Why Do We Need a Government?

Nicolas Raymond/CC-BY 2.0

Society uses government to put in place laws designed to protect individuals and groups within society. Without laws, society would devolve into anarchy, with individuals seeking their own goals at the expense of others.

Why Government Exists Individuals who form a society often rely on government to protect the rights of groups and individuals within that society. Otherwise, individuals might take advantage of others, especially when it comes to their life, freedom and possessions. As such, government is established to impose and enforce laws upon the members of a society to prevent this.

Different Types of Government A variety of governments exist, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the different forms of government include the following:

  • Monarchy: At one time the most common form of government, monarchies place the power in the hands of a single individual. While early monarchies did provide stability for society as a whole, often the rights of the individual were violated by the ruling class. Most, modern-day monarchies are considered a constitutional monarchy with the ruler more of a figurehead, and the true power lies in the hands of a group of individuals, such as with the queen and the British Parliament.
  • Constitutional Government: A constitutional government uses a national constitution to provide the legal framework upon which the government’s powers resides. Governments that use a constitution to rule aren’t limited to democratic regimes, as many communist nations and other third-world nations use a constitution to enforce their laws. Whether these constitutions actually protect the rights of individual citizens is up for debate, with some constitutions being no more than a worthless piece of paper.
  • Democracy: A democracy is another such government type that uses a constitution to state the rights of individuals. Political figures in power are usually elected by the people, and there are usually multiple branches of the government to provide a series of checks and balances. In addition, many modern democracies use a multiparty system when governing in an attempt to give voice to a variety of political beliefs. The United States is an example of a democracy.
  • Dictatorship: A dictatorship is a system of government ruled by one all-powerful individual. A perfect example of a dictatorship is the country of North Korea. In North Korea, the supreme leader is all-powerful and even has the ability to order someone put to death. In countries like North Korea, few individual liberties exist, with most of the people living in the undeveloped countryside while the leaders reside in opulent wealth.
  • Confederation: Confederations are groups of states that band together for mutual protection while still maintaining their sovereignty. Power is delegated to a central government, but only enough to maintain it. States handle their own affairs, including taxation and enacting laws. The European Union is one such confederation, existing since 1957.

A World Without Government Laws are necessary to protect the rights of individuals. This means that it’s necessary to have a government in place to ensure the survival of society. While a nation could go without a government, before too long everything would devolve into anarchy, with those with the most power taking what they want from the weak and other nations moving in to seize unguarded lands to add to their own.