The big central government is way too far away from real people to be efficient supporter of collective needs of community. At the same time low-level local governments are too low on resources to do the same. The most effective way is to create more or less standard government units optimized to be small enough to be close to human level and big enough to have necessary resources. In short the thrust here is not against government per se, but for optimization of size of the government.
Bringing Power Back Home
Interestingly enough it starts from reference to history, specifically to Machiavelli as expositor of Florentine republican ethics of “civic humanism”. It stated that to maintain immortal republic the following should apply:
1. Widespread distribution of power and thus property
2. Citizen must be participant in civic life
3. Every able-bodied male should serve in militia to protect against invasion
The discussion goes to size and level of localization of government necessary to meet these requirements. The obvious conclusion is that contemporary American society moved far away from these requirements.
The solution offered is to create shires – government bodies with sizes between 2,500 and 60,000 people in which participatory democracy is possible. These shires would be the main governing body that will transfer very limited power to superior government bodies at the state and federal level only to the extent necessary to conduct functions that are impossible at the local level such as defense, diplomacy, regulation of trade, and such.
The short expression of idea is: “Bring Government home”.
My Take on It:
Since I do not see government or any collective for that matter as thinking, feeling, and acting entity, but rather as more or less organized hierarchy of individuals, I do not believe that change in size would matter that much. There are plenty of examples that even such minimally conceivable unit of government, as homeowners association becomes a petty tyranny hell bound on stepping on individual rights and transferring other people wealth to functionaries of government.
I believe that the only real solution is not to tinker with the size of government, but drastically decrease role of government to areas of its competence which is limited to areas where use of violence is necessary and justified. All other areas where government involved in now such as wealth transfer from rich and poor, regulation, and such would be taken care of by individuals and joint or separate market exchange between them as long as all individuals have something significant enough for sale. The core of this something in my opinion should be equal, unalienable, and marketable rights for natural resources supplemented by individuals’ ability to produce marketable goods and services.