The claim that senators chosen by state legislatures would act to curb the feds relies on the assumption that state governments oppose federal power. In reality, however, they often have a strong interest in supporting it, a point John McGinnis and I drive home inthis article. For example, state governments love federal grants that go to them and constantly lobby for additional federal funds. They also like federal regulations and spending programs that reduce competition between state governments and benefit interest groups that have influence at the stateÂ level.
I think there’s a tendency among folks to wish there was a simple, clean fix to the problem. “We just have to change this one thing, then everything would be fine.” or to retrospectively look back on history and say “Ah ha! Here’s where we went wrong.”
But political systems are really only as good as the people who participate in them. If the history of freedom and liberty in this world has taught us anything, it’s that the struggle to preserve it is unending and relentless. There is no easy fix. No magic cure that can automatically rebalance everything for us. If we want small government, we have to struggle for small government, and never stop. More importantly, and this is where Libertarians have fallen down, we have to struggle for it in a serious way that recognizes the reality of the system we’re working in.
The fundamental reason we got big government is the people stopped believing in small government. You won’t get small government back until you recognize that’s your starting point.