Gilmore: A Government Small Enough to Fit In Your Uterus
- Mar. 29, 2012
- 1,117 Comments
From someone who thinks the whole argument about big vs. small government is hilariously stupid, let me try to explain the problem here.
In a vacuum, fans of “small government” want the government to end all programs that spend taxpayers’ money (except for the military). Social Security, Department of Education, the US Postal Service—gone. They want the government to stop providing services that aren’t absolutely necessary to our survival. They believe in both personal freedom and social freedom. The government shouldn’t tell you to do a damn thing, you commie-pinko-fascist.
Sounds admirable, sure. But I have two problems with this in both a theoretical and practical sense.
First, small-government conservatives don’t realize how much they really rely on the government. Second, they can’t make up their damn minds.
So, let’s start from the top: “The government doesn’t do anything for me.”
I think writer John Gray put it best when he wrote about “Joe the Middle-Class Republican.” People want to cry about freedom-hating, commie lib’rals without considering the things “big government” does for them every day.
Rural electricity and phone lines, clean water, safe medicines, safe cars. Seriously, I can go on with these examples all day. The fact is that the government exists in such a beneficial capacity that you don’t even realize it.
Small-government conservatives have come up with a bevy of reasons why these regulations are bad.
“Medications that won’t kill you are a socialist plot to raise prices and stifle businesses!” is my personal favorite, but many more exist.
What people don’t realize is that these policies are not put in place because some bureaucrat got bored and wrote a law one day—they were put there because many, many years ago, someone saw a terrible problem in our country and created a program to address it. Yes, people still get food poisoning, buildings still collapse, and people still die in car accidents even though there are regulations. But compared to the numbers a hundred years ago, those types of accidents are much less common because there are policies in place to prevent and reduce these problems.
I’m sure reasonable conservatives won’t contest those things. They are merely examples of what the government does. Most small-government conservatives’ issues involve things like Social Security, welfare, and high taxes. After all, this wasteful spending curtails our liberties. If wasteful spending is funded by high taxes, that money is coming straight out of your pocket. You now no longer have access to it. You no longer have the freedom to spend that money or enjoy the things it could buy. Conservatives are totally about freedom.
Yes, small-government conservatives are all about making sure the government can’t get in your personal affairs and tell you what to do…
…Except for telling you who you can have sex with and in what positions, what you can (note: are required to) and cannot do with your vagina, where you can and cannot practice religions that aren’t conservative Christianity, what your children learn about in school, and even the words that are allowed to come out of your mouth.
They want a government so small, it can hide in your closet to prevent you from having premarital sex. They want a government so small it can fit in your vagina. That’s what “small government” means to many conservative lawmakers in the United States.
So, then, what makes a government “big” or “small”? Is a government only “small” if it can tell citizens what to do, but not businesses? Or is it that a government is considered “small” if it just prevents women from doing things? Where do conservatives draw the line?
Now, I’d like to set one thing straight—I’m not talking about the entirety of the Republican Party here. I’m talking about the super-conservatives that somehow have found their way into major political discourse in the U.S. I’m talking about your Rick Santorums, Michele Bachmanns, and Sam Brownbacks of the world.
They decry the fact that the government forces them to do things like pay taxes; they decry the fact that the government forces businesses not to destroy our environments; they decry the fact that the government can force you not to be openly discriminatory.
Yet after they stop whining about that, they turn around and tell you that you’ll go to jail if you get an abortion, that you shouldn’t be able to take certain forms of birth control, that you have to recognize their brand of Christianity as the one true religion, and that homosexual acts and relationships should be criminalized.
The answer is that there is no line between big and small government; these conservatives make it up as they go along.
So what is it, ultra-conservatives? Should the government require you to do things or not? Because from where I stand, the lines are very blurred and I’m getting tired of people making up self-serving justifications for their own personal hatreds.