The government thinks you’re stupid, or at least ignorant.
This isn’t just an indictment of the current government or an indictment of government itself. It’s simply a statement of fact. At its core, the government exists to do certain things that people aren’t equipped to do on their own. The list of those things has gotten longer and longer over the years. In 1776, the federal government’s portfolio could have easily fit in a file folder: maintain an army and navy, a few federal courts, the post office, the patent office, and maybe a dozen or two other pretty obvious things.
Now, the file folder of things the federal government does is much bigger. To paraphrase Dr. Egon Spengler from Ghostbusters, let’s imagine that the federal government in 1776 was the size of this Twinkie (take my word for it, I’m holding a normal-sized Twinkie). Today that Twinkie would be 35 feet long, weighing approximately 600 pounds.
And that’s just at the federal level. Each state government is a pretty giant-sized Twinkie, too.
The justifications for all of these laws and all of these workers — the good, the bad, and the ugly — have one thing in common: the assumption that the rest of us couldn’t get by without them, whether we like it or not.
Conservatives tend to see government as a necessary evil, and therefore see policymaking with some humility. Liberals tend to see government as a necessary good, and see ordering people to do things “for their own good” as a source of pride, even hubris.
From a conservative perspective, telling people how to run their lives when not absolutely necessary is an abuse of power. For liberals, telling people how to run their lives is one of the really fun perks of working for the government.
You can see the frustration on the president’s face. It’s almost like the ingrates who refuse to understand that his were necessary lies for their own good are spoiling all his fun.