This blog talks a lot about labels, especially what they mean in politics. Thus, when I read a column in the New Republic, that no longer looks like that great liberal magazine that once questioned the influence of governmental power in personal and economic lives, but now post columns that support both the welfare state and the nanny state, I feel the need to reply.
Young people love big government? Do you really see a call for higher taxes, more centralized government programs, and expansion of the war on drugs from young adults? Do you hear them saying that legalizing same-sex-marriage would be a horrible mistake that would ruin our national moral fiber, that we not only need to outlaw same-sex-marriage but outlaw homosexuality all together? Are they saying that privacy is dangerous and we need to prohibit not only currently illegal drugs but also currently legal drugs, e.g., like sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
The polling data from my Generation, X, and Generation Y show that big government is not popular with these people. They want the freedom to make their own decisions. They don’t want a nanny state trying to run their lives for them or a welfare state making most of their economic decisions for them.
Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, help for the needy, public education, etc., such government programs at one level or another have always been popular and I imagine that they always will be. These are social insurance programs for people who need them. They intrude into personal space much less than a welfare or nanny state that seeks to manage the life of every citizen.
The future of American politics lies with the Ron Paul Libertarians on the Right, who may save the Republican Party from itself and eventually take control of it, and want government almost completely out of our lives, and the Brian Schweitzer (former governor of Montana) liberals on the left who believe in the safety net with equal rights and protections for all Americans, including personal choice and autonomy over our personal lives. Neither of these groups wants the government to try to run our lives for us.
However, the Bernie Sanders socialists and the social democrats on the far-left have their supporters and followers. They, and the real welfare-staters, want to see a big, centralized, social democratic government in this country. But they aren’t a governing faction and will never be as long as they are putting down private enterprise and capitalism and trying to convince the middle class that they are under-taxed and that government simply needs more of their hard earn money.