Circles Of Influence

By Gary E. Ashford

No, I'm not trying to hypnotize you.  What you see here is what I call "Circles Of Influence."  The inner-most circle could be you, your family, your church, your company...any structure, which as a fundamental level, is comfortable or reassuring to you, the individual.  The outer most circle could represent the Federal Government, or due to recent events, the rest of the world.  Moving further in, you have the state government and then the county or city government.  Think about that for a moment.

Let's shift gears and label this as "Circles of Freedom".  For the sake of this discussion, we can call the outer circle the level of freedom experienced by Americans.  The next circle could be for Singaporeans or Japanese or Europeans.  The next circle could be China or Russia.  The one after that could be Cuba, and finally the inner most circle could be Iraq or North Korea.

Why confuse this writing with two diverse representations?  It is to show the interrelationship of varying degrees of an issue represented by concentric circles.  This first article will focus on "Influence", while the following article will focus on "Freedom".


Socialism, communism, and capitalism probably represent the main social engineering waves of the last century (Note I did not say economic systems).  While each has their serious flaws, capitalism has proven to be the most enduring.  Why?  It has the least number of social engineering aspects about it.  It seems to fit the REAL human condition better from an individual standpoint, not from those trying to impose the other systems against human desires.

Both socialism and communism represent centralized bureaucracies some distance away from the individual, or the innermost circle.  They are distant and manipulative of the individual and eventually fail under their own inefficient weight.

Likewise, capitalism can fail if too much control of transactions are again relinquished to a centralized bureaucracy, in this case the Federal Government.


During my lifetime, I've seen our individual self-determination being incrementally eroded to the monolith in Washington, D.C.  I don't believe there is really any sinister scheme driving least I've not been made aware of one.  I think it is just a very pragmatic Capitalistic characteristic that bigger is better and the advantages of economy of scale.  It seems to drive every aspect of our life until we all feel that we have NO control over our life.

As Washington continues to usurp states rights and absorb more and more of our GDP and corporations continue to hungrily look for the next business to absorb, we more and more relegate the middle class to semi-automated burger flippers.  We create a growing underclass AND we create an elite controlling class.  Before we get sidetracked on some class struggle issue, let's get back to the Circles of Influence.

Hypothesis:  As decisions are moved further and further away from the individual, the individual becomes more and more alienated to his environment, his self-image, his self-worth, and his ability to live a comfortable and fulfilling life.

Ramifications:  Breakdown in the family unit, increased crime, mental illness, incivility, moral degradation, isolation, and fear.


A timely visit, from an old Indian friend from Mumbai (Bombay) cemented my thought process.  India is a country of 1 billion souls.  About five years ago, according to my friend, the government decided that to maintain social justice they would push judicial and court ruling capability down to the lowest level possible.  In this case, the ideal grouping was about 5,000 people.  Within that group, there would be one local official that would oversee all legal issues and solve them at that level whenever possible.  This is a rather simplistic statement and is probably missing a lot of administrative details, but the essence was to keep issues and solve issues within the community, not a thousand miles away in Delhi.  An amusing example he used was where an individual tended to settle a suit for 100 rupees in this local communities, where he may ask for 10,000 rupees in a distant court, with each intermediary taking a piece of the action.

I will leave this concept here for others to expand upon and hopefully implement so the we can all reconnect with each other...face to face...not through "instant messaging".

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