When individuals encounter and relate with one another, they basically seek their personal good through the pursuit of their common good. When they want to ascertain, preserve and enhance their common good, they put up a government. To assure that this does what they envision and expect. They dutifully pay all government officials with their taxes from birth to death.
The individuals were first before the formation of a community. The communities were first before the birth of a nation. The government is last after the coming of individuals, after their groupings into communities, after their building of their own country.
That is why the government is for the people and not the other way around. It is the servant of the people, not their master. It is bound to serve the common good of the people, not its selfish interests. It must remember that governments come and go, but the people remain.
A government cannot afford to forget the fundamental truth that it is for the people, and not act as if the people are for the government. In effect, the moment a government becomes for itself, then this eventually becomes an option to get rid of itself. This truth is non-debatable. This fact is a historical constant.
In this country, when certain persons run for executive offices, they loudly and proudly profess their pro-people stand. But after they win the election, a good number of them gradually become pro-self. And this precisely appears to be the reality now obtaining in the country—especially in conjunction with the present administration.
The most common and distinct proof that a government is preoccupied with itself and oblivious of the common good is when it starts disregarding the laws, begin violating human rights and doing away with dissenters. When this happens, then that government has already initiated its own undoing. It is already on its way out.
This is the paradox: use it rightly and it becomes more. Use it badly and there is eventually none.
5 June 2006