Friday Ark on Break Again

The Friday Ark will take a break this week (8/26).
Friday Ark #352 will begin boardings next week on September 2.
All submissions from this week will have priority boarding passes for next week.
Enjoy the weekend!

Scale Down To Rather Than Up From Denmark

Matthew Yglesias wonders about scaling up Denmark’s welfare state model to larger countries:

The thing to say in response to this is that the Scandinavian countries are really little and it might not work as well in a big country, but I don’t understand what the causal mechanism for non-scalability is supposed to be. I’ll happily grant that it’s politically easier to put a Scandinavian-style system together in a small, homogeneous country, but that’s different from saying it wouldn’t work on the merits.

Tyler Cowan responds by noting a number of factors that might facilitate implementing Denmark scale programs that may not apply in larger countries, e.g.,

Perhaps the ability to dispense with federalism helps government efficiency in small countries. I favor federalism for larger units, such as the United States, but I think of it as a necessary evil. Singapore and New Zealand don’t have much federalism, nor should they.

This factor points us in the right direction.
Leaving aside the question of whether we really want the Denmark like social welfare programs implemented in the US, the very first step toward making this a possibility is to dispense with federalism in the US. No, not by centralizing all government function into the federal governement. Rather, by completely eliminating the federal goverment.

Yep, break the US up: into the current states, into 54 Denmarks by population, or into 223 Denmarks by land mass. Pick your method but break up the country. Not only will you get many opportunities to recreate Denmark’s social structure but you will also eliminate the many ills that result from the massive centralization of power and wealth in the current federal government.

It’s Ancient, It’s Right

Precedent, precedent, precedent. Apparently because the idea that thieves and governments can point a gun and take whatever they want has been around for centuries makes it right:

You have to accept that government can take property. The power of eminent domain is ancient. What the Constitution requires that “just compensation” be paid to the owners and that the taking be for a “public use.” This case was about what counted as a “public use.”

Slavery is ancient. Human sacrifice is ancient. The idea that women should not have the vote is ancient. None of these practices is considered acceptable today in the United States.
The Constitution is a great document. It was a great step forward in the development of human societies. And, in the context of the Constitution and subsequent jurisprudence Kelo should not surprise anyone. That does not make Kelo just or consistent with the rule of law. Thank goodness that Kelo has generated outrage. There is some hope that we can look toward an even better Constituion in the future. One that clearly focuses on serving and protecting the individuals it should be meant to serve.
In one of the comments to her post Althouse asks:

All you conservatives: why aren’t you interested in federalism today?

and here argues:

If you generally support federalism, that means you like the idea of freeing state and local government to set their own policies in response to local ideas about how things ought to be done. You like decentralized decisionmaking.

I doubt I’d be considered a conservative so my answer may not count. What is broken here is that this is all about government. Where are our rights as individual human beings? Did we establish our governments to legitimize gangs of thieves or to protect the rights of individual human beings? I know which answer I prefer.
Furthermore, decentralized decision making is great but not when it is only governments who can make the decisions and not when a government entity can breach the rights of the very people it is meant to serve. Decentralized use of local knowledge leads to great results when individuals and freely formed associations of individuals exchange goods and services with others free of force and fraud.

Freeway Blogging

Do you live in Colorado, Arizona or New Mexico?
Then take up the Freeway Blogger’s challenge!
Hmmmm, there might be something here for all of you. I know the Freeway Blogger is not a bush supporter but the challenge doesn’t say the signs have to be any special denomination.
Do remember, though, that in a land of freedom no individual should have the power that has been vested in the US presidency, no legislature the power of the the US senate or house, and no judiciary the power of the US supreme court.
Via Talkleft.