After the midterm elections, it should be more apparent than ever that the citizens of the United States do not all see things the same way. In fact, it is more accurate to say that the country’s society is diametrically opposed on many issues. These differences in beliefs (I use the word beliefs because these differences are far past simple opposing viewpoints and are drifting into religious fervor territory) are growing day after day.
For example, there are those in society who believe Donald Trump is a person to be reviled. Who should be jailed for his “criminal actions”. People who believe Donald Trump is destroying the very country we live in. It goes so far as some people believing Donald Trump is a white supremist. On the other side of this we have people who see Donald Trump as the savior of the republic, believing that he alone stands between those that would oppress and force their will on us and freedom. To give another example, there are people who believe Hillary Clinton should be jailed for treasonous acts, murder, and other crimes against humanity. While others see Hillary as an example of leadership personified.
While there is certainly a segment of people who could be described as moderate, having opinions on things that are much less extreme to either side, those people have to recognize that the world we live in is being shaped by the extremes of each side. The question often becomes, which extreme would you rather deal with? If we continue on the course we are on, predictably we could see the level of violence in the United States increase as each side vilifies the other, followed by more calls for secession from various states on each side of the political spectrum.
These calls for separation would be less intense if the federal government was restrained in such a way that left more decisions up to the states. For instance, I believe the Dobbs decision in June of 2022, which essentially put abortion decisions back to the states, was proper. This has resulted in some states passing legislation allowing for abortion to be performed up to the moment of birth with no reason needed. While other states have placed strict limits on when and why an abortion is allowed. The point of this is not to debate abortion. The point is to illustrate that there are some for abortion and some against, and each side sees the other as evil. How can any two groups get along when they see each other as trying to impose an evil onto the other?
I believe if we don’t want to go down the road that leads to the United States weakened by in-fighting at best, and broken up by secession at worst, then we need more independence of the states. In many ways, states have become less independent because of federal programs. Independence is eroded because of taxes paid for federal programs. In order for states to see any benefit from the taxes going to federal programs, they must agree to follow the rules of the programs. These programs affect a wide range of things from school lunches to law enforcement. I believe it would be better if the money was never given to the federal government.
Here’s an example of where the friction is created. We all pay into the federal tax system. These taxes are then distributed to the states to fund things, like abortion. Because of this, those that see abortion as evil are forced to pay for it. If you can’t see the problem with that, I believe you’re being naive. It’s not so much that one side is for and the other against. It’s that one side is forcing the other to participate in what they see as an evil act. And this friction is fracturing the United States. What if we left the money in the states and took this, and other instances like it, away?
Let’s look at energy. There are some states who have fully embraced the green energy agenda. Complete with proposing that vehicles running on gas or diesel be completely phased out over the next decade. These same states push for federal legislation to limit other states’ use of fossil fuels. So a state who has vast natural resources in fossil fuels, like North Dakota or Texas for instance, are forced to limit the use of these resources, which creates hardships to the citizens of those states. Wouldn’t it be great if a state like North Dakota could refine the crude oil it extracts right in North Dakota? It could then sell the refined products in its own state at far less expense than having to ship large amounts of crude oil to refineries in other states and then haul back refined product. This would put control back with the states. One state could go green with all of the solar and wind magic it wanted while the other state could use the gifts it has to make life better for its citizens.
Another example: food production. There are some states pushing for regulation on how beef, pork, and poultry animals are raised and processed. The result of these regulations is added cost of the products. This added cost often means that a readily available source of protein is priced beyond the reach of many families. This wouldn’t be as big of an issue if each state had their own producers of processing facilities for beef, pork and poultry. However, many of these products are processed in large regional facilities, serving multiple states in some cases. As a side note, having a small number of larger food processors is a potentially critical infrastructure weakness. Whereas, having multiple smaller, more localized processors, increases the resilience of our ability to keep food coming to markets.
A final point for separation is what is happening in our school system. We have national education groups pushing “critical race theory”. Using markist teaching points to educate an entire generation. Here again, if the decisions on what is taught in schools was left to more local decision makers, this would be less of an issue. But, as it sits, we have a segment of the society telling another that it has oppressed other people.
I will end this with a philosophical statement. It is better to have more localized control of your life and surroundings than to cede that control to others who are not living in your local world. I will do a deeper dive into what it would take to create more localized economies for food and energy in future articles. But for now, consider who is making your decisions. Is it your neighbors and local representatives, or is it a political party far removed from your world?