Based on what both the right and the left purport to believe about the nature of government, both should be equally skeptical of government power. An exception would be a short-sighted desire to elevate “your side’s” political power within the government; but then what if “the other side” comes back into control and wields the power machinery the first side set up? This paradigm would at least explain the behavior of most republicans and democrats over the past few decades.
But to do this the right has to trick its supporters into believing they are for smaller government while the left can pursue every avenue of government spending and intervention in order to placate their base. I still wonder why the left is so much more comfortable handing over the reigns of societal control to the government, taking it away from individuals. Its understandable from the politicians’ perspective, “I’m the one who gets to make the rules, and wield the power”. But from a left-wing voter perspective, are they that confidant in the people they elect?
I think this difference is married to the philosophy of each side. Sure, the right wants to elect good guys, but if they are actually shrinking government, then we don’t really have to worry about them wielding too much power. On the other hand the left elects their politician specifically for advancing the power, control, and scope of government, and therefore must also be confidant in their choice’s ability and responsibility to wield that control. My question is, how can you be so confident in a person who you really don’t know, especially when they aspire to that position of influence and power?
The biggest problem on the right is finding a politician that will actually make government smaller, will actually lower taxes, cut spending, and promote individual liberty. But the left’s problem is that after their politician expands government in the area promised for the purpose specified, then that power must be handled effectively and appropriately. We know it almost never is handled appropriately, and the politician who set it up rarely suffers the negative consequences, because the only people to “punish” them are the ones who elected them, and approved of or demanded their particular plan to expand government.
So then is my answer to the question that the left just assumes everything will go according to plan, and that their politician would never lie to them, or even just screw up? Or do they assume that government inherently fulfills the regulatory and humanitarian responsibilities it creates for itself? Probably the left’s love for democracy is what gives them confidence, the belief that majority rule will serve the greater good. But then how do they reconcile other results of majority rule that they don’t like?
This can help clue us in to why the left needs to control the media and essentially brainwash people with their message; because they believe in majority rule, and therefore must be sure that the majority serves their interests, and the interests of the “greater good”–or at least whatever seems in the best interests of the 51%. In this way the left sees it as their goal to gain majority approval, which in their opinion will then lead to positive results for society, and every now and then it does: for instance if they convince the majority that government policy should stay out of people’s bedrooms.
The right has no such confidence in their elected officials, even the ones they approve of. Likewise, the right has no confidence that the majority of their fellow voters are competent enough to know what is best for 51% of society. Furthermore, it is not just 51% of society that the right cares about, rather the rights of each individual. This means the right thinks 100% of society should be afforded the same rights and opportunities, and in this way protects minorities in a society, that the 51% might otherwise oppress. (These could be racial minorities, but also farmers, businessmen, or other groups which don’t form a majority of voters).
Really I think the left’s position comes down to fantasy and wishful thinking that the people they elect to government are competent, honest, and smart enough to see all and address all the indirect consequences of government intervention. The right believes this task impossible of any government entity or disinterested individual, and therefore puts its faith in market forces to serve the best interests of society. Of course, market forces can be broken down another level to individual action which serves the best interests of the individual without initiating force against any other individual or group of individuals.
The left requires faith that 51% of the electorate will know the correct thing to do for society. The right just requires that individuals regulate markets by making the best consumer decisions for themselves as individuals. The government’s only role would be to make sure no force is involved in market transactions.
So the left seems to rely mostly on misplaced trust in government officials and bureaucrats to fulfill their duties, and take into account the side effects, absent of any machinery to control quality, create accountability, and provide incentive. The right believes that the market through individual action naturally provides incentives, creates accountability, and will deliver the quality demanded by individuals, whatever the product or service might be. I think an unbiased examination of history makes it clear that no such faith in government is warranted, while markets, starting with a simple trade/ barter oriented society, have always provided what people need by allowing free individual transaction absent of force.