Charles Handy Quote

“There is as far as I know, no example in history, of any state voluntarily ceding power from the centre to its constituent parts.”

~ Charles Handy

'The Age of Unreason'

Ratings and Comments

David L. Rosenthal

How about the Soviet Union under Gorbachev?

Mike, Mount Holly, NC

David, the quote said "voluntarily". The Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of communism.

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EGL, LA    11/17/06

As a generality about the amassing of power by those who covet it, this is a truism. However in the US there are boundless examples where states rights predominate over those of the federal government, and is preferred even by those with their greedy hands on the federal reins--not because of contstiutional law but becasue they want to pass the fallout to others. Significantly (if only one small example), the federal Defense of Marriage Act, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, already ensures that the choices of one state cannot be imposed on others, nor be preempted by the federal by unlegislated mandate.

David L. Rosenthal

Of course, your statement is accurate, Mike. although they coulkd have held out quite a bit longer. In any case, I have always believed Gorbachev's move to disband to be a Machiavellien ruse designed to have the world believe that the Soviets recognized the folly of communism, but that in fact they are still recuperating, regrouping and planning a massive takeover.

Mike, Mount Holly, NC

I disagree EGL. The federal government is constantly usurping powers rightly belonging to the states. I can't think of a single instance in modern history where a stale law has been allowed to supercede a federal law. If they can't or don't want to control states directly with their unconstitutional laws, they do it indirectly by trickling money back into the state on condition of their agreement to follow federal mandates. Money, by the way, which was unconstitutionally confiscated from the state's own citizens. I don't know why the states don't buck against this shell game. Maybe, like you said, the state leaders like it that way so they can pass the buck to the federal government.

Joe, Rochester, MI

States are supposed to predominate over the federal government. "The powers not delegated to the United States [federal government] by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." So says the 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The Defense of Marriage Act is one example of the federal government unconstitutionally taking a States rights to govern themselves.

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

"All men(sic) are created equal..." unless they are female or gay or not white or ... The "Defense of Marriage Act" is just another example of the radical religious right stealing our language from us! It is an attack on the equality of ALL people.

E Archer, NYC

Mike/NC has it right. (Not sure what Reston is talking about.)

David L Rosenthal

Reston is not sure about what Reston is talking about.

Ken, Allyn, WA

I can't think of one either, throughout 5000 years of human civilization. Power to control has as tight a grip on the ruler as the ruler has on his power.

Me Again
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Me Again    11/18/06

In regards to this quote,I say:"Yea,that's true.So what?"

jc, monona
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    jc, monona    9/5/17

    Ken, I think the closest example would be Solon of Athens. After enacting constitutional, economic, and moral reforms he left the city for 10 years, leaving the citizens to make the best of the new situation. (Didn't turn out so well.)

    jim k, Austin

    No one understands what Reston is talking about.

    Mike, Norwalk

    hmmm ? dunno


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