I hate the term "big government", it's meaningless.
The reason we have a government supplied social safety net is because of capitalism, the private ownership of the means of production (economic
private property). Because since capitalism became the dominant economic system no human being can survive without money.
Before capitalism we had common land law, anyone could settle on a plot of land and farm it as long as it was being unused. They usually had to pay
rent to the land owner, but the owners could not deny it's use.
Towards the end of feudalism the commoners (none-land owners) were starting to cooperate, and make money. The land owners saw this as a threat to
their own power and control, so they had the 'inclosure' laws enacted. The laws gave the land owners the right to inclose (enclose) "their" land with
fencing, denying it's use to the commoners.
Land was no longer free to use, which forced the commoners into jobs provided by the land owners in their mills and factories.
This made the commoners reliant on private owners providing jobs, the reliance on money, and the reliance on government to provide a social safety
net. The social safety net btw came not from socialism, as most seem to think, but from the capitalist class, because they saw it as a way to appease
the workers and keep them from revolting against awful working conditions, and low wages.
Modern liberalism came from the capitalist class. Liberalism destroyed the ideas of socialism. Instead of being liberated and owning your own work,
we got "big government". So all you conservatives, if you really want to maintain capitalism you better
provide a social safety net, because
no one expects the Spanish revolution.
edit on 4/2/2013 by ANOK because: (no reason given)