"Conservative" does not necessarily equal "small government"

During the last couple of years in the backlash of Obama and the progressive agenda, “conservative” has become equated with “small government” and some libertarianism.  Progressives like to have large governments that manage your life for you, while conservatives have advocated more freedom: freedom from government, freedom from regulations, freedom from taxes.

I myself, think that government needs to get out of the way of the people and let them thrive.

I live in Utah, and when people think of Utah, they typically think “conservative”. While the people of Utah definitely have conservative values and principles, the State of Utah manages and regulates activities that may be conservative in nature, but not small government.

In the wake of Maine’s Sugarloaf Mountain resort accident, where high winds caused some chairs to fall off the ski lift, KSL.com was quick to point out that chairlifts at resorts here in Utah are also having some minor problems. But the real shocker isn’t the chairlift problems, it is that the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is responsible for chairlift safety at resorts. Uh, what?

From the article:

UDOT says all lifts are inspected regularly, and what happened at Solitude was a perfect storm of failures.

UDOT says the lifts are checked weekly, and a mechanical inspection was performed at Solitude this summer. Both generators passed.

When it comes to Utah lifts, UDOT says it’s confident in its operations.

“At this point we do not have any concerns on the safety of these lifts,” Carrillo stated.

UDOT says power outages happen more often that anyone realizes because the generators kick in and take over.

Brighton expects to be open as usual Wednesday. It’s important to note that no one was stranded on their lifts Tuesday due to the power.

So just because Utah is a conservative state with conservative values, it doesn’t mean that the government gets out of the way and lets the people thrive. The State has its hands into something, that in my opinion, should be handled by the ski resort, or an association of ski resorts. I wonder how much of my local state taxes are used to inspect ski resort chairlifts.

Sadly, this isn’t the only example of the state overreaching its bounds. I read an article last summer and it really opened my eyes. There are no private liquor stores. Grocery and convenience stores sell beer, but you won’t see a private “red dot” store in the state. While all states regulate to some extent the sale of alcoholic beverages, Utah takes a step further and actually sells it. This article is a great read about how Utah has betrayed limited government principles by keeping liquor stores out of the hands of the free marketplace. On the surface, I don’t understand why Utah has the right to run all the package stores. It probably comes from the Mormon upbringing of the state. Which is also probably a good reason why the privatization of liquor stores may not happen, as 60-80% of the state oppose drinking anyway.