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Posts Tagged ‘centralization’

Too Much Centralization Is Turning Everything Into A Political Crisis | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on September 20, 2020

Fortunately, nobody has to know exactly what the new political structure will look like, and – arguably the best part of decentralization – it does not have to look the same everywhere.

https://www.zerohedge.com/political/too-much-centralization-turning-everything-political-crisis

 

Authored by Porter Burkett via The Mises Institute,

Is American politics reaching a breaking point?

recent study by researchers from Brown and Stanford Universities certainly paints a grim picture of the state of the national discourse. The study attempts to measure “affective polarization,” defined as the extent to which citizens feel more negatively toward other political parties than their own, in nine developed countries, including the United States.

 

The study authors concluded that affective polarization has risen much faster and more drastically in the United States than in any of the other countries they studied (figure 1). They then speculated on possible explanations of increasing polarization, suggesting that changing party composition, increasing racial division, and 24-hour partisan cable news are convincing possible causes. Notably, the research was completed before the coronavirus pandemic or the police killing of George Floyd, two events that have only deepened political division.

While the study is interesting and well written, the authors completely fail to consider a more fundamental potential explanation of increasing polarization, one that is likely to be understood well by libertarians and federalists, who have long railed against the trend toward ever more usurpation of local and state sovereignty in American politics.

I propose that the real culprit behind worsening polarization is the gargantuan federal government that has turned the entire country into an unceasing political battleground. When virtually all political issues are settled at the national level, the whole nation becomes a source of potential political opponents. Centralization changes the scale and with it the locus of political debate and conflict. For the average political participant, it is probably true that people with differing ideas live near you, in your city or state, but the mathematical reality is that the vast majority of your political opponents live relatively far away (spread throughout the rest of the country) and thus have no material connection to your life or your community.

Political opposition becomes just numbers on a cable news screen: 49 percent for this, 51 percent for that. Sixty-two million votes for one candidate, 65 million for another. These numbers, without names or faces, become simple objects; some are pawns to be moved around, while others are obstacles to be pushed aside. This is not just speculation: previous research has indicated that partisanship is correlated with the use of tactics to dehumanize political opponents. Centralized political decision-making amounts to a systematic dehumanization of anyone who might participate in the political process.

The effects of such a disastrous form of organization are already evident. Political polarization is not confined to academic papers, but has now manifested in the streets of Kenosha and Portland. As the 2020 election approaches, politically charged killings between members of rival factions will only become more likely. What was formerly a central promise of democratic politics—the peaceful transfer of power—has been abandoned in favor of direct action and blood.

 

If centralization is the cause of our problems, then decentralization is the cure. Pushing decision-making power down to state and local levels as much as possible, closer to the people actually affected by the decisions, is the only way forward. Of course, it will not solve all the problems of political culture today. Policy debates and disagreements could still be just as intense at the local level as at the federal. But it is harder to dehumanize someone who might be a part of your community. Those numbers on the screen are on your local news now, not the national news. Those percentages and vote tallies might include your neighbor down the street, your Uber driver, the person ahead of you in line at the grocery store, or the old man you saw out walking his dog this morning. Technically, this has always been true, and we would do well to remember the humanity of the people we disagree with even while political focus is at the national level. This fact is simply harder to ignore when the primary nexus for political decisions is more immediate and local.

Admittedly, I do not know exactly how decentralization can happen. There is no magic blueprint. Maybe the worst pessimists are right, and we are doomed to fight some sort of second civil war before we remember that those with whom we disagree are people too. I think the future is brighter than that. Perhaps, as Mises Institute president Jeff Deist has pointed out, de facto decentralization has already begun. Fortunately, nobody has to know exactly what the new political structure will look like, and – arguably the best part of decentralization – it does not have to look the same everywhere. Both major parties, and people of all ideological persuasions, will probably have to give up some preferred victory or vanquishing of the “other side.” Many Democrats would love to prevent all abortion laws in the state of Georgia for the rest of time. Some Republicans would love to lock down California’s southern border with an airtight seal.

A new era of decentralization means that neither of these things can be accomplished by federal imposition, and their proponents are not going to be happy about that. The task ahead is to demonstrate that whatever the sacrifices required to achieve more localized decision-making might be, centralization is too dangerous to continue.

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About Those Spooky Federal Cops in Portland | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on July 21, 2020

Constitutionally, there are only three federal crimes: treason, piracy, and counterfeiting. No standing federal police agencies or apparatus are required to enforce these; in fact the latter appears to be the express policy of our central bank. There should not be federal agents, overt or covert, in Portland.

https://mises.org/power-market/about-those-spooky-federal-cops-portland

Jeff Deist

Dear Portlandia progressives: a federal government big enough to take care of you is a federal government big enough to “take care of  you.”

Scary unidentifiable police, federal black sites, and procedureless snatching of individuals from the streets are the wholly predictable and natural consequences of the very policies you advocated for decades. Why do you imagine a big government with lots of power will restrict itself to the cozy “social issues” and economic takings you support? Government can seize the means of production, but not seize you? You wanted everything run from DC, and you got what you wanted. Plus you certainly would be every bit as outraged if federal agents concerned about the undermining of America surreptitiously snatched up a few “white supremacists,” right?

Progressives of all parties have cheered the relentless centralization of state matters—and rejection of the Tenth Amendment—for nearly 150 years. The shaky and infirm Incorporation Doctrine federalized the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court federalized social and economic issues, and the the alphabet soup of federal agencies created by progressive administrations federalized the regulatory state. Foreign policy was ripped away from Congress and commandeered by bureaucratic Deep State actors at the DOD, CIA, NSA, and the State Department. Thousands of new federal crimes were created by statute. These statutes in turn created a vast federal police state, one heavily influenced and provisioned by the residual weaponry and machinery of our overseas wars.

So now you wonder why the Feds are sent in to quell an uprising in Portland?

Who wanted to make the world safe for democracy? Remember Woodrow Wilson, suddenly a bad guy because of racism? At least Truman had the honesty to admit regrets about creating the CIA. Who wanted federal control over the retrograde Southern states? Who dismissed the Ninth and Tenth Amendments as relics? Who derided states’ rights and nullification as legal cover for bigotry? And for the millionth time, “states’ rights” does not mean states have “rights” relative to their citizens; it refers to their retained powers in a federal system—so enough with the dishonest smears.

Who shrugged at Waco and Guantanamo Bay, for that matter? Or when Obama signed the NDAA?

At this writing, federal agents operating in the City of Roses appear to be from the Department of Homeland Security (sic). Here is what Ron Paul, a true man of peace yet despised by progressives, had to say back in 2002, shortly after the DHS was created with overwhelming support in Congress:

The Homeland Security department, like all federal agencies, will increase in size exponentially over the coming decades. Its budget, number of employees, and the scope of its mission will EXPAND. Congress has no idea what it will have created twenty or fifty years hence, when less popular presidents have the full power of a domestic spying agency at their disposal. The frightening details of the Homeland Security bill, which authorizes an unprecedented level of warrantless spying on American citizens, are still emerging. Those who still care about the Bill of Rights, particularly the 4th amendment, have every reason to be alarmed. But the process by which Congress created the bill is every bit as reprehensible as its contents. Of course the Homeland Security bill did receive some opposition from the President’s critics. Yet did they attack the legislation because it threatens to debase the 4th amendment and create an Orwellian surveillance society? Did they attack it because it will chill political dissent or expand the drug war? No, they attacked it on the grounds that it failed to secure enough high-paying federal union jobs, thus angering one of Washington’s most powerful special interest groups. Ultimately, however, even the most prominent critics voted for the bill.

Similarly, Dr. Paul was scorned and attacked by progressives of all parties in the early 2000s for labeling the Bush/Ashcroft/Yoo junta as a “police state.” He was dismissed for opposing TSA at the airport, for opposing FISA warrants, for his Fourth Amendment absolutism, and especially for warning how American forays in the Middle East would come home in a multitude of ways.

Constitutionally, there are only three federal crimes: treason, piracy, and counterfeiting. No standing federal police agencies or apparatus are required to enforce these; in fact the latter appears to be the express policy of our central bank. There should not be federal agents, overt or covert, in Portland. The riots taking place there are criminal matters for local authorities and local authorities alone. If residents and local politicians prefer to give the mob freedom to run amok over both public (taxpayer) and private property, while also threatening the physical safety of ordinary citizens, Uncle Sam has nothing to say about it. But the same people who demanded endless growth in the federal police and regulatory state ought to be more circumspect today. A cynic might call them hypocrites.

 

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Bowling Alone – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 20, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/07/no_author/bowling-alone-how-washington-has-helped-destroy-american-civil-society-and-family-life/

Ammo.com

Church attendance in the United States is at an all-time low, according to a Gallup poll released in April 2019. This decline has not been a steady one. Indeed, over the last 20 years, church attendance has fallen by 20 percent. This might not sound like cause for concern off the bat. And if you’re not a person of faith, you might rightly wonder why you would care about such a thing.

Church attendance is simply a measure of something deeper: social cohesion. It’s worth noting that the religions with the highest rate of attendance according to Pew Forum have almost notoriously high levels of social cohesion: Latter-Day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Evangelical Protestants, Mormons and historically black churches top the list.

There’s also the question of religious donations. Religious giving has declined by 50 percent since 1990, according to a 2016 article in the New York Times. This means people who previously used religious services to make ends meet now either have to go without or receive funding from the government. This, in turn, strengthens the central power of the state.

It is our position that civil society – those elements of society which exist independently of big government and big business – are essential to a functioning and free society. What’s more, these institutions are in rapid decline in the United States, and have been for over 50 years.

Such a breakdown is a prelude to tyranny, and has been facilitated in part (either wittingly or unwittingly) by government policies favoring deindustrialization, financialization and centralization of the economy as well as the welfare state. The historical roots of this breakdown are explored below, along with what concerned citizens can do to mitigate its impact on their loved ones.

Table of Contents

What Is Bowling Alone?

The urtext of this topic is Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by political scientist Robert D. Putnam. He uses the decline in league bowling as a sort of shorthand for the overall decline in American participation in social life.

The local bowling alley was known as the blue-collar country club, and it was the invention of the automatic pinsetter that changed the game, making it faster and more accessible. The first million-dollar endorsement sports deal was Don Carter receiving a million dollars to bowl with an Ebonite signature ball designed for him in 1964. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Useful and the Useless, by Robert Gore

Posted by M. C. on March 25, 2017

The Useful and the Useless, by Robert Gore

Centralization serves the needs of government and its dependents. Honest production and exchange require little government, perhaps none at all.

It will come as a surprise to many, but governments cannot suspend reality. Their arsenal, when things break down, comes down to their arsenal: the capacity to coerce. Violence or its threat enables governments to exact compliance. Proponents of government power invariably see themselves exercising it. Once the ship hits the iceberg, it will be obvious that governments’ guns are not wands, freeing citizens from the necessity of producing as much or more than they consume. They cannot compel innovators to innovate or producers to produce. While coercive power comes from one end of a gun, none of the powers that produce progress (and the gun) magically materialize at the other end. Read the rest of this entry »

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