The threat of bigness
You hear a lot of people claiming that a major transformation in the American ideological landscape is underway. Gallup has just published new data suggesting that the shifts are modest, and this country remains pretty conservative.
Specifically, over half—55%—of Americans view big government as the gravest threat to the USA, compared with 32% seeing big business as the ogre. Big labor comes in dead last, at 10%.
Here’s the historical view:
Note that at the peak of the Clinton boom, fear of government had a 40-point lead; that’s since narrowed to a mere 23 points. But also note that even back in the often idealized 1960s, government was still the most feared, followed by labor—with business bringing up the rear.
Yes, the question is abstract, and yes, no doubt more specific questions would reveal more complex attitudes. But abstract questions like this also reveal the foundational fantasies of the political unconscious. Gallup is amazed that the stimulus package and bailout haven’t increased Americans’ fear of big government. Me, I’m amazed that the economic wreck hasn’t increased Americans’ fear of big biz.
Re: an earlier post. Nationalize the banks? Ha, in what time, and in what country?