Does a Nation Need a State?
by Rick Hoar
January 22, 2011

During the prenatal years of the United States, there was much debate as to whether a federalized government could even co-exist within the concepts of liberty that drove the British colonies to revolution. Conversely, the original Articles of Confederation were dissolved by Congressional delegates in lieu of a federal Constitution for fears that a mere collection of loosely allied states could not survive in a world of empire-superpowers.

Here, centuries later, indeed 150 years after the resolution of the American Civil War and the formal debate as to the proper relationship between states' and federal government, conventional wisdom seemingly mandates a top-down hierarchy of authoritative powers.

Not everyone is convinced by this precedent, however.

As voter apathy persists and political divisiveness resonates, even top-level governments are being supplanted by global bodies and economic collectives. The meaning of the individual's participation in democratic rule has therefore been trivialized from the bottom-up, with localized government trending towards powerlessness and the voices of actual voters being lost in the cacophony of the world stage.

At the same time, advances in communications have empowered people everywhere to interact virtually without intermediation, fostering the growth of more efficient exchanges. It is from this new paradigm of connectivity that information itself has arisen as the commodity of the Age. Ideas and data are largely understood to be the gateway to wealth and power of any meaning in the 21st Century.

The de facto result is that free markets and free will are now only impeded by government at any level. As the top-most decision makers become more and more centralized, they do so at a time when their necessity is becoming less and less apparent to the average man. That is perhaps why we are seeing growth and interest in an international movement, ostensibly toward anarchy.

Reactionary groups calling for small government and states rights are attracting the mainstream populace. In the U.S., Tea Party blocs are echoing separatist sentiments, while in the digital world, bloggers and disenfranchised journalists are united with hackers masked as Guy Fawkes in support of the lawless WikiLeaks foundation. Whether or not state media report it truthfully, big government is on trial, and the jury seems unlikely to acquit.

So, what would happen? What if tomorrow, Western authoritarianism bankrupted itself and went the way of East German Communism?

While anarchy is dangerously real in such a scenario, a sudden power vacuum may not be realistic. Locally elected governments would likely gain emphasis in the everyday lives of citizens in a post-federal Europe or U.S. Perhaps it would feel like the Wild West by today's standards, but law and order can easily be maintained at the local level. Most cities don't require federal troops on a day-to-day basis, and with less wealth going toward federal taxation, resources might be more efficiently applied to local welfare needs.

As for commerce, dispute and the common defense, the invisible hand of laissez faire capitalism is more than capable of making things right. Even the largest of governments today, the United Nations, tends to opt for economic sanctions over guns and bombs to resolve disputes between countries in non-compliance. But, self-reliance, sustainability and social media are all things we should learn to love as the ways of olde grind to a halt all around us. The future of society may not require a nanny state to direct the progress of humanity, but some bold new (or perhaps old!) thinking will have to be embraced by our nation if we are to expect any modicum of democracy to survive the central-socialization of Earth.

I believe our pioneering spirit is ingrained in us by God, and that it will shine when we need independence the most. Though, freedom is more often lost than won, and no one should expect liberty to be given out by those in power, be they elected or not. Save the rhetoric, love thy neighbor and man-up for cryin' out loud. You're awake now. Start acting like it.