Big Government, Small Lives (Mark Steyn)

But small government gives you big freedoms–and Big Government leaves you with very little freedom. The opposite of Big Government is not small government, but Big Liberty.

The bailout and the stimulus and the budget and the trillion-dollar deficits are not merely massive transfers from the most dynamic and productive sector to the least dynamic and productive. When governments annex a huge chunk of the economy, they also annex a huge chunk of individual liberty. You fundamentally change the relationship between the citizen and the state into something closer to that of junkie and pusher–and you make it very difficult to ever change back.

In the end, it’s not about money, but about something more fundamental. Yes, you can tax people to the hilt and give them “free” health care and “free” homes and “free” food. But in doing so you turn them into, if not (yet) slaves, then pets. And that’s the nub of it: Big Government leads to small men …

Freedom is messy. In free societies, people will fall through the cracks–drink too much, eat too much, buy unaffordable homes, fail to make prudent provision for health care, and much else. But the price of being relieved of all those tiresome choices by a benign paternal government is far too high. Big Government is the small option: it’s the guarantee of smaller freedom, smaller homes, smaller cars, smaller opportunities, smaller lives.

— Mark Steyn, from “After America”


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