Which Government Is Truly Best?

Friday, May 25, 2012
It is often repeated in Republican circles that "that government is best which governs the least." When a private citizen says such a thing, there's nothing wrong with it; but when a political candidate says this, it is suspicious.

Why is it suspicious? Well, for one, what is the candidate himself doing? He is running for government. Is he running for government, that he believes best when it is doing nothing, in order that he can do nothing at taxpayer expense? Or is he telling the people a lie that they want to hear? In either case, his character and honesty leave much to be desired. Either if he actually believes that government should be inactive yet runs for the government so that he can be inactive while in office, or if he is telling people a lie, he is not an honorable person, and the voter does not have much to gain - and has much to lose - from having him in office.

The most aggressively anti-government president in recent memory was of course Ronald Reagan. And now there's a huge government building next to the White House with his name. If Reagan, with all his might and his focus, did not reduce the government, then who on earth could?

There was only one president in recent memory who did anything effective about the government. That president was Bill Clinton. Clinton administration's comprehensive overhaul of the federal government made it as efficient and user-friendly as any private company. I know from experience of dealing with federal government before and after. In 1988, when my family first came to America, we went to an INS office and wrote that we were from USSR. An INS employee asked, "There is such a country?" The same year, a public school teacher in Fairfax County, VA - supposedly the best primary education system in America - responded to a student asking her how astronomers could see other galaxies with, "I think they can't see them, they just guess that they're there." Whereas my more recent encounters with the federal government showed a much more functional organization with none of the ridiculous incompetence that had been rampant there previously.

So that while American people very well have the right to want a less intrusive or less expensive government, there is much to be suspected about politicians who promise a government that governs least. In most cases they are insincere or outright lying. If one is running for the government so that he can do nothing at taxpayer expense, then that person is a leech; and if he is telling people what they want to hear then he is a conman. That many of these people claim to have character and integrity is a still bigger lie on their part. And it is rightful that critical thinking and analysis that is focused on the government be applied also to politicians who claim to be running against the government while wanting to be a part of the government themselves.

By Ilya Shambat