Saturday, September 13, 2008

Everything the Government Touches

I think this borders on brilliance, but if anyone ever tried to implement it the jackboots would be out in force.

Non-territorial self-determination means that each person has a right to determine (or choose) the government or governing institutions that he or she wants, on a voluntary and non-compelled basis. This means that in a given region, there may co-exist a number of governments. And persons choose the one or perhaps ones they wish to join. These governments may retain the sovereignty and legitimacy that the subject peoples grant them, but they will differ drastically from existing governments in one respect: they will not necessarily be territorial. They will not force everyone in a given region to be under their rule. (They can be territorial to the extent that people willingly aggregate land and separate themselves.)

We can move forward. But to do so we need the liberty to have competing governments on the soil we now call America in the same way that we have competing churches, supermarkets, towns, states, and universities. We can open up the immense possibilities of handling our governance in more effective ways. They will be ways of self-government that involve freely-chosen governance, in which it will be possible to opt out easily from badly-functioning governance.

It should be as easy to stop feeding a government we dislike with our hard-earned resources as it is to change gas stations. It should be as easy to change schools as it is to change the supermarkets we patronize.

We take government for granted because we each have so little influence on it. We take the short view. In doing that, we shortchange ourselves and our progeny. If we think about changing the basic structure of government, then we will start doing some important homework that we tend to neglect. If we had a choice of governance institutions, not just candidates for a given form of government, we’d pay far more attention to governance.

There are clues to progress that we need to investigate. Some governments are better than others. We should ask why. Governments sometimes do some things better than other things. We should ask why. Government frequently does far worse than no government at all. We should ask why. Governments frequently start out in hope and end in despair. We should ask why.

We cannot move ahead unless we are willing to abandon the erroneous beliefs we take for granted and do not question. Chief among these is that government must be territorial and control vast amounts of territory and the people who live in them.

Everything the Government Touches

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