Monday, May 29, 2006

On Why You Should Be Worried About a Powerful Government

It is profoundly interesting to observe how short-sighted people are when considering government authority. Many conservatives who are supportive of the Bush administration’s expansion of federal powers might not be so enthusiastic about it once Hillary (or whoever) is in charge in ’08 or at some point thereafter, yet still have no problem supporting a growing government under the watchful eye (ha!) of President Bush. On the other hand, liberals are bemoaning the concentration of power in the executive branch, worrying about government surveillance, or criticizing the role the government is playing in the economy (i.e. subsidies for oil companies). Most of these people had no problem offering the government the ability to have these powers when their party was holding the reins. What is forgotten is that a government powerful enough to give you everything you want is powerful enough to do everything you don’t want, at your expense. As Jane Galt says in a recent post on the late John Kenneth Galbraith:

The basic problem with Galbraith is the same issue I have with most of the urbane prophets of the nanny state: they confuse their preferences about things like lawns, large automobiles, and television programmes with moral imperatives. Then they are confused when the power they have handed the state to impose their preferences on everyone else instead gets used to provide gas tax rebates and NASCAR stadiums.

Be careful what you wish for, my friends, because they just might get it.


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