Small Government

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. – P.J. O'Rourke

Libertarians believe that government is not the answer to our problems. Instead, it causes or contributes to most of our country’s troubles. Each time the government tries to fix a problem, it inadvertently makes it worse because groups of bureaucrats simply don’t know enough to predict the future.

Bureaucracies have one real goal: to increase their size and allocated budget. They actually have an incentive not to be too successful at their supposed purpose, or do it too efficiently, because they get more funding only if their program is failing and “needs” more money and people to “do the job right.” This is why the Federal Government has around 300 departments and programs, all of which demand more of our money each year.

Most government functions would be better served by private groups, which must do things better and more cheaply, in order to make profit (or receive more donations, in the case of non-profit charities).

Therefore, a very limited government would be best for our country. Most libertarians think that government should only be employed for the following functions:

  • Police (to protect us from force)
  • The justice system (to protect us from fraud and force)
  • A national military (for defense within our borders only)

Our U.S. and state governments currently involve themselves in almost every area of our lives. A partial list of government functions that should become obsolete:

  • Welfare (private charities would help the poor)
  • Education (private schools would do a much better job of educating everyone, especially poor children)
  • Social Security (the government would replace this bankrupt program with private annuities bought for older people who have spent years paying into the program)
  • Corporate and agricultural subsidies would be discontinued
  • Consumer product and drug regulations would be handled by the free market (makers of bad products would be sued in court and the bad publicity would put them out of business)
  • The government would no longer own land, water and parks, having sold them to private individuals and groups (including environmental groups) who would take better care of them
  • Research in scientific areas, including space exploration, would be handled by private companies, who profit from doing it better and more cost-effectively
  • Most of the other 300 departments and agencies currently devouring our hard-earned tax dollars would be eliminated

If government functions were reduced, government would no longer need to extract such a heavy tax burden (half of what we earn) from us. In fact, many libertarians believe that the limited government described above could be run effectively on voluntary donations from citizens, without any taxes at all. People will support something worth supporting, like they currently do for churches and the arts (of course, donations would depend on popular support of government policies and actions, so the government would be forced to follow the will of the people).