Originally posted on May 21, 2018.
Back in February there was the predictable uproar over President Trump’s allegedly belittling some underdeveloped countries by calling them “sh**holes:” Shortly after the fuss, Victor Davis Hanson suggested ways to help counter the disparaging remark offensive to many elites. Starting with:
Relocate the United Nations to an underdeveloped nation.
Relocating the U.N. to a capital such as Port-au-Prince, Tripoli, or Kampala would prove that such places are unduly underappreciated and surprisingly wonderful cities from which to conduct international governance.
Liberals treasure the United Nations. Conservatives don’t trust its often anti-democratic and anti-American tenor. So why not split the difference by staying in the United Nations but, after 66 years of a New York headquarters, finally allowing another country a chance at hosting the U.N.?
Mr. Hanson has more suggestions for dispersing power amongst the hoi polloi. Washington elites, he notes, often wax eloquently in the abstract. “But rarely in the concrete do they live with those they purport to care about.”
Washington, D.C., is often considered out of touch, both politically and geographically, with the rest of America. Given Washington’s huge number of federal workers, why not disperse at least some of its agencies westward to ensure demographic diversity?
Transferring the Department of Agriculture to, say, Topeka or Fresno would allow bureaucrats far more intimacy with the farmers they regulate.
Putting the Department of the Interior in Salt Lake City would make practical sense, given that the federal government owns about half the land of eleven coterminous Western states, including Utah.
Either Houston or Bismarck would be a seemingly ideal spot for the Department of Energy. Texas and North Dakota will be at the cutting edge of new gas and oil development for generations.
Youngstown and Flint seem like perfect locales for the Department of Labor and the Department of Commerce. These Rust Belt cities played historic roles in America’s industrialization and are in dire need of outside investment and attention.
Moving some of these departments westward would help reduce Washington’s congestion as well as the soaring cost of living in the nation’s capital. Why not bring the administrative state closer to those it administers and expose bureaucratic fantasies to pragmatic realities?
Breaking up Washington’s monopoly on power would also diminish the leapfrogging careerism of professional Washington bureaucrats and politicians. Often, they spend their lives crisscrossing capital boulevards between jobs at bureaucracies and nearby lobbying firms. Government certainly needs fresh faces and diversity.
Read more from Victor Davis Hanson here.