At the very beginning of the U.S. Constitution, before it starts in on the specifics of governance, it lists the reasons for its existence.
To form a more perfect union
To establish justice
To insure domestic tranquility
To provide for the common defense
To promote the general welfare
To secure the blessings of liberty
Six things. One would hope that all specific procedures and laws ensuing would harken back to one or more of these general goals. One would expect, for example, for congress NOT to pass a law which does away with our armed forces.
One could argue that the fifth reason authorizes the current nanny state. Perhaps even the second reason, too - if you assume "Social Justice" as well as legal justice.
Today, the only tenet the government really adheres to doesn't appear on that list: "To redistribute wealth."
Some of you may have gathered from my past writings that I personally prefer the belief that the government is best when it is concerned with finding ways to facilitate personal liberty and individual initiative rather than coming up with actual social programs and then pushing that agenda, a certain group of people having decided this or that program will make all citizen's lives somehow better.
My opinion, however, doesn't automatically mean most Americans don't want a nanny state, womb to tomb care from their government. I recognize that. All I can do is fight for my idea against THEIR idea, by trying to garner majority support. I don't mind having to do it that way; it seems very congruent with the concept of democracy, and I like democracy (with certain modifications.)
The only thing is, it seems like the two concepts (nanny state versus individual liberty) are not things that can really coexist: the more social programs and other things the government thinks up that are in their opinion good for me, the more necessary it is for them to take personal liberties away from me. Little by little, chunk by chunk.
The pendulum seems to have swung very much in favor of Uncle Sam as nanny right now. This is probably not surprising since there are a lot of new inhabitants who don't remember having a lot of personal freedom, who mostly come from countries with governments who are not that big on personal freedom for their citizens anyway. It is also not surprising since, because of past government social programs, more and more of us don't have a lot of money left anymore and the current government entitlements look pretty good. Best not to try to look too far into the future, though; nobody is dumb enough to think the current entitlements are financially sustainable, let alone add more stuff to the dole menu.
I also have this theory that there should be a balance between Capitalism and Socialism, if only to produce jobs for those who might WANT to work rather than suck up a dole. However, that is not likely to happen again until the nanny cycle has run its course. Only when the government has drained all the producers of all their money, only when the government has printed so much worthless paper that $20 might buy you a pack of chewing gum, only when "entitled citizens" are suddenly forced back into productivity and self-responsibility again in order to survive, will the cycle of capitalism will resume.
Like that ol' Phoenix, capitalism always rises, of necessity for human survival, from the ashes of the false and cruel dreams of socialism.