Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Government is Best Which Governs Least


I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe— "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. 

18 comments:

  1. Thoreau believes that government should be there, but should not interfere with certain things. I connect this to what we are learning in AP World, and when all the colonies were leaving their original country and trying to make their own government.

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  2. Thoreau believes that the government which governs least is the best. He belives that this will be more rapidly and systematically. The time period when he wrote this was during the time when the American government were not trustable.

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  3. This again ties to the previous article (in which Thoreau condemned the government for getting in the way of people's lives), but it strikes me as kind of interesting that Thoreau is advocating a government that is perhaps a bit anarchic. While this is in line with his previous actions, I don't think I would quite agree with him, as one government's incompetence does not automatically mean all governments are incompetent as well.

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  4. Thoreau is saying that a government is at least a good thing to have but that it should not interfere with the people and their doings too often. He also thinks that this kind of government should be applied more often and more consistently. This idea of an un-interfereing government goes with his idea of non-conformity and being yourself. If the government does not interfere with the people they will have a better place to spread their ideas and share them with people.

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  5. I understand where he is coming from, but I think that I disagree. I believe in democracies, so I do think that in any system other than a democracy, governments are governing too much. I agree with him on that point, but I think that many populations should be given government support for their actions if it is necessary (welfare, healthcare etc.)

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  6. I think what he means, especially from the first sentence is that if the government has less power over the majority of people, then it is the best type of government. I disagree, if the government left it up to the people then bad bad bad things would be going on.

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  7. Thoreau is stating how the best government is one that does not govern at all. I disagree to this because our society would not operate so smoothly if not for the government. Our government may have too much control, but without it our society would be much more dangerous and chaotic. I think Thoreau's propositions are too unrealistic.

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  8. I don't completely agree with what Thoreau is stating in this writing. As some others said, there are times when the government is needed to make necessary decisions for the society, and if everything is the citizens' choice, it could impact the society in a negative way.

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  9. "That government is best which governs least". I certainly agree, however at the same time, I disagree with this statement. I truly believe that an overly protective and strict government can lead to a disoriented society, but I also believe that society without a government will be very unorganized. The job for a government is to find the perfect balance between control and freedom. A government cannot have too much or too little of these two components. The strong non-conformist ideas that Thoreau portrays may slightly be unrealistic.

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  10. I disagree with this statement. I think if government doesn't govern, things will go wrong. If principles and everybody stopped forcing us to come to school, I have a feeling there would be those that wouldn't come to school. Just like that, I think that, though there would be a certain social standard that everyone would hold themselves to, there would be those that would go out and rob people whenever just for the heck of it.

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  11. Thoreau wants there to be a day where people just govern themselves, he knows it can't happen today, but he wants some day in the future where everyone is prepared for that to happen. I don't think this is a good thing. Thoreau is on one side of the extreme wanting, no government. Kim Jong Un on the other hand, wants total control. I believe the answer lies in the middle path.

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  12. While I agree with Thoreau in saying that the government shouldn't be overly forceful, there should be a limit to how much freedom the people can have. A good balance of these two, where the government gives a good amount of freedom while still maintaining order seems like the best way to me.

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  13. I disagree with people who disagree with this statement and back up their argument saying that without government things will go awry. Thoreau clearly states that "when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have." 'When men are prepared for it' is included. I agree with this statement, because self-government and motivation is the strongest and most productive form.

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  14. After reading all the passages Thoreau wrote, I felt that he disputes the government as a system in general. He expresses the individuals' ability to "transcend" should be weighted more than the majority's voice, which is a notion not focused in the government. He dreams for an environment that allows individuals to become in the self-reliant state.

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  15. Thoreau mentions that "government is best which governs not at all". I think Thoreau's ideas on freedom is too unrealistic and it going to an extreme. I think freedom is important, but a government is also necessary. Personally, I believe in freedom too, but I am not too sure whether I agree with the type of freedom Thoreau is talking about because he just takes it too far.

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  16. Like what he said in other passages, for instance " Resign Your Office" , he does not like the way the world functioned. He says in this excerpt that "government is best which governs not at all". Governments can exist in some form or other but it should not interfere individuals that are in that community. However, if the government did not function at all, then what is the point of having a government?

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  17. Although I understand where Thoreau is coming from, I believe that he is being extremely unrealistic. Can you imagine a society without a government? There would be no prisons for criminals, no laws to control the population and no healthcare, education, etc. funded by the government. I do agree with Thoreau in the fact that a government too tyrannical and oppressive would detriment society, but I believe the democracy we have now is the right balance between having independence and being governed. If you think about it, there are people who are strictly opposed to strengthening gun control laws – is this what Thoreau would have wanted? To detriment the safety of innocent civilians in order to have “freedom”?

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