Go Back   Fratching! > General > Politics

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes

What is Meant by Small Government and Big Government
  #1  
Old 10-10-2009, 03:36 AM
guywithashovel guywithashovel is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: The Midwest
Posts: 1,164
Default What is Meant by Small Government and Big Government

When politics and government are being discussed, many people will say that they want "small government." Many of these people call themselves conservatives, and they also accuse liberals of wanting "big government," because many of these liberals favor various government programs that provide services to citizens. But what do "small government" and "big government" really mean?

To put this in perspective, let's look at what typical liberals and typical conservatives tend to want.

(And yes, I realize these two examples are a little extreme---most people probably are a little more moderate than these examples indicate. It's just that most of the people who claim "small government" or "big government" fit into one of these categories.)

Conservatives:

A huge military that is never huge enough.

Bigger prisons.

Bigger police forces.

Laws that tell certain consenting adults that they can't get married (i.e. gay marriage bans).

Laws that forbid abortion.

Laws that forbid pornography.

Compulsory prayer in the public schools.

Little to no regulation of the economy.

Taxes as low as possible.

Little to no government programs to help citizens.

Liberals:

Universal healthcare.

Government-run Social Security

Various government programs to assist disadvantaged people.

Legal abortion.

Legal gay marriage.

No government restrictions on pornography.

No teacher-led prayer in schools.

Heavy regulation of the economy.

Considering all of these points, I'm having a hard time seeing how the types of government wanted by conservatives is any smaller than the government liberals want. It actually seems to me that liberals and conservatives simply disagree about the areas in which governmental power should be concentrated.
Reply With Quote

  #2  
Old 10-10-2009, 03:57 AM
lordlundar lordlundar is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,701
Default

Well, so far as I can figure, the "small government" that either side keeps demanding is more of a case of "small amount of my opponents in power".

To date, I haven't seen anything to dispute the theory.
Reply With Quote

  #3  
Old 10-13-2009, 12:16 AM
guywithashovel guywithashovel is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: The Midwest
Posts: 1,164
Default

Yeah, you're probably right. And likewise, I haven't seen much to dispel my initial theory, either.

That's why I have a certain unique respect for libertarians. I may not agree with all of their views, but at least most of their views are consistent with the concept of "small government."
Reply With Quote

  #4  
Old 10-13-2009, 07:08 AM
Depot Denizen Depot Denizen is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 92
Default

A small government is one that is less intrusive into public dealings. Things like weak or low regulations or restrictions on trade or business matters, little involvement in social programs and activities, low taxes (since there's less government). Typically the state governments have more control over states than the Federal government, but small government can apply to both State and Fed.

A large government is one where there is a lot of governmental influence in the different factors of the country. Social, ecomical, industrial...you see more social programs and stronger governmental regulations across the board.

Think of it as "less interference" and "more interference".

I used to like Libertarian ideals until I realized that all the hardcore Libertarians are batshit insane. No regulation whatsoever, except what "the free market will allow" which means that suddenly you'd have a flood of poorly-trained doctors and engineers running around, among other things. Everything is privately owned, which means you have private police forces and private courts and private judges. Private roads and tolls, and of course no central regulation on vehicles...
If you want to see what a Libertarian paradise looks like, look at modern-day Somalia. There's no standing government, not one that can do a damn. I'd also consider it a mobster paradise.
Reply With Quote

  #5  
Old 10-13-2009, 04:34 PM
BroomJockey BroomJockey is offline
I'm rude!
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,502
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Depot Denizen View Post
A small government is one that is less intrusive into public dealings.
No, that's "laissez faire," and has little to nothing to do with the size of the government.
__________________
Any comment I make should not be taken as an absolute, unless I say it should be. Even this one.
Reply With Quote

  #6  
Old 10-13-2009, 07:15 PM
Depot Denizen Depot Denizen is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 92
Default

Actually, it seems like it's both according to Wiki.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_government

It's a government that minimizes its own activities, to quotaphrase Wiki.

"In its "perfect" form, minarchism, the state confines itself to foreign policy, defense and law while leaving other activities to local government, companies and individuals."

To me, this says that social policy is something left aside by the Feds in a small government.
Reply With Quote

  #7  
Old 10-20-2009, 09:29 AM
smileyeagle1021 smileyeagle1021 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Reno
Posts: 1,821
Default

I may be cynical, but it seems that a "small government" will focus on doing the most to control individuals and that "big government" will focus on doing the most to control society.

Using gay marriage debate.
Small government means telling two consenting adults that they should not have the feelings they have for each other and just be damned grateful that all we are doing is saying you can't have a contract and aren't executing you like we'd like (I've read the bible, I know damned well what the Christians would like to do to me)
Large government means telling everyone that they MUST accept gays and lesbians as actual humans, will force local officials to grant contracts to consenting adults, and are willing to tell christians to keep their bible in their church.

Personally, I'll take the "intrusive" big government.

Oh, I base my views on small versus big government by looking at the Utah 'small' government, which is the ultimate example of why a "christian nation" must NEVER be allowed to form.
__________________
"I'm Gar and I'm proud" -slytovhand
Reply With Quote

  #8  
Old 10-20-2009, 07:04 PM
Depot Denizen Depot Denizen is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 92
Default

Unfortunately that's how the systems are being implemented. It's not always the case. Though it is true that historically "small" government has led to very conservative politics, which in some states becomes very intrusive on private dealings. I agree though, some (but not all) conservative leaders are more interested in what's going on in your bedroom than in Wall Street. Kind of sad, I think.
Reply With Quote

  #9  
Old 10-22-2009, 02:02 AM
guywithashovel guywithashovel is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: The Midwest
Posts: 1,164
Default

Smileyeagle pointed out several of the things I was getting at when I posted this thread. It has just always seemed to me that the government wanted by most conservatives (libertarians excepted) is just as "big" as the government that most liberals want.

However, I have heard a few religious conservatives say that they oppose same-sex marriage because they see marriage as a "religious institution" and don't want the government doing anything to define it. Of course, if they really see marriage as entirely a religious institution, then I'd like to ask them why you have to go to the courthouse, county clerk's office, or some other government location to get a marriage license.

Here's another thing. Some people on the right even want teacher-led prayer in the public schools. How the heck is that not seen as "big government?"
Reply With Quote

  #10  
Old 10-22-2009, 03:56 AM
XiaoTortuga XiaoTortuga is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 38
Default

In terms of the federal government, big and small governments, in their actual historical sense, not rhetoric of today, has to do with the Constitution.

The US Constitution enumerates certain powers to the Federal government, such as dealing with other nations, military to protect the nation and other clearly defined issues.

Traditionally Republican "small government" wants to limit the Federal government to those clearly defined areas. Democratic "big government" wants to use use the interstate commerce clause and the "necessary and proper" clause to do more for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the US. Under the Republican scheme, the health, safety and welfare of the citizens is more the domain of the individual states.

It seems in the contemporary discourse, "small government" means "don't interfere with my money. Don't take it for taxes, don't make it harder for me to make money." "Big government" is thrown out whenever there is a plan to to help "the people" in some way that costs the US government money and therefore increases taxes of citizens or corporations.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 06:21 PM.


vBulletin skins developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.