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How are cantons better than “representative” government?

Consider how a representative, whether Congressman or County Commissioner or Town Councilman, gets elected. All the eligible voters of the territory who still think that voting matters choose their candidate. The person who gets the most votes wins. Seems eminently fair, doesn’t it?

The problem is that all the people who voted for someone other than the winner are really not represented. The person elected represents the principles and ideals of the people who voted for him, but not necessarily those who did not.

For example, in one little town I know, the Town Council consists of 6 members, all of the same party. This is not unusual. In this particular town, this party has a slight majority, with the result that all the council members are voted in by a slight majority from the same party. The slight MINORITY has no representation. Seems eminently unfair, doesn’t it?

So, how would cantons change this? Instead of voting, taxpayers in a territory would register with their prefered canton. As each canton has a stated set of principles and ideals, it can be said with some certainty that the canton truly represents the taxpayer as well as can be expected. Since the relationship between a canton and a taxpayer is only for a single year, that provides a lot of feed-back to the canton management about how they are doing. The cantons would be very careful in spending their members’ taxes, knowing that, if the taxpayer chooses at the end of the year to switch cantons, there goes the money with him. A canton that mismanages, especially by not respecting the principles and ideals of its members, will soon find it has nothing to manage.

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Comments on: "Real representation" (6)

  1. Dwight Johnson said:

    Kyle, you pose an interesting situation. First of all, yes, I am totally cool with that. Let me, however, spell out exactly what you are choosing to do. As a one person canton, you have access only to whatever taxes you contribute to a given territory that the canton relates to (municipal, county, state, national). You might not, as such, be welcome by other cantons that have many members, to participate with them on shared projects (such as a police force) as there would likely be some overhead involved in dealing with single-person cantons compared to cantons that represent hundreds or thousands of households. Any such additional costs would most likely have to be borne by you. But, in theory, it is your money, your choice, your risk. That’s the way it should be.

  2. I’m going to start my own Canton, with my own money, and not allow any others to join it. My Canton won’t enforce nor obey the dictates of any other Canton – unless the prohibitions are things I would not morally do anyway – nor participate in any of their projects unless I want to. Are you cool with that?

  3. Dwight Johnson said:

    Don, you and I want the same thing: the ability to govern ourselves. Your answer is “just let it go”. You are confused about who has who. My purpose is to get the monopolistic governments that exercise complete control over us to let us go. I contend that, working thru cantons to regain control of taxes (our money taken from us), we have the best shot at really getting control of our lives back from the elites who have turned us into serfs.

  4. To offer yet another political model isn’t the answer. The answer is no gov. whatsoever. Why do I need to be governed? Why do I need a governor? I’ll guarantee I’m much more responsible, respectful of other’s rights and productive than any of those who feel they have some right to govern me. History is full of despots, monarchies, democracies, socialism, communism, fascism etc… just let it go.

    America would no doubt break into much smaller geographical states or nation states that would be easier to for communities to organize as each community wanted, not as some cnetral gov dictated.

  5. Dwight Johnson said:

    Cantons do not ignore the worst parts of human nature. You are exactly correct that government is, by nature, systematized predation by the ruling class. People want peace. Governments need war. They need to make themselves seem useful, either by war or by some alternative war, such as the war on drugs, or poverty, or climate change. When people have had enough of war, they will seek ways to limit the scope of government, such as with cantons, which allow the people who pay taxes to determine what the taxes pay for. Tyranny is easy; freedom is hard.

  6. Pete McAlpine said:

    This seems to ignore the obvious fact that humans are naturally predatory. The purpose of the State, at best, is to create an area of relative non-predation (at worst, the state is systematized predation by a ruling class). This can only be done through overwhelming military victory that acheives a relative monopoly on the use of violence in an area, ending the “natural” regime of chronic violence, looting, etc.

    After the initial victory which must disregard all scruples and drench the area in blood and destruction, it may, at times, be possible to reform the State toward an agent of liberty in its sovereign area, NOT IN ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER STATES which must remain “hammer and tong”. America was an exception because it started as a colony of a long-standing world conquering State. . . so, the initial spree of bloodshed was not required, and Britain was to busy elsewhere to maintain its authority in the colony, giving an opportunity for dramatic reform, ie. the Declaration and the Constitution.

    “Libertarian” attempts to set up regimes of liberty “by dreams alone” while ignoring the actual, necessarily bloody nature of mankind are fruitless.

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