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Odds and Ends
8 3, 9:10pm
"Well that's the rub - isn't it? Americans have been indoctrinated by the Republicans to believe that the government can't do anything properly.
Except conduct wars, or put a man on the moon, or enforce the law - you know, things the Republicans support.
But anything they oppose - the government is of course completely useless at doing any of that, and if you ever entrust it with that responsibility it will surely institute death panels and kill grandma."
And you fundamentally misunderstand American history. The founding generation of our country saw, first-hand, the abuses of an over-powered and over-bearing central government. In response to it's abuses, we designed a more decentralized system that entrusts most power to the states, not the federal government. The federal government handled the national currency, regulated inter-state matters, maintained the federal army and navy, and dealt with foreign powers; these couldn't be entrusted to the states, because the states would abuse them to the point where we wouldn't even be one country anymore (see the Articles of the Confederation, which was the predecessor to the current Constitution). The people were also ensured the ability to retain arms in order to effect another revolution against an overbearing and over-powered federal government. Early Supreme Court cases clarified much, and expanded slightly.
FDR's New Deal changed that. It gave much more power to the federal government, justified, not with Constitutional amendments, but by arguing that pretty much everything under the sun affected interstate commerce. So, legally, all human activity could be regulated by the federal government (see Wickard v. Filburn). While this has been cut back some in the 1990's and the early 2000's, the government still justifies much of its activity with the Commerce Clause.
All this to say: distrust of government is inherent to our system. Giving it some authority and power is necessary, but we don't trust it implicitly with everything, because often it will abuse that power. See the New Deal, affecting change through twisting and perversions, not the legally acceptable means of change.