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Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Left Requires BIG Government

If the Democrats want their large welfare state, then they must have big government. If Republicans want low taxation, they must have small government. This is another interesting iteration of the dichotomy between the liberal and conservative ideological standpoints. It is not for ideological reasons why they must have big or small government, it is for procedural reasons. Democrats cannot accomplish what they want if we have a 'small government' and Republicans cannot accomplish what we want is we have a 'big government'. 


The most obvious examples of big government, or intrusive government, are the various communist and socialist states. These are some of the most intrusive forms of government ever conceived. Even feudalism was not that intrusive. But does a modern big government mean that progress cannot be achieved? Communism and socialism are obviously forms of big government that clearly stifle progress. When the incentives for progress are taken away, progress cannot occur. Now, this begs the question of what exactly is the purpose of the government? This will depend on your worldview and is an underlying debate in the political realm today. What it comes down to is that big government and small government have different purposes. 

A small government is purposed with being the mechanism by which society comes together and solves problems that cannot be solved otherwise. Interfering with monopolies, problems with asymmetric information in the market and externalities in the free market is one example of where a small government person would say government intrusion is good. The big government is a different beast which looks to be the controlling engine behind market forces. This goes beyond doing things that are necessary and goes into taking over where people would be perfectly fine without big government. Liberals see this as good because they believe they are right about how society should work and big government is their tool to impose that on everyone else. If the people on the left know best and the people on the left control the big government, then they believe they are morally justified in imposing what is right on the people who do not know any better, conservatives.

Perhaps a thought experiment would best demonstrate the point. The biggest government would obviously be one where every person was part of the government and where the government owned everything. The smallest government, to provide contrast, would only enact such laws as were necessary. This indicates the type of world citizens in the hypothetical biggest government and hypothetical smallest government would live in. In the former, the government would permeate every facet of life almost certainly in ways in which we cannot even now imagine due to the free society in which we live. The latter might be a bit easier to imagine because in that hypothetical world the government would only intrude in our lives where it was necessary for the intrusion.

Because the left wants people to live how they want you to live rather than allowing you to make decisions for yourself, the left requires a big government to be that arm of their ideological goals to change the world until it is the world that they want it to be.