In medieval times, the illiterate, uneducated peasantry were incapable of taking part in government. Today, with near universal education and literacy, the common man is not so common. He typically earns his living with his mind, not his body, and he can access news stories through the radio, TV, and the Internet. Anything he does not understand he can look up on Google or Wikipedia. He is educated and informed, and more capable than ever of self-government.

True self-government is not beyond the capabilities of the people

But some have said, it is not the business of private man to meddle with government. A bold, false, and dishonest saying.

—Thomas Gordon. Cato’s Letters No. 38, The Right and Capacity of the People to Judge of Government, Saturday, July 22, 1721.

The Hamiltonian arrogance and contempt for the common man—which sees government as the preserve of a technocratic elite—is the root creed of all tyranny. In truth, even simple voters can understand the basics. They know it is foolish to spend more than you earn and harmful to avoid responsibility. Yet most representatives vote to steal (in the form of excessive taxation for spending purposes which fall outside the proper sphere of government), rack up unserviceable deficits and seek to deflect responsibility for their own and others’ actions at every turn.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove