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Our argument supporting the Rule of Subsidiarity, practicality and common sense.
March 11, 2009
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The Rule of Subsidiarity

Vic Biorseth, Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The rule of subsidiarity has two main precepts, which are:

  1. everyone who is affected by an issue should be in the jurisdiction responsible for it;
  2. as few people as possible who are not affected by an issue should have jurisdiction or responsibility over it.

Subsidarity says that all political authority should be vested in the most local jurisdiction possible. Problems affecting only a family should be handled by that family, town problems should be handled by that town, county problems by that county, etc., and problems that can be handled by any part of the private sector should not be given over to any level of government at all. As applied in America since her founding, there is and must always be some private sphere of personal activity that is completely beyond the reach of government.

Those granted the most authority over any aspect of your life should be required to physically face you, eye to eye, on a regular basis, whether that be in your home, your town hall, your county seat or whatever. No one who can change what goes on in your neighborhood should be alien to your neighborhood.

Under Socialism, the rule of subsidiarity is denied, because a centrally controlled economy requires the top level of government to be in charge of all aspect of economic, political and social life. Low level and local matters are handled, in accordance with central planning, by various bureaucrats or underlings in the vast bureaucratic organization absolutely required of Socialism. Top government determines and directs, at the individual citizen level, such matters as health, education, employment, career, private business, wages, investment, property, wealth, and even the simplest of human rights.

Subsidiarity operates best in a Democracy, most especially in a Republic like the USA, where Democracy itself is Constitutionally limited in order that government role and government power may be even more limited. The opposing position in the culture war – Socialism – has the top level of government in charge of all aspect of economic, political and social life, violating the rule. Under full Subsidiarity, in the best scenario, the individual citizen assumes primary responsibility for such matters health, education, employment, career, private business, wages, investment, property, wealth and so forth. Some human rights are spelled out in law, others are assumed in force, and, by default, civil law favors the citizen when any human right is questioned.

Under the proper application of the rule of Subsidiarity, the limited balance of power that is shared between citizen and government favors the citizen. As Subsidiarity is weakened, power automatically migrates from the citizen to the government. As Susidiarity is strengthened, power automatically migrates from the government to the citizen.

The danger, therefore, that Socialism poses to man is that Socialism seeks to centrally plan and control the entire economy. When a man is economically controlled, he is totally controlled. The only way to control anyone economically is to control him politically as well. When someone is completely economically dependant on government, he has, almost definitively, lost all individual citizen rights, all civil rights and all human rights. While Capitalism describes only an economic philosophy, which may only operate among free men in a free market place, Socialism represents both an economic and a political philosophy, because it cannot control an economy without also controlling the citizens who make it work. Under Socialism there is no strictly private sphere of personal activity that is beyond the reach of government.

See the Socialism definition link, and the Marxism definition link.)

There can be no compromise; at least not indefinitely.

Noted economists such as Von Mises and Von Hayek have insisted that even minor government tinkering, let alone interference or control, of the free market or any of its parts prods Capitalism toward failure. (See the Social Democracy link.) The more Capitalism fails, the more government intervention is applied, and the more government intervention is applied, the more Capitalism will fail. The inevitable end of the spiral is Socialism.

Many today believe, in their innocent naiveté, that so-called European Socialism exemplified by current day France might be a preferable alternative to both American Capitalism and to flat out Socialism; however, none of the example European Socialist countries are finished with the process of being totally Socialized yet. They are merely farther into the inevitable spiral than America is. Their market is less free, their citizens are less economically free, and their downward spiral continues unabated. They will all end up Socialist in the end, if they do not take action to reverse the trend. The farther it goes, the harder it will be to stop. Visit the Marxism page to see where all this economic and social interference came from.

For many today, Keynsianism is seen as an alternative to completely open and free markets; however, the Keynsian economic approach is characterized by government intervention in the free market economy, a violation of the rule of Subsidiarity. This is not only a violation of the notion that there ought to be a sphere of private activity beyond the reach of government, but it plays right into the economic spiral addressed above, which ultimately ends up in Socialism. Keynes’ theory is thus fatally flawed. It is merely another hopefully non-violent, non-revolutionary path to the same place, whether that is what Keynes originally intended or not.

We strongly support the rule of Subsidiarity.

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