William of Ockham, a Franciscan Friar who lived in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, posited a procedure for choosing between different hypotheses or various problem solutions by always choosing the one that required the least assumptions. This principle, that peeling away assumptions increases the likelihood of our conclusions being correct, is popularly known as Ockham's razor.
Assumptions are a great impediment to rational thinking. In the design problem given above, the debilitating assumption was that all tables have four legs. Once you eliminate that assumption, the Euclidian principle that three points describe a plane solves the problem for you.
So, let's apply Ockham's razor to the question of what the proper role of government should be. The current position of our government is that it knows better than you what is good for you and that the government needs to be involved in the solution of all of your problems for your own good. That position assumes that the government is not only omniscient, but beneficent.
Is the government omniscient? It's response to such current crises as ISIS, its tragic mishandling of the economy, and its ludicrous attempt to take control of the US medical industry would seem to indicate that, far from being all-knowing, our government has trouble finding its behind with both hands. We can scratch the omniscience assumption.
Is the government beneficent? The results of some of its current actions have been 3,700 dead Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq, a reduction in family income of 12% since 2000, a reduction in American life expectancy to 51st in the world (behind Cuba and Puerto Rico), and the elevation of the DC Metro Area to the richest city in the United States. Not only does the government not know what it's doing, the actions it does undertake are obviously designed to augment its own power and wealth – at our expense. That's a definition of beneficence only if you redefine beneficence to mean self-aggrandizement.
If we continue to apply Ockham's razor and peel away assumptions such as government omnipotence (the Bill of Rights, particularly the Second Article, trumps government power), the "democracy is good" assumption (America is a Constitutional republic, not a rag-tag democracy), and the "You can't fight City Hall" assumption, the government is exposed as an opportunistic, self-absorbed entity with only one interest: "What's in it for me?"
The "What's in it for me?" attitude is not, however, an aberration peculiar to politicians. It is a survival mechanism evolved by animals billions of years before mankind appeared on this planet. And it has been burned into our DNA by billions of years of success as a survival mechanism.
Once Ockham's razor has pared away the assumption that lying, cheating, and stealing are anomalies confined to government, we will come to the realization that government is nothing more than a cover to conceal the natural avarice, duplicity, and mendacity endemic to all mankind.
And we would be well advised to avoid it like the plague.
As an old West Texas rancher once told me, "Governments are like rattlesnakes. There ain't no such thing as a good one. It's just that some are worse than others."