A Government For The Information Age

Re: USA Version 3.

It’s about time we reinvented ourselves (again). We’ve had 200 years of a pretty good run with V2 (which replaced V1 Articles-of-Confederation where the states were even more sovereign). But we’ve seen that this "operating system" has yielded a government where neither party can resist abusing the power and seduction of $10B a day spent – to say nothing of the even more than $10B a day of the people’s spending controlled thru regulation – aka dictated, not market-(i.e. free-will)-based purchases, unfunded mandates and off-the-books debt related expenses.

Perhaps we should reset to V1. I think I hear article V calling.

Note that we need to find some mechanism for those who strongly believe in communitarianism to express themselves, own-their-own government and "benefit" from this effort. If, say, 500,000 citizens want to practice something abhorrent (in the opinion of others) and they are co-located, no one should be able to use force to tell them different. What we should insist on is that they reap not only the benefits but bear the burden of their behaviors and beliefs in the near term, and not be a burden on their children.

I think this means a right to "vote with your feet" to join likeminded citizens, and encourage the division of each existing state into, say, 20 units of government that can be more reflective of the people locally. San Francisco can do whatever it pleases but not dictate to the Central Valley, and v. v. Where interests conflict and overlap, negotiation, compromise and markets, not dictates will rule. i.e. No non-local arguments about delta smelt save by those whose area includes the waterways. Non-locals could offer money to incent behavior but not use the police power to compel.

We could even make a national-security argument for the new organization where the bottom-up organization can do everything for itself (self-supporting units of government need not worry about the de-capitation of Federal leadership, or IRS computer failures). All most all of government is services. In the 70s and 80s the commercial sphere was able to move all of the grunt work in services to automation, from protein to silicon. E.g. No reason all taxes can’t be computed locally nowadays on something little large than a laptop (ok, a couple of them for redundancy). For that matter most all services for < 1M people can be computed on a few large laptops, and if self-service (assisted service when needed by charitable groups) web services running on a few more. This doesn’t have to be so hard, especially if all law is local, and the local law-makers insist that the law be expressible in logical statements executable by a spread-sheet.

A great good is that starting again (and assuring local control) means we can choose to begin with a clean sheet of paper (no legacy, no roomful of lawyers or torts constraining our freedom of action, rooms full of regulation gone). Call it the ultimate act of faith in trust and empowerment of the citizens. Or small-L libertarianism for 1000 political units (50 states * 20 locales) each sovereign (enough) to demand their own UN seat.

We could make all of DC a park (giving each half to their respective States) – perhaps the only one left after we give shares to all the other U.S. Federal Property to our creditors (including obligations we’ve made Ma and Pa SSI/Medicare/pension/etc. owners) in return for all the future obligations we’ve made for them as part of our Federal Bankruptcy proceedings – where the judges will determine how much of a haircut we all will take.

Well, I can dream.

I’m amused by RINO and so-called conservative claims that the welfare state is here to stay – our options are limited to tuning around the edges (and living with the current political system’s upside-down incentives that rewards moving power and responsibility to the center rather than back to the individual).

Usually these pronouncements of fact happen just before the world changes.

When I get depressed about all this, I look for uplifting stories from others who have fought this devil (in our collective self) and won – at least for a little while. And I derive some comfort from observing that the heart of our nation, the citizen and their enterprise (in people like L3) have decided they have the same if not more ability of the Founders to create a new future, even if only after we crash and burn on the current path (call it CFIT – a tragedy of the classic Greek style – the harm that we do to ourselves wittingly).

My favorite Kiwi (currently at Mercatus an effort I support):

http://www.uccs.edu/~csgi/mctigue2004august.shtml

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