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Published May 24, 2012 in Persuasion by Michael Cloud
"The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth is also true, " wrote Niels Bohr.
"Government doesn't work," said Harry Browne.
"Government works perfectly," says Michael Cloud.
They are opposites. But both are true.
* * *
"Government is broken," claim some.
"Government spending is out of control," argue others.
"Government has exceeded its limits," say critics.
"Government is misgoverned; government programs are badly managed," say reformers.
"Government is not doing what it's supposed to be doing -- and it IS doing what it's NOT supposed to," say others.
They are wrong.
Government works perfectly. Today's Big Government does exactly what its design dictates and allows. Government is functioning according to its nature.
Cobra venom works perfectly. It does what it's designed to do.
Hand grenades and land mines work perfectly. They do what they're designed to do.
It is the nature of Big Government to produce the results it produces. It is the nature of Big Government economic and social programs to produce the results they produce.
Whatever government can do, it will do.
Why does government raise taxes? Because it can.
Why does government engage in deficit spending? Because it can.
Why do many corporations lobby politicians for special privileges? Because they can.
Why do many politicians legislate special privileges for these corporations? Because they can.
Why do government officials do what they do? Because they can.
Why does government keep getting bigger? Because it can.
"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground," wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1788.
It is the nature of government to grow.
Big Government does what it does because Big Government is what it is.
Cause and effect. "The law of causality is the law of identity applied to action," wrote Ayn Rand.
Cause and effect work perfectly. So does government cause and effect.
Government policies, programs, and actions do not produce the results their supporters want. They produce the results their nature dictates and allows.
Cause and effect.
You grow what you sow. If you sow wheat seed, you'll grow wheat. Not barley. Not corn. Wanting different crops has no effect. Changing who sows wheat has no effect. Different sowers with the same seeds will produce the same crops.
Why does Big Government regularly and repeatedly increase spending, raise taxes, expand its power and authority, and infringe on our lives, liberty, and property?
Because it can. That is its nature.
Why doesn't small government do these things? Because it can't.
Because we give small government just barely enough resources to defend our lives, liberty, and property -- and we regularly prune it back. This small government will also work perfectly. But it will be a small perfection.
Michael Cloud is author of the acclaimed book Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion, available exclusively from the Advocates.