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Why Power Must Be Localized

I am continually taken aback by the extent to which we trust bureaucrats and how little we trust the people with whom we interact. You can see this in our approach to education, to health, to shopping, and even to how we run our churches. Is it rooted in love of money, or is it the product of broken communities? Is it self-perpetuating? Is there a solution?

You cannot be free without a community because that is where we gain wisdom and develop the motivation to resist tyranny. radical individualism, consequently, undercuts freedom by putting the individual in conflict with the community that protects, enables, and gives purpose to freedom.

It is also true that the more authority is sucked “upward,” i.e. away from the local community, the more crime increases down below, i.e. in the local community. The reason isn’t hard to find. When the power to act rests far away, the locals are unable to deal with local issues, most of which can only be effectively dealt with locally.

But the human drive to self-govern creates both a practical and a natural necessity to govern. We perhaps fail to undertand our urban centers when we fail to see that organized crime in the form of gangs, mafia, etc. are not only driven by greed but also by the need for authority.

Therefore, the empowerment of the federal government to deal with crime has the effect of disempowering local government. Perhaps we reduce the number of corrupt local police officers, though I doubt it. But we radically increase the number of corrupt federal officials and empower an alternative local governing body that has no regard for any other law than its own.

That is the full efficient explanation for the explosion of crime experienced in the 20th century. Only power vested in local authorities – as close to the activities as possible – can effectively deter crime. There simply is no other way. Utopian dreams of a crime-less world always lead to increased crime and bewildered officials.

You see the same thing in schools when people submit to abstract credentials and build vast systems to bring about a pedagogical utopia. Return decision making authority to the local population, especially parents, and even the most ignorant will make better decisions for their children than the systems in place today.

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