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Twenty years ago, it was hard to see any major difference in government from one state to another, except perhaps in the prevailing tax rates. But now it’s obvious.

By Dan Gelernter, American Greatness, December 7, 2021

Dan Gelernter is a columnist for American Greatness living in Connecticut.

My elementary and high school teachers never did a good job of explaining American federalism. They left me and, I suspect, many of my fellow students confused. Perhaps they were a little confused themselves: If the federal government’s laws are supreme and can overrule state’s laws, why not just have all laws uniformly adopted at the federal level?

The federal government was not, of course, intended to be what it has become: the daily manager of every citizen’s life. The founders envisioned a federal government that remained in the background, available when it was necessary to get all the states fighting together to win a war, present to help explain a unified foreign policy, and above all to guarantee that goods and people could flow freely from one state to another with no impediment. (That last point is the reason for the interstate commerce clause.) Any national government more aggressive than that would never have been adopted by the liberty-minded states that had just won the Revolutionary War, and even that proved a hard sell: Two years and the addition of a Bill of Rights were required before a sufficient number of states were willing to ratify. …

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