Below is an excerpt from an article I wrote for the North Carolina Family Policy Council.
Reading the works of Augustine of Hippo, the fourth-century Christian theologian, has shaped my beliefs about the role of government. Augustine emphasized a very limited role for the state. What Augustine saw more than a thousand years ago, was that the state lacks the ability to guarantee human flourishing or cultivate individual well-being; it is neither competent nor tasked to do so. He believed the primary responsibility of government was promoting justice and punishing offenders.
Augustine thought the state can’t provide happiness; it can’t satisfy our deepest wants or desires; it can’t tell us what to believe or what kind of people we should strive to be or what the meaning of life is. Instead, the state exists to maintain order and promote justice. And the main way the state does this is by establishing and enforcing laws. More specifically, the state is responsible for making laws that make it possible for its citizens to flourish. And this is why the state has a vested interest in prohibiting things like predatory gambling.
You can read the rest here.