Rearranging the seats on the Titanic

Today I had not one, but TWO political pollsters call me with extensive surveys.  One, actually for my son (but since he was gone, they let me answer) was from Oregon, as I figured when he called the South Dakota capital “Pi-erre” instead of the correct “Pier.”  The pollster had the usual either-or and limited-choice questions (Anarchist, Self-Governor and even Libertarian were NOT on the list of political affiliations, for instance).  But it appeared to cover a wide range of questions regarding the congressional delegation (since I know 2 of the 3 personally, THAT was easy to answer, and no, I didn’t use cuss words), the legislature (did I know the three for my district, and did I ever talk to them), and a few issues such as Obummercare – but only two choices.  And they did ask two open-ended questions which caused me to think:  “What should be the South Dakota legislature’s biggest concern in the next session (which starts in January)?” (my answer was, prepare for the collapse of the federal government and the Union), and “If you could get the legislature to do just one thing right now, what would it be?” (My answer was, to stop accepting federal laws and regulations automatically and tell DC to stick their ideas in painful places.)

The second survey was from a nice little lady in Sioux Falls – imagine that!  Hers was more of a push poll, apparently trying to get a feel for some changes in the state constitution to (a) have a “non-partisan” commission redraw legislative districts every ten years, (2) make all legislative districts single-seat, (3) make the legislature “non-partisan” like Nebraska’s, (4) make all legislative districts follow county and municipal boundaries, and (5) reduce the Senate from 35 to 31 members.  (The last by the way is what triggered this article.)

For those who don’t know South Dakota, there are 35 senate seats and 70 house of representative seats in the legislature.  Every district has one senator and two representatives, who run at large, so that each political party can have two candidates for the house.  (There are four half-districts which have only one representative, ordered by some federal court to make it easier for Lakota representatives to get elected, since otherwise their vote would be diluted by large nearby Anglo populations.)  The districts do not quite split houses in half, but they do tend to be odd and divide towns and counties and such, in order to get districts as equal in size as possible.  And while there are some hints of gerrymandering it usually isn’t too bad. (Usually.  For instance, my wife and I are in a community which was slipped from the district it had been in for decades. We were moved to another district with a large suburban population, just after her running for the legislature kept a really dangerous GOP candidate from winning one of the two seats.  It may have been a matter of fate, but it was very convenient for the old district’s solid GOP constituency, and separated us from the strong Libertarian community in the old District.)

I could go through each of these proposals and explain and argue them, but that is not the point of this article.  Rather, the point is this:  Why bother?  (Especially the business about 31 instead of 35 Senators?)  Why reorganize and go all non-partisan?  Just because we don’t have letters behind their names, we can pretty much figure out who is on what side of which issue.  And frankly, after several decades of South Dakota politics, you learned in the first year or so to ignore the party labels.  Some of the biggest and loudest liberals (even Tranzis) in the state wear (R) after their name; some of the most stalwart foes of increased taxes and even limits on government have (D) after their names.  South Dakota has a lot of one-party districts; districts in which either the GOP or the Democracy don’t even bother to run candidates, and the election is decided in the primaries in June.  Getting rid of the partisan labels will just keep minor parties from having anyone in the general election and will REDUCE choice – if it even matters.

As I said, I could argue all these, but the plain and simple truth is that NONE of these changes would do ANYTHING to restore Liberty in South Dakota.  It isn’t so much who or what party is in power, it is the fact that they have POWER.  Too much power.  (What is too much?  If the town council has any more power than deciding who gets to make the speech before the fireworks on Independence Day, they’ve got too much.  If the legislature gets to do anything more important than decide what the State Fossil should be, too much!)  Congress and the Fifty State legislatures have led the whole nation down the primrose path to the edge of the cliff, we are running all out over that edge, and YOU want to “reform” state government by getting rid of four senate seats?

Seems to me, that is how we got into this mess in the first place: majoring in minors.  And thinking, “just this one little change will magically fix everything.”

About tpolnathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (christian), Pahasapan, Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer.
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4 Responses to Rearranging the seats on the Titanic

  1. just waiting says:

    You’re so right. My days as a mole really accomplished little, except to re-affirm Claire’s hypothesis that its too late to work within the system. I learned that long before any except the elite few hear about an idea, new proposal or legislation, deals have already been done in the back room to assure their adoption or defeat. Public comment is taken long after the decision has been made, and seldom, if ever considered.
    The vast proportion of the population is too willing to give up their freedom and submit to whatever whim the governing bodies impose on them, in exchange for what they perceive as comfort. Let a little discomfort enter their lives, they scream to the gov a) how could you have allowed this to happen?, and b) help me, help me, help me. I’m watching it daily, its amazing to me. People just cannot survive without help.
    Reagan told us the scariest 9 words in the english language are “I’m from the gov’t and I’m here to help”, and yet people keep looking to gov for help rather than learning how to do for themselves.

    Having a disaster displays peoples’ utter lack of self-ownership and ability to survive. People demand massive gov response, and get it. Every agency shows up. And everyone with even a little authority wants to use it and for you to know they used it. I’ve been heading into the martial law zone that was my parents’ neighborhood every time I’m “allowed” ever since Sandy. There are curfews and checkpoints and the proper papers are required. NatGuard has a barricade on some arbitrary township dividing line preventing passage to my neighbors home, 300 feet away. For someone completely unused to being controlled, its quite a shocking experience. I got yelled at for staying 15 minutes too long, only to then sit in 2 hours of traffic that started around the corner from the house. Last week, they forced my contractor to drive 40 miles over 2 bridges to get from my neighbor’s house to me. 300′ away, 55 minutes travel time.

    Property owners are denied access to their properties, while their properties mold and rot, yet none stand in revolt. They cry to the gov for help in access, then are happy to take the few hours a week they’re “allowed”. Its a pitiful sight, begging for ones natural rights.

    On the other hand, we were out of power for 13 days after Sandy, it was great! While having no internets was inconvenient, it was a great chance to experience isolation and solitude. Roads were impassable. There was no groce store or gas station open. I missed the whole election. Focusing on self responsibilty comes easy when there are no external distractions, but even given the opportunity/faced with the necessity, too many were unprepared to do so.

    I’ve seen how bad a small burp in the system can be. Its going to be ugly when 911 doesn’t answer anymore.


    • MamaLiberty says:

      The dynamics of a big city most certainly seem to amplify and encourage the hive and entitlement mentality, though it can be found anywhere. I was raised from the start as a sovereign individual, and have lived most of my life in rural or isolated desert places, so my entire perception of the city dweller is much like that of observing the behavior of a foreign people. They don’t even truly speak the same language, unfortunately.

      One of my first experiences with living in the frozen north came after I’d been here only a few days. We had a serious snow storm, and I had not yet had a chance to obtain snow tires for the car, nor did I trust myself to drive on the unfamiliar surface. People I had just met at church that weekend actually came to see me, concerned that I would not have what was needed to get through the power outage, or enough to eat. They were tickled to discover that I had plenty of food, blankets, and we shared coffee made on my camp stove – delighted as the lights and furnace came on just as we were washing up!

      Where there is a will, there is a way… without theft, coercion or fraud of any kind. It’s up to us to demonstrate that to the world, and to live by it even if nobody else will listen.


  2. just waiting says:

    Nathan, its not just SD, its everywhere. But there may be a way to change the tide, following something that’s already been done.

    Way back in the early 1990s, if memory serves, the Republican Revolution began. And the thing was, their revolution wasn’t just in DC, it was nationwide. It wasn’t just the big races, they ran candidates for every single elected post in every single town they could find. Township committees and school boards and dozens of other elected positions became inundated with members voted in by folks who shared their ideology and supported their election. The takeover was quiet, but the impact has been huge. A recent TPOL post points out what has happened to our children’s education since about that time. And we all know how the size and impact of gov has grown.

    But every day, more and more people realize the futility of political reality and become disenchanted with the entire process and system. They know their vote doesn’t matter, so they don’t bother. While few are willing to say it, many have tacitly withdrawn their consent to be governed, and go about life hoping for no gov contact. Less than 50% of eligible voters usually particpate in elections, but the “winners” still declare having a mandate from the people. Go figure.

    The way to change it is to get involved in it. Go to public meetings just for the heck of it, just to see what’s going on. Speak up opn matters that concern you. Be a fly in the ointment, run for office. I know, the very idea is reprehensible. But it works. I taught my kids that if you want to make things change you don’t stand outside and yell at the building, you get invited inside and speak to the people. One was at the Battle in Seattle, the younger at Occupy. They understand now. I got invited in. I stopped some things I disagreed with from happening, and got some things to change. But it was just me. I imagine if I had just 5 or 10 others who were willing to come out, who were willing to …

    The things most reprehensible to me all seem to begin at the local level, whether its “teaching the test” in our schools or car harnesses for our dogs or taxes on my outhouse. Moses grabbed most of the low hanging fruit with his top 10, and every year since its been harder and harder to find things to legislate. State legislators, eager to leave a legacy (read: have their name on a bill) are scrapping and clawing for anything they can regulate or control. They troll local ordinance and rule introduction for things that can be enacted at the state level. Its a vicious cycle.

    The way to stop it is to stop it at the local level. That happens when the locals show up and shoot down the ideas before they gain traction.


    • MamaLiberty says:

      You may well stop a tax issue or a bad politician occasionally at the local level, but it’s never going to change the system, which is inherently evil. The problem is the whole idea of “government.” Those who want to control others and live on what others produce quite naturally want to participate the most, and those who govern themselves and don’t want to be controlled stay out of it and attempt to go on with their lives unmolested.

      This is an eternal conflict, but the answer is not to join in with the looters or even to attempt to fight them playing THEIR game. You can no more hope to change their system this way than create a wholesome meal from used car parts. They are two totally different kinds of things and will never be compatible. I know… I finally came to that conclusion after more than 20 years of trying to do what you suggest, and watching the whole country continue toward destruction.

      I never actually gave my consent to be “governed,” to be ruled, to be robbed and controlled. As I came to understand the amount of “consent” that was actually being given by attempting to participate, I withdrew.

      Nothing will change for the better until people who do not wish to be governed, robbed and controlled complete that withdrawal and refuse to be intimidated or moved by false guilt and their earlier conditioning. When they assume full self ownership, responsibility for themselves and their lives, refusing to support these parasites any longer… then things might change.

      But that’s not likely to happen in the general population. It’s much easier to be a slave and to expect others to support you and be responsible for you, believing the lies of the controllers. A very large proportion of the population will probably always be that way – as long as it is possible, anyhow.

      I don’t know how this will all turn out, but I can clearly see the time coming when there are too many parasites to be supported by the few remaining productive. I fear greatly that the suffering and death to follow will be worse than anything the world ever saw before. And, for the most part, the parasites will kill each other for the scraps they might find of what was once the most prosperous and free people on earth. And that can’t be changed by any number of people voting for who will be the next slavemasters – at any level.


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