Actually, I’m not talking about all government. I’m talking about the Federal Government. In fact, the United States has the largest percentage of its national workforce of any industrialized country in the entire world (16%) getting paychecks from some government agency. The number one job category in California, for example, is school bus driver.
If anything, many Americans who dislike the feds view their state government as a protection against D.C., even though thanks to Richard Nixon and revenue-sharing, most of the money spent by state governments happens to come from the feds. And by the way, the states where anti-federal government feeling is highest – the Deep South states - also happen to be the states which send less dough to D.C. than any other states and get more federal bucks in return.
The reason I am writing this particular rant, however, is not to discuss anti-federal government attitudes per se. It’s to explain what I believe is the reason conspiracy theories have become so intertwined with political narratives pushed by the POS/GOP over the last several years.
This whole antipathy against the national government first emerged after the SCOTUS issued Brown v. Board of Education in 1953. Prior to that decision, there might have been a few nuts who pushed anti-big government ideas, particularly in opposition to the New Deal, but their voices and influence was basically cancelled out by our victories in World War II, followed by the benefits to veterans which covered the mortgages on millions of private homes.
These homes were all built with public funds, but the laws which determined who could live in those homes were state or local laws. Which meant that the suburbs built by federal dollars allowed Whites to escape the inner cities but leave Blacks behind.
Socially speaking, the country became more, not less segregated thanks to the G.I. Bill. But it was this segregation that was directly addressed and mitigated by Brown v. Board.
Do I believe there is a connection of some kind between the recent rise of conspiracy theories and the fact that the country is becoming less White? I sure do. And by the way, just as many White Americans find themselves taking these theories seriously in response to increased immigration from the South, so in Europe the anti-government conspiracy is a reaction to Muslim immigration from the Near and Middle East.
By the way, for all his bullshit about ‘draining the swamp,’ Orange Shithead did absolutely nothing to decrease the size of the federal workforce while he sat behind the Resolute Desk and pretended to be running the show. The federal workforce in 2016 was 2.77 million, in 2020 the workforce was 2.86 million.
Remember how everyone was going around yapping that closing down the economy because of the Pandemic would bankrupt state governments and result in massive layoffs of state and local workers? State and local government workers totaled 19.41 million in 2016, the number was 19.77 million in 2020.
Now we have a new bullshit deal coming from the anti-government gang, which is a pledge from Orange Shithead to dismantle civil service if he runs and gets elected again in 2024. There’s no reality behind this statement at all. It’s just Trump once again playing the anti-government card because other than locking up Hillary, it’s the only campaign promise he knows how to make.
Trump and his conspiracy theorist buddies have two problems when it comes to using those theories to promote the POS/GOP brand. First, it’s not that easy to convince voters that you’re against the government which you would like to join. Send me to Washington and I’ll clean out the swamp? Yea, right.
The second problem is that if you don’t like the government, you have two choices. You can ‘vote the bastard out,’ or you can take matters into your own hands and force a change. And until January 6, 2021, the only thing the conspiracy-believers could do was hold their nose and vote or just shut the fu*k up.
If nothing else, I suspect that most Americans will now view conspiracy theories not as a form of entertainment, but as a potentially dangerous and violent activity that needs to be watched closely and perhaps even controlled.