Saturday, March 31, 2012

Excessive mobility ingrained in the American psyche?

In the combox for this article, "House rejects Bowles-Simpson, Obama budgets," someone offers this:

Solving a problem or effectively and efficiently delivering a service is NOT the measure of success for a government agency. For a government agency, there is only one measurement of success - perpetual expansion of power through budget, people, and regulation. The U.S. Constitution is structured to limit the authority of the Federal level of our nation's government, generally defining its purpose to protect our national borders and to facilitate a common currency and equitable system of commerce among the States. The means by which the Federal level executes its authority is through a process of restriction. Therefore, as it expands its capabilities, it is simply encroaching on the freedoms and liberties of individuals and our free market economy with more restrictions.

The U.S. Constitution was designed to restrict the growth of all levels of government by restricting the sources of funding that each level was allowed to tax. The Federal level had the greatest restrictions and the Local level had the least. This arrangement was to keep the government's authority focused at the Local level, which at the Founding, could tax anything at the peril of its citizens simply moving outside of its taxing authority or facing a direct and personal confrontation from the citizens. (A city councilman is my neighbor. If he votes to raise my taxes, he can't hide from my displeasure.) The Federal legislature (U.S. Congress) was initially very restricted in its abilities to "solve problems" of a domestic nature due to its restricted access to funding. The wheels came off the cart when the citizens agreed to amend the U.S. Constitution to allow a Federal level income tax along with the change to allow U.S. Senators to be elected directly by popular vote. At that point, instead of the Federal level of our government acting as the Great Co-ordinator among the States, it became the Boss.

The most important underlying control of the government system established by our U.S. Constitution was the freedom to relocate. Because the greatest amount of authority was concentrated at the Local level, if a local official became a tyrant, he could only tyrannize those who willing to stay under his tyranny. Likewise, although not as powerful, if the State level of government became too burdensome to a citizen, the citizen could simply migrate out of the State's jurisdiction. The Federal level's authority was originally so restricted so as not to motivate anyone to give up their citizenship. In summary, our system to prevent tyranny (which was the reason for the American Revolution) was based on the threat of our ability as a free people to move away from the tyrant. Freedom of movement was our greatest asset to discipline the local and state levels of our government. The depopulaton of cities like Detroit is an excellent example of how this discipline is to work. California is also experiencing this discipline. When all else fails, we are supposed to be able to vote with our feet.

When the U.S. Constituion was amended to allow for a Federal income tax and was amended to change the selection process of our U.S. Senators from State level selection to citizen popular vote, the Federal level of our government became an uncaged wild beast and has been tyrannically devouring our liberties ever since then.

An accurate account of how citizenship was understood in the political culture when the States became federated both under the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution? Why not armed resistance to local and state governments if they became tyrannical? Was tyranny at that level or an armed response fathomable to early Americans?

Was citizenship too easily given and "transferrable"? And was this the rationale for it? (Can it really be attributed to the Constitution?)

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