Neither small nor big, but local


Brian Brown considers the future of governance.

This “localist” trend is beginning to reshape American politics as well. Among its other flaws, the rational planning model was based on the mistaken notion that science could be substituted for the practical knowledge of ordinary citizens. But the social sciences have simply never come close to approaching the physical sciences in their explanatory or predictive power. They cannot grasp or manage some of the most basic variables in public policy, including the human need for ownership over our stake in society — that is, the needs for belonging and participation. As a 2009 report for the James Irvine Foundation puts it, people “want the opportunity to be more than passive audience members whose social activism is limited to writing a check.” And as Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone (2000), has documented, communities whose citizens feel a sense of local empowerment report (among other things) better local government, less crime, and faster economic growth. Many citizens are more inclined to participate even in the most basic act of civic life — voting — when a particular issue seems to directly affect them, and they are convinced they can affect it back.

This is not far from something Michael Ignatieff briefly tried to articulate as Liberal leader. More concretely, this idea would seem to be central to the open data movement.


Neither small nor big, but local

  1. Michael who?

  2. Since the 1960s, when marxist social scientists took over public policy, Big Government has obliterated the little platoons that many people now yearn for. People are born with instinct to improve themselves, to help others, to fix things that are inadequate but bureaucracy discourages progress and normal human behaviour. 

    Technocrats don’t know what they are doing because our ignorance of human behaviour is profound. Canada should introduce guaranteed income for underclasses, working poor and eliminate much of the bureaucracy because they are witless. There is no proper liberal party in Canada at moment, at least not federally, they are all fascist. State is in control of everything, people are not at all encouraged to repair society themselves. 

    Why does Canada educate so many intelligent people to work in government where they are not productive, cost an enormous amount and create programs that don’t work?

    Burke ~ Reflections on the Revolution in France:

    To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind. 

    • Please point out those programs which do not work.

      When you’re done that, get that list together and send it off to your MP and Flaherty.. lord knows he’s incompetent at figuring that kind of stuff out himself.

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