Decentralization, Standardization, Expansion
Part 1 - "No, break it, it's fine. No—Break it, break it! It's fine."
In a prior rambling essay you were subjected to my lack of a copy editor and loosely described notions about decentralization. I regret to inform you nothing about my oblique prose has changed and I still make many typos. Anyway, let’s say America is fortunate; Cisgender Millennial GirlBosses with General Anxiety Disorder at CIA don’t transform everywhere from Florida to the Northwest Frontier Province into something like W*shington, D.C.
We may not even need to get really lucky; elections do have consequences, and perhaps Florida’s current suite of local, State, and Federal politicians will be succeeded by stewards similarly technologically optimistic, realistic about the demographic future, suitably hostile to mass media, and robustly anti-Communist (it counts for something). “Don’t let’s ask for the moon”, I suppose. But assume the Kamala-Biden regime doesn’t send black helicopters at night to inject you with the 5G Corona HIV trans-inducing ball-searing nanochip Chinese batflu sterilization serum. (I opted for J&J, if I die, I’ll let you know.)
What happens if, barring crypto exchanges being banned, FEMA camps, etc. we see more and more decentralization of finance, people moving to their own personal Miami, every pundit and his mother railing about a “lack of faith in institutions”—what comes next? What do people build and to what ends?
The stars at night are big and bright
If you ever go to Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and commit a felony (maybe even if you’re just plain disorderly) in clear view of onlookers with cell phones and shouty voices, you'll be quickly arrested by the DFW Airport police. You wouldn't be arrested by the Dallas Police Department, and you wouldn't be arrested by the Fort Worth Police Department. If you resisted by producing a weapon, you wouldn't be shot by the police from either of those cities.
The men with guns ranging from what look like Smith & Wesson M&Ps and full-auto M4s, charged with blowing you away in a hail of gunfire, would be from DFW DPS; the ‘Department of Public Safety’. Department of Public Safety. Public Safety Officers. It somehow sounds more sinister than ‘police’.
Don't be fooled by the Auntie Anne’s Pretzels (in every terminal!) and many global languages you’ll hear, this is sovereign territory under the rule of a serious government. Maybe it doesn’t do stuff like keep the bathrooms especially clean, or ensure adequate places to charge your phone, and maybe the signage about where to exit the terminal and get an Uber is suboptimal. But it does govern. It does rule its land, and it rules with force if necessary.
According to the lovely people at DPS HQ who didn't hesitate to answer when I called (Texans are friendly, I guess), if you were just arrested, you would be referred for prosecution by the DFW Airport police to whatever municipality you would have (would have) physically been in when you committed the crime. DFW Airport is fucking huge, larger than Manhattan island, spanning four cities and two counties. Everything is bigger in Texas.
I pushed on this and asked, "So the airport is in those counties, right?"
The nice lady at the other end of the phone wasn’t sure. If the airport didn’t exist, and you committed a crime in what would have been Tarrant County, you’d be referred to Fort Worth prosecutors. “So that part of the airport is Tarrant County’s territory, right?” She transferred me. Another nice lady informed me that the airport's physical expanse is under the governance (her words) of the DFW Airport Board. What is the DFW Airport Board, you ask?
DFW Airport Board is a semi-autonomous body charged with governing DFW International Airport.
For DFW Airport Board Meeting information, please email the Board Secretary or call 972.973.5752, by fax at 972.973.4601, or T.D. 1.800.RELAYTX (1.800.735.2989).
For other questions and inquiries, please visit our Contact page to call the correct department.
A semi-autonomous body, charged with governing. A semi-autonomous body, charged with governing. They even have uniforms! I saw a third pin hole and extra selector position on those DPS rifles. Nothing ‘semi-auto’ about them.
In truth, every government is a semi-autonomous body. Just as your own bodily autonomy doesn’t make you immortal and impervious, no governments are the final ‘State’. Depending on how far you zoom out they can start to look unimportant. Even our dear old Uncle Sam, though he tries, cannot be in all places at all times, to total effect. There is China. And China is not infinite, either. We will never* have one world government. But a constant of governance, no matter how limited, is that rules for others are made by some, and, authority is wielded by some over others. An N of just 2 allows for the arrangement. As a layman I have gleaned that in legal analyses this is sometimes referred to as the (maybe a little redundantly named) supervisory power. If there is an entity who generally supervises (and maybe directs or has final say over) a process, they are in power. If they do not, they are not.
Could the board of the DFW Airport Commission formally secede from the State of Texas and claim a fuller sovereignty for themselves and their posterity of the kind enjoyed by the United States? Probably not. For one thing, the roads bringing in Auntie Anne’s pretzels rely on the State of Texas Department of Transportation. No lemonade or salted pretzels and everyone starves. And Texas, despite a fun history, is itself explicitly no longer sovereign of these United States of America. In this decade we may see the limits of the USA’s own confidence to project naval power around Taiwan contra China. DFWAB governs, but is a small, and more importantly, a weak government.
A rose by any other name
Consider this Afghan news story via NPR:
June 5, 2021. KABUL, Afghanistan — At a dusty bus station on this city's outskirts, ticket hawkers call out for passengers to the southern city of Kandahar. It's a 300-mile route — and the Taliban control key parts of the highway.
There are gun battles along the route, and the Taliban undertake violent ambushes of Afghan forces.
But for bus driver Jan Mohammad, the highway seems to be the safest it has been in years because of the Taliban. "We are at ease now because the police don't harass us for bribes," says Jan Mohammad, 32, who like many Afghans, does not have a family name. Talibs even issue receipts for customs duties they collect so that drivers don't have to pay again, he says. And there's less highway robbery, he adds: "Robbers can't even spend five minutes on the road, because the Talibs zip over on their motorbikes whenever they hear of a problem."
Yet he acknowledges it's not safe for everyone. "They check the IDs of passengers," he says. "If you are with the Afghan military, they take you off the bus." Rights groups say the Taliban have detained and sometimes killed those suspected of working with government security forces.
Let’s make a couple small adjustments with our new realism about what it means to be a government and be sovereign, and see how this story reads:
June 5, 2021. KABUL, Afghanistan — At a dusty bus station on this city's outskirts, ticket hawkers call out for passengers to the southern city of Kandahar. It's a 300-mile route — and the Afghan Army control key parts of the highway.
There are gun battles along the route, and the Army undertake violent reprisals against rebel forces.
But for bus driver Jan Mohammad, the highway seems to be the safest it has been in years because of the Army. "We are at ease now because the mujahideen don't harass us for bribes," says Jan Mohammad, 32, who like many Afghans, does not have a family name. Soldiers even issue receipts for customs duties they collect so that drivers don't have to pay again, he says. And there's less highway robbery, he adds: "Robbers can't even spend five minutes on the road, because the Army zip over on their motorbikes whenever they hear of a problem."
Yet he acknowledges it's not safe for everyone. "They check the IDs of passengers," he says. "If you are with the rebels, they take you off the bus." Rights groups say the Army have detained and sometimes killed those suspected of working with rebel militia forces.
Isn’t it obvious what the Taliban are? The Taliban are the legitimate government of Afghanistan. The only power on earth seriously committed to saying this was not de facto true, the United States Government, has given up. The US is spent. It doesn’t even pretend to have thought through leaving:
Have you ever gone hungry for weeks at a time, planned & executed ambushes (you know, sought out and killed people), coordinated tens of thousands of troops and spies, ensured the payroll and transport logistics of the same, buried the body parts of friends you’d spoken to that morning, etc.? No?
The Taliban have. They’ve been doing it for decades. There are administrators and officers in the Taliban not yet 50 years old, who when they were not even 20, were shouldering AK-47s and pulling triggers on other human beings for their God and their Land. There are 20 year olds in the Taliban today who do the same and have literally never known anything else. When they do learn other things, they learn about captured night vision devices, the prophet Mohammad, how to maintain truck engines, opium production, simple accounting, leadership, service, geopolitics, and even an ancient form of DeFi. It is better not to ask about what things American 20 year olds are learning.
The Taliban today command billions of dollars, tens of thousands of fighters, and will effectively govern Afghanistan. The ‘Afghan Government’ are best understood as in-country security for the US embassy and aid services.
If you aren’t convinced, please take notice of the Afghan Army’s opinion:
Maybe it bears saying: Neither you, nor anyone you know (yes, even those of you who are millionaire CEOs and know billionaire investors and get face time with various Western governments’ officials) are anywhere close to defeating the US government in the same manner as the Taliban did over two decades.
Thus a much better question to ask is: Should the board members of the DFW Airport Commission formally secede from the State of Texas, etc.? The answer is no. For starters it would be completely incredible. As in not credible. Not one board member could seriously propose it. Not only because there’s no chance of success, but why on earth would you do that if you had such a sinecure? How would you do it? There’s no mechanism at all for it to happen. Try to imagine the first step of this conspiracy; Here’s the current board.
Matrice Ellis-Kirk - Chair, Board of Directors
Matrice Ellis-Kirk is a senior member of the RSR Partners’ Board of Directors Practice and head of the firm’s Dallas office. Having a passion for topics related to corporate governance, her current search work is focused on CEOs and the boardroom.
Some boilerplate board member biographical stuff, then;
Matrice holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She and her husband, Ron, have two children, Elizabeth and Catherine.
Eddie Reeves - Board Member
Eddie Reeves is founder and principal of Reeves Strategy Group, a strategic communications consultancy that helps corporations, mid-sized growth companies and large not-for-profits execute sophisticated strategic communications, marketing, social media, public affairs, issues management and crisis communications campaigns that get real results.
More of the same, then;
Married for 26 years to his college sweetheart, Eddie and his wife Diane solicit your avid prayers as they fight the futile battle to keep up with their extremely active, often frustrating, occasionally infuriating but always deeply loved sons, eighteen year-old Ryan Mandela Reeves and eleven year-old Roland Malcolm Reeves.
So clearly, they were invited to type up these bios themselves. But try to imagine being on the DFW Airport board and plotting secession with these people. Even in dire circumstances, like D.C. and New York getting nuked, disputed national government left inside Raven Rock and NORAD being in total disarray with mass civil unrest breaking out at all military bases; imagine trying to talk to Matrice and Eddie about assuming power and then ruling, from their international transportation hub and beyond, the new independent American metropolis of Dee-Eff-Dubya Airport, Texas. Would they risk making Ryan, Roland, Elizabeth or Catherine orphans if it went badly?
How about risking their children’s lives directly? You can keep playing this game at higher scales; Bezos has a young son, too. The largest American government, the United States of America, has no problem (at least theoretically) telling every son, even Preston Bezos, to sign up, no matter what. Have you got the authority to tell families to sacrifice their only sons?
So a still improved question for the general case of government being shitty is; how much sovereignty do you absolutely need? It depends on what you’re trying to do. Do you want to live somewhere with significantly less retarded governance than San Francisco or New York City? I am once again telling you to move to Miami. Are you trying to remake this entire Columbian project so that the whole of the United States of America is saved? Well, Miami has, I am told, an excellent recreational drug scene despite its support of the police.
Utah! This is the Place
So how do you get more sovereign? Most Exit > Voice paradigms focus on alternative institutions. I am sorry, but you will soon hear the kinds of people who have always spoken at CPAC moving on from ‘Socialism’ to talking about ‘parallel instatooshuns’ and ‘Big Tech’ at CPAC. They will come up with things like: training young conservatives who really get the America First agenda (you know, the agenda! the America First agenda. America First’s agenda.) to effect change, and publishing new journals with fresh perspectives, defining post-Trump national populism. Suit Supply & Allen Edmonds, everywhere.
It’s fine. On the margins, with leadership from the handful of smart and patriotic people within these efforts, there’ll be good things; creating quality private & distance learning solutions without poison like CRT is good. Building up people who aren’t shitlibs, who can occupy design/creative, HR, accounts, etc. style jobs and help network others into them is good. Encouraging religious and social mores from a little bit before Green Acres aired is good.
But what you really want is your own State. You might not be able to produce your own country—“buy land, AJ, ‘cause God’s not making any more of it.”—but your own State? Why not? Alongside Kurdistan, Deseret effectively exists.
You may be unfamiliar with Deseret. A brief, simplified history of Mormonism: (Nota Bene: I am not Christian. I am also not Mormon. I won’t get into whether this is like how not being a rhombus means I am not a parallelogram, or quadrilateral. I am aware some of my readership are my Mormon and also Catholic friends. Look, you’re all great; please be nice to each other.)
Mormonism was revealed in 1830. Pretty much everyone hated and abused them, so Joseph Smith’s acolyte, Brigham Young, said to be acting on a revelation from God, took the Mormons out West into Mexico and Indian Territories. They settled in the desolate Salt Lake valley after much hardship.
How did they survive? The valley is beautiful, but that lake isn’t inaptly named. Why, in tick fever delirium, did Young declare ‘This is the place. Drive on!”
Before I blaspheme the miracles of the Church of the Latter Day Saints any further, allow me to rest on the scholarship of one LeRoy W. Hooton Jr., a historian whose family has long been members of the Murray 19th LDS Ward;
A monolithic people
Elwood Mead, Chief of Irrigation for the US Department of Agriculture, noted in his "1903 Investigation Report" that the Mormon Pioneers settled a region that was thousands of miles from the nearest settlements on the east and almost as far from the California settlements on the west. Moreover, this isolated region was surrounded by what was considered almost impassable desert. Under these extreme conditions, it required an extraordinary people to survive and prosper. Perhaps this is where the Mormon Pioneers distinguished themselves from others. The practice of irrigation was the tool to conquer the land, but in order for it to work, it required the unequivocal discipline and cooperation of the faithful. Without both, most likely the Mormon settlement in the desert would have failed -- and history altered.
Mead noted that the Mormon Church had an enormous influence in settling the Great Basin. "In the early years of the settlement there was no provision for acquiring legal titles to either land or water, and without the supervision of the church authorities, acting as arbiters and advisors, there would have been no rule except that of forced." He also, observed that the Mormon Pioneers were "welded together" in their enthusiasm and cooperation in this new land. They built their stockade, dug their ditches and planted and harvested their crops as a monolithic people, bound by their religion and faith in their leaders. It is well recognized that the Church influence provided the cohesiveness and discipline necessary to successfully conquer the desert and sustain a large population.
A monolithic people, Unequivocal discipline, Cooperation of the faithful, “Welded together”, “bound by their religion and faith in their leaders”. Cohesiveness. ‘ The discipline necessary to successfully conquer.’
Notice something about Mormons, surviving any abuse, welded together against all odds? Not to lay it on thick, but their beards used to look like this:
Allahu-Akbar! What the Taliban and Church of Latter Day Saints have in common is likely not something either typically thinks about, and sadly, beards are no longer part of the equation. I blame early aughts hipsters.
Both of these sets are the de facto government of millions. Their adherents actually believe, not in abstract mythopoetic handwaved ideals as do so many conservatives seeking to ‘defend Western civilization’, but in concrete realities, eternal truths in which they have genuine faith—faith as much as you feel when you put an object down on a surface and know it won’t slip through.
They only pursue the degree of sovereignty necessary; the Taliban won’t mount a campaign to invade China via Pakistan, though they’d like for all people submit to Allah SWT. They avoid conflicts that will hurt them, and interface with hostiles on terrain they know they can win. The Taliban did not field something like an infantry fireteam to conduct patrols and directly engage encountered US military (as the US did to it); they used suicide bombers, rocket attacks, snipers, perfidiously joining the Afghan army to do blue-on-green attacks, reprisals against collaborators, bribes and espionage.
The LDS faithful conduct warfare a little differently against their enemies. The apparatuses of BYU & the Church, and a tight linkage of industrialist families with community driven politics keeps Utah (70% of Utahns are Mormons, almost wholly descended from Anglo-American settler stock) under the watchful eye of The First Presidency, which is called that.
The First Presidency is the highest governing body of the Church.
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is the second-highest presiding body in the government of the Church.
Mormons account for 90% of Utah’s State Legislature. Could Deseret secede? Should Deseret secede? Once again; they are only as sovereign as needed.
We’ll look next time at how such requisite cohesiveness may come about.
*I reserve the right to be wrong about one world government, because maybe aliens will invade.