Here's something I was trying to talk about today, but not very well:

The Principle of Subsidiarity: Governmental decisions should be made at the lowest possible organizational level, respecting the right to self-determination which is traded voluntarily by societies for the benefits of civil authority. In effect, it is a strong statement for individual human rights, but it implies a moral judgment to be made by the community at large about which decisions must be made collectively in order for the benefits and harms to be fairly distributed among all contributors and all those affected. As it is put into practice, this moral decision is determined first by treaty, and then by planners who are given their role by treaty. The treaties themselves have been negotiated by national governments, but under the principle of subsidiarity, those national governments are losing power in favor of regional, and in some cases, local, concerns.

See this "European Parliamentary Fact Sheet" for more on the subject and how it is used in European Union treaties.

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