The modern-day Republican Party is an anti-government insurgency, one best captured by P.J. O’ Rourke: “Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work, and then they get elected and prove it.”
It has become religious dogma within the GOP that government never works, it is an evil to be destroyed. It is a belief in the Laissez-faire doctrine of the Gilded Age that government should do nothing to interfere with transactions between private parties and let the “invisible hand” of the free marketplace run its course.
It is what led to the Great Depression in 1929. Andrew Mellon, the Treasury secretary to Herbert Hoover, embraced America’s history of cyclical depressions: “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate,” Hoover recorded was the advice he received from Mellon.
It is a rejection of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and aggressive government intervention in the economy to right the wrongs of a capitalist system run amok, best described by FDR in his Address Announcing the Second New Deal:
For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent.
For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.