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The Big Government We Love to Hate by James L. Payne
The Big Government We Love to Hate by James L. Payne
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The Big Government We Love to Hate by James L. Payne

The Big Government We Love to HateDoes Government Solve Problems?

For thousands of years, people have looked to government to fix what seems to be wrong in society. In The Big Government We Love to Hate, political scientist James L. Payne suggests that trust in this institution has not been based on evidence and logic. Like a primitive allegiance to a rain god, this faith is a “cultural presumption,” an unquestioned conviction that emerges over many centuries of historical evolution.

This attachment underlies errors at many levels. It leads policymakers to expand programs shown to be dysfunctional. It propels journalists into glaring logical contradictions. It leads highly-trained scholars to claim success for programs that have not passed elementary tests of effectiveness.

This same primitive faith in government’s powers and abilities leads ardent socialists to impose sweeping programs they poorly understand, which have left countries around the world in ruins.

And finally, this blind attachment leads the masses to want still more of the big government that they say they deplore.

Yet, as Payne shows, a small but rapidly growing group of thinkers and activists have transcended this instinctive faith. Known broadly as “libertarians,” they point to the healthier future that lies in store as we turn away from government’s centralized, coercive approach and implement neighborly ideals stressing personal relationships and voluntary cooperation.


For more information, visit the The Big Government We Love To Hate website.


  1. Overview: Questioning a Cultural Presumption
  2. The Rise of Failurism
  3. The Question No One Asks:
    The Hidden Power of the Competent Authority Presumption
  4. Is Government Likely to Be a Good Problem-solving Agency?
  5. Why the Dinosaurs Disappeared
  6. "What Else Is There?"
  7. "There Would be Chaos!"
  8. Who Cares if the Welfare State Make Sense?
  9. Outside the Box: A Brief History of Questioning Government
  10. My Neighbor: The Future Everyone Wants
  11. Appendix: Transcending Big Government, Avenues of Reform and Evolution
  12. Notes and References

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