What is the purpose of government under capitalism?

If a society left the retaliatory use of force in the hands of individual citizens, it would degenerate into mob rule, lynch law and an endless series of bloody private feuds or vendettas. If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules. This is the task of a government—of a proper government—its basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government. A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective controli.e., under objectively defined laws.” — AYN RAND, “The Nature of Government

Under capitalism, a proper government’s fundamental responsibility is to protect the rights of the individual, by banning the initiation of physical force, thus making all relations between men voluntary, i.e., free from the threat of violence and fraud.

Man’s state in nature, where every man is allowed complete discretion in the retaliatory use of force, according to the laws of the jungle, is anarchy — perpetual civil war and gang warfare. If there were no legal agency to carry out such a task, each man would be forced to carry out retaliation at his discretion.

What is the purpose of government under capitalism?

Under capitalism, a proper government’s fundamental responsibility is to protect the rights of the individual, by banning the initiation of physical force, thus making all relations between men voluntary, i.e., free from the threat of violence and fraud.

Man’s state in nature, where every man is allowed complete discretion in the retaliatory use of force, according to the laws of the jungle, is anarchy — perpetual civil war and gang warfare. If there were no legal agency to carry out such a task, each man would be forced to carry out retaliation at his discretion.

Can citizens delegate the right to initiate force to the government?

Citizens may not delegate the right to initiate force to the government, as they do not possess the right to start force. As Ayn Rand has commented, “there is no such thing as the right to enslave.” As no individual in his private capacity, as a citizen, may initiate force against others, neither may he in his public capacity as a state official start force either.

Doesn’t the cause of the “public good” justify the initiation of force?

No end (even for the “poor”) can ever justify an illegitimate means (the initiation of force). No one may initiate force for any reason whatsoever, even if that alleged purpose is for the “public good.” For is not the individual whose rights are being violated for the “public good” a member of the “public” also? Is not his good also the good of the public, of which he is a member? Such violations are only in the irrational interests of a part of the public but are not in the interests of the entire public as a whole.

How does government carry out its’ duties in practice?

A proper government consists of three things: an army — to protect against foreign invaders, a police force — to protect against domestic criminals, and a court system — to settle disputes that arise, and to punish criminals according to objectively predefined laws.