Saturday, September 27, 2014

Devolution And Smaller Government

...because of smaller nations.

Via Maggie's Farm, Dismantling Empires Through Devolution over at The Atlantic. I think is is more often a force for good than for evil, a sentiment I would not have expressed twenty years ago, I don't think.

The last sentence is "If the world wants to see global solidarity of nations, the tribes may need to win first." I think that is true whether people want it to be or not.  We have already seen that massive European cooperation in the form of the EU was only possible once ethnic groups moved back closer together and redrew boundaries for greater homogeneity.  Germans moving back to Germany, in particular. I wrote about Jerry Z Muller's essay in Foreign Policy a few months ago.

Side note:  The irony that Europeans then went into a frenzy of anti-nationalism against the US, wrists-to-foreheads in horror that we flew flags and thought our country best, has been irritating. Didn't we see how nationalism had caused all the trouble? Well no, frankly, we thought it had rather solved it.

Is such devolution even considerable in America?  We have a strong cultural presumption against it. Much is made of Red and Blue America and drawing it up on a map, but it doesn't divide as nicely as one would like.  Regionalism is only part of the equation. Urban centers are blue, scattered across the country. I have also liked Joel Garreaus' Nine Nations map, even though it is 30 years old. David Hackett Fischer's four British folkways still holds, and Colin Woodard's division owes something to both of them. (I'm not recommending that last book remember.)

Devolution would not have to be complete, nor according to any grand scheme.  In fact, a comprehensive plan, such as is favored in DC, would almost certainly be a screwy, gerrymandered division so that current power-holders can keep on. Secessions would almost certainly have to be along state boundaries, and states are often divided in their sympathies.  There is a clear New England culture, and northern New England could likely make its peace with those knuckleheads further south - until one got to about Hartford, after which the people themselves would identify more strongly with being part of The City. Those are no longer New Englanders.  Some do vacation here. Yet still don't get it.

Alaska or Hawaii have enough history of separateness that each could join in with some general withdrawal and devolution, but I don't see them influencing the rest of us much if they did so.

If the Atlantic article is accurate in its speculation that trading centers would be diverse and defend their own trade routes, that would be interesting in America, where military bases are largely rural, created in a time when land warfare was the norm.


Anonymous said...

Urban centers are Democrat fiefdoms. They are redder than the reds.

james said...

The Napoleon of Notting Hill