Skip to comments.Big government can't possibly be good government
Posted on 05/17/2013 12:09:51 PM PDT by No One Special
It's a good bet that no matter where you are on the political spectrum - liberal, conservative, libertarian or something else - you want men and women in government to be honest, humble, fair, wise, independent, responsible, incorruptible, mindful of the future and respectful of others.
But you may be holding profoundly contradictory views without realizing it. This is the bottom line: The bigger government gets, the less likely it will attract men and women who possess those traits we all say we want.
Have you noticed how mean and nasty campaigns for high office have become? Lies and distortions are common political fare these days. Why would a genuinely good person subject himself to the ugliness of it all? Increasingly, genuinely good people don't bother, so we are left all too often with dirtbags and demagogues in government. Unless you enjoy rolling in the mud with the hogs, you stay on the other side of the fence.
There are reasons for this disturbing situation, and they have to do with the nature of power. Lord Acton famously stated more than a century ago that "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." He nailed it, though I would add a corollary of my own: "Power attracts the corrupt."
If you've supported the monstrous expansion of the federal government in recent decades, or if you've got a laundry list of things you want it to do because you think it's not yet big enough, then don't blow smoke about clean and honest politics. You're part of the problem. Big government, by its very nature, is dirty and dishonest. That's the kind of people it attracts and that's what concentrated power is always about.
America's Founders had lots of reasons for wanting to keep government small, reasons the government schools rarely teach these days. One of those reasons was that they knew the wisdom of Lord Acton's warning a century before he wrote it. It would be inconceivable to our Founders that good and honest people could ever stay good and honest if they're swiping and redistributing $4 trillion every year and regulating almost every corner of life. That kind of power can make a sinner from a saint in no time.
Think ahead to what all this means in the future if the federal government continues to grow unchecked. Some day when it controls 50 or 60 or 70 percent of national income, it'll be stuffed full of arrogant, manipulative, slick-talking but low-character types. They will not be people who are wise enough to realize that they're not smart enough to run everybody else's life. Then when we realize we've put some of the worst among us in charge of a gargantuan machine, it'll be too late. Power attracts bad people, and bad people don't go away quietly.
Big government equals bad government. Don't fool yourself into thinking otherwise.
“The more government the less liberty”
There is a seldom heard standard for when a government succeeds and when it fails. It is a ratio, called “government efficiency”.
Simply put, it is a ratio of what government promises to do, vs. what it actually does.
Surprisingly, what it is promising to do matters far less than it carrying out what it has promised.
If a government only promises to do a few things, and then does them, the ratio is low, 1:1; and the odds are that this government will survive. Likewise, if it promises to do many things, and it still does them, its ratio is still low.
However, if a government promises to do many things, and fails to do so, the public are unforgiving. Even in a dictatorship, where the government promises little more than a harsh control of the public, if they fail to do so the public will be inclined to overthrow them.
Both Porfirio Diaz and the Shah of Iran wanted to modernize their countries. As long as they did so with an iron fist, and carried out every promise and threat they made, their nations prospered and developed. But then both made the same, fatal error.
After years of high efficiency, they decided to reward their people by relaxing their grip on brutal control, so that their people could enjoy the fruits of their labors.
But in both cases, this was seen by the public as their reneging on their promise of strict control. Seen by the public as a “sign of weakness”, it resulted in the overthrow of their regimes.
In any event, on to Washington, D.C., where the national government has set out to promise all things to all people.
There is no way it can deliver on these promises. And in truth, it is a profound sign of inefficiency when the government ignores the major, important things, to concentrate on minutiae. And it seals their doom.
Hopefully the Republicans will discontinue the endless promises, and contract the government until it can carry out what it has promised. If they do so, the Republicans will stay in power for a long time.
Yep. The more at stake in government, the nastier it gets. When whole cadres of people rely on taxpayer support for their careers and way of life, the lower they’ll go to get into power, and keep it. Think of how the Mafia works. Anyone ruthless enough to reach a position within it will be equally ruthless in keeping that position. You may think that the mob’s different in that they kill, but death to a bureacrat = no access to power and spoils.