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Picture 2

May 29, 2017

Unlimited Government Makes Everything Political

Progressives have gotten pretty far along in getting the government to take care of everything. If government is taking care of everything, then everything is political. Politics becomes more and more personal, because the government decisions involve more and more personal decisions. The scope of government is the scope of politics. If we want less politics in our lives, we need the government to take care of less.

Today's malaise is a function of modern communication and transportation, which allows government to be more intrusive in more places than ever before. In 1917, a picture of the President, Queen or King might have been on the wall, but you didn't have to listen to them every day, explaining how great they were. In 1917, bureaucrats could not travel 3,000 miles in 4 or 5 hours and make sure their orders were being carried out to the letter. Officials couldn't coordinate new rules daily, even if they wanted to. The communications systems of 1917 didn't give officials the illusion that they knew everything. Governments have always aspired to total control, but now they think technology gives them a chance to achieve it. In times past, it wasn't realistic because of the physical limts imposed by transportation and communications technology.

Progressives believe that the world should be run by experts who will make better decisions because they are better informed about what the choices entail. The internet and other Information Technology has led progressives to believe experts have all the tools they need to run almost everything better than people can run it themselves.

Actual experience shows that governments are not good at taking care of everything. They gererally fail at it and go bankrupt. Venezuela used to be a prosperous member of OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. In 1998, Hugo Chavez was elected President on a platform of taking care of everything, including helping the poor and free medical care for all. We'll call his program socialism for short. Chavez continued in office until his death in 2013. His hand picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, took over after Chavez died. Now, Venezuelans don't have enough to eat and are short of medical supplies like antibiotics and the poor have nothing to eat.

Government can't take care of everything, because the experts are a relatively small group making decisions when the government runs things. Being human, even super human as progressives believe they are, they can't beat an entire country of individuals evaluating all the information available and making their own decisions based on what they want for themselves and their families. Government experts, or bureaucrats as some people call them, have to oversimplify to set up government programs because otherwise they face information overload. So they set things up with a limited number of options. People have to fit themselves into the limited options. If they don't fit, they are forced to fit. If bureaucrats don't like certain groups, like traditional Catholics and Evangelical Protestants, then the options for them don't fit very well at all. With power comes the temptation to abuse it.

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