Local government in these States is, at best, a failure. 2022 demonstrated that once more. Indeed, it is far, far worse than the vicious horror that was State and Federal government in 2021 (and again in 2022). And those levels of government are less and less tolerable for their stupidity, cupidity, quality (lack thereof), and harm caused to people in society.
But it can be argued that local government is declining even faster. And its negative impact even worse.
Actually, I’m basing this on how county governments behave in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains. (What I hear from other States seems to match, however.) 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. Money stolen from taxpayers whether they are direct fees and property taxes or state and federal grants. Local governments abuse businesses and the people in their jurisdictions. “Do this, don’t do that, do what your neighbors say to do, by majority 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. Instead, they boast about h ow they are “doing the people’s will.”
(This does, of course, assume that local government has ANY legitimate role. Or ANY mandatory, coercive government.)
Indeed many (most of?) the acts of local government DENY the rights of the people. Take away the liberties, the freedom, of the very people that they claim to serve.
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 does. It might fulfill the WANTS of some – once in a while 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 necessary roads. County clerks and recorders provide valuable services in maintaining records of ownership of real property. Fire districts provide critical emergency services: fire prevention, fire fighting, and emergency medical services.
But can not ALL of these services be provided on a voluntary basis, through nonpolitical, nonprofit entities that do NOT exercise the power, the control, over people and property and their actions? Organizations which do not depend on the whims of local and state bodies of politicians elected for various reasons: most of which have nothing to do with these commonly-needed services? And therefore, these services are provided with strings (and fees) designed to further the aims and objectives of these politicians and their supporters and financial backers.
It makes sense that if we must tolerate government, the more local the better. One major problem is that local government actions are frequently dictated and authorized by State and federal governments – not constrained as much as instigated and ramped up by giving them broad powers and urging them to micromanage everything. Is this not a definition often applied accurately to totalitarian government? If local government truly was constrained and served what might be a possible justification: protecting the liberty of the people in its jurisdiction? Life would be far better.