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How to Change a Millennial's Mind About Big Government

Image by rusticusa via Pixabay. Image by rusticusa via Pixabay.

The right side of the philosophical/political aisle has lost its way.

Somewhere between “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem” and today, an entire generation of Americans has come to believe that every problem, every challenge, every niche concern which crosses their minds should be solved by government involvement. Compounding this problem is the educational institutions (chiefly the primary and secondary levels) which have neglected to teach students a basic understanding of our civic institutions. Unfortunately, regardless of whether we identify as Republican, Conservative, Libertarian, or whatever variance of these we prefer, we have allowed the Left to place us within a shell-game of ideology for which we are our own worst enemy.

The slogans of “anti-government” or “small-government” or “anti-big government” all place us at odds with a growing populace who view the Federal government as the indispensable source of sustenance. We might know the truth of Thomas Jefferson’s words, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground," but we are not articulating those truths in persuasive arguments, and most of our fellow millennials are incapable of debating the philosophical questions behind the role of government anyway.

So, instead, we need to engage this generation on basic constitutional principles with every issue. Whether or not government should ensure or provide healthcare is the wrong argument to have at this time. You won’t win that debate. The debate you can win, however, is the one that asks which level of government is best suited to fulfill that role. Challenge your friends and family to consider: Who is most likely to be responsive to my needs? A U.S. Senator, who represents the millions? A Congressional Representative, whose constituents number around 700,000? Or perhaps a State Senator, who (here in Washington) has the voice of around 137,000; or a State Representative, listening to around 68,000?

Because this is what you really mean when you say that you are in favor of “less government.” This is the common-sense, common-ground approach by which we might get the pendulum to swing back again. We can win this debate if we dust off the Tenth Amendment and assert our dependence upon the Constitutional form of government, rather than assert our independence from big government.

So let's stop playing the “get government out of x” game on issues. Instead, show people how their issues work best when applied under constitutional principles. We are not anti-government, we are "pro-government-only-as-big-as-it-needs-to-be." There is a difference, and we need to articulate it.

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