Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Failure of Conservative Libertarian Government

I often here Republicans, conservatives and libertarians blaming all the ills in our country on big government. That's patently absurd. Before Social Security, there was high elderly poverty (over 30%), but since then there has been a marked decrease in elderly poverty that has been contributed to S.S.. The same thing with poverty in general and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society legislation. Responsible government can work.

But take the flip side and look at no government. Case in point Iraq. They have about as small government as you can imagine. But they have high poverty, extremely high unemployment, no order, and a whole slew of other problems.

Given the choice between no/limited government and responsible government (Social Security, Great Society, etc.), I'll take the latter. It works. Conservative/libertarian dreams of limited government doesn't seem to work.


At July 13, 2006 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As replied to on BigBark (


I don't think Iraq is a good example for this argument. In fact I'm sure it's not.

Only a small poriton of Iraq's current condition is a direct result of its small government. The mayhem of war has the majority of responsibility.

I also notice the word "responsible" being used a few times in this opinion - I don't think you'll have many people argue with you when using that language and speaking in such generalized terms. But the fact is there is a huge portion of our existing government that is far from "responsible". And there is continually new "unresponsible" spending.

I'm in full agreement with anyone who is against growing the government in "unresponsible" ways - and I'm sure at least 90% of Amercans are as well - since I am now speaking in equally vague terms.

All the issues arise when we start talking specifics of what is responsible and what is not.

At July 13, 2006 7:48 PM, Blogger Gilbert Martinez said...

I thought the Dogma was that markets are always better than any government intervention. If that is the case, why aren't we pushing for completely privatized security contractors? Free market fundamentalists--and there are many--should be all over Iraq because the free markets should be better than anything the U.S. military or an Iraqi government could do to provide security. Unless of course they think there are some exceptions.

When libertarians like Grover Norquist say they want to weaken government so much that it would drown in a bathtub I take that to mean that they would prefer not to have government. I'm not arguing what the specifics of "responsible" are, just that there are, in fact, times where government intervention is actually preferable to government inaction. Whether that is "big" or "small" is beyond the point. Whether it's vague or not is also beyond the point. I'm only trying to say that a no government policy is absurd in most cases. And I take the conservative libertarian policy to be such a policy.


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