Thursday, October 15, 2009

Why are conservatives seemingly anti-government?

It's not that the government is always the bad guy. It's that the government is run by people, just like corporations are, and people can be good or bad. What matters is the checks and balances to make sure power isn't abused and that people are working towards the right goal in an efficient manner.

Businesses are checked by the necessity of making a profit, and a profit in economic terms means they are providing a good or service society wants and generating gains for society in aggregate. Should they abuse or scam customers beyond the good they provide to those customers, they simply will not get enough business and they'll go bankrupt. Plus there are government agencies and laws to watch over the conduct of corporations. Yes definitely government is needed as a check to businesses beyond "market forces".

But who checks government power? Conservatives believe that government is the greater danger because it has more power and fewer checks. Government also isn't subject to being checked by market forces, government agencies don't have to offer good service or generate surplus to society. I think the tea parties and the huge march on Washington we saw was concern over the powers government is reserving for itself and the lack of enough checks to that power. Government can make laws and send people to jail, it can tax and take wealth away, it can affect people's lives a lot more than corporations can. No corporation can take away more wealth than I'm willing to give away, I can always end service, but I can't opt out of taxes or end the services government provides without moving out of country and renouncing my citizenship and utterly giving up my live as I know it.

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