Wednesday, December 24, 2014

February 10 New Symposium: A Revolution to Decentralize?

          Over the past few years, state governments and local communities have pushed back against federal laws and regulations in numerous areas, including: marijuana production and consumption; health insurance coverage; assisted suicide, immigration; minimum wage; energy mandates (wind and ethanol); grazing rights; and a myriad of work-place/business regulations.  Is this unease a symptom of more abstract forces, a “cooling” of our loyalty to or affection for the nation as the political and economic powers become more internationalized/globalized?  If so, what are the psychological and sociological forces at work in that cooling?  And what does the future hold? Will “the people,” the am-ha-arez, take/be given more control over their personal lives and “sins,” as long as the globalists are making money?  Are the "Hunger Games”our future? Is ethnocentric retreat (many small, unofficial “nations” of people who receive our greater loyalties) increasing?  Though federal laws proscribe discrimination on many bases, are peoples’ prejudices and social-psychological separations growing?


  1. Darwin [who has been rather quiet here given the radical and extensive tomes he composed during his life] says he freely admitted that "if it could be demonstrated that any complex organ[ism] existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." But central planners worldwide falsely concluded from this that numerous, successive modifications [per their enlightened policies imposed externally] could be used to "reform" any complex social organism into a new and [in their minds] more desirable state.

    However, others in our midst believed [and are even more ardent now] that complex organisms are nothing more than essential manifestations of myriad simultaneous interactions among a large number of vital, autonomous, contiguous and irreducible members where these interrelations "form" the whole ... even when the "appearance" of the whole is temporarily altered by constraints imposed externally. If this is true, the only lasting way to "reform" a complex organism is from within each composing [or in my case decomposing] member which [due to the member's irreducibility] requires the member's volition.

    Thus central planners eventually awake to discover that they fatally substituted collective external coercion for the essential [but much more difficult] individual internal conviction. And although they seem [to those with earthly life's shortened attention span] to get the desired results at first, in the long run they always fail because the organism inevitably reverts to the complex but essentially unaltered synergy of its individual members as soon as the external forces which temporarily altered its appearance are removed or fail in their application. Col 1:17, Romans 12:2.

    1. But Chaerephon, the leadership in businesses, schools, and marriages (which are highly complex) successively modify many times the parts of the whole for increased desirability. I’m not sure a myriad of contiguous, but autonomous "anythings" should be called an organism. Yes, genuine reform within the organism requires the volition of its members, and not through coercion. So, getting together (centralization) and agreeing together (planning) can be a wonderful synergy.

  2. One needs to distinguish between patriotism and nationalism. The former is that natural affection people have for their homeland, whereas nationalism is an invidious ideology that has caused the death of tens of millions of God's children.

    Globalization is, sadly, no prophylactic against nationalism. The last great age of globalization, from the mid-1800s through 1914, was destroyed by nationalisms that fed the criminal carnage which drowned both both Christendom and commerce in a cataract of blood from 1914-1918.

    What you characterize, Michael, as "a 'cooling' of our loyalty to or affection for the nation" is really a Thermidorian Reaction to the centralization of the last few administrations. Thus the rebellion of local and state against an ever more aggressively centralizing federal government has little to do with globalization. It is part of a long American tradition and shows federalism is alive and well as the states and the people reassert their rights under the Tenth Amendment and other provisions of the federal constitution. This tradition ranges over time from the anti-federalists movement and the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions (drafted by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the father of the constitution, respectively) to current court challenges to federal overreach and rejections of health exchanges and medicaid expansion.

    People have a natural affinity for that which is closest to home and the fundamental unit of society–the family. That natural affinity reflects the economy of information in a free society: those closest to the matter at hand have better information than those most distant. Hayek argued for decentralized decision making for this reason in "The Use of Knowledge in Society" [ ] and in his Nobel lecture, "The Pretence of Knowledge" [ ].

    This natural affinity and the economy of information are both reflected in the principle of subsidiarity, a central feature of Catholic social teaching, and a principle whose value many other Christians have come to appreciate. This is a much better foundation for social action that reflects our God given natures than the hubris that the national government knows best. Look not to easily demonized abstractions such as "globalization."

    The fault, dear Michael, is not in starry abstractions, but in ourselves, that we are underlings!

    1. Historically, I see "nation" more a function of ethnicity and/or economic opportunity, and having less and less to do with "country" or geographical boundaries. Even the heavenly multitude has its origins in ethnos (nation), phulee (tribe), laos (people), and glossa (tongue/language), not nation-states as currently developed. My point is that geographical boundaries will have less and less meaning in the future global economy. That which has happened to the demographics in the United States and Europe in the last 30 years is tell-tale.

      This is not a criticism of any nation, tribe, people, or tongue -- though those groupings have and will again manifest more clearly their many distinctions as they each retreat into/find their comfort level within the group -- as the internationalists favor the labor of whichever group offers them the most profit. When the “American Dream” is no longer the motivating principle and a new relative austerity is accepted as the norm, humanity will find contentment in the beauties and simplicities of subculture, local economy, family – and, we hope, the Church. What opportunities for subsidiarity!

      Ethnicities cooperate as long as economic opportunity is alive and prosperity is anticipated, but as national economies lose control and submit to the global economy (run by those who no longer see the world nationalistically), the peoples’ view of "their nation" changes. The view narrows. Their view homogenizes. They seek more "natural," easier relationships. (This is not to diminish the possibilities of supernatural relationships, but, by definition, they are not natural.)

      Many "nations" or ethnicities can exist and have existed within a geographical boundary – but in the new economy, people will increasingly emphasize the commonalities of culture, not geography. I think of what Yugoslavia has become in our day -- a grand example of ethnic resurgence. The current milieu in Crimea and eastern Ukraine is essentially an ethnic issue.

    2. Recently, the French Prime Minister Valls, a leftist, referred to "a territorial, social, ethnic apartheid" that has spread across his country. My points have been that "country" is having less priority in people's affections, 2) that a decentralizing backlash is a growing response to the failure of countries to manage an increasingly globalized economy and the Islamic jihad and the porous nature of national borders, 3) that people are finally understanding that the pecuniary promises of federal governments are unrealistic and that relative austerity will bring with it a new set of sociological values, 4) that the Modernist goal to integrate cultures is less significant in a Postmodern world, 5) that our sociological loyalties (in spirit, with letter to follow) are in the throes of a major revision.

      How the dominant ethnicities will respond to this New World may lead to the end of popularly-elected governments.

  3. Illusion, Delusion and Collusion

    The promised benefits of "laws & treaties" promoting international free trade & economic cooperation are designed and drafted by self-seeking multi-national banks & corporations then "fast-tracked" by the national central banks & governments they control without anyone other than the biased draftsmen being permitted to know their terms prior to enactment. Surely this is indicative of a state in which external force and not internal volition is being used to alter the function and/or appearance of the underlying irreducible economic members being collected for control.

    As noted by Virginia's Tommy J. [who resides among us here with his famous scissors still clipping lines from pages], even the most severely oppressed members of an exploited collective are reluctant to see Willie Y.'s "second coming" ... the arrival of the day [if it takes that long to unfold] when "things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world."

    But that is precisely and inevitably the outcome [or fate, for those of us who are old school] of any attempt to externally impose order, centrality or other collective form on autonomous, contiguous and irreducible members with volitional possibilities in tact [aka which are still alive]. If globalism must give way to federalism, then federalism must give way to civil war and civil war to fratricide. It is simply the nature of the irreducible [or indivisible or individual if you prefer] to revert to its own volition when disgust with the involuntary forces imposed upon it become more to be detested than the fear of death ... and this outcome is a surprise only for those who fail to think below the collective surface ... it is otherwise completely logical ... albeit the logic can be obscured by the deluders and colluders for a rather long time.

    1. PS. Tommy J. just gave me one of his clippings that, speaking of a certain middle eastern liberator, says his mission was to "free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives." Tommy does not recall just how this liberator accomplished his mission, but one must surmise it had something to do with reminding them that they have volition which only they, as individuals, can exercise. For what that's worth.