Why I can't argue for Limited government.Submitted by HuskerSkier on Mon, 10/14/2013 - 16:41
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." — George Washington, allegedly
I believe the root of our problems revolve around force and coercion. The ability for some to coerce others - through the threat of violence - into action that they would not voluntarily take, most people agree, is wrong.
The entire structure of our government is based on the ability to use force. As George Washington (allegedly) points out, it is force. The core of what makes government government is its ability to steal to fund its operations and its ability to initiate force to carry out its agenda. The perceived authority to use force is what makes the organizational structure of government unique.
We teach our kids that theft and coercion is wrong. We don’t accept this behavior from our friends and we condemn it when we see others doing it. We have this reaction because reason, which government is not, tells us it is wrong. Reason tells us that peace won’t come through theft and force. In order to find peace we have to respect others and show tolerance even when we may not agree with their actions.
When the very heart of our system of “order” and “justice”, the system used to “keep the peace”, the system that protects us from unjust force and coercion... when this system is based upon force and coercion, should we expect a successful result? Is this possible, or will it only create more violence?
“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
When people argue for “small” or “limited” government it seems that they are trying to solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used to create them. In fact, it is the same kind of thinking that big government proponents use, just to a smaller degree.
In both cases emotions are driving the abandonment of logic. The mistake isn’t in the size or scope of government, the mistake is in acceptance of force and coercion to solve a problem. To accept limited government is to accept some amount of force. The difference between small government proponents and big government proponents is the extent to which they are willing to use theft and force to solve a problem.
The motives are good. The desire to feed the poor, help the elderly, provide for the common defense are all noble. But our emotions let the false promises that theft and coercion give seem necessary. When you are arguing for small or limited government in favor of big government you aren’t condemning this evil, but merely trying to change one’s emotional attachment to a specific issue. You are trying to convince them that certain things are too important to not use force for, but the issues they feel passionate about aren’t important enough. That’s a tough argument to make.
Often times we use the argument of the evils of theft and force on certain issues, but fail to take this principle to its logical conclusion. This slight amount of hypocrisy is confusing and hurts ones credibility. How can something be a principle if it has exceptions?
“Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein
It's simple. It's not complex. It's not violent. Theft and coercion are wrong.