Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Don't Trust Government... Until We Run It.

I've been waiting a while to hear a good argument for small government. Not on principle and not with some nice rhythmic Reagan line about government being the problem. But how about really spelling it out for idiots like me. So far it seems one of the easiest arguments to ignore.

Because you know what? Government isn't the problem. Big government isn't even the problem. The problem is bad government. Dishonest government. Clueless government. I don't even have to develop that argument. You don't disagree do you?

And this is the loose shoelace on the Republican sneaker that could so easily trip them up. But why hasn't it? Why has right wing meddling in everything from civil rights to privacy been allowed to keep company with claims of adherence to small government? How did the right wing agenda of encroachment on the individual get more than 40% of the vote? It's got to be because not even Republicans believe in small government. But they believe in duping the daft.

Mike Huckabee just appeared on The Daily Show and he has yet to make much sense to me. He's using a very odd logic throughout. And I really wish some supporters of those views would let me know how they connect the dots. C'mon... I know you're out there.


Anonymous said...

Playing devils advocate:

From the civil literacy quiz you linked to a while back:

Q: Free markets typically secure more economic prosperity than government’s centralized planning because:

A. the price system utilizes more local knowledge of means and ends

Sure we need some (effective/honest/good/etc.) government, but perhaps in some cases privatizing--and thereby reducing the size of the government--would allow free market forces to work.

In the end, real life is much more complicated than how simplistic small government ideologues portray it. This is why I'm hoping for a more data-driven approach to governing than an idealistic one from the upcoming administration.

On a different note, Huckabee is an excellent communicator, he just lacks thinking skills. That's probably one of the principle weaknesses of seminary training.

Anonymous said...

most seminary training that is.

Casey said...

I'll do this. It'll take me a while, and you'll have to read quite a bit, but I think I can do this...

fenhopper said...

OK if there are some fair claims in there about the free market we still have to evaluate the claim of "privatizing--and thereby reducing the size of the government..."

is that really reduction of government? it seems to me that the argument of gov't size becomes a baby/bathwater debate. we don't like the government to meddle in specific things but instead of appropriating gov't, the view is that gov't is a bad thing.

my oversimplified analogy is to the argument that because of a corrupt police force we need fewer police. or because traffic jams occur around traffic lights we need to get rid of traffic regulation.

i know of course that like all analogies this one is overlooking something.

Casey said...

I finished my defense, but don't expect a defense of "Republicanism." The best I could do was defend the Libertarian position, which doesn't give two hoots about gay marriage or smokin' dope or whatever, as long as nobody tries to tax the profits made in those transactions.

I understand your point about throwing the baby out with the bathwater -- I don't really object. But I could. I'm of two minds here.

Let's do an experiment: let's take the auto-industry. It seems like it's going to be a problem created (or not solved) by the (bad) Bush administration that will be inhereted by the (good, we hope) Obama administration... let's see how that's going in four years.

I'll remember; you will too.

Another analogy: All the good government in the world can't make us want to listen to music that we're tired of listening to (i.e., American cars) when somebody's playing better music (Japanese cars).

Same with houses: my dad wants his house to continue being valued at $200,000, and the gov't CAN find ways to make it stay at that price... but the pressures of supply (too many houses) and demand (not enough people to buy $200,000 houses) will build and inevitably expose the inefficiency of the interventions.... AND the whole thing will come down the hardest on people who COULD afford that house if the market had had its way (i.e., if gov't did not prop-up the value of the home).

That is, I might be able to afford a house right now if government would stop fidgeting with the housing market -- but, because the baby boomers don't want their precious property values to diminish, and because they (still) have stronger lobbying power, they'll be permitted (by the obliging government) to retain their financial status.

Well enough -- I wrote enough tonight about economics. I just want you to know that I'm actually more on the fence than I probably sound, but you got me fired up in the ideological way...