By Vox Day
“When budget woes reduced the sheriff’s department in one rural Oregon county to a bare-bones force, residents decided to take matters into their own hands — creating armed patrol groups in defiance of local officials. Their decision has raised safety concerns with the county government, which would prefer residents instead hike their own taxes to fund the hiring of trained deputies. But despite the risks, the move stands as a unique, some would say innovative, response to one of the country’s most severe local budget crunches.”
That, according to a Fox News report dated Dec. 26.
It should surprise no one that a county government would prefer to see people hand them money and permit them to oversee the spending of it than take matters, and responsibility, into their own hands. The entire concept of “big government” is a socialistic one that depends entirely on the idea that centralizing decision-making will inevitably lead to better societal outcomes. The fact that this is much more often false than it is true never even slows down those who benefit materially from the structure from shamelessly attempting to push it on everyone.
Some people naturally seek power over others and one of the most enduring powers is the power to legally impose forced contributions on others. In feudal times, the landed aristocracy imposed forced contributions in kind from the serfs they nominally “protected”. In modern times, the government bureaucracies impose forced monetary contributions from the citizens they nominally “serve”.
How is this different? One can no more vote to be served by the unionized employees at the county seat, city hall, or any of the myriad of federal agencies than one could vote to be ruled by the Duke of York.
The argument that is inevitably presented by bureaucrats seeking to expand their power is that centralization is more efficient and the utilization of economies of scale will provide better and less expensive services than those provided in a redundant manner by multiple, decentralized sources. History amply demonstrates that while this may sound reasonably in theory, it almost never turns out to be the case. No bureaucracy ever voluntarily gives up power or resources, so the result of the centralized efficiencies is always more inefficience, more expense, and more jobs for bureaucrats.
This is why the Oregon residents will likely receive better, more cost-effective police services from their neighbors than they will from the trained professionals hired by the county government. After all, corporations regularly cut costs and increase their profits by cutting out the middle-man. There is no reason the private citizens of America would not benefit from adopting a similar attitude.
Vox Day is a national libertarian and the author of “The Return of the Great Depression” and “The Irrational Atheist.” He is a former columnist for WorldNetDaily, Chronicle Features, and Universal Press Syndicate, and is a member of Mensa and IGDA. He also is the first writer in the history of the Science Fiction Writers of America to be expelled from the organization. Visit his blog, Vox Popoli.