Friday, March 12, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Nothing is Written"

The role of nations will be redefined away from the classic European idea of providers of services to one of governance. In other words, the nonstate actors will be the engines of the 21st century. The role of states will shrink back to delivering defense and key public goods.
This is a profoundly undemocratic view of the future. The one thing governments can do, even if it is often honored in the breach, is reflect popular sovereignty and democratic consensus. No other human agency can do that. They all reflect other interests or means of establishing their constituencies. These could be religious as with the Moslem Brotherhood or the Maryknolls or Mormon charities, or racial as with La Raza, or ideological as with Greenpeace or simply financial.

If in the future the provision of essential goods and services will be provided by NGOs and corporations then the most sought after title may no longer be Citizen but Stockholder.

My gut tells me that to many are to blithe in their assumption, as is wretchard that a defanged government will be confined to its proper role once the provision of goods and services other than "defense and key public goods" is extracted. What those public goods are needs examination. In the Constitution some powers are enumerated but that has proven a weak reed to rely on while drawing the boundary between the public and private sectors.

My fear, and I think it is reasonable, is that the socialists have so discredited the democratic apparatus that the transfer of authority to unelected bodies will leave the political apparatus a hollow shell as feckless as the Roman Senate under the Caesars. Once that happens then it will be easier for some Caesar or Chavez to take power. It also means that the rump government will be unable to defend the people's rights but will instead become a tool of inevitably corrupt or oppressive forces with private agendas. We are already on this slippery path. How will you enjoy your vine and fig tree when Greenpeace wants to limit fig trees and Goldman Sachs is invested in a scheme to take your land?

The Left is well aware of this problem when they agitate about Corporatism. It is interesting to me that they often perceive a real problem, as Marx did with "Alienation" and then consistently prescribe exactly the wrong solution that only makes the condition they identified worse.

(who rejects the Spartan governance model)
Your first five paragraphs get it. The question for an argument as for the government is, where to do you draw the line? Let us hope we can get back to something closer to the Town Meeting than the God-King.

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