Monday, May 7, 2012

Just How Radical Were the Founders? Jefferson's Small is Beautiful. Decentralization vs. Domination.

Thomas Jefferson's Ward Republics by FORAtv

What if counties were as powerful as states? And what if the power of the federal government were pushed down to the states? This is essentially what Founding Father Thomas Jefferson proposed. And if you have any illusions about how "radical" this founder was, consider that Jefferson believed these 'ward republics' should have the most power. Why in the world would Jefferson advocate something so crazy?

Here are the benefits of this sort of radical decentralization:

  • It's much easier to vote with your feet;
  • You get near unanimity within your community;
  • The national government does very little;
  • Subsidiary power is highly localized
  • Leaders are more accountable because they are closer and easier to watch;
  • Checks and balances occur both in divided powers and the threat of defection from a ward;
  • Resources remain highly localized;
  • Communities -- whatever they look like -- are more likely to spring up based on the culture and common dreams of the people in the ward;
  • You get radical experimentation;

The closest approximation to the ward republic in modern day society is Switzerland.

HT: Ideas Matter

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