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Opening Arguments

Too big but not evil

Something those of us with a libertarian bent should be careful of:

If you reflect only scorn for government, it's hard to get anyone who hasn't already drunk the Kool-Aid to take your opinions on the topic seriously.

This is not to disparage the argument that government is too large, for which the case is strong. But holding government in sneering contempt is a misinformed corruption of that sentiment.

Our Founding Fathers, fondly quoted by limited-government advocates, didn't view government as evil, but as a flawed institution with some important jobs to do. They studied how government worked and they served in office, not because they viewed government with disdain, but because they knew the importance of good government.

I know that at times I've slipped into "all government is bad all the time" extremism, and that's a dangerous attitude, even when it is just a kneejerk reaction to liberals who never see anything done by government as wrong. There are certain things only government can do, and we should cheer it on when it does them. The trick is


tim zank
Thu, 01/14/2010 - 6:28pm

What changed everything was our (the country's) over reaction to the depression. After that, the government was in the business of making everyone's living for them. The progressive agenda turned the state into our parents.

Bob G.
Fri, 01/15/2010 - 12:22pm

Sounds like a proper (and succinct) assessment to me, Tim.

Perhaps all these "wards" of the gov't might be wise to remember:
"Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have ... The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases."
~Thomas Jefferson
(and Gerald Ford in 2nd address to Congtress - 1974)

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."
~Thomas Jefferson.

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
~Thomas Jefferson

And THAT is just the tip of a MUCH larger, fact-laden "iceberg".