In our polarized society, it’s very difficult for some to imagine an overarching political philosophy that operates outside of the normal bounds of left vs. right. There are issues and even solutions that can achieve bi-partisan agreement, but those instances are normally very specific. Small-government, freedom-loving Federalism is quite possibly the only universal concept that, if understood properly, can be embraced by a majority of Americans.
This is the first part of a three-part series that will examine the general appeal that Federalism will have when its message starts to hit the masses.
Before we get into why and how it breaks the standard left-right scale, it’s important to understand two things. First, we need a brief glimpse of the classifications of people who would oppose Federalism even if they understood it. After all, complete universality of a political philosophy is ludicrous. Once we cover that, we’ll demonstrate why Federalism is the solution that terrifies both Republicans and Democrats. They have fought for over a century to prevent true Federalism from creeping into mainstream thought. The final part will get to the heart of the issue: how Federalism breaks the artificial dichotomy perpetuated by the two major parties.
An article titled Political Ignorance and the Need for Federalism appeared earlier today on Spectator. It’s a heady read for those who already embrace the concept while making a very compelling case to those who are on the fence. In many ways, it inadvertently accomplishes some of what this series will attempt to do by touching on the psychological reasons that most people make political decisions with their emotions rather than reasoning through the issues. What it doesn’t mention is why we’ve been conditioned to think this way. We’ll cover that in more detail in the next part of the series.
First, let’s look at those who are most likely to dissent.
Who opposes Federalism?
An equilibrium of power between the state and national governments is appealing to many. Meanwhile the defense of freedoms should be appreciated by nearly every American. To those of us who love our liberties, it can be difficult to understand why some people seem so opposed to them. Why would anyone want less freedom?
To understand this, we need to take a glimpse at the types of people who are against Federalist concepts. It’s rarely excusable to “classify” people outside of their obvious demographics; doctrinal categories are often hard to define. In this instance, we’ll bend the rule a bit for the sake of clarity. Generalizing is a bad practice that we will only tap into when absolutely necessary.
Here are the types of people who would oppose Federalism even if they understood it:
- Authoritarians: There was a study that we won’t link to or even quote (most political “studies” offered to the public are manipulated pieces of advanced propaganda to justify one’s perspectives) that determined conscious or unconscious belief in authoritarianism enhanced one candidate’s popularity during the primaries. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant. We can surmise that there is a certain percentage of Americans who embrace authoritarianism, defined as “favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom.” Many aren’t even aware that they feel this way. All they know is the concepts of weakening the authority of the government, putting more personal responsibility onto the individual, and protecting certain freedoms are not appealing to them.
- Socialists: Republicans might tell you that all Democrats are socialists. In reality, socialism is one of those ideas that can only be appealing to the blindly idealistic or those who want something for nothing. True socialism is a romantic concept that is incapable of working. The fact that Bernie Sanders lost to Hillary Clinton demonstrates that most Democrats are against full-blown socialism. Yes, the Democrats had a nomination system rigged against Sanders, but if enough people truly embraced socialism, he would have won regardless. Hardcore socialists cannot appreciate Federalism, but there’s a catch. A good chunk of people, particularly “millennials,” who embrace socialism as a concept are ripe to learn about Federalism. It’s relatively easy to convince someone intrigued by socialism that Federalism is actually more aligned with their perspectives. In fact, it’s possible that a higher percentage of Sanders supporters than Clinton supporters would be willing to convert.
- Anarchists: Federalism stands in stronger defense of our constitutional republic than any other ideology or philosophy. Anarchists could embrace some of the concepts since it reduces the influence of government over individuals, but their goals go far beyond the Federalist goal of checks and balances. They want to nearly abolish government. That’s not what Federalists want. We simply want a lot less of it.
- Statists: We’re always careful when using this term because it means different things to different people. Those who believe in the common interpretation of American statism are directly opposed to the freedoms and smaller government principles that Federalists defend. Similar to authoritarians, they want a government that has control over everything from social to economic issues. The only real difference in some cases between an authoritarian and a statist is that the authoritarian often doesn’t realize they feel this way. Statists are not only aware of it. They’re proud of it.
- Alt-Right: As with statism, we’re very careful with classifying the alt-right. Different people see this nebulous concept in diverse manners. We see the alt-right as mixing populism with nationalism and stirring it all up with one or more unrighteous angers. This last factor is the difference between people who simply want to protect their way of life through political means and the alt-right. The Federalist Party would not be appealing to members of the alt-right because we want to represent true diversity, embracing any and all who are in America legally. Those “unrighteous angers” may be directed at lifestyles, races, demographics, economic status, religion, or a slew of other classifications. This is why we don’t like to classify people unless it’s necessary. The alt-right classifies people constantly. Like their unnamed counterparts on the left, they play identity politics. We do not.
This list seems to represent a large portion of the population and it doesn’t even include the most obvious opposition such as communists or neo-Nazis. Thankfully, it’s still far from being a majority.
Federalism is what gave us the Constitution. The Federalist Papers were written in dissent of those who had many valid arguments, but the Federalists prevailed to form the greatest foundation for sustainable government in the history of mankind. Today, the need has arisen for the Federalist Party to fight a similar battle for preservation of the same ideals.
In the next part of this series, we’ll discuss the challenges posed by a two-party system unified in the goal of keeping the electoral status quo. It’s fear of being proven wrong that prevents Republicans and Democrats from allowing Federalism into the conversation except when it furthers their own ambitions. This is why the Federalist Party is rising. Our time is quickly approaching.
This is the first part of a three-part series. You can read the second part here.