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Fire in the House

I would like to expand on George Washington's masterful analogy that government is like fire, a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

We need fire in fireplaces to keep us warm and let us live in comfort where it would otherwise be impossible. The fire in a fireplace is surrounded by solid bricks and steel. A chimney carries away the toxic fumes. The only fuel the fire gets is what the people carefully and deliberately give it, one log at a time.

Libertarians believe government should be surrounded by permanent and solid constraints (such as the constitution) which severely limit its power. Special institutions should minimize the inevitable bad effects. Most of all it should only get the limited resources that the people carefully and deliberately give it.

If a fire gets out of a fireplace the house catches fire. The fire takes all your possessions as fuel and grows without limit. You and your loved ones are in ever increasing danger. Some rooms are not as bad as others but the fire will surely spread and destroy the whole house.

Our government is like a fire in our house that used to be small and well contained but has gotten out of control. All around we see our social institutions politicized and our businesses regulated to death. We see our possessions and our livelihoods taxed away to fuel a government that grows without limit. We and our loved ones are in ever increasing danger from foreign wars, drug wars, and police brutality. Some parts of society are not as bad as others but it is clear that soon the government will have its claws in everything.

Libertarians urgently call for the immediate and drastic reduction of government. We realize that there needs to be some government, like a fire in a fireplace, but our government is like a fire out of control which will surely destroy us all if it keeps on growing.