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Debates Forum

  1. 22 Oct '13 15:20 / 1 edit
    If we assume this is true, and I think most of us do, then why would anyone want to increase the size and power of government? The more power you give it, the more corrupt it will naturally become.

    This is one of the basic pillars of my belief of what a government should be. You should only give the government as little power as possible, so that you limit how corrupt it becomes.

    I am aware that many people here believe in big powerful governments. Have you taken this basic truth into account in your belief system? Or do you have to pretend that this basic truth does not apply since you have such great ideals for what a big government can do?
  2. 22 Oct '13 15:31
    Originally posted by Eladar
    If we assume this is true, and I think most of us do, then why would anyone want to increase the size and power of government? The more power you give it, the more corrupt it will naturally become.

    This is one of the basic pillars of my belief of what a government should be. You should only give the government as little power as possible, so that you lim ...[text shortened]... is basic truth does not apply since you have such great ideals for what a big government can do?
    But this is human nature. How do you fight human nature?
  3. 22 Oct '13 15:35
    Originally posted by Eladar
    If we assume this is true, and I think most of us do, then why would anyone want to increase the size and power of government? The more power you give it, the more corrupt it will naturally become.
    Perhaps you can cite some evidence supporting this assertion? There are plenty of countries with small, but powerful governments. If you are LGBT in Russia, its "small government" is going to help you protect you against abuse from government officials. A country like Sweden has a relatively large government, but in what sense is it "powerful" or "corrupt"? The Swedish government, aside from absurd drug laws, has precious little authority over its citizens, and corruption is very low.
  4. 22 Oct '13 16:40
    Originally posted by Eladar
    If we assume this is true, and I think most of us do, then why would anyone want to increase the size and power of government? The more power you give it, the more corrupt it will naturally become.

    This is one of the basic pillars of my belief of what a government should be. You should only give the government as little power as possible, so that you lim ...[text shortened]... is basic truth does not apply since you have such great ideals for what a big government can do?
    It takes a powerful coordinated force to eliminate or severely restrict a powerful, corrupt government. If the working hypothesis you cite is true, the force that eliminates or restricts the government, will become the next sequential corrupt government.

    So if the hypothesis is true, it is possible that an occasional coordinated act of creative destruction, leading to a period of weak government, is the only remedy. This means anarchists throwing bombs (in modern times, taking down infrastructure be it hardware or software). Do you want that?
  5. 22 Oct '13 16:52
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Perhaps you can cite some evidence supporting this assertion? There are plenty of countries with small, but powerful governments. If you are LGBT in Russia, its "small government" is going to help you protect you against abuse from government officials. A country like Sweden has a relatively large government, but in what sense is it "powerful" or "corru ...[text shortened]... m absurd drug laws, has precious little authority over its citizens, and corruption is very low.
    Some evidence? Just look at the US government. The last bill to increase the debt limit included pork for the head Republican in the Senate as well as a huge chunk of money to a dead Congressman's widow. Why should this happen at all? Because the government has the power to do it.

    Limit what the government can do, such as award money to individuals or put pork in bills and you limit the amount of corruption that can occur.

    Limit the amount of money that the government can spend and you limit the amount that can go to friends.

    If you've never heard of the truth that power corrupts,you might want to read this:

    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/absolute-power-corrupts-absolutely.html

    did a google search
  6. 22 Oct '13 16:56
    Originally posted by Eladar
    Some evidence? Just look at the US government. The last bill to increase the debt limit included pork for the head Republican in the Senate as well as a huge chunk of money to a dead Congressman's widow. Why should this happen at all? Because the government has the power to do it.

    Limit what the government can do, such as award money to individuals or ...[text shortened]... ://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/absolute-power-corrupts-absolutely.html

    did a google search
    The US government is anecdotal. Can you point to any general trend? Or can you be more precise about the link between size (as measured by share of GDP, presumably) and (the abuse of) power?

    Pork barrel politics has nothing to do with the size of government, but results from a district voting system.
  7. 22 Oct '13 17:13
    Originally posted by Eladar
    Limit the amount of money that the government can spend and you limit the amount that can go to friends.
    What percentage of government spending goes to 'friends'.
    How much must you limit government spending before you have an impact? I think the government would collapse before you eliminate corruption. In Africa we see this time and again, seemingly poor countries have the most corrupt governments. Zimbabwe underwent near total economic collapse without Mugabe getting kicked out, and he is just as corrupt as ever.

    If you've never heard of the truth that power corrupts,you might want to read this:
    You are confusing government size with government power, they are not the same thing at all.
  8. 22 Oct '13 17:29
    Originally posted by Eladar
    If we assume this is true, and I think most of us do, then why would anyone want to increase the size and power of government? The more power you give it, the more corrupt it will naturally become. You should only give the government as little power as possible, so that you limit how corrupt it becomes.
    In a democracy, governments are the servants of a nation's citizens. We can kick them out at an election and end their careers overnight. Imagine if students had such power over their teachers! Who would be in charge of a classroom then?

    Also a government could be big, but still constitutionally constrained; as are most governments in the developed world, to greater or lesser degrees.

    As Kazet notes, many of the least corrupt governments seemed to be those in "big government" Northern European nations. Maybe you need to revise your assumptions about what is "true"?
  9. 22 Oct '13 17:37 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Eladar
    Some evidence? Just look at the US government. The last bill to increase the debt limit included pork for the head Republican in the Senate as well as a huge chunk of money to a dead Congressman's widow. Why should this happen at all? Because the government has the power to do it.
    Looking over from Europe, we are indeed often startled by the apparent corruption of the US government, by comparison with other developed countries. In Sweden a few years ago, a leading politician was obliged to drop out of the race for the Social Democratic Party leadership because she appeared to have paid for a few chocolate bars with her government credit card (she was eventually cleared of all charges).

    The real question you should be posing is why the US system specifically seems more vulnerable to corruption than most in Western Europe. But to answer this you would need a) to avoid assuming that facets of the US system are attributes of human nature, and b) to be willing to accept that your country can learn a thing or two from someone else's. I'm not holding my breath.

    (Incidentally, in making this last comment, I'm not meaning to imply that there's nothing that Europe could learn from the USA; obviously we've none of us created some kind of perfect system... And there's plenty of corruption in, eg, Italy...)
  10. 22 Oct '13 19:18
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    The US government is anecdotal. Can you point to any general trend? Or can you be more precise about the link between size (as measured by share of GDP, presumably) and (the abuse of) power?

    Pork barrel politics has nothing to do with the size of government, but results from a district voting system.
    Your tales of Nordic success are just as anecdotal, and over a much shorter time line.
  11. 22 Oct '13 19:46
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Perhaps you can cite some evidence supporting this assertion? There are plenty of countries with small, but powerful governments. If you are LGBT in Russia, its "small government" is going to help you protect you against abuse from government officials. A country like Sweden has a relatively large government, but in what sense is it "powerful" or "corru ...[text shortened]... m absurd drug laws, has precious little authority over its citizens, and corruption is very low.
    Evidence? What more do you need?

    The mere fact that government exists tells us that a certain group of individuals is exercising power over the populace. We see examples of corruption in every government on the planet, so it stands to reason the more power given these individuals the greater the corruption possible.

    It's not rocket science.
  12. 22 Oct '13 19:49 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by JS357
    It takes a powerful coordinated force to eliminate or severely restrict a powerful, corrupt government. If the working hypothesis you cite is true, the force that eliminates or restricts the government, will become the next sequential corrupt government.

    So if the hypothesis is true, it is possible that an occasional coordinated act of creative destruction, ...[text shortened]... ombs (in modern times, taking down infrastructure be it hardware or software). Do you want that?
    Mark Levin suggests we go back to the pre-Progressive era, when states had rights. You know, the way it was set up. This could be done through such things as the states amending the Constitution to limit Federal powers. They could create a balanced budget amendment and impose term limits for the aristocracy in Congress.

    Congress and the federal government will never reform themselves. What they need is an intervention.

    Why all the hysteria with anarchy when proposing the reform the status quo?
  13. 22 Oct '13 19:52
    Originally posted by whodey
    Evidence? What more do you need?

    The mere fact that government exists tells us that a certain group of individuals is exercising power over the populace. We see examples of corruption in every government on the planet, so it stands to reason the more power given these individuals the greater the corruption possible.

    It's not rocket science.
    If it "stands to reason", can you show it empirically? For example, can you show a link between the Corruption Perceptions Index and government size?
  14. 22 Oct '13 19:53 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    The US government is anecdotal. Can you point to any general trend? Or can you be more precise about the link between size (as measured by share of GDP, presumably) and (the abuse of) power?

    Pork barrel politics has nothing to do with the size of government, but results from a district voting system.
    Look at a chart of the national debt before the federal congress created an amendment to create a federal income tax. As you will see, the more revenue the federal government brought in the more it spent. These are proportionally correlating events.

    Of course, they had to amend the Constitution to allow this at the turn of the 20th century because SCOTUS ruled the federal income tax unconstitutional. Now it is simply time to fix the mess left to us by the left by amending the Constitution once again.
  15. 22 Oct '13 19:56 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    If it "stands to reason", can you show it empirically? For example, can you show a link between the Corruption Perceptions Index and government size?
    What are you babbling about? Social Security is a prime example. Just create a large pot of money and redistribute only what you are required to redistribute, and then steal the rest and leave a worthless IOU.

    Good grief, I could give countless other examples such as the stimulus package. Where did all that money go? Hmm? You say you can't empirically show me where every last cent went? Do you think that is troublesome?