The Basics of Government
Government is the group of people in a society that controls some or all of its territory, laws, and policies. Its responsibilities include protecting citizens and the country from external threats, providing basic needs like health care, food, and education, and ensuring the public safety.
There are many different types of governments, but they all share some common features. For example, most governments have a lawmaking branch, which is where politicians create and update rules for the entire society. A legislature usually has a set of principles and philosophy to guide its actions, called a constitution. The government also has some way of collecting money to fund its operations. This is normally done through taxation.
Some governments have an executive branch that performs management functions for the country. This includes executing the policies passed by the legislature, and it may have additional duties such as setting foreign policy. In most countries, the legislative branch and executive branch are divided into two parts: a House of Representatives and a Senate.
A government can also have a supreme court, which judges cases brought to it by the courts of lower levels. A Supreme Court may have a single justice or many justices. It is not uncommon for a justice to serve as chief justice or vice president, and in some instances, the same person holds both positions.
The most fundamental job of any government is to protect the nation from outside attack. It must be able to provide funding to build an effective police force, a judicial system that serves all citizens fairly, and a well-trained defense force. Governments must also focus on the economy and ensure that their citizens are provided with the basics of life, such as clean water, health care, and transportation infrastructure.
Most governments have some level of social programs to help take care of the poor, sick, and disabled. These programs are controversial, and some critics argue that they destroy the individual’s sense of responsibility for his own welfare and that the government should only focus on protecting the nation from outside attack.
One of the most important things that any government must do is protect what philosopher David Hume called “public goods.” A public good is something that is available to everyone free of charge but that has a limited supply, such as fish in the sea or clean drinking water. Governments must be able to regulate how these goods are consumed so that one person does not consume them all and leave others with nothing. The government must also protect natural resources and environmental areas from pollution by providing the necessary funds to cleanup these resources. This is the protective role that most people believe a government should play. Governments that step over this line into an aggressive or redistributive role tend to be totalitarian in nature.