How much control should the Federal Government have over the states?

by Shane Goodrich

Distant bureaucrat or less distant bureaucrat that is the question. Or to bring it to Connecticut, Washington or Hartford? How much say should the federal government have over us? I personally am not thrilled with the idea of the people in Hartford making decisions regarding the lives of those of us in my hometown of Willimantic yet I will almost always choose the less distant bureaucrat in cases such as these. Let me explain my reasons for this preference.

I think local rule (or as local as possible) is best at addressing the needs of the people simply by virtue of its leaders generally having a better understanding of the problems of a community when they are closer to or ideally live in that community. I think the founding fathers understood this which is why they created the system of Federalism in the first place, a system that has (some would say had) some inherent respect for local rule. Of course there where limits placed on that local rule, the major example that comes to mind being the Bill of Rights.

To protect the fundamental rights of an individual against the whims and caprices of the masses is one legitimate role I think our federal government can play, something that the federal government had little control over under the Article of Confederation. But this oversight role should be as small as possible. Almost like a veto when a state tries to pass a law infringing on individual rights. We are sorry sir that man does have a right to listen to Justin Bieber, no law no matter how well intentioned can stop the Bieber (well at least in the U.S… Canada on the other hand…).

Before ending this short essay let me reiterate two points. Local rule is better than distant rule but less distant rule is better than more distant rule. So do I want someone in Hartford to have a lot of say in what happens in Willimantic? No not really but I sure as hell don’t want people in Washington having a major say in the affairs of Willimantic or in the affairs of Connecticut. Right now we are seeing a kind of revival of the concept of states rights, this time centered on individual liberty (unlike some less freedom friendly concepts in the past that states have fought for) regarding such issues as the drug war and until recently marriage equality. I personally favor this trend. Let’s let local people decide issues for themselves.

-Shane Goodrich, co-host & video editor of Local Liberty

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