It’s estimated that, in 1776, there were 2.5 million people living in the 13 American colonies.
That’s 13 colonial governments for 2.5 million people.
Now, we have one city government serving 8.4 million people in New York City.
We have one city government serving 3.8 million people in Los Angeles.
Yes, these cities have smaller districts or boroughs with their own governments, but you get the idea. Greater and greater numbers of people with less and less real contact with their government.
We have one federal government that serves 300 million people.
I doubt that Jefferson or Madison truly envisioned the extent of the population explosion. Their plan for central government supposed that elected representatives would be closer to the people.
So how can this happen now?
Answer: Local and state governments should exercise much greater power than the federal government. And by power, I don’t mean invasive force; I mean decision-making.
You can’t hope for a Republic when 300 million people fall under the sway of a single central government. It’s sheer madness.
One more reason for 10th Amendment nullification. Which is to say, state governments asserting, in no uncertain terms, that they refuse to honor federal laws which exceed the enumerated federal powers explicitly granted in the Constitution.
Likewise, local (city and town) governments should carefully inspect their state constitutions and find the many areas where state authorities have overstepped granted powers. More nullification is in order.
Here is the basic principle: Give as much decision-making power as possible to smaller government entities, and strip away as much power as possible from larger government entities.
Of course, this idea cuts directly across the grain of governments as ATM machines with no credit limits. This cuts off, at the knees, the idea of governments as giveaway game shows. This stops governments as big mommy and big daddy who hold the nation’s purse strings. Smaller governments mean pay as you go. They mean spend less than you have. Why? Because smaller governments can’t borrow endlessly—who will issue them loans when these governments are drastically reducing taxes, as they surely would when citizens are gaining more control of the means of governing? Taxes, you see, are the collateral that lenders use to assure themselves that debts can somehow, someday be repaid.
Let’s imagine a few examples of what might happen in a new and more responsive system—a system that is much closer to the spirit of the Republic.
Suppose we have a small city, Boffo, which has a population of 40,000 people. The crime rate is egregious and intolerable. Town halls are held. People speak out. It becomes apparent that citizens don’t want to allow violent crimes and property crimes to continue. So a bill is introduced. Penalties for violent assaults with weapons, short of murder, will carry a sentence of 40 years. No time off for good behavior. An area of land on the outskirts will be set aside for a prison farm. The prison will be a tented and fenced area where convicts live outside. This is necessary because the city can’t afford to build modern structures.
A week after the passage of this law, a few men are arrested for shooting and wounding two people walking their dog. In the local court, they are found guilty. Forty years.
This sets the tone.
The next day, a significant number of chronic felons move out of Boffo City.
Peace begins to reign.
Neighboring cities begin to follow suit.
One city, Micro, decides it doesn’t like this pattern, so it concocts a special program to rehabilitate violent offenders and gives them short jail terms. Fine. That is the will of Micro. They pass their own law and they take the consequences, whatever they may be.
Another town, Juris, decides that all drugs should be legal. Anyone can buy and sell any drugs they want to. They think this will decriminalize their population and bring harmony. Are they right? Who knows? It’s their own business.
Another town, Napoleon, appoints a mayor for life with far-reaching law enforcement power.
Another town introduces extensive moral instruction in its schools.
Another town sanctions the right to polygamy.
Another town hires a security corporation to make its streets safe.
Another town bans all weapons.
Another town insists that every adult must own a gun and undergo training on how to use it.
Another town believes that encouraging every citizen to be an artist will bring peace and tranquility, and it erects boldly imaginative structures never before seen, and advertises itself as a prime tourist destination.
Another town focuses on innovative agriculture, and exports its produce with the intent of making all its citizens prosperous landholders.
Fill in more of the picture yourself…
The point is, the people, the citizens are closer to their own governments—and therefore they are actually participating in key decisions.
To the average person, such a diverse system seems insane—but that is because the average person has been brainwashed into believing that one size fits all, and wants it that way. Wants uniformity. Wants a central authority with vast power. Has no taste for imagination. Can’t envision new possibilities.
But people can change, especially when they see innovations popping up all around them.
When people ask me to talk about mind control, this is what I eventually get to. Mind control is all about accepting the status quo of centralized power and accepting the uniform landscape it brings. Getting used to that landscape IS mind control. It’s considered normal. It’s non-participatory. It’s non-inventive.
On the other hand, nullification of excess government power opens the door to decentralization, and decentralization allows groups of citizens to invent their own reality.
If you like the basic reality of the town you’re in, you stay and you pitch in. If you don’t like it, you go somewhere else and find/create a different reality.
This IS what happens when limited central government is truly limited.
Most people don’t grasp that.
The last thing they understand is the implication of decentralization:
Thousands and thousands and thousands of cities, towns, and villages deciding, imagining, and creating the shapes of societies they desire.
Think about it. Think about the implications of truly decentralized government, in which citizens invent their own destiny. I believe a good and reasonable debate about the far-reaching consequences of limited central government is a worthwhile and necessary undertaking. I think we have all been hoodwinked into imagining that the restoration of constitutional law would alter our present reality in only modest ways. I think the original vision carried far more radical outcomes than most of us are willing to consider. I think the entire meaning of the revolution of 1776 was watered down, and much of it was buried. And finally, I think the truth is revealed when we consider one simple question: what does powerful citizen-participation in local government actually entail?
When we open that door, are we saying we are only opening it a little bit, under heavy security and with fear as our guide, or are we giving the pursuit of liberty and happiness its full due?