For some reason, I'd lost Ta-Nehisi Coates feed for a few weeks. Not surprisingly, I've been missing out, here's an piece from earlier in the week he has on the the Death Penalty. Specifically, the oddity that many "small-government" conservatives are iffy about the government exercising its power to tax but are sanguine about it exercising its power to kill.
There's more over at his place. But I'd offer one theory. I think a sizable, maybe not a majority, of the conservative base doesn't actually believe in small government. They believe in government not not taking their tax dollars and using it to help people who they don't like. This goes back to state's rights, Jim Crow and reconstruction. I don't mean to impugn principled liberarians, but there's certainly a strain of "small government" conservativism that's rooted in those old racist notions.
... This is all a long way of saying that some conservatives don't hate big government, they simply want big government to work strictly for them.
This isn't really surprising. I mean nobody was happy about government money going to AIG bonuses. That was definitely personal. Similarly, the has long been incorporated into liberal thinking. There's a reason we're hesitant to means-test programs. If a program doesn't benefit "people like me" than there's no way it will be immensely popular. Similarly, moving from race-based to class-based programs is in part an attempt to at least weaken these feelings.