Overall Purpose of the United States Government

  1. Perpetually strive to ensure equal economic adequacy and political rights for every American citizen, and to preserve the nation against the perpetual force of dis-unionists.


Protective Functions of Government – responsive to predictable needs

  1. Protect American citizens from unjust laws both state and federal.
  2. Protect American citizens from harm and exploitation by other citizens and commercial constructs.
  3. Protect American citizens from threats arising outside the United States.


Proactive/Discretionary Functions of Government – in response to un-predictable needs

  1. Proactively provide services, and initiate actions, projects and economic decisions, that benefit all or most citizens in the broadest public interest on behalf of the common good.
  2. Proactively ensure that political freedom and economic adequacy are practicably assured as guaranteed rights for all citizens in the present moment.
  3. Proactively ensure that political freedom and economic adequacy are reasonably ensured in the future, for ourselves and our descendants, in response to circumstances that are ever changing and thus unforeseeable.




Source: Preamble to the Constitution in contemporary application

The Purposes of Government

Still to this day unique among the nations of the world, the foundational purposes of the government of the United States of America are seven in number and are nowhere better expressed than in the Preamble to our Constitution as follows:

We the People of the United States, in Order to

[1] form a more perfect Union,

[2] establish Justice, [3] insure domestic Tranquility,  [4] provide for the common Defence,

[5] promote the general Welfare,  and [6] secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and [7] our Posterity,

do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.

Under western civilization’s longstanding and respected concept of “ the social compact,” this Preamble clearly and self evidently embraces two paramount assumptions: 1) not only are the Purposes of Government passively responsive to predictable needs and proactively responsive relative to unforeseeable needs, 2) government is the ultimate power over the people who establish it, and no other power within that body politic so governed shall ever be permitted to have power equal to the government so established. This second assumption intrinsically embodies a third (implied) assumption that 3) government, on behalf of the people who establish it, has absolute power to create, abolish, and otherwise regulate and control the existence and actions of all organizational constructs as may be invented by citizens, such as, and not limited to, corporations and monopolies. No corporation or any other entity shall be deemed or permitted to have as much power as the government under which, like all of us, it exists, nor shall a corporation’s de facto power over individual citizens prevail over the power of government to protect them from political and economic injustice wrought by a corporation, person or foreign power.

Being thus grounded on these foundations cited in the Preamble, the Purposes of Government are, THEREFORE:

PART I:          1) Form a more perfect union. This first purpose reflects the Founders’ intent that the new federal Constitution would replace and supplant the preceding Articles of Confederation which were proven to be substantially imperfect and inadequate to the tasks of governing a multi-state confederation. The Articles had presumed and maintained states’ rights to the level of sovereign nations, in consequence of which it became quickly apparent that the Articles were unworkable in practice. The Founders’ intent then being achieved by ratification of the Constitution which united the individual states into a United States, and subsequently reaffirmed by the Civil War, this first purpose has had little further consequence in U.S. history, until now. But we remember: in the face of dis-unionists, Washington persevered to form the Union and Lincoln persevered to preserve it. Their precedents define our duty.

Now in the twenty-first century, as in 1776 and 1861, a small but metastasizing minority of citizens, once again in pursuit of narrow self interest, ideologically wedded to narrow separatist notions of sovereign statehood and holding as anathema the political concepts of “commons,” “community” and “commonwealth,” remain as atavistically unreconciled to true American federalism as they are ardent in proselytizing for their mindset of opposition to a more perfect union and in their ceaseless efforts to persuade the most unthinking poorly informed citizens to vote contrary to their own self interest. And they do. As in times past, these self serving anti-Constitutionalists do not want a more perfect union, they prefer disunion. Against this ancient centrifugal force, modern patriots inherit the obligation to preserve and pass on the founding mandate to form a  more perfect union.


PART II:   Protective Functions of Government

The next three Purposes of Government, which are passively responsive to predictable need, stress the protective functions of government by guaranteeing citizens’ security and equal protection under the law, and maintaining social order.

2) Establish justice. This phrase protects citizens from unjust laws by charging government to guarantee that both laws and punishments are fair and reasonable. It is the bread and butter of civil rights defense attorneys.

3) Insure [Ensure] domestic tranquility. This phrase protects citizens from other citizens by charging government to maintain social order and protect the weak from bullies, thieves and chaos. It is the basis for police departments, fire departments, emergency services and social workers, as well as the tradition of a National Guard.

4) Provide for the common defense. This phrase protects citizens by charging government to counteract threats that may arise from outside the United States. It is the basis for maintaining standing military forces. It speaks of defense, not offense.

Accordingly, the following are examples of Purposes of Government that unarguably are passively responsive to predictable needs. These examples by no means constitute an exhaustive list of unquestionably valid passively responsive Purposes of Government, as such list will always require flexibility responsive to the exigencies of changing times, and can never be made final or complete.


(2) Government Protecting Individuals from Laws that are Unjust, Unfair, Discriminatory  or Unreasonable

  • Establish and maintain tax-paid public courts to judge the constitutionality of laws.
  • Operate tax-paid public prisons in a fair manner not based on profit incentives.
  • Formulate regulations containing sufficient details to clarify and specify the meanings and applications of the broad, general language used in legislative language, and fund sufficient tax-paid public staff to meaningfully enforce those regulations.
  • Sue to overturn laws that discriminate or impede classes of people from voting.

(3) Government Protecting Individuals from Other Persons

  • Regulate and protect public water supplies from deliberate sabotage or incidental pollution by industries that produce large volumes of noxious or toxic waste.
  • Establish and maintain tax-paid public police forces, and protect individuals from unreasonable and unjust police actions.
  • Closely regulate and maintain strict oversight over organizational entities, such as banks, that have demonstrated a proclivity to take harmful advantage of people.
  • Establish and maintain tax-paid public auditors and examiners of banks and other financial and insurance institutions that profit by dealing with individual clients or whose business dealings can affect the national financial structure, and enforce the regulations under which they operate.
  • Establish and maintain tax-paid public health inspectors of farm food producers, of commercial food processors and distributors, and of groceries and restaurants, and enforce the pure food regulations under which they are permitted to operate.
  • Establish and maintain tax-paid public researchers, inspectors and overseers of all pharmaceutical production and products, and enforce the regulations under which they operate.
  • Establish and maintain tax-paid public guardians of the national commons, including but not limited to all public lands, national parks, wildlife, forests, minerals, waters and atmosphere, watch the corporations and other entities whose operations have impact on all of these, and enforce the regulations under which they operate.
  • Establish and maintain tax-paid public social workers providing protective services for dependent children and adults at risk of abuse, exploitation or neglect, and public defenders for indigent persons accused of a crime, and enforce the regulations under which they operate.
  • Protect every human exhibiting a difference that is or may become the object of prejudice, bigotry and discrimination specifically including – but not limited to, since prejudicial mindsets know no boundaries – age, education, ethnicity, gender whether definable or undefinable, national origin, political inclinations, race, religion, sexual preference, stupidity, tattoos, green-purple hair, nose rings and individual differences of any other nature whatsoever. This protection does not extend to knowing treason against the United States, and may be conditional in the case of actions deliberately taken and known to be contrary to and harmful to the common interests of the nation and its citizens.

(4) Government Protecting Individuals from Foreign Threats

  • Establish and maintain tax-paid military armed forces adequate to counter any threat of any nature and any size that may arise from abroad, and ensure that the armed forces are subordinated to civilian authority and to defense versus offense.
  • Establish and maintain tax-paid public national guards in every state pursuant to the Constitution’s original mandate for “a well regulated militia.”


PART III:  Proactive Functions of Government

The remaining three Purposes of Government, in decisive contrast with the first four, are proactive relative to unforeseeable need. They provide for functions where government must flexibly initiate new actions in order to promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves, in the present, and to our posterity in the future, most notably in cases where inaction by government would result in harm to U.S. citizens.

5) Promote the General Welfare. This phrase, prominently featuring the action verb “promote” and the descriptive adjective “general,” charges government to initiate actions – on behalf of all, most or many citizens in the general population at large – 1) by proactively providing public services, and proactively initiating actions and projects, directed to serving what is commonly called “the public interest” and “the common public good” with reference to the entire population inclusively; and 2) by proactively making and implementing economic decisions which will be of benefit to all, most or many citizens in the entire population inclusively. In these four simple words the Constitution directs the federal government to start things and to make things happen.

6) Secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves [“now,”] as distinguished from “liberty for our posterity” (inherently in the future). This phrase charges government to proactively ensure that political freedom and economic wellbeing are practicably assured in the present moment as guaranteed rights for all citizens.

7) Secure the blessings of liberty “for our posterity.” This future-directed phrase charges government to proactively take actions, now, designed with intent that political freedom and economic wellbeing will be reasonably assured in the future as guaranteed rights for our descendants.

Accordingly, the following are examples of Purposes of Government that unarguably are proactive relative to public needs which are changing, thus unforeseeable. They embrace 1) all aspects of citizens’ economic welfare, since those aspects inherently are highly changeable and do in fact change with great frequency, as well as 2) citizens’ political welfare which embraces the relatively unchanging principles of political liberty. Thereby our Constitution, equally as concerned with general economic welfare as with blessings of political liberty, firmly establishes that political liberty directly correlates with economic wellbeing and, axiomatically, that the political can never be assured unless the economic is also reasonably assured. These examples by no means constitute an exhaustive list of unquestionably valid proactive Purposes of Government, for which government should initiate actions and startups that make things happen, as such list will always require flexibility responsive to unforeseeable events and the exigencies of changing times, and can never be made final or complete.


(5) Government Promoting the general welfare

  • Build and maintain federal and interstate public roads and related infrastructure.
  • Establish and enforce speed limits and traffic flow rules.
  • Regulate quantities of fossil fuels consumed for transportation.
  • Drawing on commonwealth resources of the nation, serve as savior of last resort in response to natural disasters beyond the coping capacity of any single state or locale.
  • Maintain unemployment insurance to sustain unemployed workers and their families.
  • Maintain Social Security so that all may enjoy retirement free from poverty and want.
  • As steward of the peoples’ tax dollars, nationalize the ever-greedy self serving health insurance industry in all its manifestations so that the substantial financial advantages of single-payer insurance, the least costly of all possible models, shall accrue to the advantage of American taxpayers so that no person will ever again be denied medical care because of inability to pay or be bankrupted by costs of treatment.
  • Control the inflation of health care costs, driven by greed for profit to hospitals and individual physicians, to no more than the Fed-controlled national inflation rate.
  • Establish and maintain postal services, libraries, and public service facilities and services in many categories.
  • Abolish the practice of contracting out, for ideological reasoning alone, governmental services which are most appropriately provided by fulltime governmental employees, and to the extent possible reverse all such actions taken since 1980.
  • Actively promote birth control and otherwise pragmatically promote reduction of the United States population to levels sustainable in correlation with the capacity of the nation’s domestic soils and waters to produce the food required by the nation’s population with no (no) significant reliance on foreign food sources.
  • Actively and pragmatically promote redistribution of the nation’s population and jobs in optimum correlation to the locations of the nation’s farmland and food supplies.
  • Re-localize community economies across the nation, particularly emphasizing local governmental control over the generation of electricity where private for-profit decentralization promising lower consumer prices has in fact produced higher prices.
  • Actively and pragmatically promote reduction of the populations of overpopulated foreign nations insofar as these have significant bearing, direct or indirect, on the national interests of the United States around the world.
  • Ensure that the correlation between economic adequacy and political liberty are taught and understood everywhere, especially at every level in the nation’s schools.

(6) Government Ensuring that Political and Economic Liberty are Secure

  • Maintain well staffed capacity to charter, regulate and abolish corporations, and convert them to size-limited employee-owned co-ops.
  • Maintain a federal workforce fully adequate to effectively implement and maintain every Purpose of Government and the uncountable sub-functions pursuant thereto.
  • Revise the tax structure to eliminate extreme inequality of wealth.
  • Ensure that federal election safeguards are identical in every state and every place.
  • Ensure that the correlation between economic adequacy and political liberty are taught and understood everywhere, especially at every level in the nation’s schools.

(7) Government Ensuring that Future Political and Economic Liberty will be Secure for Our Children and Their Descendants

  • In every fiscal cycle, plan and budget with prudent consideration for both monetary and social projections not less than ten years hence.
  • Strictly prohibit all privatization of governmental functions that are fundamental Purposes of Government, such as but not limited to those listed here.
  • Disproportionately tax inheritance of massive unearned wealth.
  • Place all basic research under federal priorities directed to the common public good.
  • Prohibit every semblance of subordinating or contracting fundamental Purposes of Government to entities that exist to seek profit or surplus, especially those of international, mixed domestic-international, or indeterminate allegiance.
  • Encounter entangling alliances with exceeding caution, with avoidance the default.
  • Ensure that the correlation between economic adequacy and political liberty are taught and understood everywhere, especially at every level in the nation’s schools.


*          *          *

Note:  The following six paragraphs introduce The Purposes of Government as adapted for inclusion in my book Populist Corrections, where it appears as Section 95 of the Capitalist Free Market Corrections (CaFMaC) Act.

WHEREAS, with this measure it is the intent of Congress, after the fullest debate in the history of representative government, to affirm our unquenchable belief in the ultimate net goodness of humanity; of our mutual helpfulness toward one another in our common eternal quest for higher civic and spiritual ground; and our deep belief, despite all appearances, that humanity is not hopelessly selfish and greedy, without empathy.

Congress hereby acknowledges and reaffirms that the Purposes of Government are both 1) proactive, relative to unforeseeable need, and 2) passively responsive to predictable need. Congress further acknowledges  that, arising with the division into federalists and anti-federalists among those founding fathers who framed and narrowly adopted our Constitution despite their disagreements over slavery, a fundamental tension has persisted through the nation’s history to the present day between 1) federalist-minded political progressives, who seek to use the power of government to compassionately achieve, among all the people, fair economic adequacy for all, as well as our nation’s claimed equality of political liberty for all, versus 2) anti-federalist-minded “conservatives” who, desirous of conserving the status quo and distrustful of the social compact and of government which expresses it, seek to starve government of sufficient funding to carry out its legislative mandates and to hobble or eliminate governmental power to regulate in the common public interest on grounds that such regulation would inhibit their own asserted liberty to pursue unequal and unlimited personal enrichment through the several devices of economic exploitation of the nation’s natural resources and of the liberty and wealth of their fellow citizens as consumers or as, in previous times, serfs or slaves.

These two divergent and divisive mindsets, pro-federal and anti-federal pushed to extremes by extremist mindsets, have taken many troubling forms in the American story for nearly two and a half centuries, resulting again and again in trouble where there was no trouble. Their degrading of normal positive civility has raged between two extremes. One extreme was, and remains, defiantly anti-federal states-rights mindsets, notably between 1865 and 1965, which in pursuit of untrammeled personal freedom to do anything whatsoever as they damn well please has reached such selfish extremes as denying equal political and economic liberties to other citizens on a variety of racial, gender and other bigoted pretexts. The other extreme, much weakened and declining in modern America, is radically pro-federal unionist mindsets, strongest between 1880 and 1980, which, in wholly valid pursuit of economic wage fairness and worker safety, reached such selfish extremes as labor unions insisting on workers being paid though standing idle.

Ironically, these equally greedy and problematic extremes are better remembered than is the ever-present middle ground of that great majority of non-extreme, caring, cooperative Americans who, in all times, value and practice fairness. Moreover, the extremes of stark selfishness and greed remain actively with us, but they no longer balance each other. The anti-federal mindset today is resurgent and strong, and is deliberately intent on eliminating organized labor unions from American society. In this it is succeeding. Thus in the present rampantly capitalist economy when workers’ income is in long-term decline, with job security and fringe benefits also slipping away, when America’s working class employees more than ever need a strong socially-minded federal government to protect them, federalism itself is under attack from anti-federalists intent on starving the United States budget until it cannot afford to enforce the regulations that were written to protect us all.

In the present day that great middle ground of American middle class citizens too is under siege, great stress and acrimony continuing and increasing between 1) those who would eliminate most functions of government by “privatizing” them through over-lucrative contracts with private businesses allegedly but not demonstrably more efficient because driven by the profit incentive, and 2) those who would restore and expand government’s protective functions and regulatory prerogatives pursuant to protecting all people from economic exploitation and political inequality, and to solving great issues of our times such as disproportionate growth of a poor underclass and accelerating maldistributive transfer of wealth from the poor and middle classes to the extremely rich.

In certainty that such pervasive stress and acrimony, for and against federal government, self evidently have ever greatly inhibited and continue to greatly inhibit both economic adequacy and betterment as well as political equality for all United States citizens alike, Congress hereby enunciates, for the first time since ratification of our Constitution, The Purposes of Government, and this enunciation henceforth shall prevail as the law of the land. Still to this day unique among the nations of the world, the foundational purposes of the government of the United States of America are seven in number and are nowhere better expressed than in the Preamble to our Constitution as follows…


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