Perpetually, governments have thwarted and deranged the growth, but have in no way furthered it; save by partially discharging their proper function and maintaining social order.

—Herbert Spencer. The Sins of the Legislature, 1850.

The incredible advances in medical science over the last 100 years were not brought about by universal healthcare legislation. The bounties of agriculture in the United States were not created by the activities of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Washing machines, dishwashers, computers, automobiles, flat screen televisions—none of these were invented by the government. Rather, the onward progress of mankind has been driven by the free and uncoordinated efforts of individuals pursuing profit.

Those who wish to see humanity propelled forward, who wish to see the poorest person on the planet tomorrow having at his disposal resources equivalent to the richest person of today, who wish to see the cost of education and health care driven down so they are but a fraction of the average income—in the same way that the costs of food and electronic goods have been—must embrace logic. Logic, based on the experience of the last 3,000 years, tells us that this happy future can be brought forward only by continually reducing the size of government. Disease, hunger, ignorance, war, disability: all these things will melt away like an ice cube in the desert, if only government meddling is reined in. If it is not, if it is allowed to rage out of control, as it was in the Soviet Union, or partly out of control as it currently is in the United States, then human progress will be stunted, stalled or reversed in proportion to the meddling.

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