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NeoNotes — Conservatives and big government

Inevitably both conservatism and progressivism increase the size of government for some "common good" that not everyone agrees with.

A bigger government means higher taxes, more laws, increased regulations and (wait for it) less freedom. All for your own good of course.

I think the problem is not progressive or conservative. I think that acting that way makes government larger.

The real problem is government.



Actually they do.

Military spending, law enforcement, the war on drugs, emergency aid to other nations are just a few things that come to mind.



Military spending - what is it now, seven times the next three biggest military budgets combined?

Of course the war on drugs is a federal issue. It's also responsible for the rise in civil forfeiture and revoking posse comitatus. Both required Federal legislation signed by Republican presidents. It was also a Republican president who issued the first executive orders to sell military surplus to law enforcement.

Where does the Constitution grant either the President or Congress the power of foreign aid? Yet that has been a cornerstone of foreign policy since at least WWII. As have the permanent military bases abroad, also not authorized by the Constitution.

Conservatives have done these things and more.

But neither conservatism nor progressivism are the problem. It's government.

You can always find a reason to spend someone else's money. Especially in a good cause.



OK, military spending and foreign governments.

To "contain" our "enemies," we give foreign aid including military aid to despicable people who can't be trusted. This year they're our ally, next year they're our enemy.

We are hypocritical. American didn't stand for it with the Cuban missiles, yet we expect other nations to stand for it in the name of freedom and democracy.

Meanwhile spending goes up and the military grows. The American reputation for honor and doing the right thing is swept away in rousing music and TV spectacle.

And the arms dealers and military contractors are making a profit.



The Federal government also profits from the drug war. Before terrorism, it was the reason for throwing away the Bill of Rights. It was the reason for mandatory minimum sentences. It's the reason for militarizing our police AND putting Federal monitoring in those police forces.

And of course if property can be "associated" with the illegal drug trade, it can be seized and sold under Federal law and most of the profits sent back to the local police jurisdiction. This happens regardless if the owner is found guilty or even charged.



This can't be fixed by electing the "right" man (person) at the "right" time. You won't find one. He doesn't exist. Even if he did, it would start again when he left office.

This is fundamental abuse of law and the destruction of freedom.

Conservatives and progressives have enabled this situation by pursing their pet causes "for the common good."

The only answer is limiting government and what government does.

You know, like the Constitution set out to do.

You know, the only thing the American government hasn't tried in the last century or so.



Show me a conservative since 1950 who has succeeded in reducing the size of government, reducing the number of regulations, or reducing spending and I will concede the point.



Reagan?

Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 and asset forfeiture.

Expanding the drug war.

Military Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies Act of 1981.

He may have succeeded reducing the number of regulations, but I think he reduced freedom.



Or as I like to put it:

"Inflict government on someone today and don't be surprised if someone inflicts it on you tomorrow."
NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.
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Force

Government is force. Every government program, law, or regulation is a demand that someone do what he doesn't want to do, refrain from doing what he does want to do, or pay for something he doesn't want to pay for. And those demands are backed up by police with guns.
     — Harry Browne, Principles of Government
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Politics

Government is politics. Whenever you turn over to the government a financial, social, medical, military, or commercial matter, it's automatically transformed into a political issue — to be decided by those with the most political influence. And that will never be you or I.
     — Harry Browne, Principles of Government
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More expensive and more expansive

Every government program will be more expensive and more expansive than anything you had in mind when you proposed it. It will be applied in all sorts of ways you never dreamed of.
     — Harry Browne, Principles of Government
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Misused

Power will always be misused. Give good people the power to do good and that power eventually will be in the hands of bad people to do bad.
     — Harry Browne, Principles of Government
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Does not work

Government doesn't work. Because government is force, because government programs are designed to enrich the politically powerful, because you can't control government and make it do what's right, because every new government program soon wanders from its original purpose, and because politicians eventually misuse the power you give them, it is inevitable that no government program will deliver on the promises the politicians make for it.
     — Harry Browne, Principles of Government
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Limits

Government must be subject to absolute limits. Because politicians have every incentive to expand government, and with it their power, there must be absolute limits on government.
     — Harry Browne, Principles of Government
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Principles of Government

Harry Browne was the last Presidential candidate that I trusted. This 2003 piece makes common sense.

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Government is not reason

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
     — apocryphal, commonly attributed to George Washington
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Take away your liberty

Left-wing politicians take away your liberty in the name of children and of fighting poverty, while right-wing politicians do it in the name of family values and fighting drugs. Either way, government gets bigger and you become less free.
     — Harry Browne
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NeoNotes — blame game

The problem isn't Republicans. The problem isn't Democrats. The problem is an ever-expanding government and a self-appointed "elite class" that doesn't feel it's responsible to anyone, but especially not the voters.

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More from the stack

Older headlines that don't merit their own entry

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More clearing out the stack

Older headlines that don't merit their own entry

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Beacon Headline Quick Links for 23Mar2009

Roundup of the headline links

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NeoNotes — net neutrality

As it exists right now, local, state, and Federal governments allow and protect area specific telecommunications monopolies.

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Begging government

Do you really want pagans and heathens begging government for table scraps that they might give us? If we're really REALLY good and cute enough?
     — NeoWayland
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Single issue

If I have a single issue, it's less government and more freedom.
     — NeoWayland
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Regulating

When government starts defining, it starts regulating.
     — NeoWayland
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Headstone

If someone has served honorably, then they should have whatever they want on their headstone up to and including Mickey Mouse. Government issue or not, it's not about what is “approved.” It's about honoring someone who chose to serve and fulfilled that duty.
     — NeoWayland
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We're allowing ourselves to be manipulated

The question isn't which politico is better. The question is why we're allowing ourselves to be manipulated into believing that government and Our Elected Officials™ know what's best and will serve us.
     — NeoWayland
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