I look at it like this: the level of complexity required to “govern” the nation has exponentially increased, but the ability of our elected leaders to manage that complexity has not kept pace. What companies would still exist if their CEOs and Board of Directors couldn’t effectively manage the company? The answer is not many, and probably none of them. And so this, too, will likely become America’s Fate of Empire.
So why do we let government get away with waste, fraud, and abuse; corruption and violations of the rule of law (no one went to jail for the IRS scheme targeting conservative groups, no one went to jail for Fast and Furious, no one went to jail over Hillary’s private email server containing classified information, etc.); and general ineptitude at all levels?
I came across an opinion piece published over at the New York Times entitled, “Is the United States Too Big to Govern?” If you can get past the obligatory and immediate virtue signalling over President Trump, the article does bring up some good points.
For one, the author quotes Montesquieu, the French jurist and political philosopher, who wrote:
“In a large republic, the common good is sacrificed to a thousand considerations; it is subordinated to exceptions; it depends on accidents. In a small one, the public good is better felt, better known, lies nearer to each citizen; abuses are less extensive and consequently less protected.”
(I love the line “it depends on accidents,” as if to say that large republics can do nothing right on purpose.)
Corrupt politicians in Washington D.C. are insulated from the People by geography, and insulated from the rule of law by layers of political protection. These people are largely untouchable, and the back stabbing (i.e., doing the right thing) seems to be the only way elected officials are ever subjected to justice. So the casual observer’s first clue that the United States is too big to govern is that their law-breaking politicians are too big to fall. It’s almost as if the Founders deliberately designed a nation of states, small republics in their own right, where politicians are less insulated and public pressure is more easily applied.
The author goes on to outline three problems with a large country:
- Voter turnout is lower because citizens feel they have less of a voice
- “Political responsiveness” is inadequate to accommodate the citizenry
- The largeness of a country is detrimental to social trust
In yesterday’s article, I described that America’s multiculturalism is causing much of our civil and social strife. Diversity is not strength. Unity is strength. And, as it’s been said, we can be racially diverse but culturally homogeneous, or culturally diverse but racially homogeneous, but we cannot be both culturally and racially diverse. This kind of diversity represents “a thousand considerations,” in the words of Montesquieu.
Further, the author writes: “The presence of a wide variety of social groups and cultures is the primary reason for [a lack of social trust]… [H]eterogeneity and trust are frequently in tension, as different ways of life give rise to suspicion and animosity. Without at least a veneer of trust among diverse social groups, politics spirals downward.”
The author’s conclusion is that we can salvage our multicultural society if we work towards inclusiveness and commit ourselves to renewing a “sense of shared responsibility and trust among different groups”.
If America’s diverse groups could commit themselves to the ideological ideals of the Founders — Liberty, the right to privacy and private property, unalienable rights of the citizen, and the rule of law in absolute terms — then perhaps we could co-exist and keep the country going for another roughly 250 years. But I believe, as many others do, that we’re past that point. In 2018, this is simply not a realistic solution.
A realistic solution, one which I believe is probably inevitable, is a dissolution of the United States. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire and end of World War I to the end of World War II, the Balkan Peninsula fragmented numerous times into smaller nations based on natural and ethnic boundaries. What was once a part of one empire, the Balkan Peninsula is now home to some 13 different countries. Former Yugoslavia broke up into seven different countries. Upon its collapse, the USSR balkanized into 16 different countries. In all cases, new national boundaries were largely drawn around ethnicity, especially in the case of former Yugoslavia. It’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility that within our lifetimes the United States, instead of balkanizing around ethnicity, balkanizes around culture and political ideology.
I’ve seen several articles over the past few years containing predictions of the new nations to be carved out on this continent. It seems to me, with the evidence that the Left is moving farther Left and the Right is moving farther Right, that not just discussing domestic conflict but also discussing Balkanization is worth our due diligence.
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