Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Reflections on the Tea Parties

As usual, Deneen provides provocative stuff.

Last week's motley collection of protests against taxation, centralization and the Government are now old news, but their spirit remains perennially relevant. Invoked in the name of the original "Boston Tea Party," the patchwork of local Tea Parties sought to revive the spirit of protest against a distant and arbitrary government. While a number of commentators have rightly noted that this most recent set of "tea parties" did not share a central feature of the original Boston tea party - namely, a protest against "taxation without representation" - in a deeper sense, there is a profound continuity between these two protests, even if the circumstances and the particular governments in question are radically different.

...Indeed, if anything should be learned from our current crisis, it is that the very apparent "efficiencies" of larger and more consolidated entities actually decrease our capacity to govern ourselves. The current frustrations of our many "Tea Parties" is surely derived from the palpable sense that things have spun wholly out of control and ordinary citizens are being asked to bankroll a system that is almost wholly ungovernable.

... If anything, this "reset" should consist of the obvious instruction that we should be downsizing and decentralizing, retaining and encouraging actual diversities based in local circumstance rather than encouraging the creation of monolithic and homogeneous organizations of such massiveness that they are barely governable and hardly function. Above all, we should avoid further centralization in the name of efficiency that simultaneously leaves the citizenry with a sense of insignificance, powerlessness, irrelevance and indignity.

Condensed a bit: we have created "efficiencies" in Gummint which by necessity have deprived us of control of that Gummint. What Deneen doesn't mention (and is equally true) is that, given the larger platforms, politicians have sought to increase their control.

In other words, we got efficiency, all right--at the cost of actual self-government.

1 comment:

Beer, Bicycles and the VRWC said...

"In other words, we got efficiency, all right--at the cost of actual self-government."

And without the efficiency.