Happy New Year: Big or Small?

Happy new year, friends.

I’ve been engaged in a discussion of political movements, and there is a constant irritation regarding terminology. I have been careful to use (and consistently state) the US version of the spectrum, with the US right (including the Tea Party) and the US left (including the Occupy Movement). In US terms, socialism and communism and the progressive movement are all features of the Left. On the right are conservatives and libertarians.

In the discussion, I keep hearing that while the socialist Soviets might have been on the left (maybe) the socialist Nazis were definitely right-wing. To me, this is true only in an old-European sense, as well as the US academic sense of “call anything ‘right wing’ if you want to discredit it.”

From a US standpoint, there is no overlap between the Nazi movement and the Tea Party, which is why swastikas are featured (and worn!) at Occupy sites and not Tea Party rallies.    So I propose a different way of dividing it up: the big government movement versus small government.  The Tea Party is clearly a small-government movement, as are any who want to restore the Constitutional protections and guidelines to the US governing process.  Smaller government, less government welfare, less intrusive regulation and interference with markets.

The Occupy movement is on the left: They contend that people are making “too much” money and some or all of it should be taken away from them by force. According to their songs, the bankers might be killed anyway. That money would be necessarily taken by a big, empowered government and, in their notion, given to “the people.”

Now we can classify government systems. Communist China, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the National Socialism Party (which was Germany’s labor party before), Saddam Hussein’s National Socialist Republic of Iraq, the dictatorships in Iran, Syria, Venezuela and so on — these are all “big government” systems.  Monarchies as well. Communism is inherently a “big government” system, with Marx’s stated (and rather foolish) notion that once the big, all-controlling government is pout in place, people would naturally allow it to become “no government” instead, where people get what they need (and better be happy with only that). How would such a system, without a big government, enforce The jihadists are a big-government movement; they want to implement Sharia law over all activities, which is the goal of jihad.

Small government systems are rare. The US was the shining example of this, and a few have attempted to follow that example. We are wandering away from it; given a bit of power, those in charge naturally want more. So the push was on for government to take money away from a few to give (some of) it to the many, who would then keep them in office.

We resisted this for a our first century. Our resolve has been weakened, and progressive (i.e., progressively larger) government has made much headway.

But it is our small-government system that we can thank for making the United States the most prosperous of nations. We have relatively little in the way of natural resources — most of the West is desert. If this system had been tried in Africa instead of North America, there’d be no stopping them! Except, of course, by the implementation of big government once again.