29 May 2015 Government, large or small, what would be better? Government has existed in some form for thousands of years, and in its many forms it has always taken the role of protector of civilization and organizer of the rules of society…
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How does one approach this and under what criteria should we look at it. Historically government has always meant the end of personal liberties and the beginning of social order; this is not always a bad approach for the people within the grasp of said governments. One can say that historically larger governments have shown a higher incidence of peace within their borders and a system of managed crime control. Financially however, it seems that the larger the government the harder they fall. Throughout history major governments have failed generally leaving disarray and anarchy in their wake. Rome for instance was a profitable, civilized and very large nation, encompassing the known world at their time. At its peak it saw the advent of much advancement that have improved the lives of millions since, however, it also saw major financial failures and a very strict hierarchy of control which disallowed much freedom on an individual level. According to the Utah State University, “Well-documented among the travails of third-century Rome—over two centuries prior to its notorious "fall"—is a particularly long period of financial crisis which inaugurated the slow collapse of the economy in the West. This economic depression was due in large part to the failure of the Romans' system of conquest and enslavement” (Utah State University). The nature of large governments historically seems to be one of conquest, or financial control which comes at the point of the proverbial sword. Small de-centralized government has never lasted for very long before it is coopted and eventually becomes a much more centralized in nature. The United States directly following the Revolutionary War initially started as a small relatively ineffective federal government where most control was left in the hands of the individual states. Another example of a small federal government would be modern day Switzerland which is largely controlled by its individual “Cantons” leaving general defense and some taxation in the control of the Central “federal” government. According to the United States department of state Switzerland consists of, “Administrative subdivisions: 26 cantons (states) with considerable autonomy…Switzerland consistently ranks high on quality of life indices, including per capita income, computer and Internet usage, insurance coverage, and quality of available health care” (U.S. Department of State 1). The United States before the Constitution experienced a series of profitable and tumultuous times directly resulting from the recent separation from Great Britain in no small part. Obviously, we can see the positive benefits of smaller centralized government in many areas by using Switzerland as an example. However, this cannot be taken as a normal approach as it is one nation as an example. The argument can however, be made in support of smaller government as historically and currently we are seeing major issues arising from the consolidation of monetary and social governance. Though there are very few examples of small government the one that does exist functions extremely well and maintains general liberties, profitability as a nation and relative peace as compared to other first world nations globally. Charles Kessler of Hillsdale College writes, “Government must be limited to its proper ends, but its means must be capable of effecting those ends”
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