Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When government gets too big, too distant

There are reasons we must strive to keep government as local as possible, and resist surrendering local control to the higher levels. We have far more say in the affairs of our communities if those governing know our names and recognize our faces.

Thomas Jefferson understood this principle, and put it in writing:

"But it is not by the consolidation, or concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected. Were not this great country already divided into States, that division must be made, that each might do for itself what concerns itself directly, and what it can so much better do than a distant authority. Every State again is divided into counties, each to take care of what lies within its local bounds; each county again into townships or wards, to manage minuter details; and every ward into farms, to be governed each by its individual proprietor. Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread. It is by this partition of cares, descending in gradation from general to particular, that the mass of human affairs may be best managed, for the good and prosperity of all."

The foresight of Mr. Jefferson is simply astounding.

The wisdom of his statement is being rediscovered today both in the U.S. and abroad.

Need proof? Consider this example from the U.K.: Why the people who serve us just don't give a damn

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