Dear Editor,

The editor vastly oversimplified complex issues in Sunday’s column. He presented an either/or scenario whereby we can live in unfettered freedom if we just throw off the yoke of federal power.

I offer some perspective.

America once had a system that was a loose association of independent states with a great deal of autonomy. In the Articles of Confederation, 1781-1789, the government could not enforce resolutions, could not tax, and had no control over foreign trade or interstate commerce. There was financial chaos and hyperinflation.

The founding fathers realized that a stronger system was needed, resulting in our Constitution. According to James Madison, this new arrangement was a mixture of centralized authority and a confederation of sovereign states that was “unprecedented.” This tension between national and local authority has always existed and helps keep us in balance.

So, I'll agree with Editor Richardson that local control is often better. Except, of course, for national defense, foreign trade, the banking system, interstate highways, and air and rail travel. And except for interstate commerce, food safety, safety of products and medications. And then except for national communication, national law enforcement, and police technology. And what about air and water pollution that crosses state boundaries, disasters, and “acts of God?” What if some region denies basic freedoms to certain people? And, yes, educational standards. And then of course there’s….well, you get the idea.

Please consider, as in any relationship, there is an ebb and flow, and that federal vs local is a false choice.


George Weeks