Small government is a term that I see used far too often. When a question of government comes up, smaller is the answer and I find that this is advocation of nothing good. Do I want a small government? Yes, but it’s not a position to advocate. This will be a relatively short topic as this is a pet peeve for me.
My big issue is that small government isn’t really a position, other than smaller. When people use this term they don’t literally mean smaller government. Today, the size of government is relatively large, so of course smaller is the goal. But this doesn’t answer how small the government should be. Where is the limit? What should a small government be doing? These positions, the more important positions, are left undefined. I’ve personally seen people advocating very stupid positions because smaller is better.
Here’s the big difference; advocating for something rather than some abstract view like smaller government creates understanding. When one talks of limited government they aren’t advocating smaller government; they’re advocating the specific role and boundaries of government.
These roles/boundaries will most likely result in a smaller government, but the goal isn’t to make government small. When the question of how big should the government be? Well, the answer is simply, as big as it needs to be to do it’s job.
In conclusion, advocate the role and boundaries of government, rather than some abstract idea of always being smaller. Smaller isn’t a meaningful position - but a well defined government is something meaningful, understood and more worthy of winning over people in discussions.
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