Men are born free, that since they begin with no government, they must therefore institute government by voluntary agreement, and thus government must be their agent, not their superior. Since volition is a function of the individual, the individual has the precedent right. Then even if it was presumed that government did equate roughly with the moral shorcomings of humanity, it should still be limited and subsidiary. If everyone were invariably honest, able, wise, and kind, there should be no occasion for government. Everyone would readily understand what is desirable and what is possible in given circumstances, all would concur upon the best means toward their purpose and for equitable participation in the ensuing benefits, and would act without compulsion or default. The maximum production was certainly obtained from such voluntary action arising from personal initiative. But since human beings will sometimes lie, shirk, break promises, fail to improve their faculties, act imprudently, seize by violence the goods of others, and even kill one another in anger or greed, the government might be defined as the police organization. In that case, it must be described as a necessary evil. It would have no existence as a separate entity, and no intrinsic authority; it could not be justly empowered to act excepting as individuals infringed one another’s rights, when it should enforce prescribed penalties. Generally, it would stand in the relation of a witness to contract, holding a forfeit for the parties. As such, the least practicable measure of government must be the best. Anything beyond the minimum must be oppression.
Isabel Paterson, The God of the Machine, 1943.