Ever since the Civil War, the power of the states has been on the decline. This is a sad state of affairs.

The national government was a creation of the states. The states sent representatives for a meeting where the Constitution was written.  Constitution in this case is defined as “a written instrument embodying the rules of a political” organization.  The Constitution created a national government for specific and limited purposes.  The point was that the states would maintain most of the control of the land and the people would have a greater voice in the political body that governed them the most (especially at the local level).

The states created the national government out of a necessity to facilitate the states living well together.  The states were given the power over choosing the electors to the electoral college who would then choose the president.  The Senate was organized with each state having equal representation and the senators were selected by the government of each state, not a popular vote of the people.  The Tenth Amendment made it clear that if a power were not specifically granted to the national government, the power was retained by the state.  The very provision of approving the constitution was dependent on the ratification by the states who were creating this new government.

What a difference 200-plus years makes.  The states are becoming more and more like large administrative arms of the national government, much like cities and counties are powerless when the state gets involved.  There is a march year after year to turn the country more and more into a democracy rather than a republic.  In a republic, the states are powerful.  In a democracy, the voice of the people is power.

The Civil War firmly placed the national government above the states.  The amendments to allow for direct taxation via the income tax and the direct election of senators further watered down the power of the states.  Now there is a regular discussion about getting rid of the electoral college to move to a straight popular election of the president.  Every one of these changes has been at the expense of the power of the states and letting power flow to the national government.

We need a resurgence of the power of states.  States can experiment with policy ideas and see what works on a smaller scale without forcing all of the citizens of this great country to try the experiment at the same time.  When a great idea is found, the other states can implement it and move forward.

One prominent example of this is health care reform in the State of Massachusetts.  The reform was much more expensive than anticipated and the people there know it does not work.  Most of the dire predictions about how badly the national health care reform will fare are already coming true in Massachusetts.  If we were a bunch of states instead of just one nation, then it would serve as a warning tale to not implement this kind of reform.

Fifty free states working to solve a problem will do a much better job than one massive national government.

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