Everyone ought to be guaranteed certain rights, and pragmatism sometimes demands that things be done at a higher level of government. Those situations aside, why not let every community make its own decisions?

via When Federalism Doesn’t Go Far Enough – Conor Friedersdorf – Politics – The Atlantic.

Proponents of federalism often argue that the beauty of a system that devolves power to the states and localities, is that if citizens find the proposed laws distasteful they can vote “with their feet,” by moving to a state that has laws more in line with their preferences.  But, I like the author of this piece wonder how likely such a proposition is.  Considering the demands placed on families by the need to find gainful employment and or remain connected to cultural and religious communities, how realistic is it that a family can pack up their households and move states at a moment’s notice?

Considering this, does it make sense that the United States maintain a less federalist system, relying instead on the uniformity in law that is produced by granting the national government increased lawmaking powers?  Should we provide citizens protection under the law, no matter where they live, even if some states find the laws brought upon them unpleasant?  Which matters most, the rights of individual states or of individual citizens?

Advertisements