It is to protect rights that governments are instituted. A proper government’s only responsibility is to protect the rights of the individual, by banning the initiation of force, thus making all relations between men peaceful, i.e., free from the threat of violence and fraud.
In a political context, freedom has only one specific meaning — freedom from the initiation of force by other men. By initiation I mean those who start the use of force to achieve their ends, i.e., a bank robber. Only the initiation of force against a man can stop his mind, thus rendering it useless as a means of survival. Only by the initiation of force can a man be: prevented from speaking, or robbed of his possessions, or murdered. Only through the initiation of force can a man’s rights be violated.
The Nature of Government by Ayn Rand