It would be nice to think that the Orwellian use of language in American politics will subside in the next round of national elections but there’s slim chance that it will, considering its effectiveness.
In which case, it’s up to intelligent, thoughtful voters to reason through the war-is-peace rhetoric and recognize hokum when we hear it.
For instance, in the hysteria about “taking back the country” in the election just past, one of the rhetorical flourishes used to argue for a return to 19th century low tax, small government, robber-baron-run, every-man-for-himself style of government was the phrase “governments don’t create jobs, private companies do.”
Wrong, governments can create jobs. And not just government jobs, either.
Try telling a Boeing avionics engineer building jet fighters in Seattle, or the line welder assembling HUMVEEs at AM General in Indiana, or the landscaper cutting the grass in the Interstate-10 median for AAA Landscape in Phoenix – all private company employees – that the government doesn’t create private sector jobs.
Should Dupont employees in New Jersey and Delaware manufacturing super strong rope, NASCAR fenders, windmill blades and dozens of other products out of Kevlar – a material whose invention was paid for by the government to protect troops on the battlefield – quit because their jobs are the result of government spending?
Or perhaps the hundreds of employees at Roche in Oro Valley should be ashamed that their company, before it was bought for about $1 billion a few years ago, got its start through a program at the University of Arizona that fostered bio-medical entrepreneurship?
Perhaps the “take back America” crowd has heard of the GI Bill, a government program that paid for the education of millions of veterans and subsidized their home purchases. Should the construction workers who built those homes be disgusted that the government helped them get a job by helping other Americans be able to afford those homes?
Or maybe they’ve heard of the National Institutes of Health which funds billions of dollars of research every year that leads to medical innovations that result in the millions of health care jobs. Moreover, that government-funded research results in healthier Americans, thereby reducing economic losses due to illnesses and death, which helps make American companies stronger and more competitive.
To argue that government is the problem with America is to fundamentally misunderstand the role of government. The government is us. We are it. And it plays a vital role in fostering our economy, ensuring a level, honest playing field for businesses and protecting the powerless from the powerful.
To argue against government, to despise it, even, is ludicrous. To simply parrot “no taxes, cut spending” is neither a theory of government nor of economics.
It’s is an argument for anarchy. And even Emmanuel Goldstein would disagree with that.