At the Nuremburg trials at the end of world war II, Herman Goehering defended the actions of the nazis. Before the nazis came to power, the government of Germany was paralyzed by gridlock. The problems of Germany could not be solved because whenever the government tried to solve a problem, opposition parties who preferred a different solution would stop the government from solving the problem. But after the nazis came to power and suppressed political freedom, opposition parties were no longer able to obstruct government polices, and the government was able to solve problems, and the government of Germany became more effective and Germany became more prosperous. Herman Goehering argued that it was neccessary for the nazis to suppress political freedom in order to implement good government policies. Herman Goehering argued that suppression of political freedom was good because the suppression of political freedom in Germany resulted in effective government and prosperity.
In the movie Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Anakin and Amydala are discussing government. Anakin says that people should work together to find solutions to problems. Amydala asks Anakin what if people cannot agree on the solution. Anakin says "Then someone should make them agree!".
Anakin and Herman Goehering both think that it is more important for the government to solve problems than for the government to respect political freedom. If the government cannot solve problems without violating political freedom, then the government should violate political freedom.
There are many problems which have more than one solution. And if there is more than one solution to a problem, some people might prefer one solution, while other people might prefer a different solution. The government is frequently unable to solve problems which have more than one solution, not because there is no will to solve the problem, not because the solution is too difficult, not because special interests do not want the problem to be solve, not because no one knows how to solve the problem; but because people cannot aggree on which solution to implement, because there is no consensus on which solution is best.
For example, there were two possible solutions to the great depression of the 1930s. Either the government had to end price supports and allow prices to fall, or else the government had to go off the gold standard and allow the price of gold to rise. Both solutions were known at the time, and both solutions were endorsed by prominent economists. But people could not agree on which solution to implement. The people who wanted to allow prices to fall would not allow the government to go off the gold standard, and the people who wanted to go off the gold standard would not allow the government to end price supports. The great depression lasted for many years because the government could not decide which solution to implement. If America had had a dictator, the dictator could have chosen a solution and executed everyone who preferred the other solution, and the great depression would have been the little recession of 1929.
For another example, consider health care in America at the end of the twentieth century and at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Some people want the government to provide health care, and other people want the free market to provide health care. The result is a messy, dysfunctional mix of private businesses and government programs. The people who want the government to provide health care call for more government regulation of health care and resist any attempt to deregulate health care. The people who want the free market to provide health care call for deregulation and resist any attempt to increase government regulation of health care. The biggest obstacle to health care reform is not corruption, special interests, lack of money, lack of ideas, lack of caring, or lack of willpower; the biggest obstacle to health care reform is lack of consensus.
The government cannot do anything unless there is a consensus. One way to achieve a consensus is for the dictator to impose a consensus by executing everyone who disagrees with the dictator. Anyone who demands any government policy is implying that there should be dictatorship, to create the consensus needed to implement the policy. Any political activist who takes any side of any issue should be suspected of wanting to create a dictatorship to implement whatever the activist is in favor of.
It is possible to create a consensus in the government, even if there is no consensus in the society, by excluding opposition parties from the government so that the opposition parties have no power to stop policies which the opposition parties oppose. This requires amplification of margins of victory, so that a politician who receives a few more votes than an opponent receives much more power. This also requires concentration of power, so that government policies are made by a small group of people, possible by a single person. For example, the constitution which Benito Mussolini wrote for Italy in 1925 gave two thirds of the votes in the legislature to the party which received more votes than any other party, no matter how few votes the party actually received. In american presidential elections, the president usually receives a larger margin of victory in the electoral college than in the popular vote; the electoral college amplifies the margin of victory. In Britain, power is concentrated in the prime minister, who can make and implement decisions without consulting the opposition parties, his own party, or even his own cabinet.
Creating a fake government consensus solves some problems but creates other problems. Minority parties which are excluded from the government may feel that the system is unjust and may resort to violence. Concentrating power in a few people or in a single person is incompatible with checks and balances. And if the winning party can ignore the desires of the losing parties, then how can minorities have any rights?
One way to avoid dictatorship is to solve problems outside of government. For example, if the government provides food to people, then there must be consensus about what kind of food the government should provide. If the vegetarians and the meat eaters cannot agree on what kind of food to provide, then the government will be unable to provide any food to anyone. But if everyone must find their own food, then no consensus is neccessary. The vegetarians can find vegetables, and the meat eaters can find meat. Since no consensus is needed, no dictatorship is needed to create the consensus. Consensus is needed to solve problems through government. Consensus is not needed to solve problems without government.
And so some libertarians think the constitution should forbid the government from solving problems, to force people to solve their own problems without help from the government. If people solve their own problems without help from the government, then there is no need for consensus, and there is no temptation to create a dictatorship to create the consensus, and political freedom will be secure. The problem with this is that many people want the government to solve problems. Many people do not want to live in a libertarian society. A libertarian society can not be created unless most people want a libertarian society. A libertarian society cannot be created without a consensus in favor of libertarianism. How can a libertarian consensus be created without a dictatorship? How can a libertarian society secure political freedom if political freedom must be suppressed to create a libertarian society? It does not make sense to destroy political freedom to save political freedom.
The solution is competitive federalism.
In competitive federalism, if there is a consensus, then the central government can act. If there is no consensus, the central government does nothing, but the competing governments may act. The people who favor one policy can implement that policy through one competing government. The people who favor a different policy can implement that policy through a different competing government. People who agree with each other can form a competing government and implement whatever policies they want, as long as the policies are not imposed on other people. Even if there is no national consensus, there may still be a local consensus.
For example, the american health care system can be reformed through competitive federalism. Since there is no national consensus, the central government should have no policy on health care, and the central government should neither encourage nor oppose any state government policies about health care. Then some state governments can provide health care. Other state governments can deregulate health care and allow the free market to provide health care. People who want the government to provide health care can move to a state where the state government provides health care. People who want the free market to provide health care can move to a state where the state government allows the free market to provide health care.
The great depression could also have been resolved through competive federalism. There was no consensus about price supports, so the central government should have abandoned price supports, and allowed state governments to establish price supports. There was no consensus about the gold standard, so the central government should have been neither on nor off the gold standard. The central government should have discontinued the dollar and allowed state governments to create their own money.