Cosman: Call for a weaker federal government would leave the nation at a disadvantage

I have a hard time understanding the rampant fear of government that has seemed to take over the American public. Some people have this impression that the federal government has the intent to turn itself into a fascist regime that will run every aspect of its citizens’ lives.

It is too easy and too acceptable these days to make the national government a scapegoat – a seemingly default response when people ask what’s wrong with the country.

Fear of the federal government becoming too powerful is no new thing – this fear has been around since its establishment. I can understand that fear. The anti-federalists had legitimate concerns that creating a strong, central national government would lead to the monarchy they just overthrew. Though I tend to side with the federalists on most issues, I can acknowledge and understand the rationale of anti-federalists’ worries.

In modern times, however, I have a much harder time with these concerns. Apparently over-200 years of history is not enough to alleviate fears of a return to monarchy and tyranny and to prove that a strong central national government is effective and necessary. Has the American government made mistakes, been involved in instances where it either over-stepped its boundaries or took the wrong side on an issue? Sure. I’m not denying there haven’t been or are not currently problems with the federal government. But in my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons.

What really irks me is that the people calling for a dismantling of the federal government are often the same individuals who are first to ask, “Why didn’t the government do something about this?” when something bad happens. Think of the recent economic crisis. The same people yelling for deregulation of the financial sector turn right around and criticize the federal government for not stepping in and preventing the recession. They can’t have it both ways. The federal government can either do something, or it can do nothing.

For too many Americans, the federal government only exists as something to blame when things go poorly. There is a refusal to acknowledge the benefits of the national government. No one says, “Boy, Washington really knocked it out of the park with this one!” when the government takes a positive action. There is a significant disparity in the extremeness in ways people look at the government. Americans are apathetic to the positives of a federal government and cry bloody murder at the negatives.

I’m not saying the federal government is perfect. It’s far from it, in fact. But instead of immediately crucifying “big government” when Washington makes a decision or passes legislation I don’t agree with, I’m willing to look at the other side, the benefits and positives of a strong federal government to go along with the times it falls short.

I don’t want to silence the critics, either. The federal government should absolutely be held accountable for its actions. In a time, however, when the national government takes the blame for nearly everything wrong in the country (even things out of its control), someone needs to say, “Wait a minute, would a weaker federal government really make things better?”