August 24, 2014 by David K. Sutton
Big Government, Ferguson, Health Care, And Unbridled Power Of The State
Okay, I’ll admit that title is a mashup that I never saw coming until I typed it. But stay with me for a moment…
Conservatives are suspect of what they call “big government,” and they display grave concern for the unbridled power of the state. They fear that if government becomes too large, it will crush the rights of the people. Of course, I must acknowledge this is a valid concern, one that I share. The problem with conservatives is that they make no distinctions. They consider any attempt by government to discuss, or worse, try to fix a problem in society, as an example of big government overreach. They believe when this happens we are standing on the precipice of full-on dictatorial tyranny.
But I believe some nuance and parsing of the facts are needed before such a judgement is rendered. It’s quite a leap of logic to lump police and surveillance state actions with things like universal health care. If you are a conservative, you might disagree with the idea of a single-payer health care system, but your philosophical disagreement doesn’t mean that the idea of universal health care provided by the government is inherently a bad idea, or that it will lead to loss of civil liberties, or worse.
Ultimately it is not the nuts that are the greatest threat to democracy. As history has show us over and over and over again, the greatest threat to democracy is the unbridled power of the state over it’s citizens. Which, by the way, that power is always unleashed in the name of preservation.” – Mandy Hampton (Moira Kelly)
“The West Wing” – Season One, Episode Seven, “The State Dinner” – 11/10/99
I agree with this sentiment. The greatest threat to democracy is unbridled power of the state. That unbridled power is on display in many areas, like the militarized police force in Ferguson, Missouri, the same police force that many conservatives have lauded as showing a proportional response to “looters” and “thugs” otherwise known as Americans who are practicing a time-honored tradition of protest in the name of human rights.
See, the problem with conservatives is they get worked up over the wrong things, on a nearly consistent basis. The philosophical roots of their concerns are sometimes valid, but unfortunately they consistently misapply these concerns, direct them at elements in society that they consider “foreign,” or “un-American,” and then we end up on a news media-fueled adventure down the rabbit hole, yet again, with hours and days spent debunking false claim or wild conspiracy theories from the Right.
Yes, we should all show concern for unbridled power of the state. But advocating universal and equal access to health care, as just one example, is not the first place I would direct that concern. If use of excessive force by the state is of serious concern to you, it might be wise to show more concern for police actions in Ferguson, Missouri. Just a suggestion.