I've got some pumpkins growing in my backyard. I didn't intentionally plant them. They just started growing from some pumpkin seeds from a bag of pumpkin seed snacks that someone spit out.
Out of a bag of hundreds of pumpkin seeds, just a few were able to survive and begin growing. There was a competition in that bag. The pumpkin plants from these few seeds are now crowding out other plants as the pumpkins struggle for survival in the natural order of things. The other plants just can't compete with the pumpkin plants for space, water and sunlight.
But the competition doesn't stop there. The individual leaves on the pumpkin plants are competing with other leaves on the same plants and you can clearly see that some are taller and broader than others.
The pumpkins connected to the more successful leaves are also growing larger than other pumpkins. As a result, these larger pumpkins will produce more seeds and will have a better chance of producing more pumpkins in future years that will carry their genetic material than the pumpkins that couldn't compete and which will produce fewer seeds.
That's the way it is in nature. There is a competition set up as the natural order of things. The rule is that you have a right to compete. If you can't or won't compete or lose the competition, c'est la vie.
We humans are part of nature and the natural order. We may not always realize it, but we have ritualized this natural competition in sports contests.
No one gets a free ride on a football or baseball team. You have to compete with all others for your position, and your team then has to compete with other teams to be the best. It's the same with all other sports.
The examples of competition — nature's way — are found throughout society. That's also the way it should be with government, but isn't.
At a recent town hall meeting, Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) told the audience that the federal government can do pretty much anything it wants in this nation.
He's right. But, this isn't the way this country is supposed to be run. It's not in tune with the natural order and it will eventually fail.
The individual states are supposed to have more power than they do now. And, the nation would be stronger and more prosperous if the states did have more power because there would be more competition in many different ways.
With the present all-powerful federal government calling most of the shots in Washington D.C., individual states rise and fall on the decisions of a few people who are often far removed from the states. The states can't compete, because they're being held to rules that keep them from competing.
The U.S. seems to be run these days on a modified version of the old Soviet style of government, and the results are seen all around us in this ever lingering financial malaise the country is going through, as the feds move to control just about everything and everyone.
Wouldn't we be better off if we had less centralized control coming from D.C.?
If an individual state had more control over what goes on in the state, as was once the case, we'd find nature's laws about competition playing out with whole states. Not only would we have entrepreneurial individuals, we'd have entrepreneurial states.
State A, for example, might get rid of a slew of regulations so its residents could build new factories. This would draw workers to the state and the state might prosper. If it didn't prosper, then it could quickly change to something that would make it prosper.
State B, might want to have very strict regulations on business. If it turned out that this didn't help State B prosper, it could quickly adapt to something that did help it prosper.
In other words, by returning power to the states, the states would start diverging from each other in ways that they thought would be best for the citizens of the states, and citizens would move to states where they would prosper individually. And, if the states are wrong in what they're doing, then they can quickly adapt to something that works better — just as in nature.
The natural order would start to be restored for the benefit of all citizens and the nation, simply by giving the states the freedom to choose their own paths.
Of course, there should still be some reasonable rules and controls over what the states can and can't do, but they should be far fewer than they are today.
Anyway, that's what I learned from pumpkins.
M. H. MILLARD lives in Costa Mesa.