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The Case for Limited Government

BY HANNAH COX

November 14, 2016 11:30AM

The past year has been an exhausting one for many Americans, but limited government supporters are probably the most fatigued by the 2016 presidential election.

Many liberals who have spent the past 8 years cheering executive overreach and neglecting to see any issue with the government’s involvement in any area, woke up in dismay Wednesday morning to find that Trump had won the election. And the weeping and gnashing of teeth has yet to cease.

Social media feeds are convoluted with fearful Americans, angry and distraught that the expanded “freedoms,” “rights,” and privileges they received over the past 8 years under Obama may be snuffed out with the stroke of a pen or in a matter of months under President Trump. But make no mistake, had the election gone the other way, many Republicans would be in the same emotional state right now.

Government is in its very essence brute force. All laws must be imposed, and the natural progression of that fact is that imposition takes place through coercion. Because of this, laws, and therefore government, should be extremely limited. Every time you use the government to get your way you are using force to impose your wishes on someone else.

It’s a bit difficult to feel sorry for anyone (on either side of the aisle) that advocates for unlimited government power but never considers it might end up in the hands of someone they don’t like. The left has spent the past 8 years enforcing its desires through government overreach and force. Now they fear that the right will take away those “gains” and impose their own desires through the same methods. And therein lies the problem and why we at the Beacon Center are so emphatic in our argument for a truly limited government.

If laws are force than we must be extraordinarily cautious in creating new laws and vigilant of the areas in which we impose them. Limitations on power are absolutely necessary to protect the minority from whatever power is currently in charge and both Republicans and Democrats would do well to remember that.

It may be too optimistic to hope that the results of this election will turn all liberals into limited government believers, and it is certainly unlikely to lead wayward Republicans eager to impose their views through the presidency back to the limited government folds. But perhaps it can serve to illustrate the issues with the expansion of presidential and federal government powers and convince some of the merits of a small government.

Your government cannot give you rights, it can only limit or enshrine those you already posses. Keeping that fact in mind, it should severely limit the petitions we make for government to become involved in any facet of our lives. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have.” A limited government is what made America great and enabled the greatest expansion of individual liberty history has ever seen, the principles of a limited government will hopefully not be so easily dismissed by the left moving forward.