Guest Post: The Solution to Concentrated Power: The Triple Ds

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

The Solution to Concentrated Power: the Three Ds  

Why keep squabbling over issues that cannot be resolved except by the Tyranny of the Manipulated Majority? Decentralize, diffuse and devolve power to the lowest level and the national dead-ends vanish. Natural selection will sort out what works and what doesn't.

The solution to centralized power can be summarized as the three Ds: diffusion, decentralization, and devolution of power to local communities. Yesterday I analyzed the global failure of centralization: The Master Narrative Nobody Dares Admit: Centralization Has Failed (June 21, 2012).

The concentration of power into the hands of a few bureaucrats in Europe has failed, just as concentrating monetary power into the (privately owned) hands of Federal Reserve bureaucrats has failed. Enabled by a captured Central State, financial power has become concentrated in five banks, media control has been concentrated into six corporations, and so on, ad nauseum.

Concentrating centralized political power inevitably spawns State/private-capital cartels that stripmine taxpayer/citizens. This cannot be avoided or staved off with 1,000-page legislative bills and 30,000 pages of regulations, all of which serve to consolidate the power of centralized government and private capital.

The Argument Industry (May 25, 2012) is a symptom of what I term profound political disunity. (If I didn't coin the phrase, I am the predominant user of it in recent history.) This is a key concept in my books Survival+ and Resistance, Revolution, Liberation, for it underpins our inability to address, much less solve, the over-arching problems of our society and economy.

Yes, arguing fruitlessly without hope of resolution is a profitable "make-work" business, but it has a debilitating effect in the real world: views get hardened by propaganda into rigid ideological silos, and fractured institutions are slowly delegitimized.

Take gay marriage as an example. Does anyone seriously think there will ever be some sort of national consensus on this issue? Why does anyone think there *should* be a national consensus that is politically imposed on the minority who disagree?

My friend Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds recently summarized the "devolution solution"--devolve power to the states:

They want to force their way of life on everyone else, we think they're idiots, etc, etc. and n'er the twain shall meet. EVER.


So why try to force the fit if it doesn't work anymore? Let Arizona do whatever it wants. Or Wisconsin, Or Florida.


Let North Carolina ban gay marriage... but let the gays in NC pick up the hint and move to more hospitable climes and so forth for other groups and individuals who would not be able to get along in a situation whereby the DOMINANT paradigm of a particular region would be allowed to have free rein.


But let the rest of us do what we want to do and we'll KEEP our tax dollars *where we live*, thank you very much!

Not only do I totally agree, but I would devolve power even lower down the ecosystem to counties. Let me first stipulate that I have consistently held that there is an essential role for a strong but limited Central State: it must have the power to disrupt and dismantle local monopolies, oligarchies and criminal organizations, and it must retain the power to guarantee freedom of faith, exchange, movement, expression, enterprise and association to all individuals. It must also be empowered to defend the nation against external threats and attack, and protect the nation's "commons"--its soil, water, air, natural beauty and resources--from despoilation and exploitation by global, national or local Elites.

But beyond these limited roles, all other power should be diffused and decentralized to the lowest units of local political power, the counties. If County A legalizes gay marriage, County B bans it and County C decides that marriage is a private affair that the government should have no role in, then people who have concluded this is a key issue will migrate to the county of their choice. (County D may choose by not choosing to enable an "Argument Industry" that endlessly gnaws over the same old tired ideological debates as part of the local "entertainment industry.")

There is a decidedly favorable element of natural selection to this process of letting local communities choose their own machinery of governance. With no Savior State to skim money from one community to give to another out of political favoritism, local communities will have to tax themselves for whatever services they desire.

If productive people are being taxed into penury and receiving little in the way of services they desire, they will move to a county with more favorable policies. Corrupt kleptocracies will be abandoned until there are no productive people left to exploit, and the kleptocracy will implode.

Each county will be an experiment on what works and doesn't work, and it is likely there will be a spectrum of successful models. Those counties which allow concentrations of power to infect and control their social and financial ecosystems will likely stagnate; those which incentivize freeloading will be overwhelmed with freeloaders, and so on. Risk and consequence will be reunited, as they are in Nature.

If County E decides that all CEOs of banks chartered to do business in the county must live in the county, then business/finance will adjust to that political will. As noted yesterday, If 500 banks are forced to compete in a transparent marketplace, it will be very difficult for those corporations to purchase the political power the five "too big to fail" Central State-created banks now own.

Is local control of the way of life "efficient"? Perhaps efficiency's elevation to godlike status is as misplaced as confusing convenience with meaning. What "works" for some communities is not just what's cheapest in terms of consumerism. "Efficiency" is often corporate-speak for a second-order tyranny.

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LawsofPhysics's picture

You are a coward.  For every state that has succumbed to violence are states and cultures that have lived very successfully in peace and harmony with their surroundings.  Everything takes work, critical thinking, and knowledge.  Don't tell the rest of us we need to be dependent on some central state, just because you don't have the balls or intellectual fortitude to think for yourself.

MeBizarro's picture

Another liberterian genius who ignores the realities of human history or why even civilization organized and centralized initally starting around 7-6k BCE.  It was for defense & security from their neighbors in almost every case.  

Maybe you will have your BS utopia where everyone work hards, is a critical thinker, blah blah blah.  I will show up with my larger and more sophsicated society that has a long standing army of professional soldiers and more sophsicated weaponry because my society has more resources to devote to warmongering & killing.  I will give you two simple black and white choices - either pay me tribute and become a vassal or be exterminated.  That's what most of human history has consisted of and will unfortunately in the future. 

LawsofPhysics's picture

Another pussy that ignores the reality that life is hard.

Grow up already, get out of your parents basement, and deal with it.

Having served I can tell you that if you don't think crictically, you won't have shit, including a stronger military.

Nice contradiction there moron.  Too fucking funny, liberal pussies like yourself always give yourselves away.

The choice is black and white, you either work towards a better tomorrow, or you don't.

Thanks for making it clear were you stand.

MeBizarro's picture

How does what I post 'ignore the reality that hard is hard.'  Actually waiting for a flight to get back home but thanks for the sentiment.

There are things that are more efficient if you do that at a larger level.  What is so controversial about that?  You can debate what those things are possibly but certain things including standards, etc are just that. Its inefficient to have everyone do their own thing at the local level.  Just is.

I have no idea what you are even blatheirng about about 'choice is black and white' and you either work for a better tomorrow or you don't.  I don't even know what you define as a 'better tomorrow' or what choices you think are available.  

Funny how you miss the irony that you constantly mention people need to 'think critquely' yet you almost always talk in generic platitudes with empty jargon or rhetoric.     

As for making things better, I will be doing Habitat for Humanity this Saturday as I often do once-twice a month on Saturdays with time permitting.  If that makes me a liberal pussy in your eyes, so be it. 

Lednbrass's picture

Ignoring the complete stupidty of your Utopian claims that nobody but you brought up, the Swiss have done quite well for themselves. As have the Dutch. And the Danes.


MeBizarro's picture

Each of those countries those still has a very centralized structure with a powerful role of central gov't especially the Danes and Dutch.  Little less the case with Swiss cantons but still the Swiss have a strong central gov't that overseas most basic areas.  They are small countries but the analogy doesn't hold.  In order for it to, you would have to do away with any centralized role of the Swiss gov't and only have gov't institution at the canton-level only. 

Lednbrass's picture

The internal sturctures of those nations have nothing whatsoever to do with your claim that smaller states will be instantly swallowed up by larger ones. They are entirely separate issues.

The point is that through diplomacy, alliances, etc. those very small states have managed to hang on quite well for centuries, your contention that only huge superstates can survive simply isnt supported by history. Many US states have the size and population of smaller European ones and can do just fine without the Federal umbrella being over them, whether their internal structure is loose or highly centralized does not matter in terms of your claim.

MeBizarro's picture

State-level organization is completely different than pushing it down to the county-level.  These organizations still have highly developed and centralized forms of gov't too. 

It has only been recent political history too (literally the past 100 years or so) that smaller countries have survived and more often than not they are gobbled up or exposed to occupation when there is conflict.   

Lednbrass's picture

Well, as I said above I think it should be a state level decision on whether or not to subordinate state law to county law, and that should be decided by people in whatever area not other people far away. If people in one state decided to do it, I fail to see where it concerns others who certainly dont need to move there if they think it a bad decision.

I think you need to re-check your history books, the Swiss, Danes, and Dutch (just as off the top of my head examples) have been around alot longer than 100 years. Yes, there are also many cases where a larger power has temporarily occupied a smaller nation, but it didnt change the long term survivability of the people and culture and the occupations melt away eventually. Spain owned Flanders for a time- yet they dont speak Spanish there as a primary language these days nor do the Belgians seem to view that or their trouble with the Germans last century as a reason to give up national sovereignty.

MeBizarro's picture

The only place your rule holds is very tiny municipalties like Monaco, San Martino, or Brunei which have unique historical aspects that have allowed them to remain tiny, independent, and relatively well-off. 

Lednbrass's picture

Going down to the county level should be the choice of people in that state as far as what laws supercede each other.

If State A wants county law subordinate to state law and State B wishes otherwise, let them do so.

If you dont like it you dont have to live there, so whats the problem besides removing the ability of someone like yourself to dictate how other people live?

Thats what really sticks in the craw of people like you- you cant bear the thought of not being able to force your views on other people through a centralized power apparatus.

MeBizarro's picture

Then you basically figure a configuration for the US similiar to the Articles of Confederation with the extreme modification in which the small unit of political boundary (county) triumphs State or Federal law if the citizens in that county vote to do so.  

I just don't see how a society like that functons in a world as complex and varied as ours even with the widespread deployment of technology deployment which would faciliate voting on such laws. 

Can the people in a county choose to follow Federal yet ignore state law if they choose?  How often would they do this?  Would it be a simple majority?  On what laws would they vote?  Who would write the laws?  How would legal disputes be resolved that span across counties/state?



Lednbrass's picture

There are already vast regional cultural differences in the US to the point that in the collective the country is near political paralysis, and I dont see this changing in the forseeable future.

Within the current framework, of course it cant be done- our current model is centralized power uber alles and it is failing.  I simply dont see it as rational or desirable that 300 million people over a vast area be hammered into one box, I think this is not only unrealistic but a little nuts and certainly dangerous. I also dont see how anyone can look at particularly the history of the 20th century and conclude that powerful central authorities over huge populations is a good thing, the body count was staggering.

I submit that it would be better to let those states in the US which actually want the current setup to continue with it as they please and allow those who do not to go their own way if they so chose. If they want to set up a loose Confederation among themselves ala the Articles, let them do so or if they wanted to strike out on their own, let them. I personally think the a loose Confederation is more likely and desirable in that scenario, Im not sure many states (even Texas) would actually strike out on their own entirely.

Let the Left Coasters put all their money in a pile and divide it evenly if they want, let New England concentrate its energy on new and clever ways to defraud everyone else and chase piles of money, and if the South wants to decentralize let them do so. Trying to make everyone row in one direction isnt working, the gap between what people in different areas want and how they want their lives organized is too great for things to function any longer lashed together.

MeBizarro's picture

I would actually tend to agree with you on several accounts.  It is not so much the regional diffences (if anything they have diminshed over time on many things in the US have become more homegenized including the food we eat, etc).

The bigger issue is that we have an increasing heterogenous population that increasingly shares less in common in several aspects.  Makes finding compromise harder on issues especially when we are in a time where it is about takign away things from people and not giving out additional benefits.  Historically when the US has had a large influx of immigrants, we would go through a period where we would then limit immigration & take a pause to let immigrants assimiliate.  That or we had excess land available to relieve population concerns.  No longer the case.

Confederation would be a failure I bet among several states.  You would need a dissolution of the US federal gov't and for several smaller nations to emerge with their own constitutions & style of gov't.  Given the strong sentiment though Americans and nationalistic feelings, I highly doubt we will get to this point any time soon though. 


Lednbrass's picture

Southerners are a curious lot in that regard- they join the military in far greater numbers than any other geographcial group but if you create and publish an agreement from the Federal government that states can actually exercise a right to self determination and opt out without war and I suspect you would see a new nation in short order. The dislike of northern people, culture, and ways is still very strong here.

It would be alot better for the other states also, and if not expect the South to continue supporting whichever politicians can pour the most sand into Federal gears and create the most dismay among its supporters.

MeBizarro's picture

That is just typical though of the most widely and incredibly inconsistent views that most Americans have.  I would have to see the figures but it wouldn't suprise me if the Southerners do volunteer in large numbers as a % of state population.  I would argue that if they didn't support the concept of the US they certainly wouldn't volunteer in large numbers for the military. Nor would most Southerners I imagine wanted most of the US bases there even though they have greatly benefited from the past 30 years from bases/airfields being closed in the Northeast/Great Lakes and shifted to the Plain States/South.



MeBizarro's picture

This site desperately needs to find higher caliber oped writers.  Charles Hugh Smith is terrible.  Ditto Brandon Smith who needs to take a writing class. 

Zero Govt's picture

"The solution to centralized power can be summarized as the three Ds: diffusion, decentralization, and devolution of power to local communities."

No Charles, wrong on all counts, problem solving not resolved, this is NOT the solution

Have you seen small govts in operation?

'Surprise surprise' they act just as ignorantly and just as rotten as Big Govt ..not just as rotten and stupid, EXACTLY as rotten and stupid

Why Charles Hugh-Smith? Why MEP Hannan?? Why Senator Paul???

Because it's the EXACT SAME system, large or small...'s a MONOPOLY of power

You don't solve the problem of monopolies by making it smaller dimwits. You haven't solved the problem, you're just making it smaller.

Fucks sake, how many times do i have to explain it?

We really need problem solving classses ACROSS THE GLOBE because nobodies brains are working, everyone just wants to re-arrange the fuking deckchairs!!!

MeBizarro's picture

I would assume you are an anarchist then and believe in no centralized role of power?  Correct?

Zero Govt's picture

MeBizarro  -  no i'm not an anarchist, the people that support Govt are anarchists because they support a small group of people running riot over society and the economy's called Govt or anarchy by another name

check the history books of Govt's record

then check the history books for anarchy

when does anarchy (social and economic chaos caused by a small group of out-of-control tossers) occur in history?

well take a look at the social and eocnomic chaos in Greece... Greece falls apart every 14 years on average, caused by a small group of out-of-control tossers (politicians) wrecking/bankrupting the economy which leads assuredly to the wreckage of society (see also Weimar Germany, Hitlers Germany, Argentina 3 times, Japan past 20 years etc etc)

Govt is anarchy ...don't listen to the propaganda word you're given to swallow of what anarchy is, make up your own mind, you can out-think the paid Govt crones (academics) that write the dictionary definitions

Think (for Yourself) 

MeBizarro's picture

If you believe in any form of gov't regardless of the form or creation is immoral, you are an anarchist.  That's at the very definition of it.    

Zero Govt's picture

no Mr MeBizarro, consider yourself well and truly hed-fuked

when you can think for youself and not swallow the perverse garbage others have given you to confine your thinking come back and we'll have a half decent chat

until then watch your current ideology of the world become perverse ... you know, where the Govt, which "provides Law & Order in society" (cough splutter) wrecks nation (Greece) after nation (Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Japan, Britain, France) after nation (America) 

if you can find where anarchy(as defined by you and the dictionaries) has actually occured in the history books write me back ...until then your definition of anarchy does not exist (ie. you're in LaLa Land)

because in my definition of anarchy it actually occurs all the bloody time and is after YOUR BELOVED GOVT causes anarchy ..because Govt is anarchy (a small group of out-of-control twats running riot across society)

try dealing with actual reality because the philosophical garbage spinning around your brain is from a dream world that does not exist (the academics have taught you not to think very well indeed)

MeBizarro's picture

WTF are you even talking about?  You have a handle that says 'Zero Gov't' which means I assume you advocate for the abolition of any form of gov't or centralized authority whether it is democracy, communism, a king, or even council or ruling elder and some unspecified alternative form in which people cooperate and coexist with one another as they see fit.  That is the very definition of anarchy:

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

Case in point:  Birmingham, Alabama.

The idea that counties aren't extremely easy to corrupt is pretty hilariously stupid.  

Real fucking simple:  money = power.  Anyone see any mention of the various central banks anywhere in this article?  No?  How is any of this information a fix then?

Zero Govt's picture

Panafrican  -  did you catch the Max Keiswer show yesterday, truck loads of cash (with Police escorts of all things) leaving countries... the elite Parasite Club who never lose (because their political puppets put citizens on the hook for their bets gone bad)

that is anarchy

a small group of toerags wrecking countries (the lives of millions)

Lednbrass's picture

I dont see anyone making the case that more localized government is going to usher in perfect government, but the amount of damage that can be done is greatly limited in the case of mismanagement, and local government is far more accessible. When a large centralized nation screws up the reuslts can be felt around the globe, when a state or county does the ripples are far smaller and not potentially deadly to tens of millions.

I live in a very small rural town. I had questions about my water bill- so I went directly to see the head of the sewer commission, who happens to also be my mechanic.  I had questions about some county level issues, so I went to see my next door neighbor who happens to be the chairman of the county council. Are local and state goverrnments perfect? No, but the arugment that it doesnt fix all ills isnt exactly valid to my mind- because it isnt a universal panacea doesnt mean that it isnt better than what we are doing now.

It also gives people far more latitude to actually have the type of government they want and not have things they despise forced on them from above.

whoopsing's picture

Having helped form the newest village in NYS, I can say that this is easier said than done. We were able to tip over the existing power and establish a more local base . Two years in we are still picking off the leeches that ruined the area for blue collar people. It will be a never-ending battle ,but it IS working...slowly. If you want to do this, be ready for a shit-storm....

JR's picture

Great post, CHS.

And the opposite of decentralization if you want something and you can’t pay for it or you want something and you don’t have majority support, is to diffuse upward, go from county to state to national and have the Federal Government make the decisions. And if the federal law makers will not support your minority viewpoint then you go to the courts to do it.

One of the best ongoing examples of the fight against strong centralization of power is the farmers in the Klamath Basin fighting for irrigation water rights against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rules on “endangered” fish species. The farmers have been able to get local politicians on their side and Oregon’s U.S. congressmen, all of which has not been enough to override the Executive branch and its Fish and Wildlife Service.

Hayabusa's picture

Look, DDD makes sense, however it does NOT coincide with Washington's plans to concentrate power... they don't want ANY of us free via local control decision making, they do however prefer to perpetuate top-down management, force the same rule of law on us all and keep us busy living side-by-side knawing at each other's throats - that leaves them more latitude to do as they please (kleptocracy, war monger, cronies giving reach arounds, etc.) because the 99% are busy squabbling over issues of less importance... the sheeple are incredibly stupid and our elected officials know how to keep the 99% all side-tracked and under control. 

UrbanBard's picture

Why did the State and Federal government, around 1850, start involving themselves in issuing marriege licenses? It was an attempt to deny interracial marriage. When do a free people need permission from the state to marry?

Marriage is, historically, a sacrament between the two parties, the community and god. Unbelievers have no business getting married; let them use some other name. Most peasants never married; they cohabitated, perhaps for a lifetime. The community knew their status; that they had taken vows to each other.

EnglishMajor's picture

What do you do about local militias?  What will happen when the Nazi county decides to declare war on the gay county?

Lednbrass's picture

I dont see the author making the argument that every county should be a sovereign nation, rather that most decisions handled by politicians could be solved more effectively and more to the satisfaction of people at the lower levels of government.

icanhasbailout's picture

and here I was hoping one of those D's was "decapitation"