Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The Anti-Federalist Society

This is an excellent article in the Weekly Standard. It skips right past the trivial caucus/popular election system question, and addresses the issue that will really matter most for the stability of the region: how do you unify people of different ethnicities?

Clearly the American melting pot is a bad example to compare, because we started out as heterpgenous but sparse, then Europeans came and became the homogenous entity, discounting slavery. The point is that our multiculturalism arose slowly from voluntary immigration.

In Iraq, I can name at least half dozen distinct groups, and I'm no expert. The article describes how Syria, Iran, and Turkey all prefer a centralized government to keep their multi-ethnic nations together, and they would prefer this for Iraq. But the best way to keep heterogeneous groups together is to give each group power; i.e. decentralized authority with local governments having more power, is the most stable. When governments make decisions, even in a democracy, a minority will always disagree. The beauty of decentralized authority is that this minority is minimized, because decisions are made in a locally homogenous area.

This is why free markets are amazing: each decision is perfectly tailored to a homogeneous population of one: the individual. It is impossible, given appropriate limits of action, to infringe on the rights of a consumer or producer who has the power to choose in a market [which is why people suing McDonalds for being fat are ridiculous].

Hopefully this will be the outcome politically in Iraq.

On a side note, I find it interesting the way Iraq is somewhat of a dream for anyone interested in political experimentation. For instance, trade in and out of Iraq is free of tariffs, there is a flat tax, and the question of politics is only one of what kind of democracy will come about. These changes could only be made in America with great difficulty.

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