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P questionThe question you should ask any political candidate seeking your vote, in order to determine whether they’re qualified is:

“What is the purpose of government?”

17 years ago, I would’ve answered that question by saying it’s to maximize the greater good. However, that allows for harm to be done to some, though I had it in mind that it would be minimized to the greatest extent possible.

Today, I answer that question a very different way, and won’t vote for a candidate who would answer it any other way than:

“To protect individual rights.”

If he/she is sincere in his response, you can feel more comfortable that when given power, he is less likely to infringe upon your individual rights with the justification that it is serving the greater good.

As a corollary, the only legitimate infringement upon an individual right is in the course of necessarily protecting other individual rights. An example is when your right to freedom of peaceful association is infringed upon (by detaining you) if you violate the individual rights of others.

A local example I have spoken out on is a Canadian federal agency’s award of $5.8 million for video game research at the University of Waterloo.

The justification has been given that it serves the greater good, but that is small comfort to the security guard I know who was laid off from his $25+ an hour manufacturing job in 2006 and is now only making $11 an hour, or to the person I know who was laid off from a company after they went bankrupt and still owe him over $2000 in pay for services rendered.

While I appreciate the same good intentions of those who justify government action in the interests of what they regard as the greater good, just as I used to, it is indeed a slippery slope, and can lead to a vicious tyranny of the majority, with 50%+1 subjugating the “minority.”

It is so commonplace these days for government to forcibly take the earnings of some in order to redistribute it for the overwhelming benefit of others, but what specifically led me to speak out on this redistribution is the outrageous nature of forcibly taking the hard-earned wages of people I know who can scarcely afford it in order to pay for something as comparatively inconsequential as video game research, which can easily be voluntarily funded solely by the lucrative private sector video game industry and individual private donations.

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