So the Conservatives Say They Want a Small Government?

The conservative platform calls for a small government; a more efficient government. They refer to local, state and the federal government. I find this paradoxical. Mostly, they oppose government that dictates, or places controls on commerce, but keep up the repetitive rhetoric of creating across the board small government Let’s be realistic. Any reasonable person would have to agree that law-enforcement is government, that homeland security with all of its agencies and divisions (nepotism for big brother) are also government. The military including the Pentagon and the other military commands permanently in place around the world in the name of democracy (commerce) that fights their wars on this and on that, I believe should also be counted as government. The industrial half of the military-industrial complex, since they are funded by taxpayers and have powers you or I would never have, and are immune to any remedy by the public, would also be part of the government. So they say that government should be small, but yet they support the lobby power on the Beltway and here at home that can wine and dine our representatives, which effects the out come of government. I believe that under these circumstances the lobby power for the right-wing industries and interests are as much as part of the government as anything else; even as much as the conservative supreme court that sits to over rule whatever liberal, reasonable measures may have been passed by congress if it cuts into the profits or open range tactics of big business. We cannot forget to add to this: the right-wing media that is a vital organ the government.

Having been involved in the non-profit sector, working to protect what I refer to as the basic needs, I learned that this is a primary area under attack by the conservatives. Food, shelter, healthcare, education and transportation, are the basic needs that have been understood, that in any “civil” society, are the things that all persons must have to lead a life of any quality; the things that if cannot be afforded by those who need them, they should still be entitled to, and if the amount of government required to see to this is too large, then I suggest we reduce the areas of government, that has made it so that there is such a need for these services. The real reason, of course, the conservatives do not want government involvement in these services is that they are privatized industries.

As for efficiency of government, it is not hard to put it all together. I hear all the conservative candidates speak of this – this small government; but I wonder what their model would look like. Would their view of an efficient government be one that would consist of a few departments with just enough people to hear and do the bidding of big business? Yes, on the shallow surface this does sound efficient. Now, of course, this would not work well when you have large private interests that must be catered to, countries that have resources that US big business wants to exploit, and to make sure that corporate welfare disbursements are handled promptly. This is not small government. This is not efficient government as the conservatives would like us to swallow, but it is efficient in the context of what they need.

Now, for a moment, let’s touch on large government spending. I can’t believe wars are cheap. I can’t believe equipping the military, and paying to maintain weapons of mass destruction (also, trying to find them where they never were) are cheap. Corporate welfare, big brother’s allowance and these other things the right-wing want, and actually need, to accomplish their ends, are what make a government big, expensive and inefficient. Who protects and caters to the right-wing think tanks, the corporate media and this nation’s wealthiest families? This government does in all its forms. The conservatives need this government just the way they have set it up. The way they planned and laid out the blueprint; and it includes everything they needed to protect their interests. So I ask the conservatives: show us your model of a small, efficient government. Say what you really mean: You want a government that does not restrict the way big business does business, while still having a large enough extended government to protect your interests – home and abroad. It is the conservatives, not the liberals who gave birth, nurtured and fed this large overweight government. It is the liberals and progressives who have worked hard to keep it chained up and from devouring everything in its destructive path.

Wayne A Lewis is an activist living in Helena MT. He is also a current Democratic candidate for the Montana state legislature. He can be reached at or Read other articles by Wayne, or visit Wayne's website.

6 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozhidar balkas said on July 5th, 2008 at 5:08am #

    smaller govt means less governance. or it may mean more and more privatization of what we collectively do.
    or it may mean less socialism and more individualism and more disparity betwn rich and poor. thank u

  2. John Greenwood said on July 5th, 2008 at 9:15am #

    I would be curious to know your views on the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Kelo vs. New London. I submit, that, taken to it’s logical conclusion, progressive thought leads to even worse outcomes, e.g., Zimbabwe and North Korea.

  3. Deadbeat said on July 6th, 2008 at 8:51pm #

    More than 50% of the government budget is spent on the military. The issue is not about “less” government. The issue is about a government that functions for the plutocrats versus a government that functions for the people. Currently “law enforcement” serves to protect the plutocrats and “laws” are written for the benefit of the plutocrats.

    We shouldn’t buy and adopt their labels. We need to promote our own.

  4. Wayne A Lewis said on July 7th, 2008 at 4:02pm #

    Yes, I agree about not using their labels. I assume you are saying: Not to use the term “small government” when arguing about the illogic of it, but to frame our own terms. If so, I agree. I was hoping this article would attract those who aren’t sure of were they stand; that when they hear that term again, they would know it isn’t at all what it implies — as with almost all of the conservative terminology.


  5. Giorgio said on July 7th, 2008 at 4:45pm #

    “It is the conservatives, not the liberals who gave birth, nurtured and fed this large overweight government. It is the liberals and progressives who have worked hard to keep it chained up and from devouring everything in its destructive path.”

    REALLY ???

    Here is a conservative who honestly advocates for ‘a government that functions for the people’ and its freedoms: RON PAUL !

    CHECK IT OUT !!!

  6. Giorgio said on July 7th, 2008 at 5:02pm #


    At the bottom of it there is a selection of 15 videos.
    The last one (15th) tittled “We the People – CHARLIE CHAPLIN speech remix” is, if nothing else, worth taking a look.