“When things go right, we attribute the positive result to government without making any kind of controlled study to demonstrate its effect. When government efforts fail, we redouble our entreaties to its powers”
James L. Payne
For thousands of years, people have looked to government to fix what seems to be wrong in society. The trust in this institution, suggests political scientist James L. Payne, has not been based on evidence and logic. Like a primitive allegiance to a rain god, this faith is a “cultural presumption,” an unquestioned conviction that emerges over many centuries of historical evolution.
This attachment underlies errors at many levels. It leads policymakers to expand programs shown to be dysfunctional. It propels journalists into glaring logical contradictions. It leads highly-trained scholars to claim success for programs that have not passed elementary tests of effectiveness.
This same primitive faith in government’s powers and abilities leads ardent socialists to impose sweeping programs they poorly understand, which have left countries around the world in ruins.
And finally, this blind attachment leads the masses to want still more of the big government that they say they deplore.
However, as Payne shows, a small but rapidly growing group of thinkers and activists have transcended this instinctive faith. Known broadly as “libertarians,” they point to the healthier future that lies in store as we turn away from government’s centralized, coercive approach and implement neighborly ideals stressing personal relationships and voluntary cooperation.
The Big Government We Love to Hate; Exploring the Roots of Political Malaise
Author: James L. Payne
Paperback 216 pages
Complete with Appendix: Transcending Big Government,
and detailed Notes & References
Publication date: January 4, 2021
List price: $9.95