You’ve probably read something like this before:
I’d like to talk about government. The conservative/corporate propaganda machine has turned “government” into a bad word. Conservatives portray our government as some kind of enemy of the public. We have all heard the scare stories about the harm done by meddlesome regulations from intrusive big government programs run by government bureaucrats.
Let’s step back from reacting to the word as we hear it today and think about what the word really means.
In America government is us. It is, by definition, “We, The People.”
It’s a cute rhetorical flourish, but if anyone actually took this civics class pap seriously, wouldn’t it cut just as strongly against the notion that “the government” ought not to silence speech or tell us how to pray? After all, it’s just We, the People deciding things for ourselves. Yet I can’t help but notice that lots of folks who see a Norman Rockwell democracy when it comes to economic regulation become incisive public choice theorists when looking at, say, no-bid military contracts. To be sure, there are reasons to expect certain processes to be especially opaque, but it seems as though relatively few people are actually naive enough to hold this model of how government works across the board.