02 December 2007

Centralization or Decentralization

When thinking about domestic change, there appears to be an appetite for full-press, universal cures for big issues. From both the right and the left, to different degrees on different topics, there is pressure to adopt one or another slam-dunk cure, most of which require federal intervention in some way or another.

Given the nature of the union that is the United States and the wide ranging attitudes – sometimes found in pockets of strong opinion – across the land, it seems that the slam-dunk cure, the universal solution is exactly the wrong way to solve complex social issues.

For instance, as the 2008 presidential campaign drones on, the issue of abortion bobs above the surface from time to time. As might be expected, those on the far edges of both the right and left have drastically different views concerning abortion. Yet instead of allowing for wide variation of law between the states, Roe v. Wade has essentially set a standard from which the idea of “freedom of choice” has come into being with regard to “abortion rights.”

But when a more appropriate approach is suggested by Republicans, specifically repealing Roe v. Wade, right-to-lifers cry out that it would be capitulation. Any solution other than banning most, or all, abortion is anathema to them, it seems. However, as some have rightly pointed out, allowing states to implement their own abortion laws would more accurately reflect the character of those states and would probably result in more stringent rule regarding abortion.

All of the people can’t be pleased all of the time. Indeed, when the whole of the US population is taken into account (making it the “all”), it can never be completely pleased. So on complex social issues, like abortion, education, etc, the “all” should be leveled down so as to comprise a smaller group. This would make something like a consensus on issues more achievable. And what is more, if folks end up not liking the local rules regarding sensitive issues, they could move to a place where they would feel more at ease, more in step with the community. Now that would be a closer approximation of true personal freedom.

Instead of local level governance, what we’re most likely to see as time goes on is more centralizing of well-meaning social programs. These social programs are and will continue to be “franchises” of federal bureaucracy set up ostensibly to help the public. In reality, they are bastions of centralized power that grow over time and, in general, end up serving most those within the apparatus itself.

1 comment:

Jack N said...

The tendency for federal centralization is the antithesis of the Federalism/States Rights envisioned/originated by the Founding Fathers.

Back to Federalism!!
Down with socialism!!