"_________ is Too Important to be Left to the States."

Jonathan Adler on Fred Thompson's federalism:

Many politicians say such things. President Bush, for one, spoke quite a bit about the need for state flexibility when he was a Governor and a candidate, but seems to have forgotten about such things over the past six years. It appears Thompson actually means it, however, as he stuck to his federalist guns even when confronted with issues where many "conservatives" abandon federalism and embrace federal power. He even endorsed state autonomy where such a position meant rejecting policy positions favored by significant portions of the GOP base....

I have no idea whether Thompson's positions will help or hurt his electoral chances. But I also suspect I am not the only one who finds this apparent commitment to principle refreshing.

I think Jonathan raises a good question. In this modern age, where the federal government appears to be "the solution of first resort" for political activists left, right and center, is there still a place for a consistent champion of federalism?

Few, of course, are openly opposed to federalism across the board. Most political activists are OK with decentralization except as to their pet issue, "X". While state-level decision-making is all fine and good for most areas of law, "X" is invariably "too important to be left to the states."

It wasn't that long ago that the proponents of nationalization were found almost exclusively within the ranks of the left. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. These days, if you're FOR or AGAINST something, you apparently want a national resolution of the issue. It's no longer enough to answer the question for yourself, for your community, or even for your entire state. These days, once you've made your decision on an issue, you're likely to be bound and determined that the ENTIRE COUNTRY goes along with it.

"X" can be anything. Examples include: children's health care, personal injury law, primary education, family law, traffic regulations, wills and estates, protection of snail darters, drug policy, marriage, matters of life and death, stem cell research, etc., etc. Time and again, we hear the refrain, "X is just too important to be left to the states."

At one time in the not-too-distant past, there were a whole lot of Americans who believed "X is too important to be managed by federal bureaucrats." Are those days behind us?

Follow-up question: for any of you who are fond of the "X is too important..." argument, how am I, a third-party observer with no particular dog in the fight, supposed to decide which of the "too important" issues and pet projects really are "too important for states," and which aren't?

UPDATE: Hot Air has video.

Remember, you can vote once a day. Please Vote Jawa! .

Posted by: Ragnar at 09:55 AM


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