Why is government never “just right”?

I’m having trouble with “small government”. Not the concept itself, but the phrase. I know it’s meant to mean a hands-off form of government, but to me a small government is one that’s little enough to fit into the small details of people’s lives and affect them at a minor level.

A big government should be one that’s too large to concern itself with individuals’ personal business, focusing instead on sweepingly large concepts like life, liberty and justice.

So why are the phrases the other way round? Is it because government looks smaller when it’s further away? But if so, why not call it distant government or something like that?

A further difficulty with the small government v. big government concept is that some libertarians who claim to oppose “small government” are absolutely fine with taking reproductive rights away from individuals and putting them in the chilly hands of the state. Perhaps they’d like government to shrink so small that it can fit inside the womb.

Explore posts in the same categories: confusing idiom, misogyny

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