In the course of his great work—and it is a disgrace thatnAmerican pohtical thinkers are so littie famihar withnit—Althusius repeats Aristotle’s arguments that man is ansocial animal and, like Aristotle, begins his discussion ofnsocial organization with the family and proceeds from therento corporations, cities, provinces, and the empire. The keynto the whole matter, as Carl J. Friedrich points out, is thatnon all levels the union is composed of the units of thenpreceding level. In this sense the constituent members ofnthe empire or nation state cannot be individual citizens butnsuch lower political units as provinces (in the U.S., states)nand cities. If there is a failure at some level, if a link in thenchain breaks, it is not up to individuals to choose ansuccessor or restore order. It is the responsibility of thenconstituent members. Our own electoral college was designednalong similar lines. Indirect election is not so much ancase of insurance against irresponsible democracy (thenopinion of Sir Henry Sumner Maine) as it is a recognitionnthat America is not governed by “we the people” exceptnthrough its natural communities.nAlthusius’ federalism has obvious points of contact withnAristotle and with the social philosophy of the CatholicnChurch as it was expressed in Pope Pius IX’s Quadragesimonanno: “One should not withdraw from individuals andncommit to the community what they can accomplish byntheir own enterprise . . . nor transfer to the larger andnhigher collectivity functions that can be performed andnprovided for by lesser and subordinate bodies.”nIndeed, federalism is not so much a theoretical principlenas it is a set of observations. Families really do take care ofntheir own; communities can and do regulate their ownnaffairs without any national police telling them what to do.nIt is built into the nature of man, as Hamilton recognized,nthat we care most for those who are near and dear to us, andnwe are prepared to do for children and neighbors what wenwould not dream of doing for strangers.nAll of this could be derived from a serious reading of thenScriptures or from Aristotle’s Politics; however, even anthoroughgoing materialist cannot fail to be impressed by thenarguments now being put forward by sociobiologists. Creaturesnare interested in their fellows, so the evidence suggests,nin direct proportion to the degree of genetic relatedness.nParents and children, brothers and sisters are related tonthe highest degree of 50 percent, a ratio that decreases in thenever-widening spirals of kinship. In a natural village community,nvirtually everyone is more related to each othernthan they are to strangers, and that alone is sufficient tonexplain the origin of patriotic group loyalty.nIt is not just biological evolution that can be called intonthe service of political federalism. If political anthropologynhas anything useful to teach us, then it seems clear thatnman has passed through a series of stages in his socialnevolution up to the state. The ancient theory of Aristotie,nthat families coalesced into villages, and villages intonpolitical communities, has found confirmation in the morenrecent work of E.R. Service and Ronald Cohen. All thatnremains is to point out that modern men and women, inntheir moral and social development, gradually recapitulatenthe stages of human social evolution. We begin by lovingnonly our mothers, then our immediate family, then thenneighbors, eventually our town. Some go so far as to loventheir state or their region; fewer learn to love their country;nand a few saints earn the right to endure the entire humannrace.nOne of the central tenets of liberalism (and of a certainndegraded, Sunday school religion) is an insistence upon thenuniversality of social obligation. By liberalism, let it benunderstood, I mean that evolutionary movement in politicalnphilosophy symbolized by Hobbes, Locke, Bentham,nand, say, Sidney Hook. Whether it takes the form of anlibertarian assertion of individual rights (translation; increasenthe power of the state and demand police protectionnfor pornographers) or the leftist credo of John Rawls, whonthinks we all have to give everything away to the ThirdnWorld until their standard of living rises to meet our own,nliberalism is radically opposed to federalism in all its formsnand to the very idea that human beings have naturalnobligations. To be fair, liberals do not especially hate thenfamily, and they are occasionally willing to praise thendemocracy of New England town meetings; however,nliberalism is radically opposed to federalism in any form,nbecause the liberal faith in universal principle virtuallyncompels them to make war on all natural, rooted institutionsnof human society.nMen are programmed by nature and, I should say,ndesigned by God, to grow up and reproduce autonomousnfamilies, to govern their local affairs in face-to-face selfgoverningncommunities, and to operate on the national andninternational stage only by way of those higher levels ofnpolitical association that have grown out of family andncommunity. It is as wrong for the national government toninterfere with local school districts as it is for a privatencitizen to conduct foreign policy. In extreme cases, we callnthe one tyranny and the other treason, but they are onlyndifferent sides of the same coin.nThe American system of local autonomy, state sovereignty,nand limited national government worked well for twongenerations. By the mid-19th century, however, the sectionalndebates over tariffs and slavery were a powder kegnwhich—to be ignited—needed only the election of ancentralist politician whose principles took precedence overnthe long-standing federal arrangements. Lincoln himselfndeclared that if he could save the Union by destroying thenConstitution, he would. Before he was through, he hadndone both. To his credit, Lincoln viewed his own actions asnemergency measures; within his own party he was anmoderate—the unbalanced Charles Sumner told CharlesnFrancis Adams Jr. that moderates like Lincoln and Sewardnwere traitors! Lincoln’s own plan for Reconstruction wouldnhave gone a long way to restoring the autonomy of the statesnand the natural balance of powers that had existed beforenthe war. His premature death is a rare case when the wordn”tragic” actually applies to a political event, because itnrevealed all too clearly the true nature of democraticnabsolutism. Had he lived, the generous and humanenLincoln would have delayed the recognition.nIn the century and a quarter following Lincoln’s death,nthe American people have witnessed a steady erosion of thenfederal system. The 14th Amendment has been used withnreckless abandon as the pretext for subverting state and localngovernments; the taxing power has been used in preciselynthe manner that Hamilton rejected—as a wrecking bar;nnnDECEMBER 19871 9n