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Thread: The Urban/Rural Divide

  1. #1

    The Urban/Rural Divide

    I know there's been a lot of talk about secession or a national divorce, but I wonder if there's ever been discussion around two separate systems of governance for urban and rural communities. To me, this is where the real division lies.

    It seems clear that the traditional values of rural communities will never be appreciated in the cities. And the violations of liberty in the cities will never be accepted by those who live in rural communities. I mean, we see this in the US, but this is a world-wide problem. Even the immigrants to this country are heavily influenced by the culture they are fleeing - and that culture is usually based on where they live in relation to population centers.

    With the population growth of US cities, expanding into the suburbs, the tide has turned. Political influence and representation of those who favor more government involvement in our lives far outweighs the opposite. Rural communities are losing representation faster and faster. So it seems that a single form of government for both lifestyles is just impossible. It's just about which side can force the other to live with their dictates.

    So is there an alternative? Can we use this thread to post examples of ideas where some sort of "two-state solution" can coexist with some sort of treaty that says we're not subject to your dictates and vice versa??
    "And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works." - Bastiat

    "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire



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  3. #2
    Bring back city-states?

    Quote Originally Posted by Occam's Banana View Post
    Here's an interesting 2017 piece from the Mises Institute.

    I like the idea of autonomous city-states, but I'm not so hot on the idea of federal statehood for them.

    As McMaken says, "In terms of congressional representation, this would of course increase left-leaning representation in the Senate, as new urban-core Senators were added. But the change would also shift many Senators to the right as majorities changed in the suburban and rural states. A similar balancing act would occur in the House of Representatives."

    But the problem is that the number of "non-city" senators would remain fixed, while the number of "city" senators would increase with the addition of every new city "state". Thus, it wouldn't matter if the composition of "non-city" senators shifted significantly to the right, because they'd eventually come to be consistently outnumbered by new leftist "city" senators, resulting in an effectively permanent leftist majority in the Senate.

    Grant Statehood to America's Core Cities
    https://mises.org/wire/grant-stateho...as-core-cities
    Ryan McMaken (29 August 2017)

    The battle over sanctuary cities is not just a matter of pitting some cities against federal policy. The conflict is also pitting cities against state governments.

    More than 30 states have moved with varying degrees of success to rein in so-called sanctuary cities that have pledged to not assist federal agents with rounding up and prosecuting suspected illegal immigrants.

    So far, though, Texas appears to have taken the biggest step with new legislation that "requires local law enforcement agents to honor requests by federal immigration agents to detain jailed immigrants suspected of being in the country without proper documentation. It also empowers local law enforcement officers to ask about a person’s immigration status during routine encounters, such as traffic stops." The legislation, known as Senate Bill 4, was signed into law by Texas Governor Abbott on May 7.

    In response, several cities have sued the State of Texas, claiming the attempts by state government to force compliance on cities is an abuse of "big government."

    RELATED: "Make Every State a Sanctuary State" by Ryan McMaken

    Legally speaking, it's not clear that the cities have much of a foundation to stand on. Unlike states, which are guaranteed a certain amount of sovereignty in the US Constitution, local governments are usually creatures of the state government itself. In most states, the state government does not guarantee specific rights to specific cities and counties. County and city lines have historically been drawn and re-drawn by the state governments. While the United States is a federalist system — albeit an increasingly centralized one — state governments are not federalist, but are unitary.

    Thus, state-city relations are not analogous to state-federal relations.

    But, laws and constitutions can be changed, and political solutions can offer answers where legal ones do not.

    The Historical Models for States Are Becoming Obsolete

    In our age of increasing migration to metropolitan areas, we need to re-evaluate out model for political jurisdictions and state boundaries.

    Historically in the United States, the states themselves often took shape as one or two urban centers attached to a hinterland of rural areas and small towns.

    This was true for Massachusetts, New York, and Illinois historically. In these areas, one large city often dominated state-level politics. Naturally, this led to conflict. Voters and politicians in the urban centers often had very different priorities than the voters and politicians in smaller cities, and in rural areas. Moreover, different regions competed in a zero-sum game for tax funds, and some regions of the state ended up subsidizing other regions. Nevertheless, mega-cities and villages were stuck with each other because through an accident of history, they all ended up under the same state government and set of laws.

    Today, of course, we see this reflected in the conflict of values we see between urban centers, rural areas, and suburban areas. Voters from suburbs and small towns in many states find themselves at odds with the residents of the urban core.

    Often, this conflict is oversimplified. As I have recently noted, the conflict between suburban areas and urban areas is just as real as the conflict between urban areas and rural areas. Metropolitan areas are diverse in themselves.
    It is true that suburban areas are generally dominated by different political values and different economic interests than are the urban core. Nevertheless, like the small towns and villages before them, suburban areas are locked into a union with core urban areas because they happen to fall under the same state government.

    Today, we live in a country where the status quo of state boundaries are accepted as immutable, so conflicting groups take to the courts so one side can force its values on the other side. But, it doesn't have to be this way.

    A better response is to decentralize and allow urban core areas to act with greater independence from the suburban and rural areas that surround them.

    This is to the advantage of the suburban and urban areas as well, and in this solution, we see a direct and meaningful way to address the "sanctuary cities" conflict — and many others — in which core city governments find themselves at odds with the rural and suburban populations who often dominate the state government.

    Grant Statehood to Cities

    Within the American context, decentralization should take the form of granting statehood to large cities.

    There are at least two ways this could happen.

    One option is to grant statehood to each individual core city. In this context, a city is a specific city (i.e., the City of Phoenix), and not the larger metropolitan area in which it is located (I.e., the Phoenix metropolitan area). This would allow these cities more freedom in enacting (or not enacting) laws in accordance with the population's values.

    Politically, there is something for everyone in this plan. Left-leaning cities would be freed from more right-leaning state governments, and would no longer have to deal with suburban and rural members of a larger state legislature.

    At the same time, an exit of city centers would shift the "rump" legislatures in a more conservative direction. In a scenario such as this, Texas's effort to restrict localized sanctuary cities, for example, would cease to even be controversial. The remaining suburbs and rural areas would hardly object to anti-immigration measures, and the new urban state or states could freely oppose anti-immigration initiatives from both the federal government and from what would now be called "Old Texas."
    In terms of congressional representation, this would of course increase left-leaning representation in the Senate, as new urban-core Senators were added. But the change would also shift many Senators to the right as majorities changed in the suburban and rural states. A similar balancing act would occur in the House of Representatives.

    Moreover, while the initial inclination of the new urban-core states will be to raise taxes and more stringently regulate business, the smallness of the new states will frustrate these efforts.

    RELATED: "No Country Should Be Bigger Than This" by Ryan McMaken

    For example, were the new "State of Chicago" to break off from Illinois, it is likely the city would immediately raise taxes and begin imposing a bevy of new regulations on local businesses. Business, however, will quickly find that it will be in their best interest to move their operation over state lines into the Chicago suburbs where more laizzez-faire ideas prevail. Thus, over time, the wealth of the cities will be sucked into the surrounding suburban and rural areas.

    The core cities, of course, could respond by lowering taxes and regulatory barriers, and this is what many would do out of necessity.

    But Won't These New City-States Be Too Small?

    There is no Constitutional definition of what size population is "too small" for statehood. But, most major American cities are already larger than the smallest US states. Moreover, many US states were tiny when when admitted as states. When California was made a state in 1850, the entire statewide population was under 100,000 people. When Hawaii became a state in 1959, it contained only 600,000 people.

    Today, even a medium-sized city like Denver can pass this litmus test.

    In the case of Houston, the new "State of Houston" in our example would have a population of around 2.3 million, making it larger than 15 other states.

    San Antonio is considerably smaller than Houston, but with 1.4 million people, the new "State of San Antonio" would still be larger than 10 current US states, including Montana, Maine, and New Hampshire. It would be about equal in population size to Hawaii.

    Should critics complain this creates too many new states, then several cities can be joined into one large state. There is, of course, no reason why cities must be contiguous to create a new state. Originally, Massachusetts included a large exclave that is now Maine.

    Were Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio to join into a single new state, the total population would be 5 million, making it the 23rd largest state in the nation.

    Once we venture outside of Texas, we find the examples are numerous indeed. The City of New York is of course the most extreme example, with 8.5 million people. Were it to become a city state —as was suggested during the Civil War — it would be the 12th largest state in the US. Were the city of Los Angeles its own state, it would rival the state of Oregon in terms of population.

    Nor do we need to limit this analysis to only large cities. Smaller cities could choose to be annexed by larger cities, if they choose, as part of our new statehood initiative, and merge into one larger urban state.

    Why It Won't Happen Soon

    Unfortunately, all of this is unlikely to happen any time soon because most Americans are so enthralled with the idea of using political power to shove one's values down the throats of the minority. If a certain group now controls the state legislature in State X, then the inclination is to keep using that power to keep forcing ones political values on the out-of-power groups. This way of thinking is the reason why most Americans oppose decentralization and secession in general. Ideological slogans like "unity" and "democracy" dictate that, no matter how much two or more populations may subscribe to irreconcilable value systems, everyone must be forced into a single political jurisdiction and submit to the majority will, even if it means forcing 49.9 percent of the population into a political regime they detest.



    "Grant Statehood to America's Core Cities" by Ryan McMaken is licenses under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
    //
    The Bastiat Collection · FREE PDF · FREE EPUB · PAPER
    Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850)

    • "When law and morality are in contradiction to each other, the citizen finds himself in the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense, or of losing his respect for the law."
      -- The Law (p. 54)
    • "Government is that great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."
      -- Government (p. 99)
    • "[W]ar is always begun in the interest of the few, and at the expense of the many."
      -- Economic Sophisms - Second Series (p. 312)
    • "There are two principles that can never be reconciled - Liberty and Constraint."
      -- Harmonies of Political Economy - Book One (p. 447)

    · tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito ·

  4. #3
    There can never be a "two-state solution". The people with the urban idealogy will never let that happen. Once the urban centers become unlivable the limousine liberals will move to rural areas and bring their idealogy.

    Another thing the urban idealogy has already infected rural areas. The small town weekly newspaper in my area is filled with far left letters to the editor constantly. The Catholic Church has also done a lot of footwork for the left in rural areas. In my area for example far left talking points are always pushed by Catholics. This is only anecdotal, but I've never met a Catholic in real life who wasn't pushing some far left agenda and wasn't a total wack job.

  5. #4
    The solution is to go towards mostly local governance. Unfortunately, the Marxist totalitarians are working towards global centralized control, and they are winning.
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Pharma-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul

    Proponent of real science.
    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by CaptUSA View Post
    I know there's been a lot of talk about secession or a national divorce, but I wonder if there's ever been discussion around two separate systems of governance for urban and rural communities. To me, this is where the real division lies.

    It seems clear that the traditional values of rural communities will never be appreciated in the cities. And the violations of liberty in the cities will never be accepted by those who live in rural communities. I mean, we see this in the US, but this is a world-wide problem. Even the immigrants to this country are heavily influenced by the culture they are fleeing - and that culture is usually based on where they live in relation to population centers.

    With the population growth of US cities, expanding into the suburbs, the tide has turned. Political influence and representation of those who favor more government involvement in our lives far outweighs the opposite. Rural communities are losing representation faster and faster. So it seems that a single form of government for both lifestyles is just impossible. It's just about which side can force the other to live with their dictates.

    So is there an alternative? Can we use this thread to post examples of ideas where some sort of "two-state solution" can coexist with some sort of treaty that says we're not subject to your dictates and vice versa??
    Jefferson and others understood this divide which is why they tried to set up governments at the time to check and balance government laterally and horizontally.

    Fundamentally though the urban people want to force their lifestyle on everyone else, they are predatorial. That can be mitigated to an extent but they will continue to push until they get their way. Although many rural people abhor the way urban people live, most of them don't really want to force their lifestyle on the urbanites. It's not the other way around.

    In short, they won't just leave us alone
    __________________________________________________ ________________
    "A politician will do almost anything to keep their job, even become a patriot" - Hearst

  7. #6

    Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by mtr1979 View Post
    There can never be a "two-state solution". The people with the urban idealogy will never let that happen. Once the urban centers become unlivable the limousine liberals will move to rural areas and bring their idealogy.
    And we see that happening in the western US... ID, MT, CO, UT, NV, WY are all being infected by people from California who are trying to escape the Calif nonsense but yet continuing to advocate for the same policies.

    Quote Originally Posted by mtr1979 View Post
    Another thing the urban idealogy has already infected rural areas. The small town weekly newspaper in my area is filled with far left letters to the editor constantly. The Catholic Church has also done a lot of footwork for the left in rural areas. In my area for example far left talking points are always pushed by Catholics. This is only anecdotal, but I've never met a Catholic in real life who wasn't pushing some far left agenda and wasn't a total wack job.
    Yep and this is by design.

    For instance this TED Talk explains how progressives should literally leave cities, invade small towns, run for office, and take over:




    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oX9oL4tVgL0
    __________________________________________________ ________________
    "A politician will do almost anything to keep their job, even become a patriot" - Hearst

  8. #7

    Thumbs down

    And another video from the urbanites on how to take over the suburbs...






    https://youtu.be/9lHCJrQOFBA
    __________________________________________________ ________________
    "A politician will do almost anything to keep their job, even become a patriot" - Hearst

  9. #8
    __________________________________________________ ________________
    "A politician will do almost anything to keep their job, even become a patriot" - Hearst



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Collins View Post
    And we see that happening in the western US... ID, MT, CO, UT, NV, WY are all being infected by people from California who are trying to escape the Calif nonsense but yet continuing to advocate for the same policies.
    //


  12. #10
    Double post
    Last edited by mtr1979; 12-31-2023 at 11:13 PM.

  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Collins View Post
    And we see that happening in the western US... ID, MT, CO, UT, NV, WY are all being infected by people from California who are trying to escape the Calif nonsense but yet continuing to advocate for the same policies.


    Yep and this is by design.

    For instance this TED Talk explains how progressives should literally leave cities, invade small towns, run for office, and take over:




    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oX9oL4tVgL0
    This guy talks about 'Prospect Cities" which have a population of 40,000-150,000. Prospect Cities were lost a long time ago. I'll take it a few steps further and say super small town America has been lost. I'm talking towns with 200 people. Even if you live in the country and have a corn field next to your house you can't escape the propaganda. If you have kids they have to go to school. What do you think they are being taught in school? I graduated high school in 98 in small town Nebraska had a graduation class of less than 40 people. Even back then left wing garbage was being pushed down our throats.

  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Collins View Post
    Yep and this is by design.

    For instance this TED Talk explains how progressives should literally leave cities, invade small towns, run for office, and take over:
    Is the problem that progressives are moving to small towns? Or is the problem that there are offices to run for?
    “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

    H.L. Mencken

  15. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Collins View Post
    Jefferson and others understood this divide which is why they tried to set up governments at the time to check and balance government laterally and horizontally.

    Fundamentally though the urban people want to force their lifestyle on everyone else, they are predatorial. That can be mitigated to an extent but they will continue to push until they get their way. Although many rural people abhor the way urban people live, most of them don't really want to force their lifestyle on the urbanites. It's not the other way around.

    In short, they won't just leave us alone
    Yep. Jefferson promoted the agrarian society over the industrial one. Agrarians are more prone to wanting the state to leave them alone, while industrial societies are more likely to want to be "helped" by the state. In fact, one of the main thrusts of the Louisiana Purchase was Jefferson's hope that with more land and open space, the agrarian society would expand and keep the industrial one in check.

    Unfortunately, now every state has urban centers that are disproportionate to the rest of the state.

    I'm becoming more and more convinced that there can be no reconciliation between the two. I'm sympathetic to Ryan McMaken's view that OB posted earlier.

    Obviously, there would be significant tradeoffs. I'm just thinking the tradeoffs could be worth it. Yes, the cities would have an over-sized representation in the House as they are set up by population size, but I think the Senate would end up more balanced. And instead of comparing it to some non-existent ideal, I think we need to compare it to the status quo. If we had at least some representation that didn't need to appeal to city voters, their donors would look a lot different, too.

    Or... The cities could erect walls to keep us out, and we could implement permanent sieges to keep them in.
    "And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works." - Bastiat

    "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire

  16. #14

  17. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Occam's Banana View Post
    Who moved Austin down near Houston we will never know.

  18. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    Who moved Austin down near Houston we will never know.
    Well, to be fair, they never actually specified that they were referring to the city of Austin ...

    https://twitter.com/Poppop908070/sta...94804761833570



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  20. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Occam's Banana View Post
    Well, to be fair, they never actually specified that they were referring to the city of Austin ...
    "Democratic Socialist Republic of...?

    Yes they did.

  21. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Occam's Banana View Post
    Timely and perfect for this thread. And I approve! But let's do it for the rest of the country, too!

    "And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works." - Bastiat

    "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire

  22. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    "Democratic Socialist Republic of...?

    Yes they did.
    Democratic Socialist Republic, Republican Socialist Republic ... to-may-to, to-mah-to ...

    https://twitter.com/Poppop908070/sta...97970916421940

  23. #20
    __________________________________________________ ________________
    "A politician will do almost anything to keep their job, even become a patriot" - Hearst



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