“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” -Ronald Reagan.
I was having trouble deciding which of his quotes to use to start this article, as President Reagan so often reminded us how little the federal government is good for, but it appears that politicians in Washington, Democrat and Republican alike, are struggling to find words at all to defend Americans from the tyranny of the government. The idea of a small government and a free society was a central pillar of the Reagan Era Republican, but tragically, we have been watching that pillar erode over the last few decades, and finally, in the middle of this Coronavirus outbreak, we have watched that pillar finally collapse.
Politicians on both side of the aisle have been passing an endless stream of bloated “relief” bills and supporting increased government authority over the lives of individuals. There was almost unanimous consent on what the government will do with nearly no discussion of what the government, under the guidance of the Constitution, should do. Many Republicans in Washington defend their actions, claiming they are only in response to a national crisis, that they would oppose these measures under less critical conditions, but now, every option must be on the table.
The problem: this argument loses the conservative position of limited government all of its credibility. If government is the answer now, then it’s no longer a debate between small government and big government, but just a debate on how big we should make the government. If we acknowledge that the government can save us in times of crisis, then there is no logical ground we can stand on as to why the government shouldn’t be involved in healthcare, in fighting poverty, or any other leftist programs the Democrats will argue for.
We as conservatives must embrace the principles which made America the greatest country on earth, individualism and personal freedom and responsibility, in not only times of prosperity, but also times of crisis. No matter what issue we face, government will always be a burden at best, and a costly one at that, and it is our duty as Republicans to defend America from the tyranny of an ever-expanding federal government. This primary season and every primary season going forward, remember these principles and hold your representatives accountable to them. To borrow President Reagan’s words once again, “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” This is our generation’s fight, and it is a fight we will win.