Government Turned Upside Down.

     I don’t think anyone, no matter which position they choose to take in the political debate, can deny that we have serious problems with the functioning of our government these days. I contend that most of our problems stem from the fact that our government, in its current form, is nearly the opposite of what is necessary for our system to work.
     In its present incarnation, our government is a highly centralized federal system in which the federal level is viewed as supreme, followed by the States, with the local governments picking up the scraps, so to speak. Many mistakenly believe that this is the best system based on their belief that they can not trust the local officials to do what is best for the people, so they prefer to have a single, central presence to do this. This, however, is a completely flawed argument, no matter the justification, for if we can not trust elected to properly run something as small as a city, how does it follow that they can be trusted to properly run an entire nation?
     Let’s reverse the system and see what it looks like.
     Starting with the federal level, what was it intended to do? First, protect us from foreign entities and handle relations with these entities, including trade and treaties. Second, make sure that the various States respect one another’s laws and people, and to ensure that States do not interfere with each other’s trade or internal affairs. This is essentially the end of the assigned federal authority.
     The role of the States is much more involved, and diverse. Each State is expected to enact its own Constitution detailing its responsibilities with regard to, and in accordance with, the wishes of the citizens of that State, and that State alone. the majority of the governing currently taking place at the federal level was intended instead to be done at this level. In this way, the State would, and should, each be unique, with the people of that State selecting the form and structure of their own governance, or failing that, relocating to a different State according to their preference.
     It is the local governments which should be supreme. It is only at this level where the people of a community can actually control directly how the government conducts daily business. It is not the fault of the system that the local government so frequently do not work, but the fault of the residents of that local area. They must, whether they like it or not, take an active role in this local structure, or resign themselves to be ruled by the wishes of their neighbors.
     The very idea of restructuring things this way leads to opposition based, in my experience, on two questions. What about taxes, and who would provide services?
     The answer to taxes is simple. The local communities would collect revenue from those who reside there in whatever form they select. This could range from voluntary contributions, to tolls, to sales taxes, or any other of a myriad possibilities. The important thing is that the local community would decide for themselves. As this would cause each community to have its own unique system, a person who didn’t wish to be involved in a particular system would be able to move to an area which had adopted a preferable one. In the initial stages of development, this would be quite inconvenient for some people, but in time it would begin to run much more smoothly.
     The States, in their turn, would collect needed revenue from the local communities and from activities exclusive to that State, but not directly from the people. The federals would do likewise, drawing revenue only from the States themselves, or from sources such as allowable tariffs.
     What about services? Where will these come from? Since the people and the communities will not be sending an unduly large percentage of their wealth to a higher level of government, they will immediately have the option of directly selecting and paying for whatever services that they decide upon. If they decide to have a fire department, they will have the wealth available by virtue of not having to support a top heavy government to either hire a contractor for this or to create a department of their own. Likewise with law enforcement. Who will build the roads? Those who will use them. They will either build them or do without. If the need is legitimate, the roads will follow, paid for by those who use them, not by wealth confiscated from hapless individual who will never see this road, let alone use it. Here too, the means will be determined by the community itself, not by mandate from on high.
     This is just a brief view of my position in this, but it should provide a fair glimpse of my concept of government. Hopefully it will also provide content for further thought.


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