The Reading Club Salon 2013 of the Lion Rock Institute is fast approaching, this coming October 19, 2013 to be held in Hong Kong. I will be there. Among the readings of the participants to this theoretical roundtable discussion are the Anti-Federalist Papers.
A paper I checked today is Paper 14: Extent of Territory Under Consol-idated Government Too Large to Preserve Liberty or Protect Property written by George Clinton (1739-1812), Vice President of the US (1805-1812) and NY Governor (1801-1804), aka Cato. This was published October 25, 1787.
Among the arguments made by G. Clinton or “Cato” was this.
You must risk much, by indispensably placing trusts of the greatest magnitude, into the hands of individuals whose ambition for power, and aggrandizement, will oppress and grind you. Where, from the vast extent of your territory, and the complication of interests, the science of government will become intricate and perplexed, and too mysterious for you to understand and observe; and by which you are to be conducted into a monarchy, either limited or despotic; the latter, Mr. Locke remarks, is a government derived from neither nature nor compact.
Political liberty, the great Montesquieu again observes, consists in security, or at least in the opinion we have of security; and this security, therefore, or the opinion, is best obtained in moderate governments, where the mildness of the laws, and the equality of the manners, beget a confidence in the people, which produces this security, or the opinion. This moderation in governments depends in a great measure on their limits, connected with their political distribution.
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In short, NEVER trust big and expansive government and the persons administering it. They will make rules and laws that are too complicated for us but will provide loopholes for their friends. Moderate or limited government can provide us security because its coercive power is limited, limited to equal application of laws to all.
He also wrote,
The strongest principle of union resides within our domestic walls. The ties of the parent exceed that of any other. As we depart from home, the next general principle of union is amongst citizens of the same state, where acquaintance, habits, and fortunes, nourish affection, and attachment. Enlarge the circle still further, and, as citizens of different states, though we acknowledge the same national denomination, we lose in the ties of acquaintance, habits, and fortunes, and thus by degrees we lessen in our attachments, till, at length, we no more than acknowledge a sameness of species.
Cool. That is why forced collectivism by a central or national government often begets suspicion, disapproval and discontent . The sentiment by people in the provinces who dislike "Imperial Manila" collecting lots of taxes and fees from them, telling them what are prohibited and which ones are not.
Centralism -- economic central planning and centralized politics and government -- disrespects individual diversity and spontaneity.
Interesting to note that John Locke has influenced both the Federalists (Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, et al) and the Anti-Federalists (George Clinton, et al). Clinton aka Cato, has mentioned Locke several times in that paper.