Coronavirus Critical

COVID19: The Deep State Has Made Its Move

Economic Collapse is Imminent!
This Is It! Lock And Load... Final Warning!
The Shit Is About To Hit The Fan... Download Our Immediate Action Plan Now!

Decentralization Is a Step toward Self-Determination

Ryan McMaken
March 29th, 2021
The Mises Institute
Comments (9)

This article was originally published by Ryan McMaken at The Mises Institute. 

For decades now, advocates for freedom and free markets have disagreed over whether or not political decentralization and local self-governance are important principles in themselves.

Most recently, this debate flared up here at mises.org over the issue of state-level preemptions of local government. Specifically, Connor Mortell objected to the State of Florida’s prohibition of local policymaking autonomy on the issue of covid lockdowns and mandates.

In response, a number of readers both in social media and in the comment section here at mises.org insisted that the centralization of political power is fine so long as it’s the good guys who are doing the centralization.

We’ve certainly been here before. Indeed, this debate is essentially identical to the one over whether or not the US Supreme Court’s 2005 Kelo decision was a good thing. In that case, both sides were in agreement that eminent domain powers—practiced by any level of government—are a bad thing.

The disagreement was over whether or not states and the federal government ought to be able to prohibit local governments from exercising local eminent domain powers.

Lew Rockwell, building on Murray Rothbard’s decentralist views, took the position that eminent domain is bad (of course), but faraway governments ought not to be in the business of meddling in local affairs to prevent it.

In an article titled “What We Mean by Decentralization” Rockwell writes:

The Kelo decision, in which the Supreme Court refused to intervene in the case of a local government taking of private property, touched off a huge debate among libertarians on the question of decentralization. The most common perspective was that the decision was a disaster because it gave permission to local governments to steal land. Libertarians are against stealing land, and so therefore must oppose the court decision.

And yet stealing isn’t the only thing libertarians are against. We are also opposed to top-down political control over wide geographic regions, even when they are instituted in the name of liberty.

Hence it would be no victory for your liberty if, for example, the Chinese government assumed jurisdiction over your downtown streets in order to liberate them from zoning ordinances. Zoning violates property rights, but imperialism violates the right of a people to govern themselves. The Chinese government lacks both jurisdiction and moral standing to intervene. What goes for the Chinese government goes for any distant government that presumes control over government closer to home.

Rockwell doesn’t mention it, but he’s likely taking a page from Ludwig von Mises here on the matter of “self-determination.” For Mises, self-determination was a key element in limiting the power of political regimes and opposing the “princely principle” of political centralization and maximization of a state’s area of control.

Mises and “Self-Determination”

As Mises put it in Nation, State, and Economy, the “doctrine of freedom” offers an alternative—“the principle of the right of self-determination of peoples, which follows necessarily from the principle of the rights of man.”

Mises goes on to clarify that this type of self-determination is also about local control:

To call this right of self-determination the “right of self-determination of nations” is to misunderstand it. It is not the right of self-determination of a delimited national unit, but the right of the inhabitants of every territory to decide on the state to which they wish to belong.

What does this mean in practice? Mises insists on the right of inhabitants to choose their own state. By this, he means that localized groups of people with similar cultural and political interests—even down the level of a village—must have the freedom to function independently of the impediments of a larger centralized state.

Murray Rothbard, not surprisingly, was in agreement with this and noted the implications of Mises’s position: that self-determination at the local level is a key step in securing self-determination not only for small groups but for individuals themselves.

The reasons for this are numerous, and they’re why most libertarians (i.e., the liberals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Constant) preferred local government to government by larger, less local regimes. Like his liberal predecessors, Mises understood that larger “national” regimes tend toward abuses committed by large majorities on smaller linguistic, cultural, ideological, and ethnic groups.1

These problems tend to be made less bad by more localization.

Decentralization of this sort is also important because it allows individuals greater ability to exercise their freedoms by more easily changing the regime under which they live. Rothbard explains that decentralization

means greater competition between governments of different geographical areas, enabling people of one State to zip across the border to relatively greater freedom more easily; and it exalts the mighty libertarian principle of secession, which we hope to extend on down from the region to the city to the block to the individual.

Rothbard speaks of state boundaries—here meaning the American political units called “states” and not to be confused with the Weberian sovereign state—but of course, he also applied the same principle down to local governments:

Pending total privatization, it is clear that our model could be approached, and conflicts minimized, by permitting secessions and local control, down to the micro-neighborhood level, and by developing contractual access rights for enclaves and exclaves. In the U.S., it becomes important, in moving toward such radical decentralization, for libertarians and classical liberals—indeed, for many other minority or dissident groups—to begin to lay the greatest stress on the forgotten Tenth Amendment and to try to decompose the role and power of the centralizing Supreme Court. Rather than trying to get people of one’s own ideological persuasion on the Supreme Court, its power should be rolled back and minimized as far as possible, and its power decomposed into state, or even local, judicial bodies.

“Uniformity” Is No Virtue

Nonetheless, one recent commenter at mises.org argues local autonomy is unacceptable because travelers ought not to have to deal with a patchwork of different legal regimes:

[In Wisconsin] I drive 40 miles to work and 40 back. I pass through at least 8 different towns on the way. If every town had different gun laws, my freedom to protect myself [with legal concealed weapons] would be compromised or curtailed altogether.

The conclusion we are presumably supposed to draw is that some centralized political authority must intervene to ensure uniformity among laws, presumably in a way that protects the rights of residents. Of course, this sort of reasoning takes the naïve view that the central government is likely to implement laws that favor the legality of concealed weapons. Experience suggests this is a rather fanciful notion, and we can see the benefits of local control if we consider the case of a state that takes an unfavorable view toward firearms.

Consider New York State, for example, where the state government heavily restricts the use and ownership of firearms. It is likely that many towns and cities in the northern and western parts of the state, however, would prefer to allow more freedom in firearms usage in their jurisdictions. If these local communities were allowed local control,  at least the residents in those communities would have greater freedom with firearms. But as it is, the presence of a strong centralized state government ensures these freedoms are heavily curtailed everywhere within the state. Thus, the overall amount of freedom is greater in a scenario with decentralized political power.

The argument that laws ought to be uniform is equally suspect when dealing with passing across state borders. For example, consider a commuter who must drive from southern Maine to the northern end of the Boston metro area. This is a trip of only about eighty miles but requires the commuter to travel through three states. Two of these states tend to be permissive on guns—Maine and New Hampshire—but Massachusetts tends to heavily restrict firearms usage and ownership.

If uniformity in law is important, then we must therefore insist that the federal government intervene to ensure that we aren’t inconvenienced by the fact gun laws change every time we cross state lines.

But, of course, we know how well that would work out. Inviting federal lawmakers to “protect rights” or make gun laws “uniform” would almost certainly result in far more restriction than is currently the state in many states. Unfortunately, uniformity across state lines tends to favor the areas with the most restrictive mandates.

The Problem with Asking Higher Levels of Government to Protect Our Rights

Another objection is that a pro-freedom position requires the support of any regime that lowers government regulations or mandates, regardless of how immense or distant that regime is:

Government at any level, other than at the individual level, is illegitimate it makes more sense to support any individual action that comes closer to enforcing the NAP [i.e., the nonaggression principle] whether it is the president, governor, or mayor.

This is the logic behind the EU: the national governments are imposing tariffs, so we need the European Commission to ensure “free trade.” Indeed, the EU has long been sold as a pro-freedom institution, because it supposedly lowered trade barriers erected by more local government units. Of course, we can see where that led. The net effect of the EU has been the exact opposite of the expansion of freedom. Instead, the EU has given the world a giant bureaucracy that limits trade with the non-EU world and imposes countless regulations of its own.

The same logic could also be employed to call in the World Trade Organization to force down Trump’s tariffs. After all, if the US is raising taxes on trade, we need somebody to “enforce the NAP.” Why not strengthen the WTO so it can dictate tax rates to member states? The problem with this should be obvious: calling in some international body like the WTO to better “protect rights” is just asking for trouble. Americans would soon find themselves in a position similar to that of the British under the EU. Would surrendering more local prerogatives to an international group of politicians be a solution to high tariffs? This could potentially work in the short run, but experience has taught us that the potential for lost freedom in the longer term is enormous.

[DISPLAY_ULTIMATE_SOCIAL_ICONS]

President Trump is Breaking Down the Neck of the Federal Reserve!

He wants zero rates and QE4!

You must prepare for the financial reset

We are running out of time

Download the Ultimate Reset Guide Now!

    Author: Ryan McMaken
    Views:
    Date: March 29th, 2021
    Website: https://mises.org/

    Copyright Information: This content has been contributed to SHTFplan by a third-party or has been republished with permission from the author. Please contact the author directly for republishing information.

    SHTFPLAN is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

    9 Comments...

    Vote: Click here to vote for SHTF Plan as a Top Prepper Web Site
    1. Anonymous says:

      Off topic….but i have been reading the mainstream news outlets about Lucia Whalen Bremer, who was executed by a 15 year old “boy”. The narrative is that ‘yet another victim of gun violence”.
      I can’t find anything about the race of the “boy”.

      https://www.nbc12.com/2021/03/29/year-old-arraigned-held-detention-center-murder-va-teen/

    2. Andrea.Iravani. says:

      Lloyd Austin has overstepped his bounds and is exercising rights that he does not have on multiple fronts, which acts of constitutes high crimes, treason, and also violations of the Posse Commitatus act of 1878 which also specifically prohibits the military from targeting American civilians. 

      The Military and everyone in the government all swore an oath to uphold and defend the constitution. The constitutional rights of individuals acknowledged in the constitution, including the amendments in the Bill of Rights and the following amendments are to be upheld by every American, whether they work for the government or not. Nowhere in any of the amendments does it say that individuals rights are to be honored only by the government. Stealing is a form of a 4th amendment violation of another person’s property, as unreasonable seizure. People taking things that do not belong to them, or spying on people would fall under fourth amendment violations of unreasonable search and seizure. There is no reason for it. These criminals that steal and spy cannot obtain a warrant either. They are not in law enforcement. Police and others in the “intelligence” communities really need to quit their jobs if they are incapable of determining what is reasonable and what is unreasonable.  The secret FISA courts must end. People are prohibited from defending themselves, which is why they are secret in the first place. Anyone can blatantly lie about someone and destroy another person’s life for any reason at all, including for eliminating competition, stealing intellectual property, or destroying the life of their victim while they continue their predatory behavior on the population at large in total freedom, while their victim’s life has been totally destroyed without knowing who was behind it or why by someone that has tried to destroy them through a cowardly, dastardly act of psychopathy.

      Posse Commitatus Act Encyclopedia.com

      The resulting Democratic Congress was at odds with the Republican President Hayes. In response to what was seen as undue influence over the 1876 election, Congress outlawed the practice of posse comitatus by enacting the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) (as 20 Stat. 152) as a rider to the Army Appropriation Act for 1880. The act stated: “Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

      “Also, the president may use the armed forces to suppress a rebellion, insurrection, domestic violence, or unlawful conspiracy that obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or deprives the people of the United States from their constitutional rights, privelages, or immunities.”

      https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences-and-law/law/law/posse-comitatus-act

      Eric Striker via Unz Review reports:

      “The guidelines describe patriot “domestic extremists” as holding an ideology that states “the US government has become corrupt, has overstepped its constitutional boundaries or is no longer capable of protecting the people against foreign threats.” Oathkeepers, Proud Boys and Boogaloo Bois are put in this category.”

      https://www.unz.com/estriker/leaked-document-shows-who-the-pentagon-wants-to-purge-from-military/

      https://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000178-7031-dae3-affa-f6f7374a0000

      Andrea Iravani

    3. Andrea.Iravani. says:

      I totally disagree. This argument is a logical fallacy. The state and local governments have violated rights far more often and to far more significant degrees than federal government has.

      Don’t decentralize! Unincorporate! Decentralization does not get rid of the Federal government either. It is just adding more layers of government!

      How many layers do we need?!

      Federal, state, county, local! The less the better! The local and state governments are violating constitutional rights, which makes the guilty of high crimes and treason.

      The governments exist strictly for themselves at this point. They have become destructive, self-entitled, parasites. They believe that they are above the law and that they are exempt from the supreme law of the land, the constitution. So does the Federal government.

    4. Andrea.Iravani. says:

      I totally disagree. This argument is a logical fallacy. The state and local governments have violated rights far more often and to far more significant degrees than federal government has. 

      Don’t decentralize! Unincorporate! Decentralization does not get rid of the Federal government either. It is just adding more layers of government! 

      How many layers do we need?! 

      Federal, state, county, local! The less the better! The local and state governments are violating constitutional rights, which makes the guilty of high crimes and treason. 

      The governments exist strictly for themselves at this point. They have become destructive, self-entitled, parasites. They believe that they are above the law and that they are exempt from the supreme law of the land, the constitution. So does the Federal government. 

      The more layers of government that there are, the more layers of people taxing you and violating your rights and property.

      Andrea Iravani

    5. Andrea.Iravani. says:

      MyPillow CEO claims tbat Trump will be back in office in August, even though he is nowhere on the list of successors to the presidency. Talk about a man crush! That guy is going to crash hard in September, when Trump is still not in office!

      Andrea Iravani

    6. Darth Skippy says:

      The world’s first murder resulted when there were no racial, financial, political, or religious alternatives.

      My characterization of the EU, postmodern:
      youtube.com/watch?v=IK_iw5Yps2M (Star Wars cantina)

      I offer no ‘commonsense’ laws, in the form of capacity, barrel length, rounds per minute, or so on.

      There is no reason why incompatible people, with so many value systems, are always going to decide in your favor, out of some universal sense of right and wrong.

    7. Andrea.Iravani. says:

      Grafton Wisconsin government employee Amber Thomas in the water and waste water division has decided to murder me in cold blood, which she informed me of today because she said that they will turn off my water for refusing to allow the Grafton government to enter my home to install a new water meter even though I informed her that she has no right to enter my house, she said, yes, we have a right to go into your house. I told her that she does not because it would be a violation of the 4th amendment. I told her to place the meter outside and she lied and said that they would freeze, even though there are outdoor water meters used in Madison WI and Amber Thomas is the supervisor that makes these decisions. There is no Wisconsin law that requires water meters either.

      Amber Thomas has the mindset of a rapist, believing that she is entitled to force her way into people’s homes and if they do not comply, they will die, because nobody can survive without water.

      It is like someone that holds a gun to your head and says give me your watch, and if you don’t I will shoot you, and try to make you think that it would be your fault if you do not give them your watch and they shoot you.

      I refuse to tolerate Amber Thomas trying to force her way into my home, by threat of my imminent death for not complying.

      If I die, it will be Amber Thomas’s and the Grafton government’s fault for cold blooded, pre-meditated homicide. Amber Thomas is a psychopath, obviously!

      Andrea Iravani

    8. Andrea.Iravani. says:

      Grafton Wisconsin government employee Amber Thomas in the water and waste water division has decided to murder me in cold blood, which she informed me of today because she said that they will turn off my water for refusing to allow the Grafton government to enter my home to install a new water meter even though I informed her that she has no right to enter my house, she said, yes, we have a right to go into your house. I told her that she does not because it would be a violation of the 4th amendment. I told her to place the meter outside and she lied and said that they would freeze, even though there are outdoor water meters used in Madison WI and Amber Thomas is the supervisor that makes these decisions. There is no Wisconsin or federal law that requires water meters either. 

      Amber Thomas has the mindset of a rapist, believing that she is entitled to force her way into people’s homes and if they do not comply, they will die, because nobody can survive without water.

      It is like someone that holds a gun to your head and says give me your watch, and if you don’t I will shoot you, and try to make you think that it would be your fault if you do not give them your watch and they shoot you.

      I refuse to tolerate Amber Thomas trying to force her way into my home, by threat of my imminent death for not complying.

      If I die, it will be Amber Thomas’s and the Grafton government’s fault for cold blooded, pre-meditated homicide. Amber Thomas is a psychopath, obviously! 

      Andrea Iravani

    9. Andrea.Iravani. says:

      Grafton Wisconsin government employee Amber Thomas in the water and waste water division has decided to murder me in cold blood, which she informed me of today because she said that they will turn off my water for refusing to allow the Grafton government to enter my home to install a new water meter even though I informed her that she has no right to enter my house, she said, yes, we have a right to go into your house. I told her that she does not because it would be a violation of the 4th amendment. I told her to place the meter outside and she lied and said that they would freeze, even though there are outdoor water meters used in Madison WI and Amber Thomas is the supervisor that makes these decisions. There is no Wisconsin or federal law that requires water meters either. 

      Amber Thomas has the mindset of a rapist, believing that she is entitled to force her way into people’s homes and if they do not comply, they will die, because nobody can survive without water.

      It is like someone that holds a gun to your head and says give me your watch, and if you don’t I will shoot you, and try to make you think that it would be your fault if you do not give them your watch and they shoot you.

      I refuse to tolerate Amber Thomas trying to force her way into my home, by threat of my imminent death for not complying.

      If I die, it will be Amber Thomas’s and the Grafton government’s fault for cold blooded, pre-meditated homicide. Amber Thomas is a psychopath, obviously! 

      From Madison Wisconsin’s website:

      “Madison Water Utility has an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) network that reads and transmits water consumption on a daily basis. Some customers may choose not to have a transmitter inside their home. MWU’s opt-out policy offers two options: have the transmitter installed on the outside of the building, or not have it installed on the property at all.”

      “Option 1: Electronic Read Transmitter (ERT) installed on the outside of residence/building: $50.69 one-time charge
      Option 2: No Electronic Read Transmitter (ERT) on property: $4.06 additional monthly charge
      Please fill out and submit an opt-out form if you are interested in one of the two options above.”

      Standard Meter Opt-Out Form

      “In order to opt out, you must set up an appointment to have a Madison Water Utility meter technician visit your home or business. Call (608) 266-4765”

      https://www.cityofmadison.com/water/billing-rates/water-meter/standard-water-meter-opt-out

      Andrea Iravani

      P.S. government employees are as obnoxious and rude as hell to even place such outrageous demands on people! With all of the taxes paid, why in the hell are they even charging me for water in the first place?! These are the same retarded psychopaths that spent $7 million to replace the plumbing at the high school with 700 students. Wisconsin is mob run. They never bust corruption in Wisconsin, because they are all corrupt. At least Illinois busted Blogoyovitch!

    Leave a Reply

    XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

    Commenting Policy:

    Some comments on this web site are automatically moderated through our Spam protection systems. Please be patient if your comment isn't immediately available. We're not trying to censor you, the system just wants to make sure you're not a robot posting random spam.

    This web site thrives because of its community. While we support lively debates and understand that people get excited, frustrated or angry at times, we ask that the conversation remain civil. Racism, to include any religious affiliation, will not be tolerated on this site, including the disparagement of people in the comments section.