The SDMB has proven that small government is best

We can’t agree on what we want the government to do (witness: the endless debates on this forum). Therefore, to reduce the risk of the government doing something you don’t like (whether that be giving money to poor people or giving money to businesses that are “too big to fail”), why don’t we all support a government that does the very least possible?

Why does it seem like most people think about what the government can do to solve something they see as a problem instead of thinking about what the proper role of government is in the first place?

With large government, there’s a risk the government will do something you think harmful. But without it, there’s also a risk the government won’t do something you think helpful. Your argument is not, in itself, terribly compelling.

And, though it’s purely ad hominem to toss this in, I say this as a small government fan myself.

So long as the government serves the people, I don’t care how big it is. And if the people serve the government, it hardly matters how small. An absolute dictatorship is quite small. And a true democracy, based on participating citizens, is precisely as large as the population.

Enough of this big government small government nonsense. There are times when the Government is useful and there are times when it isn’t.

When you say small government is best, just what the hell are you talking about? With regards for the economy? Poor people? Crime? For each issue there is a different answer and it’s usually not something as simple as either “big” or “small.”

The reason we have an endless debate in this forum is that some people have no clue what they are talking about. Fighting ignorance takes a while. It also doesn’t mean that if we could vote on national issues that the outcome wouldn’t be good for the country.

Because there are many things that people want done that only the government can do, or only it can do well. And because there’s no point at all in replacing the government doing things I don’t like with corporations or NGOs doing things I don’t like in it’s place. For example, I don’t want creationism taught in schools; eliminating public schools is hardly going to prevent that, now is it ?

In other words, if my goal is to prevent people I disagree with from doing things I don’t like, then it makes no sense at all to replace government functions I have some influence over with non-government organizations I have zero control over. That’s the whole reason that the Right loves the idea of deregulating and privatizing everything; it lets them run roughshod over everyone else.

Because it’s largely a settled question for most people. Most people don’t want the government running every aspect of their lives Communism style; nor do they want to be thrown to the wolves libertarian style. They want a government somewhere in between. NOT the smallest government possible.

Sounds like a great proposal to me. We can start by eliminating the military so we never again go into a war we don’t like. We can also eliminate the court system so they won’t make any decisions we don’t like.

Although I’m not sure what would be left after all these reductions - maybe nothing at all?

Though I disagree with the logic of the OP, I in some small ways disagree with you here. Their are times when the government is necessary but it is still inefficient in what it does. Also when the ethics of government is brought into the equation (aka where the government gets its capital) it leads me to believe that the government should only be involved in what it absolutely has too.

I think we are saying the same thing. I never said I prefer either big or small government. I can’t say what I prefer because it depends on the issue. They both can be useful depending on what we are talking about.

A debate on either big or small government in the general sense is pure nonsense.

It is a trade-off between freedom and security. Some people want to be more free and therefore pursue a smaller government. Some people want to be safe and push for a larger government. Some people are in between. And some people want more freedom in some areas and more security in others.

With greater freedom and less government encumbrances comes more risk and personal responsibility. With safety and security come constraints. There will always be forces on either side trying to lower risk or increase freedom. The government will always end up as a compromise that everyone can agree is flawed.

I think the reasoning in the OP is misguided. The government that does the least will get plenty of support from the likes of me. But there are plenty of Der Trihses in this world who would never allow a ‘small government’ situation to happen.

You can’t ‘reduce the risk of government doing something you don’t like’ with smaller government, when for most of the people ‘doing nothing’ is something they don’t like the government doing.