Republicanism – why it must be part of the solution to the mess we’re in

exitLast week I posted a commentary calling on 15 States that had strong Christian populations to begin the process of seceding from the #AmericanUnion…immediately! Very similar to the way the United Kingdom seceded from the European Union on June 23, 2016. But secede from what to what is the typical response I receive.

On my 9/29/16 broadcast, I discussed a couple of articles describing some issues related to real time events in Switzerland. These are not events from decades ago, they are happening right now and they illustrate what federalism actually is versus what we have today that we claim is federalism here in the #AmericanUnion. The issue I discussed on my show regarded one Canton in Switzerland banning the wearing of the Burka. Seemingly not a big deal right? We live in an age of terror, and thus wearing of the Burka in any European country is raising considerable security concerns in light of recent radical Islamic attacks. No big deal right? Seems reasonable that the Swiss would take this step as other countries have done as well; France being one of them.

Well, what makes it a big deal to me is not that they banned the Burka, that kinda makes sense to me. But why they banned the Burka in this Canton is what caught my attention. But before I go into that, let me explain a little about the Swiss style of federalism; completely different than what we think of federalism here in the #AmericanUnion even though we claim we are federalist. After all, we have a federal government don’t we?

According to its own description, the Swiss government structure is a highly decentralized system of government. You can read it for yourself here. This decentralization can be simply understood as their having a very weak “federal” government, a more powerful Canton government and the government that is actually the most powerful is the government closest to the people who live in what are referred to as Communes.

Federal Government – Small and weak (1 and the Capitol is located in Bern)

Canton – Similar to our States (there are 26 Cantons)

Communes – Similar to our cities and towns (there are roughly 2300 of these)

Unlike our pretend federal system of government, the Swiss actually have a federal system. The weak federal government does not have supremacy over the Cantons except in that which is expressly stated in the Federal Constitution. Likewise, the Canton’s do not have supremacy over the Communes except that which is expressly delegated to the Canton government. Suffice it to say that under true federalism, the Swiss people residing in the Cantons have nearly total control over their government which is very different that what we have here in the #AmericanUnion. We all know that we’re actually ruled by the central government in DC. We don’t have any control over it, and we know it!

Are the Swiss perfect with their system of government? Absolutely not; there is nothing perfect on the planet earth now. In fact, in all of recorded history there has only been one perfect anything, and He was the Incarnate Savior of the World, Jesus. Aside from Him, nothing is perfect on the planet earth; not a Church, not a leader and certainly not a system of government. So, no, I do not think the Swiss have a perfect utopian system of government, but it’s a dang sure better than what we have. Are they poor? No, their per capita income is actually higher than ours here in the #AmericanUnion! How about their federal debt? The Swiss have a 15% debt to GDP ratio. Guess what ours is? The US debt to GDP ratio is 104%. Their crime rate is much lower than ours. They don’t get into wars and stay neutral and generally mind their own business and trade products with other countries. Federalism, when actually followed, produces a MUCH better product when compared to nationalism like we have today here in the #AmericanUnion.

Back to the Tessin Canton banning Burkas. As one leader put it, “Those who want to integrate are welcome irrespective of their religion,” explained Giorgio Ghiringhelli, who wrote the proposal. “But those who rebuff our values and aim to build a parallel society based on religious laws, and want to place it over our society, are not welcome.” Notice, Ghiringhelli described the ban based on the shared civic values of this Canton. No doubt libertarians will decry the ban as a violation of a women’s right to wear or not wear a Burka!

No, the people of Tessin aren’t saying a woman cannot wear a Burka if she so chooses or is forced to by her religion or by her husband. No, they are merely saying that in our Canton, we abhor misogyny, the Burka represents misogynistic oppression of women and therefore, based on a referendum of the people living there, you will not be allowed to wear one while in this Canton. That’s actually what 65% of the people are saying in their referendum.

You see, under republicanism, community standards can be better understood and expressed and there’s nothing inherently wrong with community standards as long as those standards are applicable and enforced in that community only. That is why the idea of SMALL as it pertains to republicanism cannot be overstated; LARGE republics are actually an oxymoron, there’s no such thing as a LARGE republic that actually holds on to republican attributes.

Simply put, a republic typically has these three attributes:

  1. It is small, likely under 500,000 people.
  2. It is homogeneous. Not by race, but by values. In other words, the people in the small republic generally share the same values.
  3. It expresses civic virtue. Because it is small and homogeneous, these shared virtues can be understood and acted upon.

And that is precisely what we see in Tessin; it is a small Canton of some 351,000 people. Not a “nation” of 320,000,000 people. Tessin’s entire population equals about .1% of the size of the #AmericanUnion! You read that right, point 1%. In other words, Tessin would qualify as a small republic by any definition of what a republic is. On top of that, Tessin is largely a homogeneous society and by that, I mean they generally assent to a certain set of values and beliefs that stem from an Italian, Roman Catholic and Christian heritage which overwhelmingly dominate the Canton. And in this Canton, one of their values is that they are against misogyny which is the degradation of women. To the sensibilities of the Swiss people in this Canton, the Burka represents oppression of women and they will not have anything to do with it. If Islamic women want to wear the Burka in some other country, they can feel free to. But not in Tessin.

Now, under federalism principles, Tessin is not trying to force the other 25 Cantons to follow their lead. They’re not running to the federal Capitol in Bern and asking the Federal Council to force the other Canton’s to ban the Burka. They didn’t run to a federal judge in Bern to force other Cantons to ban the Burka. To be sure, these are all the things that would happen here in the #AmericanUnion. For example, if some county in the State of Oklahoma that was about the same size of Tessin, say Cleveland County, Oklahoma tried to ban the Burka, all Hades would break out! You and I both know that a politically connected lawyer in a black robe also called a Federal Judge, with smoke coming out of his ears, would immediately sign an order ORDERING the people in Cleveland County, Oklahoma to cease and desist with the ban immediately most likely on what he would claim to be “Constitutional” grounds. Great shame by libertarians and other nationalist type organizations would drench the people of Cleveland County, Oklahoma. The Heritage Foundation would defend the Constitutional ruling by the federal judge because they promote federal dominance over the States. Sure, some conservative leaders might show some rhetorical sympathy to the people of Cleveland County, Oklahoma, but they would also sternly rebuke these same people for straying outside their “Constitutional” limitations. The people of this county would then be counseled to be patient and work through the existing political process. In the end, most every federal and national organization would likely drop shame bombs or Constitutional bombs on Oklahoma and very likely, Cleveland County, Oklahoma political leaders would collapse even though they would agree that misogyny should not be permitted in their County.

And this would be a perfect example of why what we have here in the #AmericanUnion is pretend federalism whereas in Switzerland, they actually practice federalism and in this case, in Tessin, the citizens of this Canton say there will be no misogyny here! They are essentially saying, “we will be respecters of women as equals” and this would be consistent with Galatians 3:28, that in the Christian worldview, there is no distinction between male and female: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” While I’m not suggesting for a second that Tessin is a “Christian” Canton, what cannot be denied is that the actions they have taken politically are perfectly in keeping with a Christian worldview and under actual federalism, they have every right to do so.

So to recap.

  1. Switzerland actually practices federalism
  2. The United States has devolved into nationalism and only pretends to practice federalism.
  3. In Switzerland, the Cantons have control over their own regions and can pass laws like they did with the Burka.
  4. In the United States, States can only pass laws the national government allows them to.
  5. Switzerland is truly federal.
  6. The United States is pseudo-federal. It’s a pretend federal government and in actuality, it is a national government.

This issue with the Burka proves the point; the #AmericanUnion is not a federal republic if it were, then Cleveland County, Oklahoma would be perfectly within its political purview to do just as the residents of Tessin have done. Just as it would be perfectly within the scope of a State or County’s political power to end abortion should they choose. But alas, when compared to Switzerland and their actual practice of federalism, we are nothing but posers! We use the term federal government without understanding what that word actually means in practice. And certainly, it cannot be argued that there is anything resembling “federal” when it comes to the relationship between the States and and the national government here in the #AmericanUnion. The national government in Washington DC tell people of the States to jump, and we typically respond…how high!

Now, the question is, do we want a federal arrangement? Or do we want to continue a national arrangement like we have now?