Sunday, May 14, 2017

Proposed Split of Washington State and the Sixth Pillar of Localism

I noticed that yet another state bill has been filed proposing a west-coast state split into two (or more) states. In this case it is a proposal to split Washington State into two. The coastal half would retain the name "Washington" while the eastern half would be named "Liberty". The problem is that it would not matter if every single voter in "Liberty", or the rest of Washington State for that matter, thought it was a good idea to do that. According to our current constitution, there is no liberty to form "Liberty". The decision to approve this would have to be made by the other Washington, Washington D.C..

Now you may be wondering why the decision on whether to politically separate a state on the west coast would need to be approved by the representatives of people in Texas, Massachusetts, and Georgia? After all, there are people who know very little about the situation. They would be less likely to make an informed and just decision than the residents of the area which proposes peaceful separation.

America itself was formed by people who broke existing political lines because they felt those previous alignments did not represent them anymore. I would suggest that even Western Washington should not control whether the people of eastern Washington want to remain in union with them. I.E. they should not be allowed to take hostages. If the people on the other side of the mountains want to manage their own affairs, or even feel that they are being treated unfairly, by what right or principle should the Coastal inhabitants keep them chained together?

The plain fact is that the two halves of the state have very little in common. They are very different in culture, in values, in economies, in geography and climate. There is very little that is real binding them together. Just an imaginary political line backed by government force. There is no just reason for their fates to be bound together.

This is all very relevant to Localism. The sixth pillar of localism is that political unions should be voluntary. It doesn't sound very radical in theory. In practice we find that centralizing governments want to enforce political lines whether the people within them get along or not. There should be some agreed-on process by which even counties (the smallest unit whose boundaries do not regularly change) or groups of counties, may switch states or even form a new state themselves. And they should be able to do this without needing the approval of the very people who they believe are treating them unfairly- or the approval of a distant FEDGOV who has little knowledge or appreciation for their actual condition.

Did our Founders wait for approval from representatives of other regions of the British Empire before acting toward the dissolution of our bonds with England? How much less then should FEDGOV interfere in the desires of one part of a state to separate from another all the while remaining in our union.

I repeat the call for supporting all seven pillars of localism. There is no such thing as a "perfect union". Government is not going to be perfect so long as it is run by and in the service of imperfect people. Still, it can be made "more perfect" as in a "more perfect union" by altering the systemic flaws which almost all of us would agree are unjust.

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