Yonkers, New York. Fearing crime andrnlower property values, Yonkers refusedrnto erect public housing units in high-incomernareas and impose school busing.rnThis was “grassroots tyranny,” Bolickrnwrites, but fortunately the feds “blewrnthe whistle” on the city’s “recalcitrance.”rn”The brazen actions of the Yonkers cityrngovernment to perpetuate segregationrnwould have made the Southern whiternsupremacists of yesteryear proud,” hernwrites. As lead Justice Department attorney,rnhe persuaded a federal judge tornforce the city to accept 200 units of subsidizedrnhousing over the objections ofrnelected local officials.rnBolick’s appeal to abstract liberty oftenrnoverrides concern for concrete liberty,rnas his treatment of the Robert Mapplethorpernaffair clearly demonstrates.rnCincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Centerrnsigned up for the exhibit, even though itrnknew the photos probably violated localrnlaws. As the gallery opened to the public,rnthe sheriff’s department, in cooperationrnwith a grand jury, ordered thatrnseven of the 175 photos be taken down,rntwo of them on grounds that they constitutedrnchild pornography. This localrnaction, says Bolick, is a prime example ofrn”grassroots tyranny” and a violation ofrnthe freedom of speech. After all, thernphotos were of “flowers and nude people,”rnincluding “homoerotic photos andrnportraits of children taken with their parents’rnpermission. Most of the people inrnattendance were merely enjoying the exhibition.”rnAs Bolick tells the story, thernContemporary Arts Center’s lawyersrn”countered with an action against thernlocal authorities. Within a few days.rnJudge Carl Rubin granted an injunctionrnagainst the city officials. ‘You may notrnremove any photographs,’ Rubin instructedrnthe authorities. ‘You may notrnclose the exhibit to the public.'” Rubinrnis, of course, a federal judge.rnA local community tries to preventrnthe public exhibition of child pornographyrnand is overruled by a federal judge:rnthis is liberty battling “grassroots tyranny”?rnSurely not, or else the entirernlibertarian tradition of decentralism isrnwrong. Rubin, moreover, seems an unlikelyrnlibertarian. Just recently, Rubinrnforced DuPont to junk its seniority systemrnon the grounds that it kept blacksrnfrom professional advancement and tornpay a $14 million fine. Is this another examplernof the federal judiciary promotingrnfreedom? One year before his Mapplethorpernruling, Rubin went on a slowdownrnstrike to protest Congress’s failurernto grant him an immediate $45,000rnraise. “I’m not willing to take this lyingrndown,” he told the Cincinnati Enquirer.rnSo we have a federal judge who overrulesrnlocal obscenity laws and doesn’trnhesitate to control the affairs of privaterncompanies or to demand a taxpayerfundedrnpay raise. These actions have inrncommon a reliance upon a simple arrogationrnof power. These days, federalrnjudges intervene regularly to violate communityrnnorms, raise local property taxes,rnhamper local police, subvert localrnschools, and crush private decision-makingrnin business. Isn’t there somethingrnodd about a self-described libertarianrncheering this?rnBolick’s bias toward federal powerrnincludes not just the creation of law butrnalso its execution. For example, he denouncesrnthe officers who “brutally beat”rnRodney King and justifies the L.A. riotsrnon grounds of the “pent-up outrage thatrnexists over police brutality in the innerrncity.” Thank goodness, then, that thernfeds could overrule the local verdict,rnretry the policemen, and appeal theirrnjail sentences when the new judge didn’trnput them away for good.rnBolick, astoundingly, is concernedrnthat “the national government pales inrncomparison to the size and scope of localrngovernments. . . . State and local governmentsrncomprise 500,000 elected officialsrnand 13 million appointed officials,rncompared with 2 million civilian employeesrnat the federal level.” It doesn’trnmatter that the two million control thernother 13, plus the rest of the citizenry, orrnthat some of the 13 million are genuinelyrnpublic-spirited Americans servingrnpart-time in county and other local governments.rnBolick says there are 80,000rnlocal governments and only one federalrngovernment, as if Uncle Sam is outcompeted.rnUnder the sort of constitutionalrnrepublic the Founders established, wernwould be glad to hear that there were notrn80,000 but 160,000 or 240,000. Morernlocal governments would suggest decentralizationrnand a decline in overallrngovernment power, just as secessionistrnsentiment in Europe is a good sign forrnliberty. If fewer and more centralizedrngovernments are to be preferred to manyrndecentralized ones, the next logical steprnwould favor the transfer of federalrnpower to the United Nations, providingrnit promised to enforce “individualrnrights.” It is then a small step to fullblownrnglobal war to secure democracyrnand rights in all corners of the globe.rnBolick claims that Federalist No. 10rnwarns against local tyranny. As any honestrnreading shows, however, Madisonrnpenned this eloquent letter as a warningrnagainst local democracy (mostly a pejorativernterm until this century). Democracies,rnMadison said, “have in generalrnbeen as short in their lives as they havernbeen violent in their deaths.” (Also inrnNumber 10, Madison denounces egalitarianism,rna theory which “erroneouslyrnsupposed that by reducing mankind to arnperfect equality in their political rights,rnthey would at the same time be perfectlyrnequalized and assimilated in theirrnpossessions, their opinions, and theirrnpassions.”) This essay is an argument forrna federal republic, not for overridingrnstate and local jurisdiction.rnIn any case, the Madisonian Republicrnwas systematically undermined throughrnjudicial imperialism, further amendmentsrnto the Constitution, “incorporation,”rnand wars, so that we now confrontrnthe worst of both worlds: mass democracyrnand federal tyranny to prevent anyrnlocal republics from emerging. For example,rnthe federal government has maderna particular practice of overriding staternand local elections it deems unfair.rnWhat would the federal government dornto a small town that attempted to establishrna Madisonian republic by restrictingrnthe vote to, say, literate property-owningrnheads of families? The Institute for Justicernwould bring the first suit against thisrn”infraction of individual liberty.”rn”The states’ rights conservatives,”rnclaims Bolick, “assume that state powerrnand individual sovereignty are necessarilyrncoincidental.” That would indeedrnbe stupid. Traditional conservatives andrnclassical liberals argue that one aspect ofrnliberty is decentralized government; thernclaim sums up the older view of whatrnconstituted political liberty or “freerngovernment,” government closer to thernpeople. You can sometimes beat cityrnhall, but hardly ever the executive departmentrnof the federal government. Inrnthe American context, centralization andrntyranny are linked, both historically andrnculturally.rnBolick ridicules Robert Bork’s argumentrnthat decentralism sets up competitionrnamong governments, as if Borkrnwere the only person who ever made thernargument. Nonetheless, the pointrnstands: under decentralization peoplerncan vote (or threaten to vote) with theirrnfeet. Every town in America has a rulingrn38/CHRONICLESrnrnrn