One of the important lessons to be derived from observations of politics and economics is this: the larger the sphere of control, the more dangerous it is, and the more prone to mistakes that can damage more people.
As a result, decentralization of political units, run through smaller, autonomous -- or close-to autonomous -- control spheres, is generally more conducive to human freedom and to better living standards.
The market is the best way to show how people value things and ideas, because valuation is subjective, and can only be reflected by individual choice. So, if one is going to be stuck in a polis – a state, or government – it’s likely better to have that government be small, and have a lot of other options available in order to facilitate at least a cypher to the market competitive process.
Sometimes, this could mean that local people in small communities adhere to traditions and values that vary a great deal from those of other physical locales, and market trade facilitates the exchanges of ideas and cultural touchstones that can lead to great growth.
So one doesn’t have to be a fan of government to acknowledge that, if governments are going to exist, it’s likely best to keep them small, decentralized, restricted by written rules, open to a lot of participation (while trying to stop the majority from crushing the minority), and free to let the people escape.
Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn’t like this idea. In fact, she recently offered a statement that might chill many who recognize the exponentially greater dangers to liberty that large state systems pose compared to smaller, decentralized ones.
As Selwyn Duke writes for The New American, the woman who touted the benefits of East German collectivism in the late ‘80s just offered a Freudian slip that says a lot, in a public statement that says a lot…
(A)t an event organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation… the German leader and ex-communist proclaimed, 'In this day nation states must today — should today, I say — be ready to give up sovereignty,' according to the Express.
And, as typical of her mentality as that is, it’s quite notable and worth remembering, because Merkel’s position is also typical of the mentality of many of the bureaucrats and politicians in the European Union.
Merkel’s warning, clearly directed at Brexiters and Italians who have rejected globalism and the Minotaur’s Maze of regulations and taxes the Brussels-based EU ceaselessly creates, indicates a stark difference between the mindset of the politically connected internationalists and the populists in Britain, Italy, Brazil, and the United states who favor their nation-states over a larger sphere of control.
And this is not to say that those smaller spheres are all hunky-dory. Government is, by its nature, a machine of force, intimidation, threats, robbery, and war that stands in complete contravention to the principles of individual ethics and morality. It is, by definition, an imposition, not a choice (if it were a choice, it would be a business you could stop paying at any time).
As a result, Ms. Merkel, in pushing the idea of super-states being better than decentralized states, is implying that:
- People who favor small, autonomous areas of political control are backwards cavemen, likely racist, and not “hip” to the benefits of international trade.
- People who favor small, autonomous areas of political control are not good people. And…
- People who favor small, autonomous areas of political control should get ready to be forced to drop such silly notions.
And, of course, Angela has joined France’s “Jupiter,” President Emmanuel Macron, to call for an EU army, so her interest – whether one focuses on her slip of “must” or not – in people dropping their “national sovereignty” isn’t just idle chit-chat.
It’s a dangerous ideology that has the backing of a lot of people with a lot of political power in the EU, and it’s an alarm bell for those who believe in decentralization.
Some of those people might have cultural reasons for their desire to be free of EU control. Others might have economic reasons, or “patriotic” reasons that mix in various strains of history and other factors. But the core of the lesson is the same:
There are important reasons to keep the state small, not the least of which is to avoid the troubles a big, collectivist politician like Angela Merkel could bring.