Localism and the Possibility of Self-Rule: Part 3

Series Overview The concept of limited government seemingly takes self-rule from the realm of the abstract and makes it the basis of a functional society. But, though it precludes the possibility of a central authority imbued with broad, sweeping powers, limited government is not synonymous to self-rule. The devolution of power that necessarily occurs as a result of the truncation of federal authorities might theoretically place power in the hands of individuals, but it is…

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Localism and the Possibility of Self-Rule: Part 2

Series Overview The concept of limited government seemingly takes self-rule from the realm of the abstract and makes it the basis of a functional society. But, though it precludes the possibility of a central authority imbued with broad, sweeping powers, limited government is not synonymous to self-rule. The devolution of power that necessarily occurs as a result of the truncation of federal authorities might theoretically place power in the hands of individuals, but it is…

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Localism and the Possibility of Self-Rule: Part 1

Series Overview The concept of limited government seemingly takes self-rule from the realm of the abstract and makes it the basis of a functional society. But, though it precludes the possibility of a central authority imbued with broad, sweeping powers, limited government is not synonymous to self-rule. The devolution of power that necessarily occurs as a result of the truncation of federal authorities might theoretically place power in the hands of individuals, but it is…

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The Trouble With the Executive Branch

Article II of the Constitution—which sets the bounds of executive power—is notoriously short; the document imbues remarkably scant powers to the executive, and to the president in particular. Much of the text outlines procedural mechanisms, to do with the time, place and manner of elections, and behavioral limitations: duties the president is either compelled to perform or forbidden. The president is effectively tasked with five primary powers: the power to veto legislation passed by both…

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The Missing Element of Political Reform Debates

Political reform, whether it favors sweeping institutional overhauls or looks to fixes tailored towards more narrow problems, operates under the assumption that government dysfunction ultimately stems from some flaw within government. This statement might seem blatantly tautological, but in fact it reflects a deeper problem with American politics: a fundamental misunderstanding of the complex role of the polity in structuring and directing the machinations of government institutions. Though “democracy” is likely the first word that…

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The Shutdown Highlights Oligarchic Attitudes in Government

There is perhaps nothing so indicative of an increasingly oligarchic trend in government as language from politicians signaling their actions are oriented around what is most convenient to others of their ranks. By way of example, a recent story in Roll Call detailed how, in the waning hours before the government shutdown took effect, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) attempted to broker a three-week stop-gap spending measure. Though one might hope his motivation was some respect…

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Re-establishing federalism starts with divorcing national politics from elections

If one believes that many of the shortcomings of today’s politics can ultimately be traced to the abandonment of federalist principles—as tends to typify certain strains of right-wing thought—then the trend in national elections, which primarily subjects candidates running for federal office to scrutiny by other elected officials rather than to the judgment of their constituents, should be an alarming one. It is perhaps telling that while many descry the influence of outside actors, particularly…

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