Edwin Neal wrote:
the united states are a collection of differing organizations (states) united by commonalities... why can't aikido be similar...
I have to say this is not a very good example. More Americans were killed trying to define the boundaries between centralized, federal authority and the rights of individual states than any other event.
All my previous silliness aside, there are freedom of expression issues at stake here. Even if all the legitimate styles of aikido were able to see their way through to unification, there's still nothing to stop some guy from hanging an aikido sign over his door and calling himself a Shihan (at least here in the us). Under who's authority can you stop him? Not through the courts. Your proposal that we the aikidoka should impose the authority ourselves... how? Through speech (tell everyone not to go there)? That's a lot of work and still people would slip through. Through physical means (aka violence)? We ourselves would be in violation of the law.
For better or worse, that guy has the constitutional right to call himself an Aikido Shihan. All we can do is educate and hope that a dedicated student will do their own work and find out the truth for themselves...