Saturday, June 8, 2013

The 6th Pillar of Localism: Eight Counties Want to Leave Colorado

I note with interest this report that the leaders of eight counties in northern Colorado are sick of being ruled from Denver and wish to leave the state and either become the 51st state of the U.S. or be annexed by Wyoming.  This movement is not being led by some social misfits on the edge of society, but rather by the elected leaders of the counties in questions, such as Weld County Commissioner Douglas Rademacher.

It seems the rural, conservative, oil and gas rich counties don't care for being ruled by Denver-area granola-eating lefties.   Whether it is gun control, restrictions on oil and gas exploration, or even a requirement for rural electric cooperatives to use 20% "renewable" energy (while Denver exempts themselves from this expensive requirement), Colorado is not working out for the residents of these counties.    And they want to leave.  Should they be allowed to?

According to the present U.S. Constitution, the answer is "maybe."   It has happened five times before in American history, but not since the Civil War.   Examples: Maine was split off from Massachusetts, Kentucky was split off from West Virginia.  But it requires approval not only of Congress, but of the state that the counties are leaving.   In other words, if counties feel like they are being treated unfairly at the state capitol, they have to have permission from those who are treating them unfairly, plus a detached Congress, before they can leave!

Localism only has seven pillars and one of them is on the balance which should exist between local governments and the co-sovereign states in which they reside.    An essential part of that balance is that counties should not have to just "stay there and take it" if they feel like the rest of the state does not share their values, or is using them as an ATM machine.    There are some common-sense limitations on how and when it can be done, but the principle is that it should be far easier than it is now for people in counties to vote to join up with an adjacent state, or if there are enough disgruntled counties, break off and make a new state.

Across this union there are states that have significant friction between some portion of the state and the balance of it.  Southern Illinois has basically nothing in common with the greater Chicago area which makes the rules for it.   California is almost dysfunctional because of its size, and because some areas of the state want far left policies and some want far right.  Why can't they both win and see what works?

In my own state of Arkansas, the northwest part of the state was Republican in a traditionally Democratic state and I can tell you that they basically used our portion of the state as an ATM machine to pay for highways and other things which disproportionately went elsewhere.   Culturally, politically, and economically, the northwest corner is more like Missouri than it is the Delta.   If switching states were an option, in this instance and others, everyone would be treated more fairly.   Even if the option is rarely used, its presence would serve as a deterrent against that kind of abuse of government authority.

The book says "If a man in a region is dissatisfied with the politics of his state, his feet can leave the state, but if all men in a region are dissatisfied with the politics of the state, their feet may stay, for it will be the ground itself which moves."

No comments:

Post a Comment