Reason in Government is dedicated to the proposition that all levels of government should be reformed to improve their effectiveness and efficiency while simultaneously preserving the personal and economic liberty of their citizens. We educate citizens and promote civic engagement to these ends.
We believe in vibrant centrism with a point of view, which makes us “radical”:
- We believe in free markets and civil liberties rather than the “nanny state” and “culture wars.”
- We believe it is unreasonable for the government to pay for the freedom we enjoy today by mortgaging the freedom of future generations.
- We believe the phrase “close enough for government work” should be banished from the popular lexicon. Government should be effective and efficient, minimizing the unnecessary use of public resources as well as the burdens it imposes on personal and economic freedom.
- We believe that economic freedom and civil liberties generally promote prosperity and individual fulfillment; excessive government intervention often produces the opposite outcome.
- We believe government action should be limited and more restrained. A government should not act simply because it has the power to do so. Instead, it should focus on matters that necessarily require government intervention (e.g., national defense, public safety, and protecting civil liberties) or for which a clear mandate has emerged through the political process (e.g., maintaining social safety nets for the poor and elderly, providing public education, and maintaining infrastructure).
- We believe in the need for certain types of government regulations, including those designed to protect the environment and prevent market abuses (e.g., enforcing antitrust laws, prosecuting securities fraud, and eliminating moral hazard). There are necessary and appropriate limits on economic and personal freedom. They are imposed by our Federal and State Constitutions, legal traditions, and the principles of avoiding harm to others and minimizing “external effects” (i.e., circumstances where the exercise of freedom by one person reduces the freedom enjoyed by another). We also recognize that markets do not always function fairly or account for the incidental costs to society associated with the provision of goods and services. When such clearly defined “market failures” occur, narrowly tailored government intervention is necessary and appropriate. And when two values come into conflict, such as ensuring that increased economic freedom today does not reduce personal or economic freedom for future generations, we recognize that tradeoffs are, of course, necessary.
Today, we believe governments are overly intervening in too many facets of American life, from the bedroom to the boardroom. They are also ineffectively performing core functions — collecting taxes, reducing poverty, improving education, and ensuring that entitlement programs provide needed benefits without bankrupting future generations.
Reason in Government is dedicated to reversing these trends by increasing civic engagement to reform government. We are the voice of the radical center. Please join us.