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Tuesday, August 24, 2004

"There’s got to be a better way."

This is how Sheldon Richman concludes his excellent review on how centralization of government makes the society ineffective and vulnerable. And I can't agree more.

Mr Richman offers a libertarian perspective on what has been happening in the US over the last several decades. I would say that what he is saying likely applies not only to the US but to any other society as well. I am not a libertarian to quite the same degree as Sheldon Richman but I do find some of his arguments very persuasive. Of the anti-American ideology of our Jihadist enemies Mr Richman has this to say.
The insistence by the Bush administration and its supporters that U.S. policy has nothing to do with the terrorist threat is a little too fevered to be credible. Those who see in anti-Americanism a reaction to U.S. policy are maligned as excusing violence by trying to understand its perpetrators. But a moment’s thought discloses that excusing and understanding are vastly different activities. Moreover, proponents of the Bush interpretation can’t really be against trying to understand the terrorists, because these proponents themselves claim to understand them. So this is really a debate between competing interpretations. They are welcome to offer their theory of the terrorists’ true motivation, but a little evidence would be nice.
I can't agree 100% that radical Muslim groups do not resent the internal American attitudes or American customs and lifestyle, but I would think that would be a secondary issue whose significance can not possibly compete with that of the American policy in the Middle East.

Another excellent point of Mr Richman's is that by centralizing America the government makes its every mishap more significant as far as its potential negative consequences.
The more highly centralized the governing authority, the easier it is to disrupt the society by disabling that authority. There is simply no way for a bureaucracy to know all that the entire society knows. This is as true for security issues as it is for the production of steel or wheat. “Society” is smarter than any legislature or bureau.
I am in general a supporter of a strong power center. However, I am also a supporter of federalism. The functions of the federal center must be tightly regulated, as must the power of the local government.

Every chance they get the Bush administration is telling us that because of the terrorist threat we must give them ever more power at the expense of the local power base and our individual freedoms. But I think just the opposite is true,- and to that the deceptions and incompetence of the federal government is a testament.

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