mentalities necessary to maintain a bloated and monstronsrngrowth. With a population of 50,000, Athens produced such arndepth of culture that we still take some of our bearings from it.rnFlorence, the center of the Italian Renaissance (itself the workrnof small city-states) had only around 40,000. Monster citiesrnsuch as New York (eight million) or Sao Paulo (19 million)rncannot produce the quality of culture of the small cit)’-states ofrnGreece or Italy. These are not places where a way of life isrncommunicated across generations, enjoyed, and critically explored.rnThey are vast encampments of Hobbesian nomads,rneach in pursuit of his own power and glor’. Indeed they are notrncities at all but Leviathans, at the ser’ice of even larger politicalrngalaxies. They have earned the new barbarous names of “conurbation,”rn”metropolis,” and “megalopolis.”rnWhat we call “states’ rights” is usually thought of as a conceptrninternal to American constitutionalism, but it may also bernviewed as a symbol of all of those small polities and social authoritiesrnthat have resisted being obliterated bv the centripetalrnforces of modernit)-. The Bill of Rights was introduced to protectrnthe corporate liberty of the states from encroachment byrnthe center. The states delegated to the central government thernpower to regulate commerce, make foreign treaties, and [KOvidernfor defense. All powers needed to protect a valuable wavrnof life were retained b’ tire states, including the right to establishrna state religion. Congress was prohibited from establishingrna religion, but the states were not. Indeed, Massachusettsrnmaintained a religious establishment until 1833.rnThe Civil War and two world wars dealt a severe blow tornstate sovereignty and concentrated enormous power to the center.rnBy the mid-20th century, the Supreme Court had ruledrnthat the 14th Amendment “incorporates” the Bill of Rightssomethingrnthat Raoul Berger, in Government by ]udiciar\ hasrnshown the framers of the amendment most emphatically didrnnot intend. This arbitrary ruling overturned a centur’ and arnhalf of precedent and turned the Constitution upside down.rnInstead of protecting the corporate libert)’ of the states from therncentral government, the Bill of Rights is now understood tornprotect the autonomv of the individual from the states.rnWith the “incorporation” doctrine, we entered the currentrnera of abstract fundamentalist liberalism, where the center isrncontrolled by a culhiral elite engaged in a protracted cold warrnagainst traditional American societ)’, legitimated by an ideolog’rnof individualism. The abolition of religion from tiie pviblicrnlife of the states was not only blatantiy unconstitutional but evilrnas well. Christianity is interwoven in America’s moral and legalrntraditions. Even from a humane, secular point of view, it isrnevil to subvert the fundamental traditions —religious or not—rnof a people’s culture. But liberalism is not humane; it is a militantrnEnlightenment ideology. Liberal philosopher RichardrnRort)’ has rightly said tiiat a truly “liberal societ}’. . . would bernone in which no trace of divinit)’ remained.” This, too, was intimatedrnin the modern state from the beginning.rnThe Constitution, as an instrument for protecting thernsovereignty of states and local communities, has utterly collapsed.rnWTiat began as a central government hedged in by arndoctrine of enumerated powers has, since the Civil War, graduallyrnbecome the greatest concentration of financial and militaryrnpower in history. But it was not always so. By 1860, therncentral government had been generating a surplus for aroundrn30 years. It imposed no inland taxes, living off a tariff on importsrnand land sales. The states imposed inland taxes, but theyrnwere mild, and local sovereignties flourished. In contrast, thernpublic debt today is some $6 trillion, and the federal government’srnunfunded liabilit)’ is some $16 trillion. Last year, therncentral government spent $1.6 trillion, considerably more thanrnthe entire gross national product of France. This vast sum wasrnspent by onl’ 435 representatives and 100 senators for a populationrnof 265 million. (Switzerland, with under seven millionrnpeople, has 247 representatives.) If the ratio of people to representativesrnthat holds today had been in place in 1790, thernHouse of Representatives in the first Congress would have hadrnonly five members! Major social policy is determined, not byrnthe people in their state legislatures, but by nine unelectedrnSupreme Court justices conjuring with the “incorporation”rndoctrine. Were such a regime described to us in the abstract,rnwe should scorn it as an absurdity and as a t’ranny.rnWhat is to be done? Reform must begin by recognizingrnthat the modern state is not a natural fate, but a highlyrnartificial construct only 200 vears old. Second, we must firmlyrnreject the verv’ foundation of the modern state. The massivernconcentration of power to the center (whatever its justifyingrnreason) is itself evil. This concentration has been legitimatedrnby an ideology of maximizing autonomy and destroying thosernsubstantial moral communities whose structures of involuntar)’rnsubordination are offensive to liberalism. Few of us have notrnbeen seduced by the siren call of autonom’; to that extent, wernare all complicit in the concentrations of power that have madernpossible the horrors of the 20th centur’. We must firmly denyrnthat autonomy is the end of the state. The end of political associationrnis protecting and cultivating a valuable way of life inrncommunit’ witii others. Third, to sav that a valuable way of lifernis prior to autonomy nreans a return (as much as is possible) torna politics of human scale. There must be a restoration of staternand local sovercignt)-, including the right of a state, or city, orrnother significant social authorit)’ legally to resist encroachmentrnby the center. Fourth, tiie language of liberalism (which hasrninfected us all) and the philosophical superstitions it encouragesrnshould be abandoned. There arc no inalienable naturalrnrights of individuals —independent of the moral traditions of arnpeople—that can giude action. Liberalism is simply one wayrnof life among others to be defended in historic contexts. Liberalismrn(which includes most forms of “conservatism”) mustrnlearn to tolerate illiberal forms of life. An illiberal polity wouldrnbe anv that does not absolutely value maximizing aitonomv.rnThat would include most regimes in histor’ as well as earlierrnpolities (such as 18th-centur’ Wliig Britain and the Americanrnfederalism of the Framers) that thoughtfidly explored and celebratedrnthe practice of libcrti’. Liberals (and conservatives)rnmust learn to accept a new form of toleration, not of individualrn”life plans” but of whole wa’s of life endowed with thernsovereignt’ necessar’ to maintain themsehes. Indeed, the entirernlanguage of liberalism and conservatism should be abandoned,rnas well as that of left and right. Historically, both ofrnthese presuppose a imitar’ state as the scene in which politics isrnplayed out. Consen’atives such as Ceorge Will and William F.rnBucklev wish to control the central government in order to dorngood. The vision of genuine state and local sovereigntv’ institutedrnby the Framers is entirely foreign to them.rnIf we ha’e learned anytiiing from this century, then the politiesrnof the future will not be a struggle between the universalistrnideologies of left and right but between the old rear-guard centralistsrnof modernit}’ (left or right) and the new decentralists.rnThe language of this politics has yet to be framed. trn18/CHRONICLESrnrnrn