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Government & Politics

Government & Politics
March 23, 2017
The Right Direction For The FDA
Of the candidates that had been floated, Gottlieb is perhaps the least radical and has a tremendous degree of expertise in medicine, science, the pharmaceutical industry, and the relevant policy apparatus.
Government & Politics
March 22, 2017
Comment on the Dutch Election
Right parties gained, giving the right bargaining power, though it was no populist revolution such as Trump or Brexit.
Government & Politics
March 21, 2017
Preet Bharara Is Further Proof Colleges Favor The Left, Discriminate Against Conservatives
There's no doubt that the recent hiring of Preet Bharara is indicative of the liberal bias in academia today.
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Government & Politics
March 16, 2017
Dismantling America’s Destructive ‘Fourth Branch’ of Government
Every American learns in grade school of the three-part structure of the U.S. government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
Government & Politics
March 10, 2017
Finally, FINALLY, a Democrat Breaks Lockstep Unity Ranks with the Party
Give Democrats their due - they don’t deviate from the Party line. No matter how absurd the things they’re defending are, no matter how insane they look doing it, no matter how much damage they incur in doing it - they do all of it together.
Government & Politics
March 8, 2017
Unlike The Tea Party, Leftist Political Rallies Leave Mounds Of Trash
There is an adage—restated many times and by many authors—that you can tell more about a person’s character by how he treats his social “inferiors” than by how he treats those equal to or above him.
 

The Issue

Throughout the course of human history, there have primarily been two distinct, fundamentally different views of the role of government. The position that has dominated in much of the world – now and for the overwhelming majority of history – is the view people in any given place ought to entrust a select few from society to rule over the masses. These governing authorities are given the power to control economies, regulate speech, and determine the extent of personal freedoms granted to individuals – all with the understanding the authority granted to them will be used responsibly to improve the lives of all people.

The second, more-radical view holds that every person – regardless of race, religion, age, or gender – is guaranteed certain inalienable liberties that no authority has the power to reduce, deny, or destroy, and it is the duty of government to safeguard these freedoms against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

Under the first view, the success of society is dependent on a small group of people who have by birth, by privilege, or by force taken for themselves the lion’s share of power, and success is often determined based on subjectively defined, easily manipulated measures. Under the second view, each individual is treated equally under the law, is free to chart his or her own course in life, and is empowered with the liberty to pursue his or her own interests, to attain success, and to improve the lives of others without the heavy hand of a higher authority coercing the course of human events.

In his 1981 inaugural address, President Ronald Reagan, with the nation facing economic turmoil and growing international threats, denounced those who would trade their liberty for a more powerful government.

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” said Reagan. “From time to time, we have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?”

Reagan’s refutation of the expanding role of government in Americans’ lives echoes the desire of the Founding Fathers to establish a government that would exist to protect the liberty of every individual, rather than to seize freedom from the people in order to better control and manipulate society.

Our Stance

Government doesn’t exist only to serve the people; it exists to serve the people by protecting their liberties. When individuals are empowered to act with one another freely, innovation, economic growth, and virtually every other factor affecting people’s quality of life improves.

One of the greatest threats to personal liberty and destructive government overreach is the centralization of government’s power. Local and state governments should return to their constitutionally defined role of being the primary lawmakers on all those issues not specifically granted to the national government in the U.S. Constitution. Legislators and executive agencies should also reject all those laws and regulations that do not enhance personal freedom, and term limits should be imposed so that lawmaking is a public service, not a lifelong profession.

Featured Subtopics

Boy child giving flowers to girl child
Federalism is the philosophy that certain powers taken up by the national government should be transferred back to the states, where they originally resided.
A woman running freely
Libertarianism is a political philosophy that puts the protection and advancement of individual liberty before all other values. In the conventional political debate, this means libertarians call for less government and more freedom.
Two men in suits whispering to eachother
Term limits restrict the number of terms of office and lawmaker may hold. They have been a feature of democratic systems of government since Ancient Athens and the Roman Republic.

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Videos

Title: Heartland Institute 2016 Election Wrap-Up Event
Description: Donald Trump shocked the world. He’s the next president of the United States. Our country – and our politics – may never be the same. Watch AM 560 hosts Dan Proft and Joe Walsh, Illinois Opportunity Project's Kathleen Murphy and Pat Hughes, and the Heartland Institute's Jim Lakely break down the 2016 election.

Government & Politics Experts Team

The Heartland Institute's experts on government and politics are available for legislative testimony, speaking engagements, and media interviews.

Heartland Staff Policy Experts

Benjamin Ginsberg
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute
Benjamin Ginsberg is the David Bernstein Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

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