If I understand it correctly, the thesis of William Voegeli’s book Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State is that left-progressives are national busybodies. No matter how big government is or how much it spends, there’s always something else they’re going to find wrong in the social order and then, naturally, seek an even more expansive state.
On its face, this posture had struck me as somewhat childish. Why should we expect anyone, left or right, to hold to a predefined notion of ideological terminus — some Calvary-like moment when it might clearly be declared that “It is finished”? Couldn’t the question just as easily be asked of conservatives: How much should government be shrunk? To pre-New Deal levels? Pre-Civil War?
Question: You are known for saying that you want government to be “the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Can you elaborate on this?
[Norquist]: I want to drop the government in half over the next 25 years, and then drop it in half again. The government’s about 33 percent of GDP, 33 percent of the economy. We want to take it down to 16 and a half percent, then take it down to eight percent, all of which would take us to where we were at the turn of the century.