Courtesy of the esteemed Mike Hendrix, we have this highly significant story from Big Country Expat:
Now here in the Untied Staatz, we still pretend that elections matter. In truth, the only elections that actually -do- matter are the local ones…school board (need to fire ALL of them fuckers nationwide IMO, Jes’ Sayin’) Selectmen, the usual. Hell Sherriff is the most important elections at the local level that we have still. The others are all pretty much make-work. In fact most shit that needs fixing usually gets done on the local level via co-operation of the affected parties. Quite a few years ago, can’t remember which town it was, but in the Midwest, there was a town with a pothole issue.
Bad problems. The local Board of Selectmen or Council or whatever they called themselves said there was no money in the budget for it. That’d it’d take til the next year before they could do anything, meanwhile the populous was having tire and rim damage on the regular. The only ones happy with the situation was the local Tire King.
So, the locals got sick of waiting around. They went to Ye Olde Local Asphalt Company, and got with the owner, who did a deal to fill some of the potholes in exchange for some labor and some landscaping done by another Local Landscaping Company, who provided materials, while the locals provided the labor. Asphalt guy got his yard redone, the potholes got filled, the local Boy Scouts provided labor and got a Merit Badge out of it, and everyone was happy.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? The locals shoved local government and its barely-disguised demand for more money to the curb, spat on their hands, and simply got the job done. Who wouldn’t applaud a result like that? But wait: there’s more!
Not so much. The Township levied fines and a bunch of ‘other bullshit’ to include threatening the business licenses of the two companies. And by the way, did I forget to mention the Chairman of the Town Council was the owner of the local Tire King? Yeeeeeah. They even said that the patches were ‘substandard’ and needed to be removed.
Shit stopped cold when the death threats started getting reely reelz. The Sherriff stepped in and said it wasn’t going to fly… Last word I heard was the Tire King went out of biddness due to a total and utter boycott, nevermind the local yoots who took to vandalizing the building with a certain enthusiasm on the regular…as well as the owner’s house. His family moved shortly after as well, as they were effectively shunned by all the locals after, as well they should be.
That’s right, Gentle Reader. It took “throwing the kitchen sink” at those thieves – all the way up to death threats – to force them to their knees. Politicians, no matter what their level of elevation, never, ever surrender power or authority voluntarily. They must be bent by force or the credible threat of force.
And why should that come as a surprise? It’s a working postulate of power dynamics that he who seeks power over others wants that above all other things. Why would such a person surrender any fraction of his power merely because it was take from his hands, however gently? Why wouldn’t we expect him to use whatever means are at his disposal to snatch it back and punish the hoi polloi for their act of lese majeste?
Strangely, I wrote about exactly this sort of scenario, in a hypothetical context, more than seven years ago:
Things are seriously looking up for Smith’s neighborhood. However, there remain some irritating problems. One such, potholes in the streets, rises to the top of the list.
Smith visits a local driveway-paving company for advice. The proprietors are happy to talk about their business, which tends to be seasonal, occasioning certain difficulties in cash flow management. When Smith raises the pothole problem, they disparage the efforts of the town highway department, which appears uninterested in providing long-lasting repairs, and assert that they could do a better job if trusted with it.
Smith’s next stops are at the homes of residents on a badly potholed street. He asks them, “Would you be willing to pay for good-quality repairs?” When enough of them have agreed, he arranges a meeting with the driveway-paving business. A deal is eventually struck that defines the scope of the job, the price per pothole, and the degree of responsiveness expected of the company. The pavers are happy to discount their services for the sake of an “off-season” income where there was none before. Even so, it’s not cheap, but by dividing the cost among themselves, the residents find it bearable and worthwhile.
Smith’s own street is a particular problem, as only he is willing to bear any share of the cost for repairs. He decides to hold onto the idea until enough of his immediate neighbors find the potholes as annoying as he.
Not everything is well. Local politicians and bureaucrats are not pleased. Smith’s neighborhood is making them look bad. They can’t abide the constant comparisons between “Smithville” and surrounding locales that continue to depend upon “official” institutions. Yet the incentives public employees face prove too strong to overcome; they know their jobs are safe, and that they’ll get paid regardless of how slowly or shoddily they perform. Wasn’t the effective lack of accountability a big part of the reason they agreed to work for a government?
So the politicians and school board members strike back in the way they know best, the way that’s proved most effective in the past: at the residents’ wallets. Taxes and fees escalate sharply. The police and town officials attempt to intrude into Smithville’s private arrangements, demanding payoffs before they’ll go away. Smithville’s residents begin to question the wisdom of Smith’s work.
So Smith calls in the press: reporters from the local weekly, the regional daily, and the local cable-television channel. All of them find the contrast between Smithville and surrounding demesnes striking and suggestive. As are reporters everywhere, they’re particularly interested in the politicos’ attempts to bludgeon Smithville’s residents back into conformance with government control. Nothing excites a reporter’s enthusiasm for a story like a whiff of corruption. Coverage of the contest becomes intense…and the residents of Smithville find themselves regarded as heroic champions of “the little guy.”
There’s no way of knowing how things will eventuate, but Smithville has an asset the politicians can’t match: the degree to which they’ve come together in a common cause for their own local interests. Whether the hand of government is heavy enough to offset that advantage is unclear.
The similarities are remarkable, eh what?
The depoliticization of as much of American life as possible is the paramount imperative of our time. I hardly need to catalogue all the various governmental arrogations of previously private activities that have occurred these past decades. In keeping with the known dynamics of the Washington Monument Defense, for governments to deliberately under-perform at the responsibilities private citizens value most is the tactic we see most often. The only countermeasure is to rip those responsibilities out of government’s hands by force. Nothing else has ever worked or ever will.
Today the Usurper Regime is doing its damnedest to strip Americans of their Constitutionally protected rights. Our First Amendment rights. Our Second Amendment rights. Our Fourth Amendment rights to our bodily integrity. Our Fifth Amendment rights to due process. Our Sixth Amendment rights to a speedy and public trial. And the stripping will continue until the Usurpers – all the way down to town councils and school boards – are punished so harshly that they run screaming, tails between their legs, to whatever safe harbor may exist for unsuccessful tyrants rebuffed by their intended victims.
Voting against the tyrants is not adequate punishment. Remember who counts the votes.
In its analogous way, this fine old essay by Robert Higgs https://mises.org/library/myth-failed-policies came to mind.
Professor Higgs’ bottom line was:
That conclusion was arrived at in another age. As you indicate, one bear got poked a little too much and other bears got emboldened learning of the outcome.