The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

Small government is better than large government

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/25/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 731 times Debate No: 114390
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)




Small government is the best form of government. Through both moral and historical examination it can be seen that smaller government is superior. The role of government at the national level should be limited to defending life, liberty and property.

Point 1: The larger the government the more likely it is infringe on peoples rights.

To understand this it is best to understand where rights come from. The government does not give people their rights, the people already have rights since they are individual and are given these rights by nature or God. The government can pretend to create rights, such as education, health care or welfare, but these are all entitlements. By creating these entitlements the government often violates peoples rights by forcing tax payers to pay for somebody else's things. This is a violation of rights since these things are equivalent to theft. Instead of directly robbing someone we send the government to do it for us than justify it by saying that majority of people agree or that the collective is more important than the individual.

Large governments also try to impose morality on people something that no government should be able to do. Governments have historically banned gay marriage, drugs and some have even gone so far to ban free speech. The government has no right to do these things because by doing so they are taking control of individuals lives. They can't morally do this because a person's life is their own and not anybody elses.

Point 2: The government is highly inefficient.

Historically and currently governments around the world have preen to be completely inefficient. A perfect example of this is the economy. Wherever and whenever the government gets involved it hurts the ecomnoy. The government does not need to intervene because the free market is best a keeping the economy under control. More socialist goverments such as Venezuela often destroy a nations economy by preventing the free market from acting. This can be demonstrated by looking at productivity and things like inventions which tend to be created in more capitalistic societies. This is because things like regulations and taxes make it hard for people to invest capital ir start new businesses.
The same can be said for social programs. Governments are never better than the free market at providing services. Anything the government touches experiences hyperinflation. This can be seen in health care and education. People are paying much more for worse. The government often ends up creating monopolies that completely destroy the positive benefits of competition.
Finally as previously mentioned the government is horrible at enforcing morality. The war on drugs, terror and nation building are great examples. Governments have spent countless time and money on these things and have always made the problems worse. Drug use and overdoses are higher than ever. Terroisim and unsuitability in the Middle east have never been worse. It is easy to see why this is the case. The government program always undermines the goal. By making drugs illegal, the government creates a black market which increases the value to those who sell drugs. By being over seas and fighting other nations civil wars we create more hatred of the west which leads to more terror. Welfare leads to higher unemployment. The list could go on and on.

Closing: I am not arguging that society would be perfect with small government but we would be much better of than we are now. We would be more free to live however we see fit. We would not have to worry about the government running our lives and all the problems that government creates for no good reason.


Greetings. Happy to share thoughts today. I'll define my stance here and rebut yours in Round 2 if I have no space to do it here.

There are three main terms here as far as the proposition goes, and many terms to define in your 1st round argument. I'll start with the proposition and address yours later.

1. Small Gov.
2. Large Gov.
3. "Better"

I'll define these concepts, and then present my position.

1. Small Gov. refers to the removal of regulation and government waste until the government is as small as possible.

2. Large Gov. refers to a state with high taxes, high public spending, and more central power.

3. "Better" refers to the situation you would prefer.

My personal position would be that Government should always be larger if the increase in "size" can be justified. This means that needless regulation, or laws with no point, would be on the chopping block for me as well. My position is that the government currently is too "large" in some aspects (military, overcomplicated tax system) and that there certainly are some undue regulations, however a "large" government is justifiably far superior to a "small" government because there are things government needs to control to protect the public from large corporations or rich individuals. Healthcare is one example where a bigger government would be vastly superior to a small one. I will go into more detail on some of these points below.

This essentially means the best government for me would be a Goldilocks not too small not too large version of Government that always seeks to weed out regulations, agencies, and redundancies, that also seeks new ways to improve the general welfare of its citizens.

At this point, I will go over what I see as your more broad secondary proposition of "moral and historical examination" and "limited to defending life, liberty, and property," and your points, all of which are a bit too non-specific to cover here, so I will address the exact arguments you use instead of the general concepts.


1. You say Larger governments are more likely to impede on people's rights.

As you should know, whether or not it is more likely to do so is not an argument against the institution itself, merely that it needs to be controlled better. Dictatorships can be run on small or large governments.

2. You say "human rights" without defining your term. Human rights do not exist by nature or God. If you have a list of specific "rights" you want to debate more specifically, I'll go into it then. "Entitlements" are the same as "Rights." Entitlements are rights granted to specific classes by our Government to facilitate our civilization's progress.

Taxes are necessary to pay for the Rights/Entitlements a Government grants its citizenry. You do not have a right to not pay taxes, because you benefit from the entitlements that we all get as US Citizens. Those who benefit the most from our society are expected to contribute the most to furthering our society. If you make $1M, you will pay more than someone who makes $30K, but someone who is upper middle class to lower upper class is still benefiting far more from society than the $30K person. If you understand how our tax system works, we are all paying the same amount of taxes on the same amount of money. The first X amount of dollars is taxed at 0, then the next X amount of dollars is taxed by a higher amount, and so on. We also have MANY taxes that effect the poor far more than the wealthy. Income and estate taxes impact the rich more percentage wise, but no one can argue they are not better off than the poor.

2a. Education as an entitlement. We all benefit from a public that is educated. The rich pay more than the poor but they gain more knowledgeable workers in return.

2b. Healthcare. This industry is barely regulated and is the prime example of how "big" government can be vastly better than small government. Look at every country with universal healthcare. We drag behind them on outcomes AND cost to the state.

On top of that, the rich gain workers who are more efficient at their jobs, less stressed, and Companies will no longer have to figure out how healthcare will work, shop for it, deal with complaints, et cetera.

2c. Welfare. Another word for this would be "charity." No matter how well your society functions, there will always people who either 1. Can't work, or 2. Will never be worth what it costs to keep them alive. Instead of letting these people suffer and die we take care of them. The rich benefit from this because the money is injected immediately back into the economy. It doesn't go into savings. AND we get to live in a country where we don't let people die. Morally, it is vastly superior.

2d. Roads and Military Protection are also necessary.

I'll talk of Efficiency in R2.

My question to you: What specifically makes our government too "large" right now?
Debate Round No. 1


Hello. Thank you for acceptting the debate. I will try to get to all of your points. I should mention I am from Canada, but am very willing to talk about the US goverment speccifacly as it is a great example.

I will define human rights as things that fall under the non agression principle. This means that you can do pretty much whatever you want as long as you don't dierctly hurt others (violince, cohersion, theft... etc.).

Also you saying the government grants rights is incorrect. This implies that without government people would not have rights and also that the government can revoke rights at anytime since they are not truly our rights, but somethimg the governmet lets us have.

1. You say the government must protect us from corporations and rich people, but this is not the case. These people actually use the government to take advantage of people. Before I get into how I should state the diffrence between earned and unearned things/money. If a company or person provides a service that people volutanrly buy than they have honestly earned that money. On the other hand if someone robs or takes someone elses things without permission it is dishonset. The government allows people to make dishonest money. By lobbying the government rich people and companies can get laws written or subsities given that give them and unfair advatage that is undeserved. For example government bailed out banks that would have otherwise failed using taxpayes money. This allowed the super rich investers in the banks to suffer no consequences while making the taxpayers pay for it.
It is imoral to take away honest money or provide someone with dishonest money

2. The smaller the government the less of an ability it has to take the peoples rights. Only the people can keep the government in check, but if the government is given powers such as being able to declare martial law and suspend citizens rights it is nearly impossible to control it.

You justifty taxes by saying people use what the goverment forces them to pay for. Nearly all of these things minus (police military, courts) could be provided by the free market. I do not belive in an income tax because it implies the government owns our work. A more moral way of taxing would either be a flat tax or a user fee on services like roads.

2 a+b+c) Entitlemets are not rights. Rights come from feedoms that can only lead to some entitlments in very specific cases. The diffrence between freedoms and entitlements are that rights are from somethimg and entitlments are to something. For example you have the right to be free from imprisiment for no reason, so when you get arrested a lawyer is provided. On the other hand welfare, healthcare and housing are not rights or something the government must provide. These things envolve peoples time and effort so to say these are a right it implies that a person has a right to something that isn't theirs or is someone elses. You cant force someone to provide services against their will or someone to pay for a service you recive so the goverment shouldnt be allowed to either. The fact that it benifits the majority does not make it moral. I agree some people can not take care of themselves, but this is up to charity not governemnt. Majority of people dont want to see others die on the streets so if government cut taxes people would be willing to donate to charities. This also lead to better results as private charaties are far more efficent than the government. Charties that are ineffecient get a bad reputation and people stop donating to them. On the other hand goverment gets tax money regardless of how efficently they use it. This logic can be applied to things like education or any service that government attempts to provide.

The way the government funds entitlements is also bad. They either tax, burrow or print money. All 3 of these things steal from the people by either directly taking their money (now taxes, later borrowing) or in the case of printing it devalues what peoples money is worth through inflation.

2 d) I would agree that these things are necesarry for national defense, but government is much bigger than those things. In terms of road I believe the government should make it easier for more competion from private groups which wluld drive down costs.

3. What makes US govermnet to large:
- over 20 trillion dollars of debt with not actual intetions of paying it back.
- Spying on its own citizens without warrants (ex FISA courts, wire tapping, mass collection of data)
- envolment in other countries such as nation building (ex. the middle east which has not worked.)
- foreign aid which takes taxpayers money and gives it to other people (could and should be done by charity)


Ah, sorry. I did assume your citizenry. I'm used to debating with people IRL, this is my first debate currently on this site. I'll keep my comments mostly to the general concepts you present and any reference to the US government you use, but I'll admit to only a small knowledge of Canadian government.

Rebut, cont.:

1. Your definition of human rights as things that fall under non-aggression is fine, but again you're using a terribly broad concept. Also not everyone agrees to the same set of human rights. Who decides these what set of "rights" to use? The government. They have to confirm which set of rights they will guarantee. They then have to specify exactly how far those rights go. To me personally, rights are not rights if they can be taken away. The government decides on which set of rights it will give its society, but nothing stops them from changing those rights. The government changes our rights all the time even when the majority of the population doesn't agree, or wants different rights/entitlements. ("Bll of Rights" for America, plus some directly in our constitution and later amendments. This is the government giving us new rights, or taking them away). So yes, the government CAN revoke our rights if it wants. And it already does. If you think humans have the "right" to inject whatever they want into themselves, you are saying the government cannot revoke that "right," yet they have and can.

As for your law/lawyer example. We have the right to a fair trial (granted to us by our government) but we are ENTITLED to a lawyer. We do not have a 'right' to have a lawyer. Rights are the concepts, entitlements are the things our government pays for/gives us as far as the strict concepts go. To me, both of these are entitlements since I don't believe in "rights" as something that humans naturally obtain from "god" or nature. But I do understand the definitions.

2. "Direct" harm can be terribly difficult to prove. An oil company can have an oil spill that contaminates a certain area of ground. It can seep into the water supply and poison people hundreds of miles away, causing them great harm, but they may not even know to blame the water. This is why agencies like the EPA exist. The public must be protected from private companies. Our food comes from private companies. They could use pesticides and weedkillers that contaminate our food. None of us would know to blame our food for causing us cancer or other harms if we didn't have the government to provide this for us. No private company is going to step in and test literally every single product and no private watchdog organization can keep track of every potential contaminant. The government has the scope to handle everything within its borders. It can only function then with taxes. It is its duty to keep taxes as low as possible, but taxes are a necessary evil. To say otherwise is to say anarchy (the smallest government) is better than any other alternative. This guarantees maximum freedom, but who thinks it is truly better? The world becomes might=right.

In the same respect, when you say Large government means there will be more lobbying, you're absolutely correct. In a small government private companies can do whatever they'd like. They can poison our atmosphere, dump toxins into our waters, coat our food with toxins. So small government necessarily has less lobbying because there is nothing to lobby for. They've already won. Saying that small is "better" in this case is the definition of absurdity. The fact that there is something to lobby for means that society is being protected from large companies. Having to deal with their toxins instead of dumping them into our rivers or having their product cost more by using healthier alternatives to pesticides and weedkillers costs them money and hurts their business. There is no "better" about a society without an EPA or FDA where citizens cannot be protected from the things they cannot see. No citizen can test everything before they use it. We all as citizens pay for this through government "theft" because there is no private alternative.

4. You, as a canadian, argue against Universal Healthcare. Have you ever been in a system where healthcare is private? I have already given you a link against this that you have not addressed. If you can't address that then you have already lost the small versus large debate on this topic as far as which is "better."

5. Private Roads. Is there an example anywhere in the world where this concept works? Can you imagine having to pay to use each new road you turn onto or every mile of the interstate to a different company? Privatized water? Electricity?

6. What happens in your "better" society when a private company in a whole state decides not to supply water to gay people, not to allow black people to drive on their roads?

7. No charity has the scope of the government to help every citizen. Not enough people can give to charity to help every citizen.

Text limit
Debate Round No. 2


I will rebut the points you made in the last round

1. If I do not think that you have a right to your life can I murder you? If i think you dont have a right to your property can I take whatever I want from you? In a country like North Korea the goverment has complete contol over peoples lives. Nobody argues that they dont but do people agree that they should. I am arguring the government should not be able to decide what rights a person has and does not have. Just because they attempt or suceed at blocking people from doing something does not make it right. The government creating victimless crimes never ends well. With strict drug laws opiod overdoses are still a major problem and higher than ever. Also the government does not give anyone anything they simply redistrubte what society creates.

2. I beilive small goverment would be able to take care of this. I think majority of people agree that a proper role of government is having a judicial system. Things that cause direct harm can be settled in court. In terms of things like food regulatioms I believe they are unesscary. If someone produced poision food or didnt check their food that company would go out of buisness because nobody would buy their products. The companies would instead have independent bodies do it for them without billing tax payers or face failure. Also i never said anarchy is best, that is no goverment not small government. Companies could not do whatever the want because small government would still protect a person right to life, liberty and property. Moving to the idea that one company or watchdog or any one entity can effictenly mointor all things is silly. Thats why the governemnt should stay out of it. The free market would have several comapinies and watchdogs who would be able to check these comapines. As previously mentioned companies would also be free to go unchecked and suffer the consequences of doing so.

4 (I think 3 was not posted or I cant see it) I am saying the government shouldnt spend a single penny on health care because it has nothing to do with healthcare. People do not have a right to health care. Living in Canada I know many people go to the US for treatment but not the other way around why is this the case? Many people also choice to be uninsured because they beilvie they can save money or would rather spend the money on something else. They should be free to do so.

5. Yes there are some in Canada where I live and as far as I am aware the US has some toll roads to. I do not have a major problem with local government (state, municipal) geting involved in this, but when the federal government does it becomes completly inefficent. Once again the free market would take care of this by virtue of competion. Bottled water companies supply water for very low prices and they are not even as competitve as they could be due to government taxes and regulations.

6. In a free market if a company refuses to serve a group of people it is creating an oppurtinty for someone else to fill the gap. Also many people would boycott such companies as they rightfully disagree with those policies. At the same time we should not force them to change the policies. I would say it is equivalent to you being free to running head first into a wall. Can you do it? Sure. Should you? No.

7. Once again I am not saying one charity or group will get the job done, but collectivly they can. Also if people knew the government wouldnt take care of them many on welfare would try much harder to work. Without juding all people on welfare I think that many of the people on welfare abuse it. A charity would be better at seeing which people need help rather than some government offical who most likely never meets the person but just stamps paperwork.

To finish off my argument I will summarize my arguments throughout the debates. Small government that is limited to defending life liberty and propert is best. People do not need the government to tell them how to run their lives. The government should not and can not impose morailty. Anytime a governemnt attempts to set up a eutopia the result is distopia (communisn). The war on drugs and terror or the implemination of a welfare state have only greatly worsened the problems the government looks to solve. I am not saying we shouldnt look to solve these problems but what I am saying is the free market has constantly shown itself as being best able to provide for all people. It is when the government interferes in the free market that we run into issues. The negative side has constally implied and said that the government gives us our rights, but we must understand that they only protect our rights. I agree that there is no all powerfull force of nature enforcing these rights, but as intelligent beings we should at least be able to agree on the non agression principle. If we can do so all I am saying is that we should hold the government to the same standard and the only way to do so is by limiting it.


5k characters in 3 rounds is a bit small for a complete debate on this, so I apologize if I miss a few things.

To conclude, let me remind everyone that while Large government has problems, Small government does as well. I personally am not advocating government to be as large as possible, but government needs to be "large" in some respects for even my opponent's "life, liberty, and prosperity" to be possible. Let me list some of these things and rebut a bit:

You have to say these things would be "better" in order to vote for my opponent.

1. Private roads that could bar people from using those roads. (How can people protest the use of the interstate?)

2. Private Healthcare that allows people to go bankrupt so that they may live. Private Healthcare which costs more to the state while insuring less than 100% of the population (speaking of efficiency think of how complex private healthcare has to be, each policy interacting with each different doctor. Every doctor talking to every private healthcare. Every employer having to shop for and talk to each insurance agency. So much needless cost! YOU PAY FOR ALL OF THIS!)

3. Disbanding of all welfare monies which would immediately mean everyone who cannot work immediately being homeless, and starving. (Think of how well Charities supply food to Africa) My opponent seems to think that private charities will cover everything welfare does right now, but supplies no evidence to confirm this, whereas we can see that people still starve in the world. Charities can't even cover the people that starve now without adding ours to the mix. You have to be able to say its "better" for people who can't work to starve and die.

4. The EPA being disbanded. You have to say it's OK for companies to save money by dumping toxic materials into our rivers, and by dumping as much toxic gas into our atmosphere as they would like. My opponent believes that private watchdog agencies will warn people about companies doing this and thinks people will make these companies fail. We all know though, people will buy the cheapest products regardless of the morality that went into the creation of the products. Wal-mart largely functions today due to Chinese sweat shops, many of which force children to work extreme hours. (Chinese government being "small" when it comes to labor laws)

5. The FDA being disbanded. My opponent believes that it's a company's right to sell whatever they wish regardless of how poisonous it may be to our civilians. He says a company should be able to sell poisoned food, and it would be up to civilians to both figure out that it is poisonous, and to then stop buying the food so that company has to change or go out of business. Civilians in this country can't know that the food they buy is safe to eat, or the drugs they purchase are pure. They have to research every single thing they purchase. Is this society better for having less government? He believes that private companies will step in and check every product you buy. I ask - who will do it and who will pay for it? What power will those private companies have to force other companies to not sell their products? This is why it is necessarily in the Government's court.

6. Private Water. When was the last time you had to put a lot of thought into if you'd have running water or not? What about electricity? Some people may point to Flint, Michigan as an example of how government does a "bad" job while ignoring the vast majority of cases where they do a good job. This also ignores that private companies with no EPA or FDA oversight, will do far worse in order to save money. Private companies stepping in to these fields would be opening up ourselves for far more of these terrible scenarios. The government here was attempting to be more "efficient" and have by doing so ignored their workers in the industry, and made poor choices. The fact that a large government made a mistake does not mean "small" government would be better. That private institutions would not have made this mistake 100 times over.

7. Oil companies with no government oversight would be allowed to spill wherever they'd like with no punishment, contaminating whatever they'd like. Is this "better?" How would the government ever know about it with no EPA?

8. With no public education system all parents are forced to pay for private schools. Many cannot afford this. These parents also cannot afford day care most times. They will be forced to keep their children in unsafe conditions and without properly trained teachers. The public institution can be improved in a "large" government.

Under my opponent's own "life, liberty, and property" guidelines, who considers a society with the above policies to be protecting the life of its citizens? Allowing contaminants and expecting civilians to test everything they buy? Who says a society is protecting its civilians liberties when they cannot drive on the roads? When they cannot buy water?

Not a society for me.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by dsjpk5 3 years ago
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
>Reported vote: dsjpk5// Mod action: NOT Removed<

3 points to Pro (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision:

[*Reason non-removal*] No RFD is required on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Phenenas 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Neither side used sources, which could have been helpful in such a debate. Con's arguments were more logically sound, making concrete points about why privatizing roads and healthcare would be inefficient. Pro's argument often falls into lofty rhetoric and fallacy. He compares any form of "large government" to North Korea, and says that a welfare state is a bad thing without explaining why. Also, Con's grammar was much better.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 

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