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Argument: Republicans are too suspicious and critical of government

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Supporting quotations

David Carlin. "Why I'm Not a Republican." Inside Catholic. September 6th, 2008: "3. I am made suspicious and nervous by the animus many Republicans have for "big government" and the "welfare state" along with their superstitious belief in the virtual infallibility of market mechanisms. I'm old enough to remember FDR (I remember the day he died; I had turned seven three days earlier), not to mention Truman and Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. I can't forget that they used 'big government' to promote the general welfare (in Catholic thought, more usually called 'the common good'). Think of the roll call: Social Security, unemployment compensation, minimum wage, the TVA, the Wagner Act, the GI Bill of Rights, the FHA, Medicare, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and so on [all of which Republicans opposed]. "Why a website defending government? Because, like many Americans, I am tired of the government bashing that is constantly coming from the political right. For decades conservatives have been demonizing government and not enough has been done to defend it. Ever since Ronald Reagan declared in 1981 that 'Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem,' Republicans have been waging a political war against this institution. Their core message: the free market is good and government is bad.

Blithely ignoring anything good about government, conservatives have conducted a relentless smear campaign against this institution, portraying it as wasteful, ineffective, corrupt, oppressive, and bad for business. And wherever they have been in power, Republican officials have pursued an anti-government agenda of slashing taxes, cutting social programs, and rolling back regulations. 'Smaller government' has been the conservative mantra – except of course for the ever-growing expenditures for defense and national security.

This website is a response to this one-sided, distorted, and misleading depiction of government. It makes the case that government – despite its flaws – plays a valuable and indispensable role in promoting the public good. Most government programs are working well and are actually improving the lives of all Americans in innumerable ways.

Today, this more positive – and more realistic – view of government is beginning to gain more traction among parts of the public. For one thing, the mortgage system collapse and the ensuing deep financial crisis have given most Americans a renewed appreciation of the importance of government and the vital roles it plays in our society. Most economists now agree that the quick and vigorous financial rescue efforts of the government saved millions of jobs and prevented us from slipping into a devastating economic depression.

[...] Out of Step with America It is true that part of the American tradition is to distrust power and those who wield it – whether they are in government, corporations, churches, labor unions, or any large organization. This is all to the good, because power can be abused and needs to be kept in check. We need to constantly question our governmental leaders and we need to keep them accountable in order to ensure that they are responsive to our needs and that they spend our money wisely. But the views of the anti-government movement go far beyond this kind of healthy suspicion about governmental power – they actually hate government. They sometimes call it “the beast” or “the monster” – and actually consider it to be some kind of malevolent force in society. They demonize it, loathe it, and see it as the source of all of our problems. Of course, all of us have probably said at times that we "hate" the government. But what we mean by that is usually very different from what these anti-government crusaders mean. We usually mean that we detest the particular politicians in power and/or that we hate the policies they are pursuing. So liberal Americans hate it when conservatives are in charge of government, and vice versa. In other words, we hate a particular government. But the anti-government right hates government in general – government itself. This is a very different and much more extreme view."

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