How Should the Liberal State be Governed?
A government is an organization that has a monopoly on violence within a given geographical area. According to liberalism, the government has only one legitimate task, this being the protection the individual’s right to life and to living in peace.
This is the clear starting point for the liberal rule of law and constitutes the elemental governing law – the Constitution. The constitution is behind every rule about what government can do, and all the guidelines are based on the principle of so-called negative freedom.
The purpose of such a clear platform is to limit the power of government and make shure that neither it nor a majority can violate the rights of the individual.
The Organization and Functions of Government
With your right to life and peaceful living as a starting point, the government is organized as follows, based on the classic principle of separation of powers:
- Courts (judiciary power)
- Legislature (legislative power)
- Administration (executive power)
The concrete tasks of the government are:
- Military (to protect against other governments)
- Police (to protect against criminals)
- Judiciary (to solve conflicts and judge criminals)
Thus, the liberal government runs the delegated defence and words as a resolver of conflict, pursuant to laws based on protecting the individual.
Form of Government and Democracy
The liberal society is a constitutional republic. This means that all the functions of the government are bound by the constitution, and that the head of the society is president and elected by the people.
The legislature and the president are elected separately by voting citizens. A majority, however, has no opportunity to amend the Constitution or introduce legislation that is contrary to it. Liberalism is for democracy with decentralized political power and decisions in elected bodies, but opposes unlimited majority rule. Individual freedom is the foundation of a free society and shall not be subject to elections or referendums.
In other words, the Constitution of the society is immutable, and thus, it would not be possible to introduce a social democracy to which all citizens must submit. It is still possible to live as a social democrat, communist, or anything else in a liberal society, as long as you do not initiate force towards others.
The Balance of Powers
The separation of powers is intended to balance the influence of each of the government’s powers, in addition to the limitations of the Constitution.
On the government level, the task of the judicial power (the supreme court) is to reject unconstitutional legislative proposals from the legislative body (parliament) and actions of the executive power (the president and his administration).
Parliament’s task is to come up with legislative proposals, approve appropriations of government funds, and monitor and criticize the actions of the administration.
The president and the administration are responsible for the tasks of the government (military, police, and judiciary), and shall appoint judges to the supreme court. The appointments must be approved by parliament, to ensure judicial independence.
- The foundation of a liberal government is to protect individual rights
- The government will be divided according to the classic concept of separation of matters with judicial, legislation, and military authority
- The concrete tasks are judiciary, police and military
- It will not do to change the Constitution with legislative proposals that run counter to individual freedom