In the United States, one route to devolve power from a central government and monopolistic corporations is to re-empower the States. It’s not a full answer but it’s a start.
Blond quotes JB Priestly as saying:
the area of our lives under our own control is shrinking rapidly… politicians and senior civil servants are beginning to decide how the rest of us shall live.
I believe this conviction explains much of the vehemence of the reaction against the Democrat’s health care plan. There is something about the government telling us what we must buy that is qualitatively different from the government telling us we must pay taxes or telling us via regulation what we must not do. It is an order of magnitude shrinking of the “area of our lives under our own control”. Oddly enough, I believe a single-payer system funded by tax dollars would probably have produced less outrage: taxes are familiar to us all.
I believe Brooks has misunderstood the Tea Party movement and Blond (and possibly libertarianism) when he writes:
This confluence of crises has produced a surge in vehement libertarianism. People are disgusted with Washington. The Tea Party movement rallies against big government, big business and the ruling class in general. Even beyond their ranks, there is a corrosive cynicism about public action.
But there is another way to respond to these problems that is more communitarian and less libertarian. This alternative has been explored most fully by the British writer Phillip Blond.
It’s not at all clear to me that the Tea Party movement objects to all public action; rather they seem to object to public action on the part of the Federal government. It seems to me that Blond would applaud the Tea Party movements disgust with Washington. I read Blond as being distrustful of large, heavily centralized government and preferring devolution of power to a level closer to those whose lives are affected by that power:
if Conservatives are to take power from the market state and give it to the people, they must develop a full-blooded “new localism” which works to empower communities and builds new, vibrant local economies that can uphold the party’s civic vision.
I’m not sure the Tea Party movement would argue with that idea.
Be sure to read what Brooks refers to as “a separate essay”, Blond’s piece on his ResPublica website.
Finally, Brooks closes with:
This country, too, needs a fresh political wind. America, too, is suffering a devastating crisis of authority. The only way to restore trust is from the local community on up.
I believe there are very few politicians in Washington who have any interest in relinquishing Federal power to States, municipalities, or any other government or non-government entity. However, of all the politicians who want to increase Washington’s power none wants to do so more than Barack Obama. I am unable to see how Brooks can square the conclusion he comes to in this essay with his continued admiration for the President.