Big government is the goal of the two major U.S. political parties, the Democrats and Republicans. This is the policy in which the government does more than is required by the Constitution to do. One indicator of the size of the government is the extent to which citizens are taxed. In the United States, the tax rate has risen steadily since 1913, when the 16th Amendment became ratified, allowing Congress to levy a direct tax on income. The initial tax rate was only 1 percent on the first $20,000.
There are plenty of arguments for a large government. It is of course hard to say whether these arguments are valid, because the only way to verify their truth is through the implementation of a small government for purposes of comparison. They are listed below.
- The world, economy, and society is much larger today than it was a long time ago. It takes a larger government to control it.
- The world is a scarier and more chaotic place today, and less predictable. People need protection from this evil world, and no one else will do this but the government.
- People are more willing today than in the past to give away their money and freedom to serve the common good, less-fortunate citizens, and the environment.
- A society full of druggies, smokers, alcoholics, and gamblers is intolerable to and goes against the morals of the big-government advocate.
- The government must save people from their bad decisions, which they might live to regret. Prevent children from being introduced to the evils of the world until they're old enough to understand it.
- A small-government alternative would be anarchism, or at least close to this, which is childish and foolish.
It's now time to review these statements and find out why big government is not optimal and Libertarianism is the right way to go.
1. The world, economy, and society is much larger today than it was a long time ago. It takes a larger government to control it.
It is true that the economy and society are immensely larger than they were in pre-big-government times in America. However, is this really an argument for a larger government? Maybe this is simply a reason for the government to relinquish control to the people. Larger society can mean more opportunities for citizens with less government help. Looking back, our economy has grown to its current size and level of prosperity under a much smaller government, as we know that the government has only gotten larger. Obviously, a moderate government is best for economic prosperity because it does not stifle commerce, but still protects it from such disastrous occurrences as market crashes. Every time government tightens its grip on the people and the country's economy, we could be pushing the limits of our economy. And our economy affects not only Americans, but the entire world, due to today's existence of a global economy.
2. The world is a scarier and more chaotic place today, and less predictable. People need protection from this evil world, and no one else will do this but the government.
Not only is this humorous, it is also the opposite of what is true. Yes, many people dream of the "good old days" when things were simple to operate and there was a slower pace in life, but the world is not more chaotic by almost any measure. Food production has increased, is more efficient, and is much cheaper, the standard of living is constantly increasing, and information flows freely and easily. The industrial age has come and gone. Jobs involving labour are being replaced by machines, and production of all types of products is many times more efficient than before. This dramatically lessens the threat of such cruelty as child labour. This paragraph only begins to explain why it's much more difficult than before for society to fuck a person up--even if it wanted to! What I mean to say here, in case you misunderstood, is that a person in a lower class with limited money would not be in as fucked up a condition today as someone years ago with the same value of money accounting for inflation. The economy, by growing and becoming more complicated, is proving its almost miraculous ability to provide more for less and strive for efficiency. This is no call for an increased government.
3. People are more willing today than in the past to give away their money and freedom to serve the common good, less-fortunate citizens, and the environment.
This is probably the most logical argument for big government coming from a big-government advocate, and is hardest to contradict. If a friend gave me this as their reason for advocating big government, I'd be fine with them. This is because it clearly states their intentions of abandoning a lot of what America stands for, and making a move, however small, toward communism (note "common good"). Communism has its benefits, but later on you'll see why it's ignorant, unpatriotic, foolish, and disgusting to push for a shift in this direction.
4. A society full of druggies, smokers, alcoholics, and gamblers is intolerable to and goes against the morals of the big-government advocate.
Much of the fault in this argument is found in the argument itself, although the words "big-government advocate" would likely be replaced by "country" by the speaker presenting this argument, or this part might be omitted altogether. In any case, the advocate giving this argument wants the government to represent his own morals and treat them more highly than the individual rights of a large number of American citizens (I'd say over 75%). I'm sure any sane person would agree that, firstly, 75% represents greater than a recognised majority (66%) of people, and secondly that the personal conduct exhibited by a person taking part in one of the activities of doing drugs, smoking, drinking liquor, and gambling, is probably an integral part of their life and more sacred to them than the advocate's desire is, to be able to walk down a street in a large city without witnessing someone huddled in a god-damned corner quietly and embarrasingly puffing on a joint because they are homeless and can't go anywhere else to enjoy a (maybe) grueling and monotonous lifestyle.
5. The government must save people from their bad decisions, which they might live to regret. Prevent children from being introduced to the evils of the world until they're old enough to understand it.
A world where no one makes poor personal decisions is a great one, but also a boring one. It would be a world where human rights don't matter, civil liberties are nonexistent, lifestyle is dictated, and humans become automatons. Sure, business regulations and such do tend to serve a common good, at least in purpose, see #1, but regulations on "bad" personal decisions don't really do this atall. It's the same surrender of liberty that one, as an entrepreneur, would give up for some type of protection of the common good, except this lost liberty is not met by any sort of common good benefit, except for a very minute one, which is the sick pleasure some other person gets from knowing that things they would never do, as smoking, can't be done by anyone else, either. It is tempting to list improved overall health as a benefit, but can the government really have this in mind when it drafts 18-year-old men into war to possibly die and not even be able to celebrate a victory with a drink? The government "drug war" propaganda will make you want to answer "yes" to that question, but this is doubtful at most.
6. A small-government alternative would be anarchism, or at least close to this, which is childish and foolish.
This is a valid argument. Anarchism can be considered foolish and silly. However, this was not the prominent attitude back when the American colonies declared independence from Great Britain. Government was loose and it was difficult for Britain to govern the Colonists effectively from across the Atlantic Ocean. By today's standards, I'm sure this was well within the definition of anarchism. The Colonists protested such things as taxes on imports such as tea and an act called the Stamp Act. Keep in mind that we are taxed on everything we purchase today, and it probably gets well taxed every time product moves closer to the store and into your hands. Now, whether the Colonists' anarchy-like behaviour and desire for freedom from taxes was "foolish" or immature would depend on the out come of the battle for Revolution that followed their declaration. This was a war, and was no joke. The Colonists won. With this victory, they "won" the right to stand up and say, "Yes, we are tax-free and have a small government, and are freer than anywhere else in the world," without looking foolish. That is the right that we won. This effectively invalidates the argument at hand, but it also goes further. It proves that people who advocate furthering the "common good" by surrendering freedoms ("communism") are effectively ignoring all that Americans stand for, and fought for. It is unpatriotic and disgusting, and also begins to make us look foolish, because every time a liberty is eroded or the government is made larger, it decreases the benefits of the Revolutionary War for the Framers' "posterity."
...And such are the faults in the many arguments given to increase government size. The Framers would be Libertarians. Call it anarchism if you want, but it's what we fought for, it's your right.