(From a column by Mike Tuggle – December 2006)
I like emails from intelligent readers who challenge what I say ( as opposed to nastygrams accusing me of being a traitor, anti-American, racist, etc.). Here’s one that truly deserves a thoughtful response:
I agree with you about Southern pride, even, up to a point, what you say about Southern nationalism. But I have to question your advocacy of secession. Not only would the creation of 50-so new “nations” create a lot of overlapping, or even redundant bureaucracies, but such a move would eliminate the economies of scale of the Federal government.
But more crucial, I think, is how secession would put us in a weakened position when we have outside enemies who want to destroy us, not just the Islamic threat, but Red China. Like it or not, Washington DC is the last bastion of Western Civilization. How would you respond to an invasion by China?
Having worked for over a dozen years in Organizational Development and Project Management, I’ve seen the effects of both centralized and decentralized organizational structures. Both have their place—there’s no magic formula that applies to all organizations in all circumstances. One of the most important factors for the degree of decentralization is access to information. When the information needed to make operational decisions is freely available, decentralization beats centralization every time. The reason is that autonomous units, being more compact, more homogenous, and more agile, can respond to changing conditions more quickly than an oversized, poorly coordinated conglomeration of units. The reason? Information flow. What finally defeated the Soviet Union was the Kremlin’s inability to respond to the changing conditions in thousands of factories and farms. The factories and farms, on the other hand, lacked the authority to make the decisions they could see were necessary. Deprived of the ability to use local eyes, ears, and minds, valuable information that could have been used to coordinate thousands of entities into a successful national economy was lost. Planning became impossible.
Thomas Jefferson predicted the fall of the Soviet Union a hundred years before this doomed experiment began :
They are then, in fact, the corps of sappers and miners, steadily working to undermine the independent rights of the States, and to consolidate all power in the hands of that government in which they have so important a freehold estate. But it is not by the consolidation, or concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected…. Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread. Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography
Whenever order is imposed on an organization from the outside, the natural order of normally cooperating units is disrupted. Overcentralization, because of the limits of human rationality, is inherently destabilizing. The complex patterns of spontaneous interaction among independent participants guided by a shared goal are too fluid and numerous to be comprehended and directed. Imagine a bucket brigade springing into action to fight a house fire, then imagine Barney Fife taking over with a procedure manual. That’s what central control does to an otherwise healthy system.
Instead of imposing its own order on society, government’s proper role is to conform to the disposition of the people it serves. A consolidated government could never work for all peoples and all situations. As the lesson of the Soviet Union demonstrated, such a government can keep itself afloat only by brutal coercion. Minority voices, silenced by a triumphant majority, can no longer refresh the system with divergent views. In place of compromise, where the insights of several minds attack the problem as they also accommodate each other’s views and interests, a consolidated government centralizes decision making as well: “All absolute governments concentrate power in one uncontrollable and irresponsible individual or body”—what organizational scientist Herbert Simon would describe as “the bounded rationality” of centralized control. Lacking the richness of communication from each local area coming into the process, and sabotaging the goodwill and increased loyalty from a dispersed decision-making process, a consolidated government sets itself on a dead-end course.
Thus, consolidation does not guarantee “economies of scale.” More often, it instead impedes the abilities of local communities to function properly since they cannot apply local values to make rational choices based on local information.
Not only is confederalism more robust, better informed, and therefore more adaptable than centralized control, but the power monopoly that Washington DC possesses today is not being used to protect Western Civilization—indeed, it is being used for the opposite. Instead of the last bastion of Western Civilization, Washington DC is its ultimate betrayer. Third-World immigration is at flood tide, and the Bush Administration’s response is to draft another pardon for illegal aliens. Instead of worrying about a hypothetical invasion, we should be more concerned about the actual invasion we’re facing today—an invasion, by the way, that has Washington DC’s full blessing, and the American people be damned. Add to this explosive situation a long-standing official policy of minority preferences in opposition to America’s traditional European population. The sad truth is that the present regime is completely detached from the people who prop it up. The powers that be care only for power, and for the policies that increase their monopoly on power.
Further, it is Washington DC’s meddling in the Middle East that incites Moslems to counter-attack. From actively overthrowing the elected government of Iran in 1953 to its unqualified support of Israeli aggression against the Palestinians, DC has proven itself to be a bullying busybody that creates more problems than it solves. Moslems don’t hate the American people because of their freedom, as Bush & Co. continue to lie. Instead, Moslems resent DC’s bloody interventions in their homelands. You’d be angry, too.
A loose confederation of republics, each guaranteed its power through the right of secession to take informed, independent action based on the values of its people, will be a genuine protector of Western, Christian civilization. A consolidated government, on the other hand, will continue to subvert local culture, local self-government, and genuine social harmony to boost its own power. And without the shared vision of Southern culture, empowered to promote its unique identity through its own political institutions, there can be no basis for local self-government here in the South, and the more efficient, more responsive government it provides.