Discovering Good Governance

Author: Localitarian

Is Catalonia the next EU country, and will it be by war?!?!

Catalonia seceding from Spain is getting pretty heated.  A group of academics is claiming in writing that the Spanish federal government is abusive:
  • Airspace will be closed in Spain during the referendum (Wow!) – This just in
  • federal police have been deployed
  • firefighters are threatening to protect voters
  • Federal cabinet has taken over vendor payments
  • Military has shut down separatist websites
  • Military has raided print shops and confiscated 1.3 million pamphlets
  • Military has served injunctions on pro-independence newspapers, web news sites to ban publican of referendum material
  • Spanish post office is opening mail of “suspicious” letters
  • Public meetings have been banned, some have been raided by police.
Looks pretty heavy handed and it’s starting to get noticed…right before the referendum. Not sure that’s going to be tolerated in today’s world.

What is more small government than small governments?

“It is the public opinion formed in the independent expressions of towns and other small civil districts that is the real conservatism of free government.” — Alexis de Tocqueville

When Tocqueville penned these words our country was actually run by small governments, communities. Today it seems everyone, even we Republicans, has a desperate thirst for the ubiquitous application of our beliefs to the point where we’re almost as bad as the Democrats in favoring centralized decision-making.

Westminster, Massachusetts decides to write a little law that makes the sale of tobacco illegal. Instantly we decry ‘government overreach.’

New York City drafts the novel idea of disallowing the purchase of super-sized soda pop to try to curb obesity. ATTACK!!! Predictably pundits of our ilk proclaimed ‘nanny state.’

We are trapped in this weird paradigm where we perceive government as a scalable singularity. Where government, it’s believed falls somewhere on a scale between small and big.

Let me suggest an alternative. During the early days of our country, Federalists and Anti-Federalists disputed whether Washington DC (Actually at the time it was NYC) was the right place for power to be concentrated.

Very simply, DC was centralized big government and states represented small government. The whole point to being an Anti-Federalist, a philosophy today’s Republicans and Libertarians would embrace, was to promote that the decisions of the role of government were to be made closer to home.

Small governments (states), per Republican ideals, were to be the place where citizens decided what role they wanted their respective governments to have in their lives, not whether government was to be involved in their lives at all. Somehow this morphed into a debate about government or nongovernment and away from this system of tiered government; where the community determines for itself the appropriate roles of their governments.

Proclaiming small government as the proper political ideology is supposed to mean it is up to the people of a given community to decide for themselves the proper roles and influence of the governments that they have available to them. So, take poverty; San Franciscans may well decide they want to leverage their municipal government to feed the poor. Omahas may very likely prefer to accomplish this objective via churches and charities.

Who is right? Both. Both because the respective communities took it upon themselves to take the issue on in a way they feel most comfortable. And while San Francisco is, in this case, indeed using government, it is what our founders would have recognized as an acceptable use of a small government in action.

The bottom line is that our communities deserve the freedom to make decisions for themselves for no other reason than that they are American. Leave these cities alone when they proffer up an idea. In fact as the small government party we need to embrace this localitarianism and allow other governments to experiment so we can watch and build our own perfect little communities.

And next time you are whining about government overreach in a city that isn’t yours keep in mind that if you were to play any part in disallowing their ideas to be enacted as law, then you’ve just become a top-down Democrat pushing for universal acceptance of a centralized government.

Nothing has changed

There are a lot of people in the country who have a horrible taste left in their mouth about the thought of a Trump (I could have inserted Clinton here just as easily) presidency, and frankly with good reason. He is kind of gross on a lot of fronts and an affront to the grand lie we always try talking ourselves out of; that we are reasoning beings.

It’s pretty clear that when 300M+ Americans have two choices that include Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump there is room for improvement. And pretty much everybody agrees with that. Unfortunately pretty much everyone has taken a detour because of a weird little thing that happens in our brain after an election, especially one where there was a legitimate upset, something nobody could have reasonably thought would be the final outcome.

I often say “success in politics is not the same as successful politics” because, well…it’s just axiomatic. And as true as it is, it’s also just as ignored. I blame sports.img_3813

In sport the “best” is necessarily determined by the outcome. To over simplify a bit; the objective of a game is to physically outperform an opponent. If your team wins that, in fact, defines who is better physically. The proof is in the pudding as it were.

In politics the machinations of an election (the game) are not operating in such a way that it churns out the best person
for the office they are running for. It means they are the best at getting the most votes…and how on earth does that align with the best interest of a constituency? It doesn’t, not in any way whatsoever, at least not necessarily. Anecdotally the only people I’ve ever heard say that elections are the best tool to prepare candidates for office are elected officials. Understandable, but…yea right!

Everyone blames politicians for their woes. This 2016 election was a movement against the “establishment” politicians but just look at what it takes to “win.” It takes an ability to cover and contort facts coupled with maybe an ability to raise more money. That’s who is winning American elections. Is it any wonder we’re getting people elected who we will later blame for not doing what is best for the country, State or municipality? Of course it’s not, we continue to blame the politicians and we continue to let ourselves be convinced that a win is proof that your candidate was the right choice. Post election the sins are forgiven and we’re asked to just “give ’em a chance.”

Hugo Chavez won his country’s popularity contest. Hooray hoorah! He also destroyed the lives of his countrymen all whilst they operated under the guise of his “win” as proof he was right. Nothing could have been further from the truth, clearly.

It is time we actually change the political process; Here are a couple of suggestions:

  1. Repeal the 17th Amendment
  2. Stop subsidizing political parties (both of them) by paying for the ‘elections’ they use to determine who they want to run in general elections. (Rank Choice Voting)
  3. Stop the protectionist practices of state statute protecting political parties.

At some point the “winner” needs to be ‘We the People’ not the elected officials.


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