Anyone wondering about my general antipathy toward the state need look no further than the circus surrounding gay marriage licenses in Kentucky.
The two sides squared off against each other in the Great Kentucky County Clerk Gay Marriage License Debate seem diametrically opposed and impossibly divided by a yawning, unspannable chasm.
Each group wants to use the power of government to impose its will on the other.
On one side, gay marriage advocates cheered and declared victory when nine politically connected lawyers imposed their definition of marriage on every jurisdiction within a 3,794,101 square mile territory. On the other hand, gay marriage opponents have spent decades fighting to ensure politically connected lawyers, and elected officials imposed their definition of marriage on every person within a 3,794,101 square mile territory.
Today, a woman remains locked in a cage because she refused to violate her conscience, or give up her position within the state apparatus that allowed her to impose her will on others. One Christian commentator called Kim Davis’ arrest a win for religious freedom.
If nothing else, this whole episode vividly exposes the true nature of the state – force, coercion and violence.
Ironically, if I were to suggest to people on either sided of this issue that, hey, maybe throwing all of this into the arena of government wasn’t the best idea, they would balk and swear this is the best and only possible way to organize society.
Most Americans want to be centrally controlled by a monopoly government.
Until they don’t.
Of course, they never think about the “don’t” until it’s too late. They have already established that the federal government can and should serve as a mechanism to impose their will on the rest of their fellow 350 million Americans. When that power gets turned against their own interests, no recourse remains but to protest and shake in rage.
Or sit in jail.
How do we ever resolve this? In the centralized, monopoly system now in place in the United States, we don’t.
The obvious solution is to remove as much as possible from the purview of government. Nobody ultimately has the right to use force, coercion and violence to impose their will on others. A moral, ethical society operates through voluntary associations. But since we’re not likely to dismantle the state any time soon, decentralization represents the next-best mechanism to allow everybody to live together in some semblance of harmony.
That was the system originally established in the United States.
The other day, somebody asked me what I thought the founding fathers would have to say about the violation of Kim Davis’ religious freedom. I told him I think they would be baffled that this ever became a federal issue.
The American system was envisioned as decentralized with the federal government exercising very little control. The founding generation couldn’t have imagined a federal judge defining marriage in a state. As James Madison put it, “ The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people.”
Over the last 100 years, Americans have utterly obliterated their own system, to the point that nobody blinked when a federal judge simply rewrote the Kentucky state constitution and tossed a woman in jail because she didn’t bend to his will.
Of course, decentralization creates its own problems. States violate people’s rights all the time. Just ask James Yates and William Smith Jr., the gay couple turned down five times before they finally got their marriage license from the Rowan County clerk’s office. I do understand the impulse to turn the federal government into a liberty enforcement squad. But for whatever good centralized power might do on occasion, more often than not, it tramples liberty. Decentralization diffuses power, allows for diversity and creates competition between jurisdictions.
If some states want to recognize gay marriages, have strict controls on guns and a relatively socialistic economic system, fine. People who value those things will flock to those states. If some states want to have low taxes, only recognize marriages between men and women and have no gun laws, fine. People who value those things will flock to those states. If policies fail in one state, others can avoid them. If they succeed in one state, others will mimic them.
For the life of me, I cannot understand why a people so obsessed with diversity insist on a political system built on monopolistic control, homogeneity and uniform policy.
Actually, I take that back.
I do understand.
Ultimately, most Americans crave power. They want to impose their will. They insist every person living within a 3,794,101 square mile territory must conform to their conceptions. Monopoly government provides the power to “Git-R-Done!”