The Uses of American Government

That the republic has degenerated from a Protestant-inflected localized republic to a centralized bureaucratic imperial state is something most conservatives take for granted.  The reason for such a transformation, however, sometimes becomes more assumed than proved.  This compounds the difficulty of convincing liberals, and even some “conservatives,” that such a transformation has occurred.  The secular Whiggism of the major media outlets and academia is so overwhelming that actual American history is obscured or willfully ignored.  Since the 1960’s, the aggrandizement of the central government and the judiciary by both parties has effectively effaced real federalist checks on national power.  Local differences in political habits or mores are treated with suspicion or as obstacles to “rights” rather than as a support for liberty.

Even among conservatives this history is largely unknown despite three decades of “conservative dominance” of the Republican Party.  The establishment conservatism of the Beltway and Wall Street similarly see centralization as inevitable, though for them it is usually hidden behind the economic language of “efficiency” or culture-war language that mirrors the ideological obsessions of the left.  Invocations of federalism, as in the gay-marriage debates, are not serious because judicial...

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