It seems that the Tea Party (and other branches of the "government is the problem" set) is showing its true colors as a movement grounded and informed by religious beliefs. As we are approaching the Presidential election season, many Conservatives are clarifying that there is no extricating of economic conservatism from social conservatism. Additionally some Conservatives are even going as far as to say that relying on government for economic assistance is a form of idolatry, in that the individual is relying on government instead of God. (Why isn't it idolatrous for the individual to rely upon government to protect against foreign invasion?)
I think I understand now why so many (I exclude here true classical liberals) believe in small government so fervently. It's truly a belief, not something that they've developed as a consistent system of thought.