Governments are always ready to grab the greatest degree of power that the people will give them. That is the default because it is hard-wired into the human condition. And this is the major factor not grasped by those today who assume that society is evolving to a point that, if only right-thinking people with good motives are given enough power over our lives, they will somehow magically transform society for the good through government action. In reality, if any persons – right-thinking or not – are given largely unchecked authority over our lives, abuses will inevitably follow. As they gather huge amounts of power, their purpose in life becomes to guard that power jealously and to increase it as opportunities permit. No bureau has ever abolished itself. Farm programs from the depression era thrive today as ever, though the logic for their existence has long since vanished. Politicians of all stripes promote expanded budgets for their own areas of preferred government expansion and spend money they don’t even have in vast quantities with little or no accountability to the people they supposedly serve.
This is why it is vital in a free society that its people be educated and morally grounded to value their rights as individuals and to resist and distrust unchecked authority in the state. Do we have that today? Perhaps, but only in a very weakened form. Many people today do not even give pause over the idea that the government claims huge amounts of unchecked power, whether it is to fight terrorists or to expand social programs. There is very little residue in our society of the old-fashioned principled belief that it is wrong to have vast centralized power with very few checks upon it.