Saturday, April 27, 2013

Why I am a Localist

There is an increasing trend toward centralization of government power which is the exact opposite of personal liberty. I think in the end it is going to come down to a conflict between those who want a government which has centralized power and those who want government power decentralized (right down to self-government ideally).
Jefferson noted that the natural order of things is for government to grow and liberty to yield ground. Localism makes an effort to determine why this is so. The result is that fourteen doorways through which governments over time consolidate power are identified. The centralizers are constantly operating through them and trying to widen them. Shut these doors, and centralization of government and political power is no longer the natural order of things. Some of those doors will be very familiar to readers and some will probably be eye-openers.
That is why I am committed to a philosophy of government called Localism. It is impossible to describe in a few words, but it takes measures to shut all fourteen doors and keep power decentralized. It relies on lowering the transaction costs of escaping bad government and harnessing the power of the market instead of attempting to force liberty even on areas not ready for it. The market will then do the punishing,
Basically the transaction costs of escaping bad government decisions are extremely high when they are made at the national level- immigrating to another culture is expensive and not just in money, and that's if they let you go. The transaction costs of escaping a local government that goes astray in respecting freedom is very low- you can keep the same job, same friends, stay in the same culture. What happens when the transaction costs of escaping government stupidity is low is that the market very swiftly punishes government stupidity. This will push all governments toward liberty without even saying "this one set of rules is what constitutes liberty and we will go around from Central HQ enforcing this one set of rules everywhere"
Maybe Cali is not ready for the same rules as New Hampshire yet. Maybe San Francisco is not ready while Bakersfield is ready. San Fran needs the two by four of reality to smack them in the forehead a few more times until they learn you can't use law to make people love the planet or whatever.
Under localism I believe that Socialism in all forms will very quickly get destroyed because they will that much sooner run out of "other people's money". When an area population is not ready to accept the premise of liberty and the limits of just government then there are two approaches. One is to send in people with guns to impose it on them- and therefore justify their sending in people with guns to impose their morality on us, or the other way is to set up a framework where they get their way- good and hard. We don't have to do anything to destroy their tyranny. The market will do it for us. Tyranny needs captives to function. Freedom doesn't need to try and impose its rules to win, at least on the vast majority of humans.

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