Political Editors / July 9, 2021

In Brief: Can Local Self-Rule Save America?

The Founders designed our federalist system, and we need it now as much as ever.

It’s no secret that America is pretty divided these days. Much of that has to do with a simple fact: We fight too many political battles at the federal level.

University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds, therefore, proposes another look at federalism.

At the smallest scale, the tony community of Buckhead, Ga., may be seceding from Atlanta. Mayor Keisha Bottoms’ anti-anti-crime strategy has led to a predictable criminal surge. Buckhead wants escape from dysfunction — via self-rule.

The same thing is happening within states. Last month, several communities in eastern Oregon voted to secede and join Idaho. The region’s farmers don’t want to be ruled from their state’s weed- and Antifa-plagued coastal regions.

Parts of New Mexico want to join Texas. A huge swath of downstate Illinois talks of splitting from Chicagoland. Some upstate New Yorkers have been talking for years of splitting away from Gotham. Then there are various plans for splitting California into two, three or even six new states. All are gaining attention.

These plans would be hard to pull off. Splitting a state requires consent from both its own legislature and Congress, and unless Congress is ruled by a one-sided majority, it will be hard to get anything through that changes the balance in the Senate. (It has really only happened once, when West Virginia split from Virginia during the Civil War.) But the growing interest in this sort of separation does signal something.

For most of US history, the trend has been toward bigness and consolidation. But now people are wanting to make things smaller.

States are also asserting themselves. First we had “sanctuary” laws involving illegal immigration. Then we had states legalizing marijuana and essentially daring the feds to do something about it. (The feds, for the most part, backed down.) Now cities and states are declaring “sanctuary” status for gun rights, pledging not to cooperate with the enforcement of federal gun laws.

Left and right, in other words, are resisting federal rule when it comes to their pet issues.

Reynolds spots a trend, and he likens it to the declining Roman Empire. The federal government faces 80% public distrust, all while piling on laws and regulations. States, therefore, see an opening to buck the system.

The simple truth, Reynolds says, is this: “When people see the government as less legitimate, they are less likely to go along.”

The saving grace in our system is the very system our Founders designed:

The federal government might collapse or go broke — current spending and debt numbers suggest the latter — but the states have their own credit ratings, their own bureaucracy, their own police and quasi-military forces, their own reservoirs of legitimacy. We’re already seeing that.

Even if the federal government fails, the states will remain. Think of it as a backup system that we hope we won’t need — but increasingly might.

Read the whole thing here.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.