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What Is the Purpose of Government?

This essay is a follow-up to a previous piece I wrote on the topic of Objectivism.

The role of government should be as small as possible–otherwise the friction of the necessary bureaucracy would just be a waste. But how small is that? Some hold that the only true function of government is to protect its citizens from the use of force through the military and the police; hard-line Objectivists sometimes advocate for the complete or near-complete elimination of government except for these duties. Yet I think this attitude is too narrow: military and police are one necessary function of government, certainly, but might there be others? To understand what government’s role should be, we must first understand why large-scale organizations and bureaucracies, including governments, exist at all.
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