Friday, January 02, 2009

Small Government Means NOT Big Government

Steven Taylor has some observations on current affairs, and the views of one Richard Viguerie, with whom I shared the stage as twin Keynote Speakers at the Libertarian National Convention in Denver last year.

Some of what Prof. Taylor says makes good sense to me, some of it less so. But one portion is worth quoting:

One of the areas that Viguerie and his camp ignore in terms of “small government” is the increasing ability of the central state to intrude on our private lives, and well as the increase in power of the executive in way that damages our democracy. This is a more pernicious problem than most “small government” conservatives admit, and indeed, many who forcefully criticize fiscal policy aspects of “big government” are frequently boosters of an ever-growing security state that will “keep us safe” replete with an executive that ignores Congress when it feels like it. To me this is far more antithetical to the notion of “small government” than any amount of welfare spending could ever be.

The Repubs focused on lowering taxes, without decreasing spending. In fact, they increased spending, and regulation, more than any administration in history. All that does is borrow against the future. Maybe it doesn't do "harm," but it certainly does no good, unless you embrace the Keynesian principles the Repubs claim to hate.

And, the increases in regulation, education nannyism in the name of accountability, and the sheer hubris of the Patriot Act, the Gitmo imprisonment of due process, and outright lying about the war and etraordinary rendition.....Well, let me just say I think Prof. Taylor is on solid ground with this critique. The Repubs were hijacked and hoodwinked by a radical, statist minority who cloak their true intentions in "small government" rhetorical fabric.

(Nod to GW on the Taylor piece, which I had missed)


Anonymous said...

"radical, statist..." should we add "evangelical" to that?

Anonymous said...

No, because that minority was not the evangelical right. It was the neo-conservative Straussian right. Until the Bush-Era, the evangelical right kept its big government advocacy limited to domestic social policy. The foreign interventionism, massive deficits, and economic innumeracy that will be Bush's legacy had nothing at all to do with Bible thumping.

Not that I'm apologizing for the social conservatives, but proper blame for the Mega-State we now live in has to go to the secular Straussians.

Anonymous said...

But Bush is not a neo-con. He seems to have been willing to use Big Govt as long as he could find a "moral" justification for doing so, and he somehow always was able to find it in religion.

BTW, I agree that the christian movement as a whole is a grass-root movement.

Dirty Davey said...

I cannot think that any rational, reasonably intelligent, and observant voter thought George W. Bush and/or the Republican party of the last two decades would produce "small government".