“Shrinking government” actually means expanding it

David Swanson on why the rhetoric about shrinking government actually means a bigger, more intrusive government, with both parties complicit.

Shrinking government” means a larger and more oppressive but less representative and less useful government. The military gets the money and gets privatized (employs non-competitive corporations working exclusively for the government). Education and public services get slashed and get privatized. Vote counting gets privatized. The privatized money gets to flow into election campaigns.

Republicans want to ‘shrink’ social services while expanding the military, police, and surveillance. This of course does not make government smaller. Democrats are equally complicit, but in a different way. Their unspoken assumption is that big government is basically benign and helpful, something which rather clearly is not true. So they blindly support ever-expanding governments, more social services, and for the most part, more war.

And so, we talk about the “shrinking government” because nobody will talk about the breaking government from the left. Not just groups, but individuals as well, have embedded their souls in the Democratic Party. They can only bring themselves to criticize the Republican Party while maintaining that, after all, the government is doing a pretty good job, even when the government is dominated by Republicans and right-wing Democrats who are at least as far to the right as the Republicans. This incoherence is created by liberal civilians, not presidential broken promises or pre-compromises or lack of resolve.

Yet progressives who ought to know better continue to support the Democratic Party because, after all, they aren’t Republicans.Actually, many Democrats are indistinguishable from Republicans. Further, the underlying bedrock assumption of Democrats, liberals, and most progressives is that big government is needed, is our friend, and should continually be expanded.

This belief in the efficacy of big government leads to such inanities as hurricane recovery being under the Department of Homeland Security (um, hurricanes aren’t terrorists) and NYPD sternly ordering people to get back inside even after the storm had clearly past, a truly noxious nanny government excess.

I was talking to a retired cop last night who has 40 years of service in various big city police departments. He’s of the opinion that our federal government is corrupt and what we need is a hundred million people rising up to protest against it. I agree. And didn’t even ask what his politics are because it wasn’t relevant. Our government and elected officials are no longer beholden to us. That’s the problem. This has nothing to do with which political party is in power. But they’re certainly content to pit us against each other, because this keeps us from focusing on them.

David Swanson: Occupation of Freedom Plaza in DC modeled after Tahrir Square and Mass European Protests


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