Comments: Why Don't We Trust Government?

You said:

"after the election, the Democrats are piteously wondering aloud why people don't trust government. 'Why don't they like us?'"

Aren't those two fundamentally different issues? I'm hesitant to believe that most Republicans voted the way they did because of their opposition to government. That just wouldn't make sense. It would be like a dieter eating a bunch of sugar because fatty foods made them fatter. Notwithstanding some libertarians who chos Bush as the lesser of two evils, I don't even believe that most Republicans care about small-government rhetoric anymore. Such talk surely wasn't the bulwark of the GOP marketing strategy during the election. Great opening essay for DOL, anyhow!

Posted by David Rossie at January 6, 2005 12:22 AM

not really, what does the democratic party "stand for"? the dems are linked completely with huge, runaway social programs and government spending. AND their RHETORIC supports this.
Republicans on the other hand, at least pay lip service to the concept of less spending. thus you have at least the HOPE of "reducing the rate of increase" type arguments.
I would say belief in the concepts outlined by 'small-government rhetoric' is innate in "republican" voters.
the other moral issues are gaining importance re:voters [Stone's current whining about why no-one wanted to see his Alexander hack job combines alot of these points for instance] , but the base is still R.R.'s viewpoint; the scariest words in the English Language; "I'm from the government and i'm here to help you."

Posted by mike at January 6, 2005 01:12 PM

The Democrats may be linked with large spending and tremendous funding of social programs, but the Republicans are linked with outrageous defense spending and ridiculous amounts of corporate welfare. Will we be more angry at the Democrats who promise to spend more and then cash in on their promise or the Republicans who promise to spend less and then blame terrorists for their shopping sprees.

Both parties are guilty. Democrats want money for free abortions; Republicans want money for abstinence education and free chastity belts. Both appreciate the twisted sadism of the war on drugs. Both support public education and plan to place control for education within the Beltway.

I don't think many bright young Americans think "fiscal conservative" when Bush pops to mind. We can be hopeful about social security reform (or we can be skeptical about the benefits of band-aid, half-hearted reform), but we can't afford to be unrealistic about the general trends of government growth under both political parties.

Personally, I would prefer that the Republican Party would provide less lip service and "public service" and all the other niceties. We are at a point in time when the allegiance to principles and ideas is not easily matched to political/partisan allegiances. When push comes to shove, the ideas and principles matter more to me than the Party.

Posted by alina at January 6, 2005 09:11 PM

But isn't the fear of the "Thing", and abusive government, exactly why Madison designed the Constitution so that ambition and abuse would counteracted?

The social democracies of Europe clearly believe that a well trained bureaucrat will not give into the vices of human nature and will therefore be educated technocrats for the benefit of the citizenry. Of course this never happens (eliminating human nature to prevent the creation of policies to justify and enlarge their power, not being a technocrat), with the perverse result of issuing policies which ignore human nature and the individual agency of those whom the policy is enforced upon. Why "we" don't trust government is the same reason Madison didn't, human nature cannot be eliminated, it can only be counteracted.
ps- Greatlink, I can't believe they left it up!

Posted by Cicero at January 7, 2005 10:40 AM