Monday, January 2, 2012

Local Autonomy

Semi nomadic Sami or Laplander family in Northern Norway or Sweden. They use traditional clothing.  

By suppressing local particularities and turning distinctions and differences into injustices inclusiveness suppresses self-organization, and therefore social spontaneity and voluntary initiatives of all kinds. 
Ordinary people can’t act effectively unless local discretion is widely diffused and the informal good sense of the people is accepted as a generally sound basis for action. Inclusiveness rejects both. If there’s significant local discretion inequalities will result, and “the informal good sense of the people” is shot through with settled prejudgments—that is, with prejudices. 
For that reason inclusiveness requires suppression of local initiative and self-rule. Those things are unjust from the standpoint of social justice in any event. If I do something that benefits brother Bob, that’s unfair because cousin Dick and uncle Harry get left out. More generally, informal arrangements like mutual assistance based on local networks and moral codes make the benefits of social life depend on group membership. That’s obviously unjust, so such arrangements must be destroyed. 
That’s one reason schools teach children to throw off parental, communal, and religious authority. Those authorities aren’t based on liberal principles, and they lead to particular local connections that don’t benefit everyone equally. It’s also one reason antidiscrimination laws force institutions to treat the attack on traditional and natural authorities as part of their reason for being. (If they don’t insist on their total commitment to “celebration of diversity,” they’re likely to get sued.) 
The natural result of such policies is degradation of functional communities and families. Our rulers view that as a good thing. It eliminates competitors to the liberal state, frees individuals from traditional bonds that are understood as irrational and discriminatory, and clears the ground for a truly rational and just ordering of society. - James Kalb

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