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Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

February 13th, 2013 // 4:04 pm @

In the push for more gun control and changes to our national immigration policy, a few very important things have been mostly left out of the news in recent weeks.

They have been mentioned, yes, but not emphasized.

And these items deserve to be seriously considered by all Americans.

  • First, economic figures came out last week showing that the U.S. economy actually shrank during the last quarter of 2012—with negative growth in the U.S. GDP. The Administration waived this off as hardly newsworthy, a mere blip in many months of growth, but for those who closely watch the economy this is a serious concern. Recession hurts us all.


  • Second, a poll last week showed that 53% of American citizens consider the federal government a threat in their lives.[i] This is very different from an approval rating. In fact, this is extreme. A majority of Americans now see Washington as a threat. This is a big deal, because a nation that doesn’t trust its government is going to become increasingly dysfunctional—and solutions are going to be more difficult in such an environment.


  • Third, a new article argues that Congress and some federal Executive-Branch agencies are prone to political corruption[ii]—especially from well-funded special interest groups. The article concluded with concern that it is probably only wishful thinking to hope we can ever return to being governed according to clear, known, accepted principles instead of bureaucratic complexities. Government now is just too big.


  • Fourth, as a corollary of item three, the complexity brought on by the sheer size of the federal apparatus has created the same level of bureaucratic technicality at the state and many local levels of government. Even our towns, cities and counties now tend to operate in the complicated style of federal agencies, where simplicity is suspect and byzantine rules apply to things that should be easy and straightforward. Locales are often funded from Washington and find that their otherwise uncomplicated systems must be complex in order to interface with federal offices and programs. The World Economic Forum ranked the United States 76th in free economic burdens on business growth.


  • Fifth, many modern governments are now in the business of creating new “rights,” telling people that they need these “rights,” and then finding that the government can’t afford to fund these “rights.”[iii] This causes government to grow even more, in the desperate attempt to fund newly-established “rights” by consistently increasing taxes. Note that such “rights” aren’t inalienable, but rather established by governments. Among these “rights” are health care, unemployment income, and the pursuit of money for a growing number of consumer wants.


  • Sixth, the U.S. infrastructure of roads, bridges, electric grids and drinking-water systems will cost $2 trillion to bring up to first-world standards.[iv] This at a time the government can hardly afford its current liabilities.

In short, government policies are slowing or reversing our economic growth, the people don’t trust their government, the government just keeps growing and growing, costs are increasing, and government is becoming increasingly complex and difficult to manage at all levels.

This same bundle of policies—along with massive involvement in foreign wars—brought down many of the empires of history, including the Roman, Ottoman and British.

Perhaps the six items outlined above haven’t led the news cycle simply because they aren’t really anything new.

Most regular Americans probably already knew about these trends—at least at a gut level—before they were officially announced.

Still, these are in many ways the big news of 2013.

This is the new environment in which we live, and all of these trends are making freedom less likely to flourish in the months, years and decade ahead.

Government is simply too big right now, and as it continues to increase in size many more such problems will naturally arise.


[i] See discussion on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, February 3, 2013.

[ii] Richard A. Epstein, “The Perilous Position of the Rule of Law and the Administrative State,” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Winter 2013, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 5-19.

[iii] See, for example, ibid, pp. 10-12.

[iv] See Fareed Zakaria, “Can America Be Fixed?” Foreign Affairs, January/February 2013, p. 28.


odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

Category : Blog &Current Events &Economics &Featured &Politics

One Comment → “Bigger Isn’t Always Better”

  1. Keith

    11 years ago


    When you say “…all of these trends are making freedom less likely to flourish in the months, years and decade ahead,” I can confirm this but with a twist. We are still a long ways off from what might be considered a final tribulation. When it comes, it will last 112 years and start at 2097. How I know this cannot be explained here. What I can say is that we were given 70 weeks to bring in everlasting righteousness and yet we get it established in the 69 week. That is 2063, roughly, and yet the first wall goes up in roughly 2051. In other words, all the prior cycles do not apply to the future. They are secular cycles, mostly organized and created by forces not of God’s design. And when you begin to see God’s timeline and not man’s constant up and down yoyo cycle, it is like leadership getting a huge push, like a jet airplane being shoved off the deck of an aircraft carrier. Leadership today simply lacks this lift to see what will come and how to prepare for it. If most could see that we are in the last wake of freedom for individuals, then those individuals, as leaders, would be doing everything they can to secure freedom for people down the road, and this cannot be done without a huge price to pay, thus we have not the restoration and the redemption of freedom, and we all know that a redemption of freedom is obtained through blood, responsibility, and great sacrifice among an equally great people, and yet spawned by leaders who could see far enough ahead of the coming challenge.

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