Business Insider has published a map helpful for visualizing the problem inherent in centralized government: the vast majority of land is controlled by forces huddled in the major metropolitan areas.
I have often exemplified this point with the state of Illinois. About two thirds of the population of that state is huddled into only twelve counties comprising the Chicago metro area. Out of 102 counties, this means that the population residing in less than 12 percent of jurisdictional entities can assert control over those in the other 88 percent. This is roughly equivalent in terms of total land area controlled as well.
Nationwide this map notes that half of the population resides in only 146 counties—without exception those dominated by major cities. This means that nationwide, those clustered in less than 5 percent of counties can outvote and rule the rest.
Thomas Jefferson once hoped “never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold as at market.”1 This map represents that same problem nationwide for virtually every state as well.
Major metropolitan areas inevitably tend to grow statist (usually liberal-leftist) and corrupt. So do, then, the forces that tyrannize whole populations distributed across the other 95 percent of the landscape.
Why should the liberals, the statists, the corrupt and grafters in the tiny corners and corridors get to tell the rest of us how to live and how much to pay for their delusions of grandeur, narcissism, elitism, and naughtiness?
As long as this is the case, we live under tyranny resulting from the centralization of power not only nationally, but in virtually each state as well. This means education is a centralized tyranny. All wealth redistribution is a centralized tyranny—welfare of all forms. Police power is largely a centralized tyranny, and is growing more so every day. Gun laws are a centralized tyranny. Taxation is a centralized tyranny. Corporate law, business, and markets are centralized tyrannies. Money and banking are centralized tyrannies. Agriculture, transportation, and energy—all centralized tyrannies. Law itself, in general, is a centralized tyranny—and it sleazes its tentacles into every crevice of our lives until the most important and intimate parts are seized by tyrants in a distant metropolitan area.
Until we capture a mindset of widespread privatization and localism, we have little hope of liberty. The liberties we do speak of in the meantime are highly relativistic—relative to the greater tyrannies of the Old World and Socialism. And that’s not much to brag about.
- Letter to Justice William Johnson, June 12, 1823.(↩)