Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rethinking America...

Does America need to change? If America needs to be like some other country, I'd like to know what country that is. You may have your idea, but I can assure that there are many people who have different ideas than yours. I hear many people say we should be more like Europe, we should be more like Canada, Sweden, etc. But here is the thing, America was once a place where you could find a place that suited your desires. We had "States". And those states had prevailing rights of autonomy. The people that lived in those states had more power to control what the laws were and how those laws affected their lives. The people in counties within those states, and the towns within those counties had even more power over their own lives as those perimeters became smaller. But over time, the power has been sucked up from the bottom, and is now primarily at the top.
At some point, the direction to make everything the same became the prime goal, one size fits all as it were, and it seems like that is what we have moved towards ever since. But it's a known consequence that the larger the committee, the lesser the answer suits the individual. Like what they say about elevator music and the platypus, they're both designed by committee.
I'm not saying committees don't produce useful results. But as with most everything, there is a scale at which things work and a scale at which they don't. Nature is full of these examples. Fusion reactions within the Sun, the design of an insect's exoskeleton does not work on this planet past a certain size. A sheet of paper makes for a great paper airplane, but get much bigger than that and paper is simply not a strong enough material for larger airplanes.
We have moved towards a central committee in Washington to govern most of the United States of America. People seem to forget that Russia tried this not too long ago and the population mostly lived in poverty. This Washington committee tries to regulate almost everything in the US now. It stands to reason that if everything were the same, this maybe practical. But, people are not the same. Resources are not the same, climates, terrain, social interfaces and thousands of other things are not the same the farther you get from Washington. The job they're trying to do is impossible if competence and success are important factors.
And, not only that, but in order to manage so much from one small area, a tremendous amount of power must be granted to that small area. Everyone's heard Lord Acton's saying, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Why should we be surprised then that every time we give power away to Washington, the corruption becomes worse? The United States has become the honey pot of the world for corruption and we've allowed that to happen incrementally by agreeing (or not fighting) to let one little thing after another become the domain of the Federal government.
I've lived long enough now to know that everything has balance. Light and dark, good and evil, health and sickness, poor and rich, kindness and cruelty and many more. Just try to eliminate one and you'll find the universe manages to compensate and maintain the balance of both sides somehow.
Here are a couple more to think about, success and failure, safety and freedom. You can see over time how our centrally controlled educational system has attempted to remove failure but has resulted in a capping of success. And that in most almost every case, attempts to improve our safety have resulted in losses of freedom.
I've also noticed that everything is in motion and tends to oscillate. A perfect balance is only ever an instant and everything else is out of balance in one direction or the other causing a pendulum type of behavior between the two opposites. The builders of our Constitution had a sense for this left us mechanisms for keeping those pendulums in motion allowing for happy mediums over time. But if those mechanisms allowing us to change the directions of things are removed as they have been over the years, then that pendulum could make much larger swings. For example, instead of a law raising taxes one year, and a law lowering them another, multiple years of raising taxes may result in an exodus of workers and businesses causing the pendulum to swing hard in the other direction when it finally has to.
If exoduses, suicides, migrations, revolts or even armed insurrections are the only mechanisms left for us to change the laws which we are forced to live by, then we are doomed to the fate of many nations before us and around us to suffer these dramatic and tumultuous swings between opposite forces which affect our economy and our life styles. It is better that we the people, keep writing laws and repealing laws as we need through time than that we lose those abilities by granting them to a more centralized and remote authority which we have less control over and is more likely to be corrupted.

No comments: