Sunday, July 21, 2013

Liars, Beggars, and Thieves Redefine Marriage

Many years ago I had a chat with my pastor, who was even then fairly elderly.   He said that his father opposed FDR's "New Deal" of Social Security, Welfare, and government provided jobs on the grounds that it would make "liars, beggars and thieves out of the American people."

I think that what he meant was that once people got used to the idea that government had the right to take something from the person to whom it rightfully belonged and then give it to someone else that government thought ought to have it more, then we all start looking at other people in our society as potential marks for public looting.   We don't call it that of course, people come up with other rationalizations as to why they should vote for people who promise to take things from other people and give it to them.   They start thinking about why all those other groups ought to be looted by government in order to provide for some group they are in.   The promise of riskless and shameless plunder of our neighbors has made us all less neighborly.

Even back then though, people would not have tolerated the abject moral depravity of the courts attempting to elevate homosexual relationships to the status of marriage.   My mother, who is in her 70s has seen in her lifetime this nation go from one in which the idea of elevating homosexual relationships to the status of marriage was so alien that no one even discussed it, to one in which she now somehow feels she has to explain herself for holding the same position.    And the sad thing is, the descendants of those who first accepted the New Deal think that change, along with all these others, are good things.

Moral depravity does not happen all at once.    It was needful to lower public morals to the point where they would support government thievery as some sort of positive moral good before our moral compass could be further twisted into believing that celebrating homosexual relationships as the equal of real marriage was also good.  Real marriage had to be degraded, before this further degrading of it could be seen as acceptable.   I saw a sign out in front of a liberal "church" which said "We are sorry that gay marriage is reducing the sanctity of your fourth marriage."  

They were mocking of course, because mockery is about all the left has.  The truth is that we had to have a culture where fourth marriages and co-habitation were not uncommon before the population could ever be induced to accept homosexual "marriage".   The argument from the left, as much as there is one, seems to be that marriage has already been de-sanctified and corrupted in our culture, so what's the big deal about corrupting it some more?  That's a foolish position of course.  Just because things are bad is no reason to embrace policies which will make them even worse.   The erosion in real marriage, which has been aided by government policy on welfare and divorce, is no reason to promote policies which will erode the status of marriage even further.   It's a reason to do the opposite, within the understanding that government policy can't go too far beyond the mean of the population of course.

The New Deal generation could never have been directly enticed into honoring sexual depravity.   They first had to be enticed to become a sort of rascal who was less repulsive to them than that.  They did not go directly from uprightness to depravity in one step.  First, they had to be made into liars, beggars and thieves before they could be made into supports of homosexual "marriage."    After a generation or so, it was a lot easier to get the grandchildren and great grandchildren of liars, beggars, and thieves to accept the depravity of homosexual "marriage."  

Government policy for decades has been a continual effort to define deviancy down.   They actually pay women to have children out of wedlock.  They make divorce easy and marriage hard (and so many men are just refusing to participate in it at all).  Consider all the nations and cultures of the world.    Regardless of their religion or ethnicity the ones which do not have a large social-welfare state tend to be against elevating homosexual relationships to the honored status of real marriage, while those which have a big social welfare state tend to favor it.    Attitudes about divorce and illegitimate parenting (I don't call the child illegitimate in these situations) track exactly the same way.

In much of the world there is a strong inverse relationship between the size of the social welfare state and the morality of a nation on sexual issues.  Correlation is not always causation, but in a situation like this one- that's the way to bet.   Big government corrodes public morality because it insidiously undermines the value of our connections and dependency on one another and increases our connections and dependency to itself.
Once we have gotten used to the idea of taking the loot, once we have rationalized it in our minds because we have made up (lied) some negative image of the group we are looting, we care less about how the other person is really doing.    The looters don't care for those they loot, and of course the looted resent the looters- a total perversion of Biblical voluntary charity which destroys both the joy of the giver and the gratitude of the receiver.

Once we have become liars, beggars, and thieves, we have a harder time holding the line on any moral code.   Our own hearts condemn us.  Who are we to say "no" to another group's demands when we have demanded things to which are not truly ours to take?  You shrug at my immorality and I will shrug at yours.  And so the downward spiral of public morals accelerates until we wind up with a generation like the one we have now- not just lost and aimless, but actually backward.   They believe that what was bad is now good and what is good is now bad.   Their reasons for this are hazy, because they are not using reason, they are going with the flow, they are responding to emotion, any reasons they give tend not to be their actual reasons.   Right reason from correct premises leads to truth, and that is most inconvenient for the people our government has helped us to become.

I don't say that you should refuse these programs if you need them.  By all means take the money.  They are paying for it with debt now, and your children are going to have to pay that bill someday one way or another unless things crash and we pay it now.  Sometimes you have to take it just to survive in this dysfunctional economy they have imposed on us.    So if you have to, take the money.   But don't let the money take you.   Keep looking for ways to survive through service to others instead of relying on government exploitation of others.  Take it but work to end it.  Vote for and work to elect candidates who will end this madness before it ends us.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Winthrop Rockefeller Immigrant Study Debunked

     This article by Bob Hester  was printed as guest editorial in the Jonesboro Sun June 29, 2013 with headline "Rockefeller immigrant study flawed"
     In an interview with Sherece West, President and CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation (WRF), Sherece West said, "So for every one dollar that is spent by state and local government on immigrants, there is actually a $7.00 return to the state of Arkansas. In contrast, a  recent poll found that 68% of Arkansans think illegal immigrants hurt the economy. Only 20% think they helped. 17
     But West also said in regard to the costs of  immigrants,  that none of us [citizens] pay for ourselves in terms of how much we consume in education, basic goods and services, healthcare the like,  and agreed that, "We all have a cost."  Who then pays for all  welfare benefits, food stamps, Medicaid, etc.? Does West and Rockefeller Foundation think the government has a hen that lays golden eggs to provide that money. I guess she means the federal government, which costs us taxpayers NOTHING, pays for all of it.
    Sherece West, WRF CEO: "Even we don't pay for ourselves in terms of how much we consume around education, basic goods and services, healthcare and the like, we don't pay for ourselves." 
Fallacies of the Winthrop Rockefeller Immigrant Study
See link to this Rockefeller Study and transcript of  interview with Rockefeller President  and actual video of the interview, and other footnotes at end of this document.
On June 7, KAIT reported that the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation found in their most recent study of immigrants that, "Immigrants are contributing to the social fabric of our state...we found that there was a net positive economic development benefit to having immigrants in our state to the tune of almost $4 billion annually." 1
A number of fallacies in the Rockefeller study allowed this conclusion. Their study included ONLY the "primary costs" of  "public education, healthcare, and correction."  The authors admitted, "There are no doubt other significant costs," but did not include them,  such things as food stamps, and numerous other Arkansas programs for low income families. (Their study uses the term "immigrants" for all foreign born who were not US citizens at birth, including lawful residents and people illegally in the US). 2
These Rockefeller studies have been touted in Arkansas for the last several years by the media and everyone that promote amnesty even though there are numerous reputable studies that give totally different conclusions. 3 For example,  "The Economic and Fiscal Impact of Immigration" of 2007 concluded that  "Each immigrant [like the Rockefeller study includes both legal and illegal immigrants] costs taxpayers more than $9,000. Each four-person immigrant household costs $36,000." Unlike the Rockefeller study, however, this study examined  all costs of  immigrants, and outlined the costs of immigrants related to fifteen US Departments. 4
This 70 page study was done by Edwin S. Rubenstein, a Manhattan Institute adjunct with a mile-long scholarly resume.  He directed the studies of government waste for the prestigious Grace Commission of 1984 and has been doing financial analysis ever since.  5
Both studies deal with legal and illegal immigrants as one group. However, the Rockefeller study reports that, "In 2010, the share of naturalized citizens among the Arkansas immigrant population was 28%." So only approximately 28% of  Arkansas immigrants born outside the US  have become citizens. But, there are many thousands of children born to these immigrants in the US that become citizens at birth. 6
There are several fallacies in the Rockefeller study which concludes that "Providing key essential services cost the state an estimated $555 million in 2010. Immigrants' direct and indirect tax contributions of $524 million largely offset the $555 million cost of essential services provided to immigrant households, creating a small negative fiscal impact on the Arkansas state budget of $31 million - approximately $127 per immigrant household member."  7
Then the study analyzes the so called "economic impact of immigrants on Arkansas through their purchasing power, business creation, business cost savings, spin-off jobs, and overall contribution to economic growth," and concludes that, " there was a net positive economic development benefit to having immigrants in our state to the tune of almost $4 billion annually." 8
The fallacy here is that the $524 million in taxes these immigrants paid would have been paid by American workers who could have had these jobs if the immigrants had not been here, without the $555 million cost of immigrants.   In addition, the Rockefeller study admits the immigrants sent 16% of their Arkansas income home to families abroad. That money would have stayed in Arkansas if native born citizens held those jobs.  9
That the unauthorized immigrants are taking the jobs of the citizens is one of the major complaints about their being here.  The Rockefeller study unintentionally confirms this by saying, "During the 2008-10 period, Latino immigrant men had the highest employment rate of any group," and "The number of immigrant construction workers in Arkansas increased fivefold from 2000 through 2008-10," even though, "Latino immigrants are more likely than other group to lack a high school education." 10
Including only the fiscal impact to the economy of Arkansas rather than the nation as a whole is another main fallacy of the Rockefeller study.  For example, 47% of the population now pay no federal income tax, and instead many thousands actually get cash back under the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).  Illegal aliens also get earned income back using a "Individual Taxpayer Identification Number"  instead of a social security number, and immigrants'  tax refunds are larger because they have more children.  11
According to the Rockefeller study, the median income for Latino immigrants in the 2006-10 period was $20,000.12  In 2012 a family household with three children making $20,000 a year did not pay any federal income tax but received $5,891cash back in earned income. 13 This is in addition to all the other 83 federal benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid, assisted housing and utilities, grants, etc.  14
Sixty-one percent of people making $20,000 to $30,000 a year paid no income tax in 2012 according to University of Michigan economist Mark Perry. 15 That means a huge number of immigrants received cash benefits in earned income but paid no federal taxes whatsoever. No wonder the illegal immigrants file federal tax returns.
Families not eligible for earned income paying income tax of  $4,069 on a $30,000 salary or $2,384 on a $20,000 salary are probably not comforted with the Rockefeller report, especially those who lost their jobs to illegal immigrants. 16   A recent poll found that 68% of Arkansans think illegal immigrants hurt the economy. Only 20% think they helped. 17
Those who hawk the Winthrop Rockefeller study should actually read the entire report and then compare it to Rubenstein's study before influencing people to accept the Rockefeller's study as valid. Even more important, they should acquaint themselves with the laws on the books and stop encouraging the selective enforcement of our laws that is turning our country into a banana republic.
To see the 17 footnotes & documentation see this link:

Obama's Common Core Is A Combination of Fed'l & United Nations Curriculum - On Steroids

Imagine the likes of Janet Napolitano writing the curriculum for your child's education.  Few people realize this is exactly what has happened under Obama's Race to the Top and Common Core curriculum that establishes international benchmarks. 

Remember Janet Napolitano -  Obama's Secretary of Homeland Security, the official issuing the bulletin warning law officials across the nation to watch for rightwing extremist activity - labeling returning veterans, and citizens opposed to abortion, firearms restriction, illegal immigration,  homosexuality, high taxes, government control, etc.  as possible violent antigovernment groups. 1  Napolitano was also attorney for Anita Hill who trumped up sexual harassment charges against Clarence Thomas in 1991,  hoping to prevent his appointment to the US Supreme Court. 2
A press release states that the centerpiece for Obama's Common Core (Race to the Top) includes "adopting internationally benchmarked education standards."  "Internationally" suggests just what it means - curriculum developed through the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Ten billion dollars in grant money from the stimulus bill and the 2009 budget were made available to states and districts that would implement Obama's reform (buying our curriculum with our taxpayer money). 3
An International Benchmarking Advisory Group was created by three leading education policy organizations  to provide the states a roadmap for implementing international benchmarks standards in the US.  The Advisory Group was co-chaired by then Governor Janet Napolitano. The organizations that created this Advisory Group were the National Governors Association, Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve, Inc. 4
The only comprehensive "internationally benchmarked" education standards in existence are those developed by UNESCO and the International Baccalaureate Organization.  Schools incorporating these standards are called IB or IBO schools and are found in 31 countries, 1,439 in the United States and 12 schools (not districts) in Arkansas. 5  UNESCO provided the funding to create the IBO program. 6
 "In one of its first efforts in 1949, the UNESCO textbook for teachers, titled Toward World Understanding,' reads,  'As long as the child breathes the poisoned air of nationalism, education in world-mindedness can produce only rather precarious results. As we have pointed out, it is frequently the family that infects the child with extreme nationalism.'"  7
So what is IBO?   IBO or IB stands for International Baccalaureate Organization.  "School board members in a Minnesota district call it anti-American and anti-Christian.  Critics argue that IBO's multicultural themes promote values that conflict with traditional Judeo-Christian values. One teacher objects to the program because of IBO's endorsement of the Earth Charter that calls for sustainability of the Earth through, among other things, responsible reproduction and wealth distribution.  Many opponents have called it Marxist. Another critic says IBO promotes socialism, disarmament, and moral relativism,  and radical environmentalism. 8
Obama's Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has been a leader in implementing  IBO schools in the nation and in the world. In 2007 Duncan was one of the keynote speakers at the World Conference for heads of IB [International Baccalaureate] World schools.  The title of one of his presentations was "Using IB for Systemic Reform in North America." 9 Duncan is former superintendent of schools in Chicago and was previously the Director of Magnet Schools and Programs before he became superintendent of schools.  Chicago has the highest concentration of IBO schools in the country - 24 IB schools in Chicago. 10 
Obama's former controversial White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, now Mayor of Chicago, continues with Duncan's expansion of  IB schools, saying in  Press Releases in 2012 that the Chicago Schools will create 10 new International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programmes in high schools and some wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate (IB) schools.  11
IBO was slipped through the Arkansas legislature by allowing IBO courses to substitute  for Advanced Placement (AP) courses in 2005 with not one legislator voting against it. However, in the 2007 session some legislators, who had learned about IBO,  fought back legislation to encourage more IB schools in Arkansas.    At one point one of the magnet schools in Arkansas was in the process of becoming an IBO school.  That too was dropped, at least officially.
As a public school teacher in Arkansas I researched education at the state and national level for 30 years. I learned all the buzzwords, the experts, organizations, and  techniques used to deceive the public. But it was only about five years ago that I learned all our US  educational reforms were rooted in the United Nations.  I discovered 142-page booklet that can be found on the web  that spells it out. The booklet is entitled, "Education for Sustainable Development Toolkit, Version 2, July 2002." 12
Among many other such quotes, the author says, "Chapter 36 of Agenda 21 calls for reorienting education to address sustainable development.  Reorienting education can appear as an insurmountable task that requires reform at every level of education - reform that would require more funding than is currently available in national budgets." 13
Despite what proponents say, Common core and Race to the Top curriculum do not consist of rigorous internationally benchmarked academic standards.  But like other educational reforms in the last 30 years,  they are designed to gain government control over education so as to  implement the liberal curriculum.   The names of reforms have changed, but the basic philosophy has not.  The reforms began with Outcome Based Education, then Standards and Accountability, School to Work, NCLB, and now Race to the Top and Common Core.
The main difference now is that Obama's Common Core Curriculum is a combination of federal and United Nations curriculum on steroids.   
Written by Debbie Pelley
For 13 footnotes &  Documentation and other articles on IB and IBO, see this link:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Democrat-Republican Divide : Whose Friends Get the Money

Some of my fellow citizens reacted with shock when they learned that Republicans in Congress recently voted to spend $20 billion more dollars than even Resident Barack Obama wanted to spend on the Farm Bill.   This was after separating the agriculture components of the farm bill from the food stamp components which had come to dominate the total program's budget.     They also made sneaky changes to the bill which made payments permanent rather than subject to five year reviews.

Some of my friends are puzzled by actions like these - because they have not yet achieved enlightenment on the true nature of our two party system.    Attaining such enlightenment is not easy, and once obtained it is also hard to retain.  The latter is not so easy in a false corporate media environment which constantly tries to talk you out of believing that what you just saw (over and over again) really happened.    For some, they may get a glimmer of light, the truth may start to shine through, but it is lost in an avalanche of loud media propaganda which sucks their minds back into the red-blue matrix.  But these "glitches", these things that don't seem to make sense under the conventional framework, are not "glitches" at all.   They are glimpses of reality breaking through the concealing wall of propaganda.

The enlightenment I have had is this: The real dispute between the Red Team and the Blue Team is whose friends get the money.   The rest is mere window dressing which neither side is serious about.  They merely throw it up there in order to dupe more people into voting for their faction, so that their friends can get more of the money.   Neither side has any interest in reducing government at all, they only have an interest in getting their "friends" (i.e. people who give politicians money in order to get politicians to give them your money) a bigger share of an expanding pie.

In this case, when the "Farm Bill" was a combination of welfare for the poor (food stamps) and welfare for corporations (farm subsidies) both sides were getting something.  But now that America's credit card is about to be maxed out, the various parasites on the productive working people of our nation have to fight harder over the scraps of our wealth which are left.   So the Republicans separated the Food Stamp welfare from the Farm Subsidy welfare.   The Democrats were all about cutting the Farm Subsidy (the Republican's friends) in order for there to be more money for the Food Stamp program (the Democrat's friends).   The Republicans are all about the opposite.  Neither of them have any interest whatsoever in cutting government overall.  Handing out your money to their friends and supporters is where their interests lie.

Here in Arkansas, the reverse happened.   Republicans took over the state legislature for the first time in over a hundred years running on a platform of opposing the implementation of Obamacare- which was correctly seen as an expansion of welfare primarily to the Democrat's supporters.   Once the Republican state legislators got in there, Democrat Gov. Mike Beebe proposed to cut some private interests which favored Republicans in on the loot.  With some help via bribery of legislators to change their vote, a majority of Republicans tossed their campaign promises into the nearest trash bin and signed onto Obamacare under the so-called "Private Option."

No expansion of government is too big if both side's friends can participate.   That is the lesson here.  It also explains the trillion dollar bailouts of the biggest banks. The big banks are "friends" of both red and blue.  Most voters red or blue opposed the measure, but they happened anyway and are still ongoing under QE to Infinity which is of course still underway.  One of the measures, QE II, almost all went to foreign banks.  That is how unrepresented the American people are in this two-party hoax.

What puts the two-party scam in an awkward position is that a huge segment of the American voters believe that government is too large, particularly on the federal level, and ought to significantly reduce both their scope and their spending.  Because of that, one side has to pretend to be the side which wants to reduce government spending. in order to deceive voters into supporting them.  That is why things like what happened on this farm bill are such glitches in the matrix.   Voters see that and say "wait that does not make any sense!"  Well, it does not make sense if you believe the matrix programming that one party wants more government and the other wants less.  It makes perfect sense if you believe the truth: both parties want to expand government relentlessly and their only real dispute is over whose friends get how much loot.

Oh, there are a few on the Republican side who are serious about reducing government that slipped through the screening process designed to weed out true believers and replace them with "company men."   These few are irritants to "The Big Show" which is more phony than WWE.   Since the Republican team has been assigned the role of pretending to be the side which wishes to reduce government, they have more of these trouble-makers than the other side.   The blue side is reprobate and basically admits it.  The red side pretends to be upright but is a part of the same scam.  Virtually all activism will be a waste of effort unless it is done within a mental framework which accepts and accounts for this.

Which of the two is the most offensive to heaven?   I have been blessed, after a lifetime of seeking, with the privilege of knowing God, of understanding who He is, just a little bit.   It would be very consistent with His nature if judgement of this dishonest and corrupt system began not with the side which is most openly wicked, but with that which is most hypocritical.   In the weeks and months to come, some of my friends and I intend to explore the idea of local alternatives to this system.  Stay tuned.


Mark Moore is a writer for Arkansas Watch and an advocate of the Philosophy of Government known as Localism (Amazon Kindle) (Nook).

Sunday, July 07, 2013

We Get What We Pay for In Legislative Salaries

Some people are under the impression that we run a "populist" website here.   Not so.  We run a "good government" website.   The issue of legislative pay is an example.    You get what you pay for, this is economic reality.  We grossly underpay our legislators considering the job they do, so it is not surprising at all that we have a legislature with which most of us are dissatisfied.   We can't attract and retain good help with the compensation we are offering.  It is simple economics.

Oh, occasionally you will get some public-spirited person who decides to take the hit on their family budget and take a job which currently pays about $16,000 a year and has a schedule hectic enough so that one cannot hold down a regular job while you are doing it.  But that is the exception, not the rule.   The rule is, you get what you pay for.

What I see is that on average, in the long term, people work for who pays them.   If We the People are paying them, they work for us, if special interests are paying them, they work for them.  Consider Rep. John Burris and Speaker Davy Carter.  Both pushed hard for Obamacare after running against it when they were campaigning.    Hospitals and insurance companies will profit handsomely from the deal they made, at the expense of most of the people who voted for them.   One will wrap up his legislative career and take a job as a lobbyist for some of the people he helped out as a legislator, and the other will also leave the legislature- for a high paying job at a bank owned by a close friend of Gov. Mike Beebe.   You get what you pay for.

Friends, if we want a legislature which represents us, we are going to have to be the ones who are paying them.   To expect anything else is unrealistic, to put it kindly.  

Legislative pay was defined by Amendment 70 to our state constitution, passed in 1993.   Pay was set at $12,500, to be increased only by inflation adjustments as reported by FEDGOV.   Unfortunately, FEDGOV has been lying about inflation the whole time.   This has magnified the original policy error as legislative pay has fallen further and further behind in real terms.

This means the number of people who are running for the right reasons falls, and the number running because some special interest will offer them a cush-job in exchange for their vote increases proportionally.   You may protest that people who run for public office should want to work for you for peanuts, but that is not the way it has worked in any country in the world- ever.  Every country on earth where the official salary is unreasonably low has corrupt public officials.  Such a practice invites corruption.   We are not an exception to economic reality.   Nor are we an exception to spiritual reality, as the Good Book says "the worker is worthy of his hire."

Until recently, the legislature tried an end-run around amendment 70 by paying themselves for "office expenses" to the tune of about $1,200 a month.   The problem was that few of them were spending the money on legitimate office expenses.   They were putting the money into their own pockets, their own family budget.   In other states, state legislators have legitimate offices with a sign on the door where they can service constituent needs.   Here you didn't see those, because the legislators were living off of the money.   This was dirty pool, and the practice was recently ended as the result of a court case.   But that does not change the underlying truth that we get what we pay for.   The abuse of office expenses problem was solved, as it should have been, but the underlying issue of legislator compensation was not solved.

In 1993 gold sold for about $250 an ounce.   Now it is about $1,200 an ounce, and it has been a lot higher.   If legislative pay was adjusted by the gold price rather than adjusted by the dishonest numbers FEDGOV puts out about inflation then the original $12,500 salary would be worth about $60,000.   It is pretty obvious that the "adjustment" from $12,500 to $16,000 falls far below a true inflation adjustment.

There is a group called Shadow Stats which tracts the true inflation rate, using similar data from all years instead of making "adjustments" to what is being measured in order to come up with a lower number (A policy initiated by Bill Clinton).    By that more constant measure, inflation since 1993 has been at least 6%, not the 2% or less that the government has reported.   Based on an inflation adjustment of 6% annual inflation, that $12,500 salary should be roughly $40,000 by now, not $16,000.

Gasoline in 1993 was about $1.10 a gallon.   Let's say it is $3.50 a gallon now.  That amount of increase on a $12,500 base also results in a salary of about $40,000.   The gap is not so great in milk prices, but we recently learned that farm bill adjustments could have resulted in $6 a gallon milk.

Basically by every possible measure, legislative salaries have fallen behind even the real-purchasing power amount that people intended when they passed amendment 70 because they made the mistake of relying on FEDGOV to provide truthful data.

Even if you measure legislative pay by the least-prosperous measure- the gains in our own incomes, then our legislators are underpaid.   In 1993 the median pay in Arkansas was $16,692.   This was when we deemed legislators to be worth $12,500, that is 75% of the average pay that one of us earned. Now we all know that wages have not kept up with inflation during this time, and inflation was what we meant to tie legislative wages to.   Still, the average working Arkansan earned $34,723 in 2012.    75% of that figure is still $26,000, far more than the $16,000 they are getting paid now.

It is true that people who have the job of legislator are people who mostly want to keep it.  But that does not mean that is because the pay from their official salaries is high enough to attract and keep competent and honest people.   As the vote on Obamacare (some times called the "Private Option", a name about as honest as FEDGOV's inflation statistics) shows, we are not attracting and retaining quality people.    The common-sense answer that any employer would have to face in such a situation is that they need to raise the compensation.   If we want them to work for us instead of the special interests which are out there trying to buy them, then we better pay them what we want them to be worth.

The Centralization of Government Power Makes Collectivism Inevitable

In the end, the battle for what kind of government we want to have will come down to two basic positions.   One side will be collectivist, and the other individualist.    People who align with those two positions may wear various labels, but once you cut through the window dressing people either believe that the default assumption should be that people should be free to run their own lives as they see fit, or that they will need direction from above to see that their attitudes and actions do not cause offense to the collective.  

The honest labels of those who favor the collective are "leftist", "socialist", "liberal", "communitarian", and "fascist."    The dishonest labels of those who favor the collective are "moderate", and "neoconservative."    On the other side, those whose default setting is in favor of the individual, labels include some of the various anarchists, minarchists, libertarians, classical liberals,  constitutionalists, limited-government conservatives, and of course, localists.   There is much philosophical overlap among these labels, but at the root of it all is this question of collectivism or the individual.

Excepting Anarchism which eschews government in toto, all of the other labels on the side of the individual are attempts to have the least amount of government possible while maintaining the order needed it preserve individual rights. Localism allows for each of those other answers (except anarchy) in various locals. It's main difference is the degree of diligence allocated to the emplacement of barriers to the centralization of government power, so that what starts as limited government remains so.  Just how limited depends on the people of each locality.

Those of us who oppose collectivist answers must also oppose answers which centralize political and government power, because the centralization of government power not only inevitably leads to  the expansion of such powers, it also leads to collectivism.   That centralizing government power leads to the expansion of such power is self-evident to even the casual student of history.   I need not dwell on it here.   Rather, I would like to elaborate on the other outcome of centralization- the transformation of the citizenry from individualists to collectivists.

When decisions are made locally, basically everybody is somebody.   A citizen can stand before their city council, or county courts, and make his or her case as an individual and be heard on that basis.   When power is centralized, the individual matters less.   Their opinion does not count for much in consideration of which way the great wheels of state might turn.   Their best hope in such circumstances is to join with some group whose views mostly, but perhaps not completely, align with their own.  By joining with the group, their voice will not be heard, but their voice will become a tiny part of a loud new voice which might be heard- that of the collective.

Once these collectives start forming up, it becomes even harder for an individual person to make their voice heard by the central state.   The roar of the various collectives drown out the individual. And so it is that to have any part of their views heard at all, the citizen must cede the job of speaking to their government to these groups whose views are somewhat like their own, but still yet not their own.   The voice of the individual person is lost.   Whatever nuance they might desire in some public policy will never get a hearing, even where that person lives.  Such is the travesty of the collective.

Add to it that once a collective is formed, the beast has its own interests, which may be separate and apart from the desires of the members which it claims to represent.   Does the National Right to Life for example, really want abortion to end in this nation?   Maybe the organization has more to gain by keeping the controversy going than by attaining victory and shutting down.   What about the NAACP?   When every just grievance has been satisfied, how shall they justify their salaries?   Once the collective gets a life of its own,  it has its own interests, apart and separate from the interests of the individual persons who might join it.

These special interest collectives often get "captured" by a larger collective, and thus their unique voice is lost just as that of their members was lost before them. A national political party is in the large view simply another collective. They can and will co-opt as many of these groups as they can so that the real purpose of the group is subverted.  Instead of holding the party accountable, they become mere excuse-makers for the party.    That is one of the troubles with hierarchies.

And what do you suppose the affect of political "activism" of this sort has on the psyche of the citizens over time?   They learn to think like members of a collective.   They can easily forget to individually examine issues and instead take their cues from whatever large groups they have chosen to identify with.   If the only real access to the system is through a collective, individuals join collectives, operate collectively, and in time whether they desire it or not become operational collectivists.

Localism (Kindle : ePub) provides the answer.  By confronting the issue of centralization we confront the issue of collectivism.   With the limitations on political parties that the theory advocates, the continual push towards collectivism is countered.   Almost all decision will be local ones, to be decided by the views of individual persons.  And when individual rights are violated, the wronged person can look the decision maker right in the eye and call them on it.   The only alternative to localism is centralization, which will result in all decisions being made by coalitions of collectives, with individuals getting steam-rolled by massive bureaucracies in which no one person can even be shown to have responsibility for the offense.   The battle against collectivism is a battle against centralization.