We heard an awful lot about "limited government" from the mouths of CPAC politicians over the last few days. If I had a nickel every time a conservative said "limited government" and didn't mean it, I'd be a very rich man.
Unlike libertarians, most conservatives simply don't want small government. They want their own version of big government. Of course, they have done a pretty good job of fooling American voters for decades by repeating the phrases "limited government" and "small government" like a hypnotic chant.
It's interesting that conservatives only notice "big government" when it's something their political enemies want. When conservatives want it, apparently it doesn't count.
- If a conservative wants a trillion-dollar foreign war, that doesn't count.
- If a conservative wants a 700-billion-dollar bank bailout, that doesn't count.
- If a conservative wants to spend billions fighting a needless and destructive War on Drugs, that doesn't count.
- If a conservative wants to spend billions building border fences, that doesn't count.
- If a conservative wants to "protect" the huge, unjust, and terribly inefficient Social Security and Medicare programs, that doesn't count.
- If a conservative wants billions in farm subsidies, that doesn't count.
It's truly amazing how many things "don't count."
Conservatives like Rush Limbaugh can't ever be satisfied with enough military spending and foreign wars.
Conservatives like Mitt Romney want to force everyone to buy health insurance.
Conservatives like George W. Bush -- well, his list of supporting big-government programs is almost endless.
Ronald Reagan, often praised as an icon of conservatism, signed massive spending bills that made his the biggest-spending administration (as a percentage of GDP) since World War II.
Some people claim that these big-government supporters aren't "true conservatives." Well, if a person opposes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, opposes the War on Drugs, opposes border fences, and opposes mandatory Social Security and Medicare, it's hard to believe that anyone would describe that person as a conservative at all. Most people would say that person is a libertarian (or maybe even a liberal).
Obviously, most liberals don't want limited government either. It's just that their support for big government leans toward massive handout and redistribution programs.
The fact is, liberals and conservatives both want gigantic government. Their visions sometimes look different from each other, but both are huge. The only Americans who truly want small government are libertarians.
An article posted at CNS News, linked prominently from the Drudge Report, noted that the Obama administration is on track to beat the Franklin Roosevelt administration in terms of average federal spending as a percentage of GDP. However, the article failed to note that the Reagan Administration already beat the Franklin Roosevelt administration easily. Roosevelt's average was 19.4 percent of GDP, while Reagan's average was 22.3 percent of GDP. (Source: White House OMB data)
The LP is America's third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets and civil liberties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party here.