home of the canton movement

I got a very challenging comment from Breck in Spokane:

OK Dwight, I’ve read up to May 2010. I think that’s a reasonable amount of the website to have studied before breaking off and going directly to the “source” – you – to ask for an example of how the canton works. Thus far I have a GENERAL idea of what you are talking about but that’s all. I believe you need to lay this out in more detail at the place on the website where most people will first get into your thoughts. I have a difficult time reading along on anyone’s thoughts and ideas without having some “Site Plan” that I can use as an outline and roadmap for the whole concept. Thanks, Breck in Spokane

Breck, thanks for your very well-written and thoughtful comment. Not for lack of trying, but I have to admit I don’t have a good answer. This blog has been a journey of discovery for me. I learn things from thinking and writing about them. I have learned a lot about why society is ailing today, and I have some idea about what needs to be done. But, as you see, I am not completely “there” yet. Work with me.

Let me tell you where I am today with regard to the question “how”. My belief is that the process of repair of society starts at the bottom, so I am in the process of trying to create cantons locally. I have started a meetup group called South Jersey Canton Formation Group. So far I have gotten one person to join, and that person appears to be a bit of a phantom, since I have not been able to contact him/her in any way. But I’m not done trying to get local people interested.

What would we do? We would create “virtual” cantons, giving them names, and discussing what their values and principles would be. The next step would be to get people to sign on with these virtual cantons, with the hope that they would become less “virtual” and more “actual” cantons, with a true legal status and genuine contracts. The cantons would work together to get control of the local taxes paid by the taxpayer/members of the cantons. This is clearly the hardest part (and none of the parts are easy; please note gift for understatement). It would require putting pressure on the local government to cede a power it has no intention of ceding. The only way this can be accomplished is by the People standing up for their rights.

My goals in creating local cantons are simple:

1) Redistribute power back to the people to whom it belongs, or, said differently, let the taxpayers determine what their taxes pay for. What does this accomplish? It reverses the long-standing consolidation of power in too few hands that has been hoovering the taxes of the middle class into the pockets of the elites (oligarchs and plutocrats) who own us serfs. It restores the dignity of the serfs, so that they can function again in their full human capacity.

2) Right-size government. How can we right-size government? It cannot be accomplished by turning over the fruits of our labor (taxes) to the political elite who spend them for their own benefit. When we take back control of the fruits of our labor that are seized as taxes, we assign ownership to our canton, to be spent for OUR benefit, according to OUR principles and values. Whatever doesn’t get paid for gets trimmed.

The goals are simple; the accomplishment is mind-bogglingly difficult.

If it seems I am slow to accomplish my aims, please consider that I have a fulltime job (thank God) that occupies most of my days, and other activities in my life that take up much of the time I am not working. Life is like that. So, I am doing what I can, when I can, with my limited gifts.

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Comments on: "How? How would cantons work?" (2)

  1. Dwight Johnson said:

    Breck, just a quick reply. I do not envision any new form of government. A canton is a business, established under the laws of some state, to provide a service. The service is to get control of the taxes of its members for a particular government (local, county, state, federal), and distribute those funds to government programs based on the members’ principles. The whole project does not depend on any government at any level changing. What is does require is that they hand over the funds they collect directly from citizens (property taxes, income taxes, etc) to the cantons according to signed contracts that the cantons have with those taxpayers.

    Example: in my town I pay about $10,000 a year in property taxes. There is a department in the town government that collects these taxes. My chosen canton would, based on the contract that I and many other taxpayers signed, demand the taxes be transferred to the canton according to our wishes as stated in the contract.

    Why do I think that a canton could get away with this? The answer is in the Declaration of Independence. It has to do with the consent of the governed, here expressed by a contract with a canton.

    As for my being in the wrong place (New Jersey, proud home of the highest taxes in the nation!), I think I am in the exact right place, because the pain is greatest here.

  2. Breck said:

    Dear Dwight. OK I understand better now what you’re doing. It’s about the opposite of how I generally “operate” myself, so I had to make sure just what you were proposing.

    As you say, you are basically envisioning setting up a new form of government at some level of society. Since there already exist forms of government at pretty much ALL levels of society, this would be indeed a tough nut to crack!

    I don’t know how one could do it. You’d almost have to have a constitutional convention. Given how old the canton form of government is in Switzerland, no doubt Jefferson, Madison and the others knew of it. For whatever reason they did not go that route. Why?

    I have read a good bit of history regarding the early years of our republic and never once heard the idea of cantons broached. Of course these guys in white wigs were classically educated so they had this thing for the Greeks and Plato, and so forth.

    I can see your point about how even a republican form of government is not really ‘quite the thing’. It’s better than the democracy. But it does still leave citizens being taxed for stuff they don’t want, etc. You mention “panarchy” as the basis for your idea of a canton (and in this sense yours is not the Swiss model). So I assume that you have done some reading in anarchy? You know, Stefan Molyneaux, et al.? So this idea is certainly in the wind. I’ll have to look at the link you provide to panarchy.org.

    By the way, you would seem to be a prime candidate for a burgeoning movement I’ve been looking into, i.e. safe havens. These are intentional communities of sorts and currently various individuals are coalescing in various places for mutual support. These are all libertarian types. You would, imho, find the most fertile ground for sowing your canton idea with them/us.

    Nota Bene: I hate to say it but we rate New Jersey as a 0 on a scale of 1-5 stars for liberty! (5 stars are best) I think you are in the wrong place my friend.

    Our accepted wisdom is, however, that [ends abruptly]

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