“Society is Prouder by Our Wants and Government by Our Wickedness”
The quotation which forms the subject of the essay implies that society is essentially good, for it comes into being to satisfy human wants. On the other hand, government is bad for it owes its origin to human wickedness. Let us first consider the nature and organization of society and government and then draw our own conclusions.
Pundits of political science have defined society as a human organization in which a number of persons group themselves together for some particular purpose. Thus, a crowd is not a society for its members have no common purpose. Man comes into this world fitted with certain instincts which are necessary for his survival. For example, he has an instinct of self-protection. As a result of these instincts, he feels certain wants. To satisfy his instinct of self-protection, he feels the wants for food and shelter. As he cannot satisfy his wants by himself, he joins others to from a group. It was in this way that primitive societies originated. As a member of a group, the individual could easily protect himself from his human and animals enemies as also from the hostile forces of nature. With the passing of time these earliest societies became more and more elaborate, till they assumed their modern complex form.
But the formation of society was not enough by itself. Wicked persons tried to harm other members of the group and interfered with the satisfaction of their wants. Some individual had, therefore, to be appointed to restrain such evil minded persons. He was the head of the group whom they all obeyed, for he was remarkable either for his age or his physical power. He not only maintained order internally, but also arranged for the protection of the group from the attack of some other similar groups. As the society evolved, the head of the group took some advisers to help and guide him in the discharge of his functions. Such were the beginnings of government.
This account of the formation of society and government makes it clear that society arose to satisfy human wants and the government originated out of human wickedness. But society has other functions, too, besides satisfying human wants. Man is a social animal and he can never be happy without the company of his fellow beings. Society is essential for his happiness. Moreover, society is a powerful restraining force. Fear of social condemnation checks him from doing evil. Public opinion thus acts as a powerful force for good. It makes man moral, good and virtuous.
The government might make originated out of human wickedness, but it is not as evil as the anarchists would have us believe. So long as all human beings are not angels, government of some form or the other is essential. We cannot do without a government.
Society itself cannot be possible without the restraining influence of the government. People can never live in peace, if there is no force to deter the evil doers and to protect them from their external enemies. Thus the government is indispensable for the peaceful life of the individual. It is folly to brand it as an unmixed evil which should not be touched even with a pair of tongs.
Besides, the modern welfare governments are immense forces contributing to the happiness of the individual. A modern government looks after the welfare of the citizens in every walk of life. It is not a mere police force protecting him from internal and external enemies but a benign friend keeping a friendly eye over his destiny. It provides him with education and then with employment. It arranges for his treatment in case of illness and for regular pensions when he is old or disabled. In short, it is ever vigilant about his welfare and assures for him a better, happier and fuller life.