June 22, 2014

PARTISANSHIP AND SELF-SORTING:

If we’re going to have a more partisan geography — and it does seem as if we are — then what we also need is more federalism. Push as many decisions as possible down to the local level — not whether Colorado can pollute rivers that run through California, but decisions about taxes, social spending, health care and regulation.

Unfortunately, the very process of sorting seems to make federalism less, not more, likely. Once you’ve got a good, strong, group consensus on health-care spending or abortion, then allowing those cretins over there to force their horrible views on the people of their benighted states seems completely intolerable. Nothing will suffice but to use federal power to keep their morally obtuse desires from ever being made into law.

And so, even nominal advocates of localism frequently end up trying to centralize issues, instead of pushing them down to the level where a genuine consensus exists. We may need federalism more than ever, but we’re going to get it less.

Well, that’s bad. Personally, I don’t think we’ll fix America’s political problems until we fix its media problem.

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