the manifesth’ incompetent and brutal murderers who work forrnthe BATF, the FBI, and other agencies that maintain strictrncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.rnStates’ rights and federalism, we know, are relics in the museumrnof dead ideologies; consolidation of power is inevitablernand progressive, the wave of the future. But we live inrnthe future, and it does not work. Perhaps it is time to give thernsage of Monticello a second chance. He was, after all, no simplisticrnideologue on the subject of states’ rights. As Dumas Malonernpoints out, Jefferson had acknowledged the need tornstrengthen the government set up by the Articles; his criticismsrnof the Constitution “related, not to the reduction in the powersrnof the states, but to the lack of safeguards for individuals.”rnhi drafting the Kentucky Resolutions, according to Malone,rn”Jefferson went further in his emphasis on the rights and powersrnof the states vis-a-vis the general government than he had everrndone before or was ever to do again.” This is not entirely accurate.rnThe 1798 Resolutions may represent the high-waterrnmark of his defense of states’ rights, but that is partiy because thernnature of the crisis demanded a strong and principled response,rnhi 1800, Jefferson was in office and could hardly regard his ownrnadministration as a threat to Virginia, and his Virginia dynastyrnlasted through three presidencies for 24 years. However, it wasrnonly in his later years that Jefferson fully articulated his vision ofrndecentralized political authority, both in his plan for a localizedrnsystem of state education in Virginia and in his blueprint for arngo’ernment of wards, outlined in a series of letters written inrnthe last ten years of his life.rnIn Jefferson’s comprehensive vision, each level of governmentrn—national, state, local, and neighborhood—would havernsufficient autonomy to manage its own affairs. Each ward (correspondingrnto a township or neighborhood) would be givenrn”those portions of self-government for which they are best qualified,rnby confiding to them the care of their poor, their roads,rnpolice, elections, the nomination of jurors, administration ofrnjustice in small cases, elementary exercises of militia.” In short,rnsays Jefferson, these wards will become “little republics . . . forrnall those concerns which, being under their eve, they wouldrnbetter manage than the larger republics of the count)’ or State.”rnUltimately, the principle of deolution works its way downrneen to the household, to “the administration of every man’srnfarm b himself” This principle, if carried out, would serve asrna secure foundation of political liberty: “Wliere every man is arnsharer in the direction of his ward-republic . .. and feels that hernis a participator in the government of affairs, not merely at anrnelection one day in the year, but everyday . . . he will let thernheart be torn out of his body sooner than his power be wrestedrnfrom him bv a Caesar or a Bonaparte.”rnIt hardU’ needs to be said that would-be Bonapartes and theirrnlackeys are instinctively revolted by Jefferson’s vision. Today,rnhe would be called President Moonbeam, because it is a markrnof insanit}’ to believe that a government can be anything butrncorrupt.rnWhat are the inspirations for Mr. Jefferson’s vision? His ownrnexperience of managing an estate and working with his neighborsrnmust have been at the back of his mind, but Jefferson alsornhad read enough about the history of ancient Greek and RenaissancernItalian cit}’-states to know that political liberty and nationalrncreativit)’ are always rooted in local attachments. His radicallyrnAmerican dream may have drawn its strength fromrnancient and medieval sources, but despite the constant oppositionrnof national and state governments, America remained arnpredominantiy Jeffersonian nation through the 19th centur’.rnMost so-called public schools were owned and operated byrncommunities as small as one of his wards, and the volunteerismrnthat he recommends (“Get them to meet and build a log cabin,”rnhe urges Joseph Cabell in describing how a local communityrncan take charge of its own affairs) and that is described byrnTocqueville was the spirit that animated the towns and villagesrnthat sprang up on the prairies without any “by your leave” fromrnany of the Caesars and Walpoles who had taken up permanentrnresidence on the Potomac.rnWhen honest men ponder the future of the United States,rnthey would do well to consider Jefferson’s recommendationrnthat the best defense against dictatorship is the independence ofrnneighborhoods, counties, and states. In a famous pamphlet,rnEzra Pound floated the idea of Jefferson and/or Mussolini. Asrnusual, 01 Ez was half right, but whatever good points Mussolinirnhad, he was Caesarist. If that is what the nationalists of leftrnand right desire for their country, I wish they would say so. Butrnfor my political leader, I shall take Jefferson without any ifs,rnands, or buts. crnSuperhighwayrnby Harold McCurdyrnThere is a road in Congo,rnA sandy camel track.rnThat suffers eighteen-wheelersrnTo break its asphalt back.rnThe eighteen-wheelers carryingrnTons of bottled beerrnCome up from the port cityrnOf what was once Zaire.rnThey cross a roaring riverrnPast tiirbines that supplyrnMore electrical powerrnThan the Congolese can buy.rnThe turbines have gone ricketyrnFrom want of use and parts,rnThe native roadside marketsrnLack customers for their arts.rnBut still the eighteen-wheelersrnGrind northward with their loadsrnOf imported beer in bottlesrnWiile the economy implodes.rnI listen to this sagarnOn NPR, and weeprnFor the unknown people of CongornAnd the absurd high tech they keep.rnNOVEMBER 1998/13rnrnrn