Democrats and Conservatives grow government in different ways. Both groups, however, like to use the metaphor of war. "War on Poverty" "War on Drugs" "War on Terrorism" Each of these "wars" share something interesting: they are all conducted by Big Government -and they all claim to be helping us or saving us or protecting us. BUT... Because they are conducted by Big Government, they tend to grow the power of Government without solving the problem. In many cases, government makes the problem worse, and in all cases the federal bureaucracy is left with vast new powers and vastly expanded budgets. Republicans have been good at criticizing Democrats when they expand government. Indeed, an older generation of Conservatives not only protected us from the expansion of government domestically but also internationally, that is, they didn't think Washington bureaucrats were capable of saving or protecting or improving the world. They were realistic about the limitations of Washington's power. Yes, they knew that the U.S. had to fight against the Nazis, but they didn't think Washington was competent enough to take on larger projects, like reforming the greater middle east. Does anyone remember the old isolationist Conservatives? I'm thinking about the wise men who opposed Truman's attempt to use the Cold War as a way to expand America's global influence. The old isolationist conservatives warned us that this would result in making the American taxpayer responsible for policing the world. Indeed, they warned us that the Washington was not competent enough to run a laundromat much less manage the entire globe through military intervention. They warned us that any attempt to manage the entire globe militarily would create Pentagon budgets that would slowly bankrupt us. They warned us against giving trillions of dollars to foreign nations because Washington was not deft enough to manage these payouts in a way that benefited the nation). INDEED, the old Conservative party (before Reagan and the take over of our political system by concentrated wealth) helped us realize that Washington was and is not competent enough to do BIG things. That is: they can't even run the post office on budget, so how in the world can the rebuild whole Arab nations like Iraq. Granted, we would like to "stamp-out" all the world's evil doers and have complete safety on every airplane and in every skyscraper, but life is imperfect... and life is unfair... and life is unsafe - and sometimes we the people have to "man-up" and be our own first-responders... and protect our own families ... and be responsible for our own safety. That is to say, because we have less chance of dying in terrorist attack than getting struck by lightening, maybe we shouldn't erect vast new government bureaucracies in response to terrorism. [FYI: I agree that terrorism poses a real threat, but - unlike Republicans - I don't think the solution lies in growing the federal government's power. This is where I disagree with Republicans, who, after all their bluster about federalism, have tended to grow the federal bureaucracy more than the Left since Reagan] Imagine if we built a new government agency for every threat no matter how small? Imagine if we built a bureaucracy to protect ourselves from lightening strikes... and imagine if we paid all these additional taxes and gave government all these additional powers to track our phone calls, internet use, and location . . . so they could protect us from getting struck by lightening. This would be insane because we would be growing government power in response to something that will only afflict less than .00001% of the population (which is considerably more than those affected by terrorism). And here is what Republicans don't understand: we wouldn't be made any safer by giving government all these expanded powers and budgets to protect us. We would only be making things worse. Therefore, the best thing to do is choose MORE freedom and MORE privacy and accept some risk. (Problem is: Republicans always opt for security over freedom. They always give Government more power when faced with this decision. Fucking morons. If you really want to honor those who died on 9/11, than don't build a freedom-destroying surveillance state in their honor. Do the opposite. Protect freedom in their honor. Protect privacy in their honor. Don't trade freedom for the illusion of safety.) So .... I bet you're wondering what happened to the great isolationist, small government Conservatives under Ronald Reagan. They grew silent and powerless as Reagan expanded government to protect us from Drugs, sin and Soviets. Surely people remember the Reagan war on drugs. Surely they remember Nancy Reagan's "you can't fly if you're high". Ronald Reagan used the war on drugs to create a massive federal bureaucracy... and he used the Soviet Union to grow Washington's foreign powers. In each instance, vast new powers were granted to Washington, and vast new budgets were created - and whole agencies evolved around these budgets with their own universe of special interest groups... all of whom lobbied vigorously for government contracts so they could get easy access to the taxpayer's wallet. In essence, Reagan used anti-Communism to convince Conservatives to make Government much bigger and much more powerful and much more expensive. But how did he do it? He did what Big Government always does when they want to steal from the taxpayer. He scared them. He said "Hi, I'm from the government and I'm here to help." He acted just like Democrats, who offer to protect us from all the world's harms and injustices and be our nurturing nanny. Reagan, like the Democrats he first aligned with in the 40s and 50s, used the nanny government to keep us safe from the evil Soviets - to coddle us like our mothers, who protect us from all the world's dangers. And when Reagan did this, why didn't a smart Conservative stand up and say: "Ronnie, I appreciate your desire to protect me, but here is the problem: you are using Big Government to do it. And, you see Ronnie, Big Government is incompetent and wasteful… and it usually makes the problem worse. For instance, Ronnie, one of your successors, Bush 43, also used Washington to "help" us and keep us "safe" from evil doers. But he ended up creating this wasteful, unaccountable, privacy-invading, power-centralizing bureaucracy called "Homeland Security". And as best I can tell, Homeland Security is like all BIG GOVERNMENT agencies: It takes away our freedoms. It makes government more powerful and unaccountable. Check it out: A hidden world, growing beyond control | washingtonpost.com " We see how Democrats use social issues and health care to scare voters into giving government more power. And we've gotten good at calling "bullshit" on them. We've gotten good at deconstructing and debunking the clams of Democrats - and now we are immune to their tactics of growing government. So here is my real question. Why have we failed so completely to analyze, deconstruct, and debunk and just plain recognize how Republicans grow government. That is, why are Conservative voters so fooled by their own leaders? The old Conservative Party would NEVER have let a president like George W Bush use the war on Terrorism to create the Patriot Act and expand Washington's surveillance powers so completely. The reason I ask these questions is because the Republicans will probably reclaim Washington this fall or in 4 years. And we can't afford to have them continue to fool their voters with talk radio and their elaborate network of think tanks, publishing groups and television stations. How can we educate our good, well-meaning Conservative friends so that they are no longer so vulnerable to their leadership. How do we get them to be more analytical toward their own party and information sources. [FYI: you can ask the same question of Democrats: how do we get them to question their leaders and information sources?] That is, how can we make it so that after the next attack, Republicans don't run out and by flag pins when they should also be making sure their leaders don't use the crisis to grow government power? [Maybe Government should focus on filling pot holes on budget rather than rebuilding the entire Arab world in our image. That is, how do we get our Conservative friends to be more cautious about giving their party vast new powers and budgets to protect us and eliminate evil and improve the world? How do we get Conservatives to realize that Government is not competent enough to do big things - and that if we give them trillions of dollars to sit-up tighter surveillance, the result will be disastrous, that is, we won't be safer, we will just be less free. And Government will be that much more powerful. How do we get Conservatives to see these things? How do we get them to question big government? ] How can we break the toxic relationship between Conservative voters and their Big Government media sources? Do they even know that the entire Conservative Media universe from Rush Limbaugh to FOX News is funded heavily by Washington centered political organizations? Do they understand the Federal or National or centralized level of control exerted over the Tea Party by powerful Washington lobbying groups? How do we help our Conservative brothers and sisters not be such dupes for the expansion of Government power? Suggestions?