Loonie Liberation

2004-11-06

Funny maps have emerged in the last few days showing three nations in North America: (1) Quebec, (2) the rest of Canada joined to the Northeastern U.S., Upper Midwest, and West Coast, and (3) a sea of Red States forming a rump U.S.A. Well, that's amusing, but if the Canadians really want to save the world, they can sacrifice their country and join the United States. Among the provinces-turned-states, only Alberta might be "red", which leaves seven more states that would be overwhelmingly Democratic (yes, I know how many provinces there are, but P.E.I. is way too small to rate two Senators and would have to be added to New Brunswick -- or it could be preserved as a museum piece). So the Canadians could tip the balance of presidential politics back to the Democrats for a while (until demographic trends overtake the Democrats again). Therefore it's obvious that folks on the U.S. left need to brush up on their French and foment secession in Quebec, thus throwing the rest of Canada into the waiting arms of imperial expansionists in the U.S. (remember the War of 1812?), who will be surprised when those new states turn out to be a Trojan Horse for the left. Loony, eh?

But seriously, there is one little problem here: neither the Democrats nor the Republicans want to reduce the power of the central government. The welfare state and the warfare state go hand-in-hand. Democrats get all whiny when they are out of power, because they know they are culturally superior and would increase government power for worthy ends such as economic regulation, helping their union supporters, cutting the debt by taxing the productive class to pay for increased spending, and altruistic foreign interventions (i.e., assisting downtrodden places such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, and Haiti). Republicans get all whiny when they are out of power, because they know they have God on their side and would increase government power for worthy ends such as moral crusades, helping their corporate supporters, cutting taxes but not spending and thereby increasing the national debt, and imperialistic foreign interventions (i.e., installing puppet regimes in formerly authoritarian or leftist places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Grenada). Both parties think centralization is a beautiful thing and work assiduously to increase Federal power; but each one thinks that power is appropriate only when they wield it. Heaven forbid that the nefarious opposition should be elected: it will be the end of the world as we know it!

There is one business in American that never downsizes, that never has to fear being driven into obsolescence by some upstart innovator, whose employees never worry about mass layoffs, in which revenues are always up, for which the outlook is always positive, to which the normal laws of economics don't apply. It sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? In fact, it's too true to be good, because that "business" is the government headquartered in Washington, DC. And no matter whether the "reds" or the "blues" are in charge, that government continues to arrogate to itself ever greater powers, at the expense of the states, local governments, and the people themselves.

What's the solution? Is there really a third America (neither red nor blue), a radical middle? Don Boudreaux notes that the best red-state value used to be distrust of centralization. Now it seems that everyone loves centralization as long as their kind is in power. Yet I continue to maintain that we've built too much functionality into the kernel of our political operating system. Further centralization is not the answer, nor is joining with those Canadian centralizers north of the border. Rather than one nation of North America, we need many smaller political entities on this continent. Secession, anyone?


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal