put it in The Federalist number 17, upon the “principle thatna man is more attached to his family than to his neighborhood,nto the community at large . . . than toward their localngovernments, than toward the government of the Union.”nEven until the 20th century, most economic activity innthe United States was unregulated by national government,nand 90 percent of government was local government. Thennational and state governments had only 10 percent betweennthem. As noted by the first close observer of the newnnation, Alexis de Tocqueville, the real vitality in the eadynregime was provided by voluntary associations and localngovernment. The Progressive movement challenged both,nregulating associations and business, and consolidating localngovernments using state government power. Under thenleadership of Woodrow Wilson, the progressive ideologyncaptured Washington in 1912, although its triumph had tonawait Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 and Lyndon Johnson inn1964.nBut before the bureaucratic welfare state, our governmentnwas a federal government — one based upon the individual,nthe family, and private associations, protected by a localngovernment, with a minimalist state providing a justicensystem and national government in reserve for only whenntruly needed—and it worked.nThe challenge today is, simply, to reestablish the federalistnnature of the American republic. In a world where EasternnEurope is throwing off its statist shackles and much of thenrest of the world is reassessing its bureaucratic heritage, itnwould be ironic indeed if the birthplace of liberty continuednits drift away from its roots in freedom and federalism. It hasntaken 70 years of the welfare state for Americans tonrecognize that large national governments do not solve realnsocial problems, thereby finally creating the conditions fornthe still-federalist people to accept a positive program basednupon limited government that could truly revitalize the civicnculture that created the American republic.nThere is a great deal of talk from some quarters aboutnAmerica exporting its legacy of democracy to the world. Butnthe Founders realized that democracy is not enough.nDemocracy works best closest to individual affections —nwithin the family, the local community, and the municipality,nbut very inexactly at the state and national levels — andnonly then in a true federal system of decentralized powers. Itnwas, de Tocqueville noted, that “fruitful germ of freeninstitutions,” local government, that even introduced “thendoctrine of the sovereignty of the people” into Westernnculture.nDemocracy developed from the bottom because itnworked there, and was not perfected until the Foundersnbound local units into a federal system of limited powers.nWhen democracy is artificially imposed upon a nationalngovernment without these limits, democracy is soon destroyednby its excesses, especially by unrestrained spendingnthrough overtaxing and regulating the productive middlenclass.nAs Lord Acton noted, “the true natural check on absolutendemocracy is the federal system, which limits the centralngovernment by the powers reserved and the state governmentnby the powers they have ceded. It is the one immortalntribute of America to political science, for states rights are atnthe same time the consummation and the guard of democ­nracy.” It is summarized in the Tenth Amendment to thenConstitution: the one essential civil right, that the powersnnot specifically ceded to Washington are reserved to thenstates or to the people.nAmerica, then, should be selling federalism, rather thannsimple democracy, to the wodd. To a globe weary ofnstatist excess, sickened by the millions of people killed,nmaimed, imprisoned, and impoverished by government, thenUnited States should be teaching about private property andnmarkets for prosperity, separation and division of powersnnationally for safety, and local governments as the locus ofndemocratic problem-solving. With all of the growth of statenpower in the 20th century, federalist systems like that of thenUnited States, Switzerland, Canada, and even Australia andnWest Cermany, still should be the model — and contrastednwith stagnant, homogenous, and boring Sweden. Federalismnis especially the model needed for ethnically diverse countriesnsuch as Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Eastern Eu-nThe Eyewitnessnby Brendan GalvinnSplashed by disaster, he saysn”It was a warehouse fornpossessed furniture,” and seesnQueen Anne chairs kickingntheir heels, and choruses of the deadnbeseeching release fromnvanity mirrors; then grammarians,nrolling on living room floors,nall inside this lens probing his face.nToo late now to rush homenand put on his suit and hurry backnarticulate. He’s trapped here,nin his chuckle-headed T-shirt,nand at six and elevennwill advertise Mr. Zog’s Sex Waxnto households all overnthe viewing market. It’s hisndisaster now. You can seenhe’s beginning to know itnunder that veneer no bank of lightsncan dissipate. He wonnthis smoking rubble in somennightmare lottery and now he feelsnthe enormity of being chosen,nunderstands that free means anonymous,nas the lady with the mike, less cosmeticnon the glass at the other endnof these wires, pokes through again.n”A chill went down my throat,” he says.nnnMAY 1990/23n