America has always been a mixture of different cultures, races and nationalities. In the past, that was supported by local rule: towns, counties and states. What was accepted in one place might be shunned in another. By having local autonomous rule, the various different values could be preserved without attempting to enforce them unbearably on others. If you didn’t like the life of the Pennsylvania Dutch, you could move to Louisiana for Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street. If you didn’t like the night life of NY City, you could move to Montana or Iowa.
This is becoming less and less possible as the Federal Government mandates how we must live and, more importantly, what we must tolerate. As freedom is lost, so goes individuality. All slaves wear the same chains and eat the same food.
So, I see three possible futures for America:
1. We cut back the Federal Government’s role in our lives and permit local autonomy to flourish. Perhaps without state and Federal Departments of Education, local school boards might be able to bring more common sense to education. When a mediocre person can’t solve a problem with one person, he attempts to get the government to solve it by handling an entire group. When a wise person can’t solve a problem, he looks to see who is on the other side of it holding it in place. Going from the general to the particular seems to be a much better way of solving problems.
2. We give up more of our freedom in exchange for more power over our lives and the promise of work, food, shelter and entertainment. This seems to be the direction in which we are currently heading. For those with little or nothing it’s definitely a step up provided the government is wise and fair.
The problem as I see it is that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Such a powerful state lends itself to corruption and special favors and that leads to the destruction of the state. When that happens, the people who gave up their freedom for the work, food shelter and entertainment find themselves with nothing.
3. Our nation splinters into regions that have problems in common. Arizona and Texas might form a region to deal with illegal Mexican immigration. California, Oregon and Washington state might form a region to preserve their natural resources and economic might. The Northeast from Pennsylvania north to Boston might form a commercial union of major urban areas to protect their production and industry. And of course Washington, DC is a world unto its own.
I personally prefer the first option, but as the ancient Chinese curse goes “May you live in interesting times.” We certainly do.