborn. Today we see more free trade and the expansion of new ideas around the world with the advent of the Internet. This free movement of ideas and capital hits right at the core of the principals of what the United States of America was founded on. This freedom allows Humans to have the ability to discover universal principles; apply them to change the universe.
In order to maintain what our founding fathers had for the United States and the role of government, we must not fall into the trap of a governmental program paved with good intentions. We see today the flaws of governmental programs such as social security and Medicare, all based on good intentions. The solution to this problem is to go back to the proper form of government, which is to protect our rights as citizens, from foreign invasion, and courts to resolve citizens’ differences peacefully, and not as brothers’ keeper. Getting involved with more governmental programs requires the government to do good with other people’s money. This is far from the truth!! No one manages money better than themselves. This is why voluntary consent and voluntary cooperation should be the gold standard between people, and the creed of the United States of America should be reason, individualism, and capitalism.