While it’s a lot of fun to point out how silly the right sounds when they try to propagate the meme that the left means “bigger government” and the right “smaller government”, we’re breezing right by the fact that the idea that “liberals == larger government” is just flat-out wrong.

The truth is liberals don’t look at the size of government – say in employees, or budget size, or whatever – and say “that’s too small; we need to grow government!” It just doesn’t happen. Liberals look at individual programs and decide what we should be doing at the governmental level and what we shouldn’t. Some of those decisions will result in larger government. Some, in smaller government.

For example, it’s conservatives who want to spend billions of dollars on a wall along our southern border which will have the effect of hurting our economy. (Then they think that when liberals oppose that idea, that means we’re for illegal immigration. No – we just think the wall is a stupid, stupid idea.) Similarly, it is conservatives who move to grow the size of our military, not liberals.

In fact, we should all know by now that under GOP administrations our federal government has grown dramatically in size and debt. Much faster – many times more than the worst post-war Democrats in terms of growth of government – with Reagan-style conservatives.

The right are wrong with their “big government v small government” meme on it’s face. It’s just a nice bonus that we can make fun of them for saying something silly about it.

 
  • akonsen

    Over the last few years, our critique of the progressive movement has been more detailed than simply accusing you of wanting “big government.” You guys want something more than just an increased roster of federal employees; you want power over individual Americans' lives and a fundamental transformation of America. We've been successfully revealing the authoritarian and anti-Constitutional roots of progressive ideology, and we've explained that modern progressives will achieve those long-desired goals if you're not defeated and your existing programs aren't rolled back.

    But please … feel free to keep caricaturing us as fearful, thuggish dullards angrily clinging to our Bibles and our guns. Sneer at us and tell each other that we're simply unable to understand that our own best interests lie in relinquishing our liberties and our paychecks to the kindly bureaucrats in Washington who know what's best for us. It's working out wonderfully for you.

  • Big Time Liberal

    “We’ve been successfully revealing the authoritarian and anti-Constitutional roots of progressive ideology, and we’ve explained that modern progressives will achieve those long-desired goals if you’re not defeated and your existing programs aren’t rolled back.”

    What a load. You mean programs that help the poor and the elderly? How about programs that help children? Or how about making sure everyone has the same rights?

  • Alo, seriously.

    (Aside: Brian, you know you're on to something when you shake Konsen loose. Heh)

    You can't argue authoritarian and anti-Constitutional “roots” having sat silent during 8 years of George W. Bush. You lose. You simply can't play the game anymore if you are going to enter it with such utter disingenuousness. What did you breathlessly “reveal” during those years, Alo? Did you argue against Bush signing a flag desecration act (that didn't pass). Sounds like free speech to me – abhorrent, yes…but free. Did you stand up in protest when Bush was institutionalizing so-called “post-911” abuses of liberty and freedom? Or did you sit silent because he was “a conservative”. You just can't have it both ways. You either lied then and betrayed your values or you are now.

    Maybe you argued that Bush's Office of Faith Based Initiatives – which awards millions in taxpayer dollars (collected by those of faith and those agnostic and atheist) – was an erosion of our Constitutional heritage of a wall of separation between Church and State. I missed it.

    It's possible that you have argued that the continuing attempts by conservatives to impose their morality on women and gays alike belies the underlying notions of freedom and liberty our founding fathers intended.

    Again. Missed it.

    Do you get the feeling that you are entering a gun fight with a knife here? You might want to ammo up a bit before we continue. You won't win any argument that the underlying theme of recent “conservative” administrations has been about liberty and The Constitution. Far from it.

    Where were you, Alo, when the Office of Legal Counsel was busy crafting secret legal opinions that drastically expanded the executive powers of the POTUS, effectively shitting directly upon The Constitution? Did you call in sick that day to conservative school?

    We don't caricature you as much as you do. We just point and laugh.

    I'll ask a question that Modern likes to ask to diffuse these silly liberties arguments. Which liberties (specifically) have you lost since Obama was elected. Which ones have you been forced to relinquish in the face of a Progressive President. List them. Here. Specifically.

    I'm also pretty certain if you judge the effectiveness of an ideology purely on your paycheck that you may find that it's a bit fatter under the current President than it was under the last. Unless, of course, you happen to be ultra-rich – which means you got massive tax breaks under Bush. Evens out I guess.

    What's working well for us is continuing to expose the hypocrisy that is modern day conservatism.

  • You guys want something more than just an increased roster of federal employees;

    But that's the point – we don't want that at all! Any increases (or decreases) in the “roster of federal employees” are side effects of policy changes, not the goal. It is a silly caricature, and you just can't keep away from it.

    We've been successfully revealing the authoritarian and anti-Constitutional roots of progressive ideology

    Snort. Over the entire history of this country liberals/liberalism has been responsible for every expansion of liberty we've seen. Women's suffrage? Liberalism. Civil rights movement? Liberalism. Even the founding of this country was an act of liberalism.

  • mvirenicus

    modern american “conservatives” would have been british crown loyalists at the founding of this country.

  • Matthew

    It doesn’t matter whether or not you it is your goal to expand government. What matters is whether you do it or not. It wasn’t Stalin’s goal to make millions of Russians starve it was just a side effect of government collectivization of farms.

    The founding of this country was libertarianism, not liberalism.

    “A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.”
    “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”
    “Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have … The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.”
    Thomas Jefferson
    By the way, you forgot Prohibition and all of the socialist policies such as redistribution of wealth.

  • Matthew

    Taxing certain economic classes while exempting others is not equal rights.
    Also, government welfare programs such as housing produce poor results and just end up being demolished after the people living there trash it up. It is a waste of tax-payer money.
    The reason those people are poor in the first place is because of government (failing public schools, welfare programs creating entitlement attitudes, taxes on businesses as well as income, greater government presence in the health care industry etc…).
    As a side note, Social Security was never meant to be an entitlement. FDR created it to provide income for the elderly unemployed during the Great Depression.

  • You’re a few months late on your response to this post Matthew, and you aren’t really even addressing anything in the post.

    It sounds like you have a lot of jumbled up conservative talking points to discuss and I recommend you start your own blog to do just that. Lord knows we can never have enough uninformed conservative bloggers spouting off on the internets.

  • You’re a few months late on your response to this post Matthew, and you aren’t really even addressing anything in the post.

    It sounds like you have a lot of jumbled up conservative talking points to discuss and I recommend you start your own blog to do just that. Lord knows we can never have enough uninformed conservative bloggers spouting off on the internets.

  • EmperorProzen

    Whether I am “late” or not is not the point; and I am not uninformed. I take classes in history, business, and economics.

    What is going on here in America will destroy this country. Blotted bureaucracy, increased regulation, high deficit spending, and higher taxes (which is not a solution to high deficits because taxes penalize productivity, slow economic growth, while creating stagnated wages). Read about the Spanish empire, the Roman empire, and the Greek empire so you will know what I mean.

    You say Conservative like it is bad to defend peoples’ rights as well as the principles upon which this country was founded. Just to be clear, defending rights and giving out welfare are two different things.

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