I almost put "meme" in the title instead of debate.
I need to beg your guys' indulgence on this as I may violate a rule I usually follow and endorse: starting a thread and then turning it over to others who want to address the topic while not being available myself. So I will take any heat I get. But this is a topic I have wanted to see discussed, and I have a longish but still stream-of consciousness OP throwing some of my thoughts on the matter out there to be torn apart and thus allowing myself to improve my positions.
I also feel I need to remind how seriously I may have been deformed by growing up in Alaska despite my life-long efforts to not let my environmental shapings dominate my thinking.
I think we would do well to get over the simple-minded and often ridiculous “big gov bad, small gov good" mentality. Big, successful, corporations and orgnaizations, with VERY few if any exceptions, have big management populations and extensive, complicated corporate/organizational polices.
But they are relatively well run from top to bottom, more than not ,,as a fundamental part of their success. While appropriate size (minimal bloating/waste/redundancy) does matter, it's competency and efficiency that win the day. And the bigger the nation or corporation (in every way) the bigger the government or management population)needed.
It's not a "big gov" that's the problem, for you guys who chant that <cough> meme--it's an ineffective and inefficient big gov that's the problem. This nation can NEVER be properly run by a "small gov" at the top of the pyramid. The armed services alone require an extensive and very large bureaucracy. The argument needs to be shifted to a revamping of how to quantify, attract, attain, and maintain a much more effective and efficient government. It's going to need to be "big", however, period.
And if you think an effective counter-argument is to let the state take “all that stuff” over to a much larger degree, I strongly disagree. I see no "magic" in the "soveriegnty of states", though I certainly believe in hearing the local experts and not being overly-involved. I don't "want the feds everywhere" at all! But knowing human behvaiors, I think states left too much to themselves become little kingdoms/fiefdoms for the still-incompetent to run.
Jeebus, the south is still full of secession-friendly rhetoric and so was my home state not too long ago. Cronyism and corruption, and politicians being in the pocket of lobbyists, is certainly thriving at the state level. Perry is a good example of that even by the testimony of some of his supprotters, and it show the hypocrisy that rules the day in this tipic (ok, all) topic(s). I think that a major shift to a much more “states-in-charge” balance than now would lead to an increase in undesirable social, and arguably, economic, characteristics in overall national impact. The history of this nation and of much of the world reveals that things progress better socially and in terms of material prosperity with a strong and properly broad government at the top that can take priority over individual regions.
Again, it is the extreme and the incompent in federal intervening that requires addressing. Let states have their say and listen to them with genuine deference, but there’s a definite need for federal supremacy. The manner in which law and societal organization for the better was brought to the west from the top on down (trickling for we Regan fans) as regions developed from wilderness to territory to statehood under the United States as a federal entity is a supporting example, even with all the errors and even atrocities included.
Without the federal power, I content it would have been far worse from range wars to civic peace in the towns themselves and the multitude of various “barons“ previously running the show, let alone the fact that a couple border states by themselves would not have been able to thwart Mexico’s wild notion (much like the native Americans) that they should be allowed to keep their property prior to our finding it attractive.
And the story of the American west just holds some of the historical examples of the need of a strong (but efficient and competent) “big federal government.” One more time---we are a very big nation, not just a group of big states. Matters like our national defense, our large population, our large geographical spread, and our complex and diverse social system, demand a large and competent national governing body for us to realize our best.
Hell, why should just the states have the final say anyway if you‘re really into regional rights? Let’s take the logic to the next step. Make state government really small too and let each town/city run it’s own show much more completely without state or federal interference. That would likely work out swell.
Ok, it's all yours. I'll be back as I can.