Have Progressives Found Federalism?

Has a mainstream progressive found federalism?

In our age of government worship, this might be like a lost soul finding Jesus.

Not really, but small steps.

Jamelle Bouie at the The New York Times has recently pecked out a couple of pieces that make it seem like he has indeed discovered the beauty of federalism.

He seems to support trimming the power of the federal courts, and now he opines that federalism is the only way to save America.

I have been critical of Bouie in the past, and I still will be most of the time. He and I don’t agree on much of anything politically, but that is why federalism is so important.

I would be fine with Bouie living in his own little socialist Utopia somewhere in America. Just not in my State.

And he can leave my State alone, too.

I think he is starting to get it. I am cautious, as the core of any progressive is the dream of controlling others. It doesn’t matter if they are on the left or right, they want power.

It’s the Yankee in them.

Federalism is the only reason the Constitution was ratified in 1788. The “anti-Federalists” may have been right about the future of America, but the “friends of the Constitution” persuaded enough people that their opponents were wrong to get it through the ratification conventions.

It must be emphasized that while the “anti-Federalists” may have been perceptive about the way the general government would abuse power once the Constitution was ratified, the “Federalists” consistently argued they were wrong. That is why we should listen to the Federalists, not the anti-Federalists, when finding original intent.

Otherwise, we concede the field to the other side. The “antis” really wanted federalism and the “Federalists” promised we would get it.

Nationalism wasn’t on the table.

Both sides seemed to agree that centralization was the Shirt of Nessus and should be avoided in such a diverse federal republic.

The Federalists may have been lying–Hamilton certainly was–but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold the federal government accountable to original intent.

That is why the 10th and 9th Amendments exist. They were the check on the entire system. And what became the 10th Amendment was often the first on the list of proposed Amendments coming from the States.

If Americans could get this one civics lesson, the entire course of American government could change, and frankly, as Bouie argues in his essay, we could have lasting civic peace.

I discuss Bouie and federalism on Episode 760 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

Subscribe to The Podcast

Comments are closed.