One of the ongoing themes of the right at election time is that “less government” is better. It will preserve individual liberty. They tend to identify various government projects as failures, and suggest that government functions be “run like a business.”
The first problem with this is, I’ve practically stared the ink off of my world atlas. And I can find no country with a democratic form of government and a viable middle class with less government.
The second problem I have with this is, “If government is going to enter into the business world, shouldn’t it be for something which has a chance of benefiting the majority, not just more tax breaks for wealthy oil executives?” They’ve already shown us they can make record-breaking profits. The solar company that President Obama backed may have gone broke. But, at least it was money spent on new technology, which might eventually break our dependence on fossil fuel.
They tend to only mention projects that they view as failures. What about the hundreds of successes? Projects that had no promise of short-term profits? Or were too big for the private sector to tackle? Does anybody think NASA made a profit? Does that mean that the scientific and technological advances were not worth achieving? Would anybody erase the BPA, the TVA, the REA, FHA, Genny May, Freddy Mac, Sally May, VA, FDIC, the interstate freeway system, the public school system, or dozens of other government programs? All of these were enormously successful, at least until the right started preaching deregulation and privatization.
The biggest threat to individual liberty in my memory was a thing called the Patriot Act, followed closely by the Citizens United ruling. Both were supported by the right.
Does that mean that there is no such thing as too much government? Absolutely not! It’s none of the government’s business what two consenting adults do behind closed doors. Or, what a woman chooses to do with her body. The government that infringes upon my second amendment rights is just as wrong as the one that denies freedom of speech or freedom of the press.
Frank W. Lathen