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Tue Feb 19, 2013, 09:19 AM

The Center Cannot Hold | John Michael Greer

Feb. 6, 2013 (Archdruid Report) -- When William Butler Yeats put the phrase I’ve used as the title for this week’s post into the powerful and prescient verses of “The Second Coming,” he had deeper issues in mind than the crisis of power in a declining American empire.

Still, the image is anything but irrelevant here; the political evolution of the United States over the last century has concentrated so many of the responsibilities of government in Washington DC that the entire American system is beginning to crack under the strain.

This is admittedly not the way you’ll hear the centralization of power in America discussed by those few voices in our national conversation who discuss it at all. On the one hand are the proponents of centralized power, who insist that leaving any decision at all in the hands of state or local authorities is tantamount to handing it over to their bogeyman du jour -- whether that amounts to the bedsheet-bedecked Southern crackers who populate the hate speech of the left, say, or the more diverse gallery of stereotypes that plays a similar role on the right. On the other hand are those who insist that the centralization of power in America is the harbinger of a totalitarian future that will show up George Orwell as an incurable optimist.

I’ve already talked in a number of previous posts about the problems with this sort of thinking, with its flattening out of the complexities of contemporary politics into an opposition between warm fuzzy feelings and cold prickly ones. I’d like, to pursue the point a little further, to offer two unpopular predictions about the future of American government. The first is that the centralization of power in Washington DC has almost certainly reached its peak, and will be reversing in the decades ahead of us. The second is that, although there will inevitably be downsides to that reversal, it will turn out by and large to be an improvement over the system we have today. These predictions unfold from a common logic; both are consequences of the inevitable failure of overcentralized power.



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Reply The Center Cannot Hold | John Michael Greer (Original post)
Tace Feb 2013 OP
Hestia Feb 2013 #1

Response to Tace (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 10:12 AM

1. What a fantastic article regarding Centralized Power and remember

how to pick up the pieces of the aftermath - or even wrest power away from the bureaucracy that has created the centralized power.

I love this from the article:

[...] Even a poor community could count on being able to scrape together the political will and the money to establish a school district, even if that meant a one-room schoolhouse with one teacher taking twenty-odd children a day through grades one through eight. That the level of education that routinely came out of such one-room schoolhouses was measurably better than that provided by today’s multimillion-dollar school budgets is just one more irony in the fire.

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