It seems every crisis in America is a “constitutional crisis.”
Because Americans have forgotten–or have never been taught–about federalism.
You see, one size fits all, top-down government results in all of the political angst we have in the United States.
It’s quite simple.
The founding generation realized that Connecticut and South Carolina were never going to see eye to eye on a variety of “domestic” issues, so they granted the general government power over foreign policy and commerce.
Not education. Not marriage. Not health care. Not energy. Not agriculture or industry.
Just trade and defense.
And the one paper check on federal power was the 10th Amendment.
Of course, I mean “paper” check. John C. Calhoun understood that it needed teeth.
That has always been the problem. The founding generation believed in nullification and State interposition and used it frequently during the colonial period.
Jeffersonians continued the practice in the early federal republic, but by the time Calhoun began advancing the “concurrent majority” New Englanders began rallying around “nationalism” as a cover for their own sectional interests.
The 10th Amendment no longer mattered because the States could not enforce it, even if members of the founding generation insisted the States would be powerful enough to check federal usurpation of power.
This is our current Lincolnian nationalist nightmare and why every issue is a “Constitutional crisis.”
It doesn’t have to be this way, and the good men at The Tenth Amendment Center have been working hard to make real federalism a possibility in the 21st century.
They also gave me some great Podcast fodder.
I talk about federalism and the Tenth Amendment on Episode 839 of The Brion McClanahan Show.