“When I am Weaker Than You, I ask you for Freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am Stronger than you, I take away your Freedom Because that is according to my principles.” – Frank Herbert
The incident of January sixth in Washington, D.C., over which many are now clutching pearls and pointing fingers, was nothing if not predictable. In a rush to paint their political enemies as being guilty of sedition (a word that frankly should have no meaning whatsoever in U.S. English given the circumstances of the nation’s founding), to roll over and show their bellies to the other side, or to pass the blame for frankly justified anger off on the specter of Aunt Tifa, everyone is forgetting to ask an important question. That is, what caused this? It’s fashionable to whine and point the finger at a certain portly New York real estate developer, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Trump is not the cause of the unrest in United States, which frankly began to boil over some time in the late 00s, well before Trump became a political figure. Rather, he is a symptom of the deeper problem. That problem is centralization.
Over the last century or so, the U.S. has seen an inversion in its power structure. While we are nominally a federal republic, the U.S. is intended to be much closer to a confederation than a true federal republic. Power flows from the bottom up. The people create local governments, local governments create state governments, state governments created the fed. States are supposed to maintain a high degree of autonomy from the fed. Somewhere along the line, the conception of this changed. The idea that the fed not only existed prior to the states, but that it created the states took root. A ridiculous notion when one considers that the United States have had no less than three separate federal governments throughout their existence, and yet the original thirteen states continue to exist. One doesn’t need to look very hard to see the consequences of this way of thinking.
Under normal circumstances, barring a global conflict, who occupies the oval office should have next to no bearing on a person’s day to day life. They wouldn’t wake up and spend their days obsessing over what the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was doing. Under the same circumstances, a senate race in Georgia should be of no concern to a person living in Mississippi or California. Limited to its proper role, the federal government would be doing little more than building national highways, maintaining the military, and making sure states don’t try and screw each other over economically. Unfortunately, with so much power in the hands of the federal government these days, there are those who view the government as a mace to be wielded against their political rivals, a weapon with which they can impose their own views, morals, and mores upon people who live in states in which they have never set foot and in which they likely never will set foot. We’ve arrived at a point where every election, as has often been joked, is the “most important election in the history of the nation and will determine the future of democracy and life as we know it” to far too great a percentage of the population. There are sizable groups of people who now view, and not entirely without reason, every federal election as a potential attack on their way of life. I care not upon which side of the political spectrum you fall, what party controls the house, the senate, or the presidency should not feel like the difference between four years of continued existence and potential upheaval of your entire life.
Much has been made of the need for “unity” and “healing” over the course of the last several weeks. However, in all of the calls for unity and healing, they ignore the 10,000 pound rampaging elephant of centralization. It’s all about “if we can just get Trump gone, impeach him, and ruin the lives of enough of his supporters, everything will be fine.” No, it won’t. Trump only exists because of centralization. He was a reaction against the power grabs of the federal government under the previous four administrations. Those administrations were, of course, simply a continuation of a trend that began long before. If the feds had stayed within the limits of what is supposed to be their narrowly constrained sphere of influence over the states, Trump would have never happened. If you hadn’t capped it off with a frankly very shady election, of which you allowed no scrutiny whatsoever, the events of January 6 would have never happened. A similar argument could be made for the Black Lives Matter riots that played out over the summer. They were all about trying to get attention from the federal government to have the federal government reign in police departments that are controlled by state and local governments. If we still held to the proper view that the individual states have primacy over the federal government, those people (maybe not the wormy white boys and the grifters) would have directed their mostly justified outrage toward far closer, and more directly accountable, state and local governments.
And no, when I say decentralization, I’m not calling for secession. Secession would be economic suicide, and the states are far stronger on the international stage together than they would be apart. I’m simply saying that we need to realize that we are basically 50 separate nations in a perpetual alliance. We all have different cultural norms and mores, and the sooner we acknowledge that and leave each other alone, the better. We must acknowledge our differences and accept them. We must be separate in order to be together. “E pluribus unum” and all that. That the election of a president, a glorified figurehead, caused so much strife, and the fact that an election for a pair of senate seats in one state was treated as the most important battle since the storming of Omaha Beach is beyond ridiculous. My advice to you, disembodied, faceless American, is this: begin a movement to repeal the 17th amendment. Senators are supposed to be the representative of your state in the federal capital. The senate is not intended to be the house of representatives on steroids, and frankly multimillionaires and political action committees out of New York and California should not have one iota of influence over who represents the voice of your state against the federal government. The only thing that should have an influence on that is your vote for your state level legislative candidates. Furthermore, elect some congressional representatives that will have the spine to eliminate or reclaim some of the powers that the office of the presidency has taken from congress or unilaterally granted to itself because of congressional cowardice. Above all, heed the words of liberal philosopher and economist Ludwig Von Mises that “a free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper.” Otherwise, keep ceding power to the feds and enjoy the expanding hell that you’ve helped to create.