New at Reason: Nick Gillespie on Why Government Gets Bigger the More People Distrust It.

Recent surveys show distrust of government at or near all-time highs. From a libertarian view, that's a good thing, right? Not so fast, writes Nick Gillespie:

As an ardent believer in what the libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick and others called “the night-watchman state”—that is, the bare minimum in taxes and publicly provided services such as cops, courts, defense, and maybe some roads—I should be thrilled by the hollowing out of faith in government. It should be the first step toward punching Leviathan in the nose and squeezing him down to size.

But what if distrust in government perversely drives demand for more government? That’s the implication of recent research, and it helps explain why the state keeps growing like an Anthony Weiner selfie even as our faith in it shrinks faster than George Costanza in a cold swimming pool.


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