Posts Tagged ‘American Civil War’

From the Editor’s Perch

May 31, 2013

REd Blue States

Zoning Government

Lately I’ve been reconsidering the Civil War.  By allowing the South to secede, Lincoln might have not only established a precedent for forestalling conflict, but could have spent the energies of his Administration considering just how this ‘secession’ might be structured – while also laying down a workable precedent for the conditions of a re-union.  Perhaps the Civil War could have been forestalled simply by issuing us all two passports and allowing its citizens to come and go as they pleased, voting with their feet.

After all, what are immigration and emigration but particular bits of secession and reunion?   And we allow it.  In fact, more and more, trading one country for another seems to be the coming trend.  A friend of a friend recently became a Danish citizen and says he ‘loves’ it.  He’s a big fan of their more socialized system.  Relations I have are thinking of relocating to Canada or New Zealand.  And there is still a large queue of people wanting to immigrate to the US.  Why should we think that one form of government will suit all?  And why shouldn’t people be allowed to leave anywhere, whenever they please?  And if we allow citizens to change governments, why shouldn’t we allow regions to do the same?  Mr. Lincoln, (why didn’t you) tear down this precedent!

The populations of the Red and Blue states currently seem separated most by whether they are urban or rural, large government or small government inclined.  Citizens nowadays seem to segregate politically around how much government they want.  What if we could zone government so that people desiring a high level of government involvement could move to the high government zoned regions?  And what if those who would like very low levels of government involvement could move to low government zoned regions?   And we could define low/high government involvement levels by their total/taxed base percentage of the GDP – the thinking being that no animal ever grows larger than the amount of food it eats.

We zone for industrial and retail business, high density condos/apartments, and residential.  We love having more than one cable supplier.  Wouldn’t we like options to our government supplier even more so?  And wouldn’t a healthy competition between government suppliers create better service?  And if governments of the future were forced to complete for citizens (and tax revenue), wouldn’t they naturally become more services oriented, less proscriptive and more enabling?

Certainly world corporations are choosing the governments they prefer, and shifting their incomes thereby.  Highly skilled citizens are already choosing the countries they prefer.  Why wait until we lose our most profitable companies and our most desired citizens?  Why not start government zoning right here and now within our own borders?

Currently, if we would like to change our government or laws to address a grievance, we can vote (least work and least influence), write a letter (more work), buttonhole a congressperson (harder still), find an activist group which wants the same thing and join forces with them (this is like getting married – same amount of work and not easy to find the right fit), or get elected (requires the most work and commitment – and closely resembles a death wish J ).

Even after doing all of this, a steep hill remains in getting your grievance resolved.  The Koch brothers with all their money and influence have yet to be able to shape the government as they would prefer it.  So what are your chances?

Currently our citizen appeal process is like having to change the entire management of Sears in order to get your dishwasher properly serviced.  Wouldn’t it be much easier if one were to just walk over to Rob’s Appliance Repair and hire him to do the job?  This is something zoned government might accomplish.  If a citizen does not like the way their government is performing, they would be able to move where the government services more suit them.  Moreover, a zone of government which is consistently losing citizenry might be much more willing to reconsider the services it offers and the taxes it demands.  And all the citizenry would have to do to feel their grievance met is to move: just enough trouble to eliminate quibblers is my thinking.

Zoning would solve the problem many citizens and corporations are now moving to other countries to solve – without the solution involving the problems of dealing with differing cultures and languages and laws and business practices.  Why not do something more in line with pleasing everyone and quit insisting that one size fit all?

Graphic taken from Google Images


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