I'm working on a paper in which I lay out all my arguments against the idea that local control is some kind of sacred government principle, and that states have no right to pre-empt local governments from doing pretty much whatever they want to do.
I had hoped to have the paper done before the start of Texas' special legislative session, but I had hoped to have it finished before the start of Texas' regular legislative session back in January, too, and that didn't happen either.
So I decided to post some of the most important points last night in a series of Twitter posts. But since Twitter must be the stupidest platform for lengthy, organized arguments, I'm posting them here in this blog as well.
This post contains the 29 tweets that lay out the general argument. In a second post I'll list the 14 additional tweets that lay out some implications of the argument.
1. [begin local control rant] #txlege
2. Since I can’t find time to finish my paper on local control, I’ll do a Twitter rant in the meantime. #txlege
3. Local control is almost always assumed to be some kind of governing principle or rule. It is not. #txlege
4. Local control is an assertion, a lobbying tactic, often a useful tool, but local control is never a governing principle. #txlege
5. Rule of law is a governing principle, Local control is not. #txlege
6. People think local control = good because local = responsive, and responsive is good. But responsive gov’t ISN’T good. #txlege
7. Why is a responsive gov’t a bad thing? Because of who gov’t is usually responding to. #txlege
8. Responsive gov’ts are responding to what the Founders called “factions.” Special interests. The Founders were terrified of factions. #txlege
9. The primary design of the Constitution was to insulate gov’t from its tendency to respond to factions. #txlege
10. That’s why I don’t want a responsive gov’t—I want a limited gov’t. Like the Founders did. #txlege
11. I don’t want local control—I want rule of law. #txlege
12. Local gov’ts are subject to the Constitution. Local gov’ts are not direct democracies immune to the Constitution. #txlege
13. But under local control, 50% +1 of your neighbors can take away your economic freedom, or your property rights. And they do. #txlege
14. People also think local control is part of federalism, but it is not. Municipalities are not mentioned in the Constitution #txlege
15. Federalism as designed in the Constitution involved the federal government, state governments, and “the people.” Municipalities are not a part of it. #txlege
16. Federalism is also most distinctly NOT a straight line continuum from local gov’t, through state gov’t, up to the federal gov’t. It’s not a line, it’s a triangle. #txlege
17. In the Constitutional design, the states sit atop the federalism triangle. The states create the federal gov’t and delegate to it, and the states also create their own municipalities and delegate to them. #txlege
18. So federalism does not dictate a belief in local control. That’s an uninformed view of federalism. #txlege
19. In fact, under Constitutional federalism, there would be NO relationship between the federal government and cities. None. The Feds would have to go to and through the states. #txlege
20. Many of our problems today are caused by the federal government doing an end-run around the states and going directly to cities. #txlege
21. One reason big cities inevitably decline into poverty and corruption is local control & lack of state intervention. #txlege
22. Because local control is not a governing principle, municipalities have no claim on it. #txlege
23. It’s up to the legislature whether to allow local control on any given issue. It’s a tool, not a principle. #txlege
24. Local gov’ts are not medieval city-states. They are not sovereign. They are created by and subject to their states. #txlege
25. So criticizing the legislature for being inconsistent on local control is stupid. It’s not a governing principle. #txlege
26. Local control is a false political doctrine. It should mean nothing to the state legislature. #txlege
27. The state gov’t has a compelling interest in the economic freedom and personal liberty of its residents who live in cities. There is no border. #txlege
28. Thus the state should aggressively pre-empt localities to protect the rights of its residents. #txlege
29. [end local control rant] #txlege