In Part 1, we discussed the fundamental nature of government. This essay discusses the most congruent Form of Government
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
~ Romans 3:23
The problem to be solved is, not what form of government is perfect, but which of the forms is least imperfect.
~ James Madison
When God established the earth and gave man dominion over it, he established the government of man over creation. Shortly after this however, man sinned and fundamentally altered the nature of government, and the course of history. Having declared a rebellion against God by going against an explicit command, man sowed the seed of rebellion on earth, and reaped the first fruit of the harvest in the rebellion of the earth to his own government: yielding thorns and thistles in the place of fruit (Genesis 3:18).
Since the rebellion in Eden, man has reaped a perennial harvest of failure of government, irrespective of what form it assumes. None of monarchy, stratocracy, communism, democracy, and even theocracy have as yet recreated Eden, because having allowed rebellion to bloom once, wherever thereafter, two or more are gathered, they will seed the air with the pollen of rebellion.
The observation that man is a constant, in the failure of every form of government that has been tried should not however be construed to imply that all forms of government are good. By Good, we do not refer to their usefulness in advancing a society towards its goals, for the question of the goodness of those goals immediately arises, but rather their congruence with the first principle of government enacted before the fall.
This first principle; “Let us make man in Our image, according to our likeness; let them have dominion…” (Genesis 1:26), establishes at once the dominion of man over creation, and the autonomy of one man from another. All men were given joint dominion of the earth, which implies that unless their objectives were always in perfect alignment, they could not in fact exercise that dominion without friction and ultimately fracas.
Now, if as was established in the first part of this essay series (here), government is synonymous with peace and order, then it is true that conflict is antonymous to government. And conflict, when you think about it is just misalignment of will (or dominion). One man wants to go east, another west, and both are convinced they should travel together, so each, failing to convince his counterpart, decides to coerce them. War!
This means then that any form of government that undermines the dominion (will) of the individual actually undermines the very idea of government. Monarchy, stratocracy, communism and human administered theocracy (more on theocracy in the next essay) fall easily into this category: they are at their core limiting of the exercise of individual dominion. Note that even God does not deign to usurp the will of man but allows him the full exercise of it; as He says, “if ye be willing…”
Democracy on the other hand, being by a charitable definition, the government of the people, by the people, for the people coheres most closely (albeit not entirely, for all things – including dominion or government – are created in Him and ultimately for Him (Colossians 1:17), with the fundamental ideas of government that we encounter in the Bible.
At the core of the idea of democracy is willful submission of franchise, and the proof that democracy does not by its design compromise individual will is that it comes with an unsubscribe button that can be used when you are dissatisfied with the results. Of course the subscribe/unsubscribe buttons do not work perfectly; nothing in this fallen world does, but as compromised as they sometimes are, those buttons are the proof of life that individual dominion still exists.