“Federalism is one of the few political mechanisms that benefits everyone. All sides of the political divide should be wary of allowing it to become a casualty in the ever-escalating culture war.
The system of federalism created by the Constitution of the United States formed a union of sovereign states. While modern Americans do not generally think of themselves in terms of state identity and citizenship as much as their ancestors did, our laws still maintain a Republic of individual states. Because of this, each state has been allowed to craft much of their own laws, establish and maintain their own customs, and enrich and grow their own unique cultures. There is likely nowhere else in the world where such different political realities and cultural norms could be experienced while remaining within the same country.
Contrary to what many of the more abrasive elements of the left and right might declare, the almost radically different state-to-state realities is a good thing. Political, cultural, and religious pluralism is what creates the free market of ideas. We are fortunate to live under a government system that not only encourages as much local autonomy and freedom as possible but stubbornly protects it. Despite these apparent strengths of diversity under a federalist system, fewer and fewer American citizens seem to see things this way.”
“Federalism is the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government (the central or ‘federal’ government) with regional governments (provincial, state, cantonal, territorial or other sub-unit governments) in a single political system. Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the founding example of modern federalism by the United States under the Constitution of 1787, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established. It can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status.”
As a Liberal and as a pragmatist, I’m going to give you both my argument for federalism and why I’m a Federalist and my philosophical view of why I believe in federalism as opposed to some type of Unitarian state where governmental power is centralized with the national government. And then let you weigh in on what you think of both of my perspectives here.
In a time where you have a country that’s so divided not just politically, ideologically, culturally, and now unfortunately as if those factors aren’t bad enough we now have a country that is divided religiously, ethnically, and even racially now is the best time to be a Federalist and support the Federal Republic in America, if for no other reason you don’t want the country to ever officially divide up again and fight another civil war between Confederates and Unionists. So that’s the first part of my practical argument for being a Federalist.
The second part of my practical argument for being a Federalist and for federalism goes back to my first part: since we’re so divided as a country for all the reasons that I just explained and can’t even agree anymore on what’s new and what’s opinion, since we all get our news and commentary from different media sources depending on what political faction we’re part of, we don’t whether we’re on the Right, Left, or somewhere in between want a national, centralized government telling us how we should live and govern ourselves. How we should protect our streets, educated our kids, mange our welfare systems, decide for us what personal activities should be illegal or legal, etc. And instead let the states make the decisions for themselves based on their own cultural and political values, as well as the U.S. Constitution.
The first part of my philosophical argument for being a Federalist, goes to me being a Liberal and believing in liberal democracy: as a Liberal you’re supposed to not be against power and always oppose it, but you always question it and always hold it accountable. The old cliche power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely: and the more you centralize especially governmental power and the people who control our law enforcement, military, and corrections system, the harder it is to hold that power accountable and to question it.
The second part of my philosophical argument of why I’m a Federalist, is also somewhat practical, because in a gigantic country like America that’s located in between two of the largest oceans in the world and goes three-thousand miles long and roughly two-thousand miles wide, ( and that’s just the Continental United States ) that also has 320 million people in it, you don’t want a central governmental authority in Washington or anywhere else in the country telling Milwaukee, Dallas, Seattle, or Los Angeles, or any other city far and way from Washington telling them how they should protect their streets, educate their kids, manage their welfare systems, etc, since the national government could never know the conditions on the ground as well as the people in those communities themselves. Since the people on the ground know their own communities the best.
Not saying that I don’t believe in having a national government: a big part of the Federal Republic is a Federal Government, but it should be limited to doing only the things that you need a Federal Government for: like national defense, interstate law enforcement, regulation of interstate commerce, enforcing the constitutional rights for all Americans equally, financial assistance for low-income communities. And leave the state issues to the states, just as long as what they’re doing is within the U.S. Constitution and no one’s constitutional rights are being violated.
“A political primer that was originally created 10 years ago and put away because it seemed the Red State – Blue State divide might be a fading cliche. But here we are….”