You can bet this caught my attention and I inquired why he felt our government and way of life are terminally ill and not capable of being saved. His response? The worn out talking points and narratives that "Government is too big, too intrusive and Obama's answer is only more government!" He went on to state, "As long as both sides maintain beliefs that reveal a fundamental difference in the role of government, there will never be any compromise or agreement in our future." In other words, Obama's reelection has "doomed us all."
Playing along, I asked why he felt government is too large and why it should instead be minimized. Again, he responded with the same old talking points and narratives that "the Left wants government to provide for all of us from cradle to grave while ignoring our personal liberties." Another at our table piped in that we
"need more regulations to ensure those receiving assistance from the government are not abusing and taking advantage of it." Ah, now we were getting somewhere. My host's reaction? NONE! See where I am going with this? My host is opposed at all government interference in our lives, but is okay with regulations and oversight (big government) of the poor and their lives when they receive assistance. And there is that "H" word (hypocrisy) again!
I let him "roll" with his views and when done, I asked him a simple question. "What size of government do you believe we should have if you oppose the current government?" His response? "We don't need anything from the federal government except protection from enemies and a solid infrastructure. There should be no federal police and all decisions regarding education, police, and taxation should be at the local level." Whew, glad he got that off his chest.
His comments got me thinking about all that is wrong with his views. IF you believe in pure food and drugs, IF you believe that our government must protect us from known or perceived enemies, IF you believe that our government must ensure we can breath clean air, IF you believe in collective aid and assistance to victims of natural disasters, then in a sense, you DO believe in governmental protections from "Cradle to Grave!" But if you agree that government is too big and we need to pare it down so ensure personal freedom and liberty, how would you protect others from members of society believing they have the right to take advantage of others (like protection against theft of trade names, marks, intellectual properties, etc.)? If the local police are corrupt, who would protect the innocent from police misconduct? If the local courts are corrupt, who would oversee them to ensure all laws are equally enforced? And why in the world would you accept regulating the poor against perceived abuses but demand no such regulation on businesses and their owners that routinely engage in deceptive practices or receive even larger governmental subsidizes in the form of tax breaks and incentives? Again, that nasty "H" word pops up!
It is any wonder that the talking points and narratives of today's ultra-conservatives are based upon fallacies and myths. Yep, I said it! But how can I be so sure? From 1776 to 1787, the United States did in fact subscribe to those very same beliefs that all matters of governance are local and not national. Hence, the Founding Fathers created the Articles of Confederation, establishing a system of small government with extensive state and local controls. The reason it only lasted to 1787? Because it failed miserably! Today's conservatives proclaiming some self-imposed "Patriot" status routinely ignore an important aspect of our American history, and seemingly believe the Anti-Federalists of the late 1780's prevailed in their small government arguments. But as Americans should know, the Anti-Federalists LOST those arguments and Federalism with a strong central government was established in the Constitution. So why the gloomy outlook for our nation? Why the entrenchment and sheer political stubbornness?" As we head into the 57th inauguration of our presidents I ask this simple question - what is so wrong anyway with living as Americans from "Cradle to Grave?"