By Arnold Kling
How does government grow? I offer this hypothesis:
My theory is that the political process preys on fear. A politician identifies something that constituents might perceive as a threat. Next, the politician “markets” the threat, playing up its importance. Then, the politician says, “If you are afraid of this threat, then vote for me.” The politician’s proposal for addressing the threat typically involves expanded government activity, which often does more harm than good. Rinse, soak, repeat.
For Discussion. How important is the “fear factor” in the growth of government?