Paying the Piper: The failures of local government in the Fifty States is more and more clear as the 21st Century progresses. And it is the inhabitants of their lands that are paying the piper for these failures.
Local government in these States is, at best, a failure. At worst it is far, far worse than the vicious horror that is State and Federal government in 2021. And perhaps worse than at anytime in mainstream history of North America.
And their failures – again and again and again – are intolerable.
Actually, I’m basing this on how county governments behave in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains. What I find is, seriously, dozens of “solutions” looking for problems to solve. And a bunch of nannies and do-gooders and “conservatives” who think because they are all for “God and country” and “free enterprise” they are on the side of the angels.
Well, they are not. Local governments waste time and money (stolen from taxpayers whether they are direct fees and property taxes or state and federal grants. Local governments abuse businesses and tkhe people in their jurisdictions. “Do this, don’t do that, do what your neighbors say to do, bymajority rule.”
But one of the roots, maybe THE root, of this nonsense is very simple. The elected officials of local government are concerned about “doing the will of the people. They fail to understand the only legitimate role of local government in “serving the people” by protecting the rights of the people. Not as groups, but as individuals.
(This does, of course, assume that local government has ANY legitimate role.)
Indeed many (most of?) the acts of local government DENY the rights of the people.
They say that government is supposed to fulfill the needs of the people. Again, this is foolish – and impossible – nonsense. Government is not supposed to fulfill the needs of the people, and ultimately never doses. It might fulfill the WANTS of some – even most – of the people. And it will definitely fulfill the WANTS of the political masters, their masters, and their favored supporters (the ones with money). And inevitably, the bureaucrats.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are useful services that local governments can (and sometimes do) provide. Therefore, there are some local government employees – even elected employees – who do provide useful services. And once in a great while,, provide useful goods. Some examples? County road and bridge departments – and therefore their employees – maintain roads and bridges that are important to society, economy, and life in general. County clerks (or recorders or registrars) maintain records of real (and some types of personal) property. Judges and juries decide matters of controversy between parties, generally without violence.
Yes, government in a locality CAN provide these things. But the question is, SHOULD these things be provided by government with all the power to mandate and dictate? Or should they provided by the market: by individuals and organizations that are truly third-parties, are chosen freely instead of as a matter of force? That very likely are able to make better decisions, provide better services, because there is less political controversy and reasons for their actions? That are very likely less costly than what these services are provided through a monopoly system with no competition allowed?
And that, above all, do not have some vague, poorly-defined and extra-constitutional “police power” to “ensure” society is “orderly” and “caveated with the claims of actions “in the public interest.” As defined, of course, by the biased, power- and wealth-seeking politicians who have been elected, often as the lesser of two evils?
Think about that, please. Especially the next time that some unelected (or elected) body of politicians and “leaders” decides that YOUR rights as an individual, a business owner, a landowner, or anything else, can be wiped out because a perceived majority of your neighbors don’t want you to have those rights – or the benefits from exercising those rights. And because the politicians – and others in power – want to stay in power, fearful that they will get voted out of office or impeached and evicted or recalled.
And because they have totally lost sight of the only legitimate function: to protect our rights.