Hitler on Federalism. Volokh's piece begins thus:
One of the relatively few underanalyzed major topics in the extensive academic literature on federalism is the relationship between federalism and totalitarianism. A potential advantage of decentralized federalism is that it might serve as an obstacle to the establishment of an oppressive totalitarian state. Yet most scholars have largely ignored this possibility. One writer who didn't, however, was Adolf Hitler, who had this to say on the subject in Chapter 10 of Mein Kampf (which is devoted to German federalism):
"Might serve"? Definitely serves. That was the original deal, aka the US Constitution. It's easy to forget the degree of sovereignty the states had, before signing the deal - and long after the deal, until Lincoln re-wrote the deal. Not that he was wrong about the slavery issue, but our modern, post-FDR, post-LBJ federal government has us all becoming 50% slaves. What's the difference? Well, voting is the difference. We are free to vote ourselves into benevolent federal slavery.
The Volokh piece is here.
We agree with the point which is made. Centralized power is always a threat to freedom - even when it is elected. It is in the nature of government to accrue power over the lowly, ignorant and inept masses, using any excuse at hand. You can always find a "well-intentioned" reason to assert distant federal power over the people, and forget that the people are meant to be sovereign in the USA. The American ideal was meant to be "every man a Lord of his domain," guided by God and his (or her) conscience and interest.
FDR was the worst criminal, in this regard. That well-intentioned, arrogant, noblesse-oblige aristocrat was a natural totalitarian, but I doubt he ever really knew it. (Harold Ickes, and other advisors, knew it, though - and made the most of it.)
The Civil War and Jim Crow gave state's rights a bad name, but I am inclined to believe that, generally, states and localities have the right to be wrong sometimes. That is part of what freedom is meant to guarantee: dumb mistakes are part of freedom. As is paying the price for them.
Neither wisdom, nor common sense, resides in Washington, DC; it resides elsewhere - in our people in our towns, the hard-working real people who lead honest lives, and ask no-one for anything. Washington, DC obtains most of its power from the income tax, and the ignominious power of vote-buying with OPM - and is thus intrinsically corrupt.
But many will vote away their personal freedom for a bowl of lentils, especially when they feel spiritually and personally uncertain, frail, and lacking in a "support system".