Saturday, March 15, 2014

Why Federalism Is Crucial

Daniel McCarthy essays on The Clan.  Along the way, he makes the case for the 9th and 10th Amendments--which our Federal masters really, really want to forget about.

...The paradox of rule is that to secure one’s rights, one must participate in government, but participation in government means wielding power that can—and inevitably will—be used to oppress others. Participation in government necessarily has an illiberal dimension, even though it is also indispensable for securing liberty. This would be true even if individuals could directly wield power; in the real world, in which power is always wielded by groups, the peril is amplified.

This is why decentralization and division of power—not only according to the legal framework of a written constitution but also as played out through the conflicts of competing clans—are as crucial for liberty as are a sense of the common good and a state strong enough to act as arbiter. Liberalism itself owes a great deal more, even today, to struggles between clans than is commonly recognized. Historically, liberal practices certainly did not emerge chiefly from reformist efforts on the part of benevolent leaders wielding power for the good of all humanity....

McCarthy bolsters the case with a few interesting historical notes on Rome and England.

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