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What represents a limited government philosophy?

Updated on July 8, 2014

The phrase limited government do we really know what that means at this time in our country and does the concept really exist anywhere. The phrase is one which all levels of government should understand and embrace. Government should be a support function for citizens not a dictator of what an individual or business can and cannot do. While there needs to be some protections in place for citizens controlling all aspects of decisions for which we as individuals should be responsible is the wrong approach to government operations. Government needs to back off especially the federal government. Laws, rules and regulations have become a burden not only in knowing what they are, their requirements and being able to ensure they are not violated.

Having personal responsibility for our actions is something we should embrace. Decisions we made in the past and those we make today will impact our future. Making poor decisions affects our success not only as individuals but as employees of a company/organization. Our actions determine who we are as individuals including exhibiting good character or poor character.

The culture in place when our country began was one of a limited government philosophy and somewhere along the way that concept within government operations has lost its way. Though our country was young and communication was less than perfect in the early years the mindset of our founding fathers placed within the Constitution a limited government philosophy. The size and scope of our federal government has grown to such levels and it is involved in practically all aspects of our economy. Granted much has taken place throughout our history and issues did surface for which the federal government was the best resource to resolve them. This does not mean the federal government is the best resource to solve all our problems.

The definition of a limited government according to is one which is “a governing or controlling body whose power exists only within pre-defined limits that are established by a constitution or other source of authority.” The expansion of government began not with this administration but in past ones where it started is difficult to say. Some examples include creating several executive departments and agencies which were clearly not identified within the Constitution. Some specific examples include the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Commerce. This does not necessarily mean that these departments cannot serve a purpose but the current scope of them far exceeds the intentions of our founding fathers.

Laws, rules and regulations created by Congress should honor the Constitution. Honoring the Constitution through a limited government philosophy was the intent of our founding fathers. Today the free market system which has worked well throughout our history is in jeopardy by the expansion of government in dictating the rules by which businesses and individuals alike must honor. When companies or organizations have problems it is not the responsibility of government to bail them out. While there may be some exceptions as to the impact of some entities if they fail businesses must take responsibility for their actions. We as individuals do not get bailouts when we run into trouble as a result of poor decisions/choices we must work through them and so should businesses. The philosophy of the law of supply and demand determines who will succeed and who will fail the government should not make those decisions. It is not their responsibility and in essence it is not within the authority granted under the Constitution.


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    • Dennis AuBuchon profile image

      Dennis AuBuchon 3 years ago


      Thanks for commenting. As indicated in my response to Justin the point was to identify what a limited government philosophy. I provided the definition of limited government in relation to the Constitution and provided examples of actions which did not fall within the concept of our founding fathers. Our Constitution does identify the responsibilities of the federal government which by them it is supposed to be a limited government not the overreaching entity we have today. Some actions taken by the government though they are not specifically identified in the Constitution it makes sense for the federal government to be involved.

    • Dennis AuBuchon profile image

      Dennis AuBuchon 3 years ago


      While I thank you for commenting the point of this hub is not what kind of government we have but whether it is operating in a limited government capacity. I agree with you that we are the government but in that respect we elect those to represent us not dictate to us but support us. At the present time and in some cases in the past it has not been a support function as intended by our founding fathers.

    • bzirkone profile image

      bzirkone 3 years ago from Kansas

      Your response is also faulty. The government is not "..the means by which we protect ourselves from immoral (fiduciary) corporate interference and subjugation." Corporations are not "immoral." People are immoral and some of them run companies. A shi*t-ton of immoral people are running our government. @Dennis, never before in our nation's history has the government so grossly overstepped the powers enumerated in the constitution. Limited government is defined by the constitution.

    • Justin Earick profile image

      Justin Earick 3 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      Your premise is (predictably) faulty. Our gov't is representative, which means they act on our behalf. Gov't is not 'they', it is 'we', by very definition. Gov't is the means by which we protect ourselves from immoral (fiduciary) corporate interference and subjugation.

      Who do you think is corrupting our gov't?