What is "limited government?"

Discussion in 'Politics' started by newpolitics, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. newpolitics
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    newpolitics vegan atheist indy

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    Does anyone actually know what "limited government" means, specifically?

    Considering it is an idea so central to conservative political philosophy, I find it curious that i have never found it to be rigorously defined. It is a vague notion that makes every conservative feel all warm inside, but I have never heard it given any detail beyond this term.

    How do you go about determining when you reached a "limited government?" In other words, how big is it, actually? Is it defined by how many employees are in the government, and if so, would be this be defined as a percentage of the population? What is the percentage? Is it determined budgetary considerations, perhaps as a percentage of GDP? Considering the fact that our population is growing, does the definition for limited government grow proportionally as population increases? I want specific numbers.

    It seems like a meaningless piece of rhetoric, unless someone can help me out here.
     
  2. OKTexas
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    OKTexas New Life Member of the NRA 12/15 Supporting Member

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    The concept of limited government disappeared about 150 years ago. The definition of limited government in the US is the Constitution. Read it, then compare what is says with the leviathan we have now. There are specific enumerated powers in the Constitution, that the federal government is supposed restrain it self to. So the short answer, limited government appears to have been a fantasy our founders believed in, but have been dispelled by subsequent generations.
     
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  3. occupied
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    occupied Gold Member

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    It's not meaningless, it's code for people wanting to divest themselves of social responsibility.
     
  4. OKTexas
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    OKTexas New Life Member of the NRA 12/15 Supporting Member

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    And your the perfect example as to how the commies fail to understand that the social responsibilities were left to the STATES by the Constitution.
     
  5. C_Clayton_Jones
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    C_Clayton_Jones Diamond Member

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    For conservatives it is indeed a meaningless piece of rhetoric, and a considerable source for rightist hypocrisy.

    Limited government concerns the utmost protection of civil liberties afforded citizens, where the state may not preempt or limit individual liberty absent a reasonable, compelling governmental interest.

    Conflict arises when the state attempts to restrict or deny us our civil liberties for subjective, capricious reasons – such as violating privacy rights with regard to abortion, violating due process rights with regard to immigration, or violating equal protection rights with regard to same-sex couples’ access to marriage; hence the hypocrisy of conservatives.

    Limited government means that your fellow Americans might say or do things you find offensive or inappropriate, but you may not enlist the authority of the state to prohibit the protected speech or actions of those fellow Americans.

    Limited government does not empower property owners to abuse their employees, sell unsafe goods or services, or cause harm to the environment, as most on the right will have you believe.
     
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  6. occupied
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    occupied Gold Member

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    I don't care about your twisted constitutional theories, it's what you guys mean when you say that, If all of the social welfare programs were entirely state operations you would despise them too.
     
  7. Darkwind
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    Darkwind Gold Member

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    I reject YOUR definition of social responsibility for My definition.
     
  8. OKTexas
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    OKTexas New Life Member of the NRA 12/15 Supporting Member

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    Maybe, but at least they would be Constitutional and I would have the ability to go to a State that had policies I agreed with. That is the intent of federalism, each State could do what they thought best for their citizens, without federal intervention. That's why the commies hate the Constitution, it says they aren't supposed to have absolute control.
     
  9. newpolitics
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    newpolitics vegan atheist indy

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    Good answer, thank you. However, when I hear it used in rhetoric today, it seems to be in reference to the actual size of the government. "Limited' originally was never meant to refer to the actual size of government, but the breadth of its power, qualitatively. Conservatives seem to have equated "limited" with "quantity" and ran with it, especially after Reagan. Yet, neither Reagan, nor anyone after, has enumerated exactly what this quantitative value of the size of government should be. I point this out, because I believe it is meaningless, and has been used as a deceptive tactic simply to criticize the opposing position, without being able to define their own prescriptions. Or rather, it seems to be a central dogma for conservatives to rally around and to contrast themselves from liberals, yet, there still remains an undefined term with "small government."

    Perhaps, I am the dumbass who is confusing limited with "small," but rhetorically, they seem to be used as an equivalnece. So, I guess what I am really asking is, how "small" is a "small government?" If conservatives wish to run on this precept, it must be rigorously defined.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  10. OKTexas
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    The federal government should be no smaller and no larger than required to carry out its responsibilities as described in the Constitution. I don't mean as interpreted either, it should be as written or amended, end of story. Many would have you to believe that there are implied powers contained in the Constitution, but the first congress and the original states should have put that to rest when they passed the 9th and 10th amendments which restricted the powers to only those enumerated, unfortunately they failed to anticipate modern lawyers who claim nothing EVER means what it says.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012

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