Mises Institute: Decentralization Is a Step toward Self-Determination

Ryan McMaken at the Mises Institute writes that Decentralization Is a Step toward Self-Determination about state pre-emption laws.

For decades now, advocates for freedom and free markets have disagreed over whether or not political decentralization and local self-governance are important principles in themselves.

Most recently, this debate flared up here at mises.org over the issue of state-level preemptions of local government. Specifically, Connor Mortell objected to the State of Florida’s prohibition of local policymaking autonomy on the issue of covid lockdowns and mandates.

In response, a number of readers both in social media and in the comment section here at mises.org insisted that centralization of political power is fine so long as it’s the good guys who are doing the centralization.

We’ve certainly been here before. Indeed, this debate is essentially identical to the one over whether or not the US Supreme Court’s 2005 Kelo decision was a good thing. In that case, both sides were in agreement that eminent domain powers—practiced by any level of government—are a bad thing.

The disagreement was over whether or not states and the federal government ought to be able to prohibit local governments from exercising local eminent domain powers.

Lew Rockwell, building on Murray Rothbard’s decentralist views, took the position that eminent domain is bad (of course), but faraway governments ought not be in the business of meddling in local affairs to prevent it.

In an article titled “What We Mean by Decentralization” Rockwell writes:

The Kelo decision, in which the Supreme Court refused to intervene in the case of a local government taking of private property, touched off a huge debate among libertarians on the question of decentralization. The most common perspective was that the decision was a disaster because it gave permission to local governments to steal land. Libertarians are against stealing land, and so therefore must oppose the court decision.

And yet stealing isn’t the only thing libertarians are against. We are also opposed to top-down political control over wide geographic regions, even when they are instituted in the name of liberty.

Hence it would be no victory for your liberty if, for example, the Chinese government assumed jurisdiction over your downtown streets in order to liberate them from zoning ordinances. Zoning violates property rights, but imperialism violates the right of a people to govern themselves. The Chinese government lacks both jurisdiction and moral standing to intervene. What goes for the Chinese government goes for any distant government that presumes control over government closer to home.

Rockwell doesn’t mention it, but he’s likely taking a page from Ludwig von Mises here on the matter of “self determination.” For Mises, self-determination was a key element in limiting the power of political regimes and opposing the “princely principle” of political centralization and maximization of a state’s area of control.

Mises and “Self-Determination”

As Mises put it in Nation, State, and Economy, the “doctrine of freedom” offers an alternative—“the principle of the right of self-determination of peoples, which follows necessarily from the principle of the rights of man.”

Mises goes on to clarify that this type of self-determination is also about local control:

To call this right of self-determination the “right of self-determination of nations” is to misunderstand it. It is not the right of self-determination of a delimited national unit, but the right of the inhabitants of every territory to decide on the state to which they wish to belong.

What does this mean in practice? Mises insists on the right of inhabitants to choose their own state. By this he means that localized groups of people with similar cultural and political interests—even down the level of a village—must have the freedom to function independently of the impediments of a larger centralized state. 

Murray Rothbard, not surprisingly, was in agreement with this, and noted the implications of Mises’s position: that self-determination at the local level is a key step in securing self determination not only for small groups, but for individuals themselves.

The reasons for this are numerous, and they’re why most libertarians (i.e., the liberals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Constant) preferred local government to government by larger, less local regimes. Like his liberal predecessors, Mises understood that larger “national” regimes tend toward abuses committed by large majorities on smaller linguistic, cultural, ideological, and ethnic groups.1

These problems tend to be made less bad by more localization. 

Decentralization of this sort is also important, because it allows individuals greater ability to exercise their freedoms by more easily changing the regime under which they live. Rothbard explains that decentralization

means greater competition between governments of different geographical areas, enabling people of one State to zip across the border to relatively greater freedom more easily; and it exalts the mighty libertarian principle of secession, which we hope to extend on down from the region to the city to the block to the individual.

Rothbard speaks of state boundaries—here meaning the American political units called “states” and not to be confused with the Weberian sovereign state—but of course he also applied the same principle down to local governments:

Pending total privatization, it is clear that our model could be approached, and conflicts minimized, by permitting secessions and local control, down to the micro-neighborhood level, and by developing contractual access rights for enclaves and exclaves. In the U.S., it becomes important, in moving toward such radical decentralization, for libertarians and classical liberals—indeed, for many other minority or dissident groups—to begin to lay the greatest stress on the forgotten Tenth Amendment and to try to decompose the role and power of the centralizing Supreme Court. Rather than trying to get people of one’s own ideological persuasion on the Supreme Court, its power should be rolled back and minimized as far as possible, and its power decomposed into state, or even local, judicial bodies.

“Uniformity” Is No Virtue

Nonetheless, one recent commenter at mises.org argues local autonomy is unacceptable because travelers ought not have to deal with a patchwork of different legal regimes:

[In Wisconsin] I drive 40 miles to work and 40 back. I pass through at least 8 different towns on the way. If every town had different gun laws, my freedom to protect myself [with legal concealed weapons] would be compromised or curtailed altogether.

The conclusion we are presumably supposed to draw is that some centralized political authority must intervene to ensure uniformity among laws, presumably in a way that protects the rights of residents. Of course, this sort of reasoning takes the naïve view that the central government is likely to implement laws that favor the legality of concealed weapons. Experience suggests this is a rather fanciful notion, and we can see the benefits of local control if we consider the case of a state that takes an unfavorable view toward firearms.

Consider New York State, for example, where the state government heavily restricts the use and ownership of firearms. It is likely that many towns and cities in the northern and western part of the state, however, would prefer to allow more freedom in firearms usage in their jurisdictions. If these local communities were allowed local control,  at least the residents in those communities would have greater freedom with firearms. But as it is, the presence of a strong centralized state government ensures these freedoms are heavily curtailed everywhere within the state. Thus, the overall amount of freedom is greater in a scenario with decentralized political power.

The argument that laws ought to be uniform is equally suspect when dealing with passing across state borders. For example, consider a commuter who must drive from southern Maine to the northern end of the Boston metro area. This is a trip of only about eighty miles, but requires the commuter to travel through three states. Two of these states tend to be permissive on guns—Maine and New Hampshire—but Massachusetts tends to heavily restrict firearms usage and ownership.

If uniformity in law is important, then we must therefore insist that the federal government intervene to ensure that we aren’t inconvenienced by the fact gun laws change every time we cross state lines. 

But, of course, we know how well that would work out. Inviting federal lawmakers to “protect rights” or make gun laws “uniform” would almost certainly result in far more restriction than is currently the state in many states. Unfortunately, uniformity across state lines tends to favor the areas with the most restrictive mandates.

The Problem with Asking Higher Levels of Government to Protect Our Rights

Another objection is that a profreedom position requires support of any regime that lowers government regulations or mandates, regardless of how immense or distant that regime is:

Government at any level, other than at the individual level, is illegitimate … it makes more sense to support any individual action that comes closer to enforcing the NAP [i.e., the nonaggression principle] whether it is the president, governor, or mayor.

This is the logic behind the EU: the national governments are imposing tariffs, so we need the European Commission to ensure “free trade.” Indeed, the EU has long been sold as a profreedom institution, because it supposedly lowered trade barriers erected by more local government units. Of course, we can see where that led. The net effect of the EU has been the exact opposite of the expansion of freedom. Instead, the EU has given the world a giant bureaucracy that limits trade with the non-EU world and imposes countless regulations of its own.

The same logic could also be employed to call in the World Trade Organization to force down Trump’s tariffs. After all, if the US is raising taxes on trade, we need somebody to “enforce the NAP.” Why not strengthen the WTO so it can dictate tax rates to member states? The problem with this should be obvious: calling in some international body like the WTO to better “protect rights” is just asking for trouble. Americans would soon find themselves in a position similar to that of the British under the EU. Would surrendering more local prerogatives to an international group of politicians be a solution to high tariffs? This could potentially work in the short run, but experience has taught us that the potential for lost freedom in the longer term is enormous. 

  • 1. On this, Benjamin Constant writes: “It is clear that different portions of the same people, placed in circumstances, brought up in customs, living in places, which are all dissimilar, cannot be led to absolutely the same manners, usages, practices, and laws, without a coercion which would cost them more than it is worth.”

Birch Gold Group: How to Protect Your Local Economy From the Great Reset

Brandon Smith, writing at Birch Gold Group, talks about How to Protect Your Local Economy From the Great Reset

Over the years, I have written extensively about the concept of economic “decentralization” and localization, but I think these ideas are difficult for some people to visualize without proper motivation. By that I mean, it’s not enough that the current centralized model is destructive and corrupt; it has to start breaking down or show its true totalitarian colors before anyone will do anything to protect themselves.

Sadly, the majority of people tend to take action only when they have hit rock bottom.

In recent months the pandemic lockdown situation has provided a sufficient wake up call to many conservatives and moderates. We have seen the financial effects of pandemic restrictions in blue states, with hundreds of thousands of small businesses closing, tax revenues imploding and millions of people relocating to red states just to escape the oppressive environment.

Luckily, conservative regions have been smart enough to prevent self destruction by staying mostly open. In fact, red states have been vastly outperforming blue states in terms of economic recovery exactly because they refuse to submit to medical tyranny.

I outlined this dynamic in detail recently in my article Blue State Economies Will Soon Crumble – But Will They Take Red States With Them?

The data is undeniable: the states and cities that enforce lockdown mandates are dying, the states that ignore mandates are surviving. However, with a Biden presidency there is a high probability that the federal government will now seek to force compliance from all states. In other words, lockdowns will become a national issue rather than a state issue.

For now, Biden is pretending as if reopening is right around the corner, but as I have noted in the past, the Reset agenda will never allow this. A reopening, if it happens at all, will be short and lockdowns will return. We are already seeing a new narrative being introduced to the public involving “COVID mutations”, which are supposedly “more deadly” than the original COVID-19 outbreak. So, there is a brand new and useful threat and the establishment will exploit it as a rationale for more lockdowns and restrictions.

Beyond the pandemic mandates, there are also numerous Reset agenda policies that will be implemented under the Biden administration, including insane Green New Deal, related executive orders and legislation claiming to reduce carbon emissions. What they will really do is annihilate resource production. Millions of jobs will be lost and entire industries will be erased unless conservatives act to stop Biden in his tracks.

This means doing far more than stalling through political maneuvers. We are going to have to use concrete strategies to retake control of resource management within the states. Pointless globalist carbon policies composed by entities like the UN have no place in American economic planning. A message needs to be sent that they will never be accepted here.

Time is running out to prepare. Lockdowns will return within a few months and this time they will be federally enforced. Conservatives must be ready to defy these orders if they have any hope of saving their local economies. This is going to take individual efforts to stock necessities and secure their finances, but ultimately wider organization is going to be needed to weather the storm.

Conservatives must establish coalitions of counties and states, and certain economic measures will have to be applied to insulate from damage. The federal government and Biden will attempt to punish red states for refusing to submit, and we need to be ready for that eventuality.

Here are some ways that conservative communities can stop the Reset agenda…

Localization

On a smaller scale, conservatives can accomplish a lot by simply changing their buying habits. If you do 80% of your retail spending with big box stores and online outlets like Amazon and only 20% at local small businesses, then try to switch that ratio. Spend 80% at local businesses and 20% at corporate outlets. Yes, small businesses tend to cost a little extra, but who do you really want your money going to? Do you want your money filling the pockets of international corporate moguls that are working to destroy your freedoms and undermine your economy? Or, do you want your cash to circulate locally?

Individuals can also start their own business from home focusing on production of necessities or necessary skill sets. They can establish a small business co-op and encourage the community to buy locally. Often, people just don’t know how many services are available from small businesses in their area, so they automatically go to big box providers. Small businesses must work together to change the dynamic.

This strategy also extends to local farms. Consumers and grocery stores need to buy more of their produce from farms in the area and less from chains which ship in produce from other countries. There are millions of acres of farmland in the U.S. that do not grow food at all because these farms are paid by the federal government not to. Encouraging local food production is paramount to remaining free from centralized control.

Organized refusal to comply

The problem with conservatives is that we tend to be so independent that we avoid organization. This is a problem because it leads to self-isolation. During the pandemic lockdowns in blue states, some conservative-owned businesses refused to comply, but they were left mostly to fend for themselves with no aid from the wider community. If more businesses were to ally with each other and protested in tandem, dozens or hundreds of defiant businesses working together would be a lot harder to shut down than just a few.

By extension, it’s not enough for conservatives to merely argue against the lockdowns and demand businesses stay open, we need to also defend those businesses that take action. We need to support them with our dollars and stand in the way of anyone trying to close them down. They are taking a big risk for us, so we need to be willing to take risks for them.

Imagine if Biden tried to assert a national lockdown order and more than half the businesses in the country ignored him? What if patrons refused to allow federal agencies to intimidate those businesses? The lockdowns would be nullified, and Biden would have little recourse.

Establish barter networks

In the event that the U.S. economy breaks down completely, we must create contingencies to prevent total trade disruption. Without trade, populations become desperate because no one has the ability to provide every necessity all the time. People have to be able to barter goods and services in an open market.

Barter networks are a base fundamental, the universal go-to solution during economic collapse. Every society in modern history has used barter markets to stay afloat during financial crisis and to bypass government economic controls. We must be willing to do the same.

Conservatives must start organizing barter networks within their communities now. It does not matter if you are trading with a couple of people or hundreds; the process needs to start somewhere.

Why is this so important? Because there is a very good chance that the federal government will try to fiscally punish any state or county that opposes lockdown measures and Reset policies. This means that the government will first seek to cut off federal funding to red states. In the midst of economic crisis, many regions have become reliant on federal stimulus as a crutch, and this dependency makes them vulnerable to control.

To truly rebel against the Reset, local economies need to be free from federal oversight or consequences. With barter networks in place along with possible local scrip and alternative currencies, the public will be less fearful of economic retaliation.

Take back management of local resources

We have already seen attempts by Biden to disrupt production of carbon based energy resources like oil and coal. Frankly, the time is long past due for states and counties to take back control of federal lands. The government has been stifling American production for decades and this has hurt rural communities in particular.

In my area, the EPA has essentially destroyed the timber harvesting industry through unfair regulations. This has led to federal mismanagement of forests to the point that fire hazard has become a major issue. All the young men in the county used work as lumberjacks to support their families; now they have to leave, or work as wildland firefighters. It’s completely backwards. And this is happening while U.S. lumber prices are skyrocketing.

Conservative counties and states need to take back land and resource management and allow reasonable production to return. Biden should have no say in whether or not oil wells in North Dakota stay operational, or coal mines in West Virginia stay open, or trees Montana are selectively harvested. As long as the bulk of wealth from the resource production stays within the state where the resources were harvested, I see no downside to this kind of response.

If the federal government tries to retaliate by cutting off federal funds, it won’t matter because the states will be producing jobs and wealth for themselves independently.

Immunity from cancel culture

In our current political environment, it is becoming a fact of life that the hard left can and will try to harm people that oppose their ideology. Big tech companies and government are helping them to do this. Now more than ever, conservatives that wish to remain free to voice their views and share facts that are contrary to the leftist narrative must seek protection from cancellation. But how do we do this?

For one, we can work for ourselves. Being self employed means never having to worry about being fired because of your political opinions. Or, conservatives need to work for conservatives. This means conservative companies need to focus on hiring conservative employees, and if the leftist mob tries to attack an individual, those companies can easily ignore them. Of course, this also means that conservative consumers need to start making a list of conservative companies that have proven themselves to be immune to leftist pressure. We need to support these companies.

Conservatives should also look into the possibility of campaigns to build more platform alternatives to Big Tech and social media. We need more web service providers that are owned by people who respect free speech rights. We may even need our own internet.

All of these things are possible, but it takes organization and effort. Conservative communities can become safe havens for civil liberties, but this means we cannot be isolated from each other anymore. We have to be connected by more than our principles, we must also be connected through actions.

Mises Institute: Why Governments Hate Decentralization and “Local Control”

Ryan McMaken at the Mises Institute talks about Why Governments Hate Decentralization and “Local Control”. No one with power wants to have to exercise that power through intermediaries; they want direct control.

In recent decades, many have claimed that advances in communications and transportation would eliminate the different political, economic, and cultural characteristics peculiar to residents of different regions within the United States. It is true the cultural difference between a rural mechanic and an urban barista is smaller today than was the case in 1900. Yet recent national elections suggest that geography is still an important factor in understanding the many differences the prevail across different regions within the US. Urban centers, suburban neighborhoods, and rural towns still are characterized by certain cultural, religious, and economic interests that are hardly uniform across the landscape.

In a country as large as the United States, of course, this has long been a reality of American life. But even in far smaller countries, such as the larger states of Europe, the problem of creating a national regime designed to rule over a large diverse population has long preoccupied political theorists. At the same time, the problem of limiting this state power has especially been of interest to proponents of “classical” liberalism—including its modern variant, “libertarianism”—who are concerned with protecting human rights and property rights from the grasping power of political regimes.

The de facto “answer,” to the this problem, unfortunately, has been to empower national states at the expense of local self-determination and institutions which had long provided barriers between individual persons and powerful national states. Some liberals, such as John Stuart Mill, have even endorsed this, thinking that mass democracy and national legislatures could be employed to protect the rights of regional minorities.

But not all liberals have agreed, and some have understood that decentralization and the maintenance of local institutions and local power centers can offer a critical obstacle to state power.

The Growth of the State and the Decline of Local Powers

Among the best observers and critics of this phenomenon are the great French liberals of the nineteenth century, who watched this process of centralization unfold during the rise of absolutism under the Bourbon monarchy and during the revolution.1

Many of these liberals—Alexis de Tocqueville and Benjamin Constant in particular—understood how historical local autonomy in cities and regions throughout France had offered resistance to these efforts to centralize and consolidate the French state’s power.

Alexis de Tocqueville explains the historical context in Democracy in America:

During the aristocratic ages which preceded the present time, the sovereigns of Europe had been deprived of, or had relinquished, many of the rights inherent in their power. Not a hundred years ago, amongst the greater part of European nations, numerous private persons and corporations were sufficiently independent to administer justice, to raise and maintain troops, to levy taxes, and frequently even to make or interpret the law.

These “secondary powers” provided numerous centers of political power beyond the reach and control of the centralized powers held by the French state. But by the late eighteenth century, they were rapidly disappearing:

At the same period a great number of secondary powers existed in Europe, which represented local interests and administered local affairs. Most of these local authorities have already disappeared; all are speedily tending to disappear, or to fall into the most complete dependence. From one end of Europe to the other the privileges of the nobility, the liberties of cities, and the powers of provincial bodies, are either destroyed or upon the verge of destruction.

This, Tocqueville understood, was no mere accident and did not occur without the approval and encouragement of national sovereigns. Although these trends were accelerated in France by the Revolution, this was not limited to France, and there were larger ideological and sociological trends at work:

The State has everywhere resumed to itself alone these natural attributes of sovereign power; in all matters of government the State tolerates no intermediate agent between itself and the people, and in general business it directs the people by its own immediate influence.

Naturally, powerful states are not enthusiastic about having to work through intermediaries when the central state could instead exercise direct power through its bureaucracy and by employing a centrally controlled machinery of coercion. Thus, if states can dispense with the inconveniences of “local sovereignty” this enables the sovereign power to exercise its own power all the more completely.

The Power of Local Allegiance and Local Customs

When states are dominated by any single political center, other centers of social and economic life often arise in opposition. This is because human society is by nature quite diverse in itself, and especially so across different regions and cities. Different economic realities, different religions, and different demographics (among other factors) tend to produce a wide range of diverse views and interests. Over time, these habits and interests supported in a particular time and place begin form into local “traditions” of various sorts.

Benjamin Constant, a leading French liberal of the nineteenth century, understood these differences could serve as effective barriers to centralized state power. Or, as noted by historian Ralph Raico: “Constant appreciated the importance of voluntary traditions, those generated by the free activity of society itself….Constant emphasized the value of these old ways in the struggle against state power.”

In his book Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments, Constant complains that many liberals of his time, having been influenced by Montesquieu, embraced the ideal of uniformity in laws and political institutions.

This, Constant warns, is a mistake and tends to create more powerful centralized states, which then proceed to violate the very rights that Montesquieu thought could be preserved through uniformity.

But political uniformity can lead down very dangerous paths, Constant insists, concluding, “It is by sacrificing everything to exaggerated ideas of uniformity that large States have become a scourge for humanity.” This is because large politically uniform states can only reach this level of uniformity by employing the state’s coercive power to force uniformity on the people. The people do not give up their local traditions and institutions easily and therefore, Constant continues,

It is clear that different portions of the same people, placed in circumstances, brought up in customs, living in places, which are all dissimilar, cannot be led to absolutely the same manners, usages, practices, and laws, without a coercion which would cost them more than it is worth.

This may not be “worth it” to the people, but it appears to be worth it to the regime. Thus, states over the past several centuries have expended immense amounts of time and treasure to break down local resistance, impose national languages, and homogenize national institutions. When this process is successful, a nation’s laws end up reflecting the preferences and concerns of those from the dominant region or population at the expense of everyone else. When it comes to these large centralized states, Constant writes:

one must not underestimate their multiple and terrible drawbacks. Their size requires an activism and force at the heart of government which is difficult to contain and degenerates into despotism. The laws come from a point so far from those to whom they are supposed to apply that the inevitable effect of such distance is serious and frequent error. Local injustices never reach the heart of government. Placed in the capital, it takes the views of its surrounding area or at the very most of its place of residence for those of the whole State. A local or passing circumstance thus becomes the reason for a general law, and the inhabitants of the most distant provinces are suddenly surprised by unexpected innovations, unmerited severity, vexatious regulations, undermining the basis of all their calculations, and all the safeguards of their interests, because two hundred leagues away men who are total strangers to them had some inkling of agitation, divined certain needs, or perceived certain dangers.

For Constant, the diversity among communities ought not be seen a problem to solve, but rather as a bulwark against state power. Moreover, it is not enough to speak only of individual freedoms and prerogatives when discussing the limits of state power. Rather, it is important to actively encourage local institutional independence as well:

Local interests and memories contain a principle of resistance which government allows only with regret and which it is keen to uproot. It makes even shorter work of individuals. It rolls its immense mass effortlessly over them, as over sand.

Ultimately, this local institutional strength is key because for Constant state power can be successfully limited when it is possible to “skillfully combine institutions and place within them certain counterweights against the vices and weaknesses of men.”

Unfortunately, it appears even the last few institutional vestiges of localism are under attack from the forces of political centralization. Whether it is attacks on Brexit in Europe, or denunciations of the electoral college in the United States, even limited and weak appeals to local control and self-determination are met with the utmost contempt from countless pundits and intellectuals. Two centuries after Tocqueville and Constant, regimes still recognize decentralization as a threat. Those who seek to limit state power should take the hint.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: The Future Must Be Decentralized and Localized

Michael Krieger at Liberty Blitzkrieg has written The Future Must Be Decentralized and Localized in order to explain the alternative to our current, authoritative, decidedly non-democratic system of government.

…From my perspective, humanity remains stuck within antiquated paradigms that generally function via predatory and authoritarian structures. We’ve been taught — and have largely accepted — that the really important decisions must be handled in a centralized manner by small groups of technocrats and oligarchs. As a result, we basically live within feudal constructs cleverly surrounded by entrenched myths of democracy and self-government. We’d prefer to be lazy rather than take any responsibility for the state of the world.

We’re now at a point where simply recognizing current structures as predatory and authoritarian isn’t good enough. We require a distinct and superior political philosophy that can appeal to others likewise extremely dissatisfied with the status quo. My belief is humanity’s next paradigm should swing heavily in the direction of decentralization and localism.

Decentralization and localism aren’t exactly the same, but can play well together and offer a new path forward. The simplest way to describe decentralization to Americans is to look at the political framework laid out in the U.S. Constitution.

As discussed in the 2018 piece, The Road to 2025 (Part 4) – A Very Bright Future If We Demand It:

At the federal level, a separation of powers between the three branches of government: the legislative, the executive and the judicial was a key component of the Constitution. The specific purpose here was to prevent an accumulation of excessive centralized power within a specific area of government…

Beyond a separation of powers at the federal level, the founding founders made sure that the various states had tremendous independent governance authority in their own right in order to further their objective of decentralized political power.

Localism takes these Constitutional ideas of political decentralization and pushes them further, by viewing the municipality or county as the most ethical and logical seat of self-governance. The basic idea, which I tend to agree with, is that genuine self-government does not scale well. A one-size fits all approach to governance not only ends up making everyone unhappy, it also entrenches a self-serving political and oligarchical class at the top of a superstate which makes big decisions for tens, if not hundreds of millions, with little accountability or oversight. This is pretty much how the world functions today.

While localism implies relative political decentralization, decentralization is not always localism. One of the best examples of this can be found in bitcoin. Unlike traditional monetary policy, which is handled in a topdown manner by a tiny group of unelected technocrats working on behalf of Wall Street, there’s no bitcoin politburo. There’s no CEO, there’s no individual or organization to call or pressure to dramatically change things out of desire or political expediency. The protocol is specifically designed to prevent that. It’s designed to operate in a way that makes all sorts of people uncomfortable because they’re used to someone “being in control.” We’ve been taught that centralization works well, but the reality is political and economic centralization concentrates power, makes the public lazy and ultimately winds up in a state of authoritarian feudalism.

Bitcoin also demonstrates how decentralization and localism, though not quite the same, can complement one another well in an interconnected planet. Imagine a world where governance is largely occurring at a local level, but global trade remains desirable. You’d want a politically neutral, decentralized and permissionless money to conduct such transactions. Similarly, a free and decentralized internet allows the same sort of thing in the realm of communications. Regions that can’t grow coffee will still want coffee, and people in New York will still want to chat with people in Barcelona. Decentralized systems allow for the best of both worlds — localism combined with continued global interconnectedness… (continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: The 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Movement

Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg has up an article about Localism in the 2020s and specifically discussing the effectiveness and importance of the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement.

…Before discussing the significance of all this, let’s address some thoughtful criticism of the movement from Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. His primary point of contention is that the resolutions these municipalities and counties are passing — unlike immigration sanctuary ordinances passed in places such as San Francisco — carry no weight of the law.

Specifically, they’re not passing ordinances, but rather resolutions, which Michael describes as “non-binding political statements.” In other words, it’s all just talk at this stage and he’s frustrated that much of the media coverage makes it seem what’s being passed is more concrete than it actually is. Although I disagree with his overall assessment of the importance of what’s happening, he makes many good points and puts some much needed meat on the bone of this issue for those getting up to speed. He published an instructive video on the topic, which I recommend checking out.

Despite his legitimate criticisms, I believe the second amendment sanctuary movement is meaningful in the bigger picture of the nation’s emergent social and political evolution. Although it is indeed mostly just talk at this point, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re going to build a movement you need to start by talking and establishing some sort of consensus amongst your peers. More concrete steps can follow in the future. Don’t forget this is a learning process for many of the people involved, and many of those coming out to these city and county meetings likely never engaged politically in such a manner before in their lives…

Even bigger picture, the second amendment sanctuary movement should be seen as a manifestation of a core trend I except to grow considerably in the decade to come: localism. The people driving this movement aren’t petitioning Washington D.C. or even their state house, instead they’re looking to their friends and neighbors and taking a unified stand at the local level. Simply put, they’re attempting to take matters into their own hands as opposed to begging distant authority figures. This is in large part why their actions seem disorganized and unsophisticated; these are just regular people saying enough is enough, and in this case the line in the sand happens to be firearms.

This goes against everything we’re taught. We’re led to believe we have representatives in D.C. that actually represent us and we just need to elect the right people to have our voices heard. This sounds good, but we all know by now it’s a lie…

Importantly, this is how it should be. If we’re going to crawl out of the mess we’re in it seems clear we need a different approach. Pretending all we need to do is “elect good people” to Congress or the Presidency is a slave mentality. The system itself is so completely corrupt and so explicitly rewards criminal and evil behavior, we need to start thinking and acting differently, which means focusing on what’s closest to home…

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.