Kaus writes, correctly, that “Anyone who knew anything about New Orleans would know that they wouldn’t get it together.” But that’s not a problem of federalism, really. And federalism compartmentalizes the problem — Louisiana may have done badly, but Alabama and Mississippi seem to be doing better. A hierarchical, unitary system opens the possibility of blowing it everywhere at once.
This is the great and inherent danger of centralization that so very few seem to grasp. In a decentralized system, a Hitler or a Mao or a Pol Pot can only affect so many people. Create a vast, centralized organization like the global governance people would like to do, and you’ve just created what will be transformed into the ultimate killing machinery in the hands of the wrong people.
That efficiency argument, ever so popular among would-be centralizers, cuts both ways, you see.
The naive fools of the world assert that the answer to this problem is simple, just make sure the wrong people don’t get their hands on the levers of power. They don’t seem troubled by the fact that this is a) not an original thought, and b) history shows that it happens all the time.
Mississippi, not New Orleans, took the direct hit from the hurricane. Imagine if instead of a federal system, we had a national system in place, and that someone like Louisiana Governor Blanco was in charge of it instead of George Bush. Because that is the general direction we appear to be headed in this post-911, government-worshipping equalitarian era.