In order to create a libertarian strategy, it is important that we first understand the problems which plague our modern world. If the creation of a state has led to the stripping away of our freedoms rather than the protection of them, then it would be absurd to believe that by creating a larger state to watch over these states, it would be just the fix we need to really set the people free. Yet, this is the argument you will hear the modern federalists make, even in some small government and “libertarian” circles. On the other side you will hear people argue that we need radical decentralization through the states breaking off from the federal government, and in turn localities breaking off from the states into smaller and smaller governments. What liberty lover could be against that idea?
It will be argued that we cannot idly sit by and let the states strip away the liberties of people abiding in them and that something has to be done! The federal government needs to restrain these states within it! While it is true that small state and local governments also abuse power and are tyrannical in nature, as all monopoly governments tend to be, it would be short sighted to believe that a larger and more monopolized government will be more inclined to protect the interests within certain states than the existing governments in place.
This idea that a central government’s role is to defend the individual from his local government, and that the federal government is less likely to exploit the people, is also historically false, being that the federal government has never reigned in the states for the purpose of liberating a people. This entire doctrine has been built by men in history like Abraham Lincoln who still tirelessly facilitate lies and propaganda that has always been for the purpose of feeding and growing the leviathan state.
It is important that we also ask ourselves why the primary fear of the founders of this country was that the federal government would soon gather so much power as to make the communities people formed irrelevant, rather than the panic that having the states left to themselves would exploit the people abiding in them. Could it be that even then there were those that understood what the consolidation of power would result in? And no matter how often someone would like to cite passages from Confederate government documents, there can be no denial that the largess of government today can be traced back primarily to Abraham Lincoln himself.
It will then be said that there are only individual rights not “states rights”. This is true…and it is a large reason why we should prefer such a diverse people to govern themselves through systems 0f government much closer to them, not only in distance, but also in the fact that they are by default more accountable to them. The directional idea is for secession all the way down to the individual, but would individuals not branch out and utilize the division of labor to form communities? Of course they would…people by nature are not usually so reclusive.
Now of course there might be some limitations and restrictions in the “states rights”/ Jeffersonian system, but in any completely privatized industry, this can also be said. The point of this system is that it becomes easier for people to “vote with their feet” and simply go over to the next state with a government they think will serve them better. This competition would more likely lead to laws based on community standards that would be in place under the condition of all property being private. If a state government becomes abusive to its people, it is much easier for a person within the state to escape than if a national government did. So it would follow that even if a federal government did everything right from a libertarian perspective and took away all rights of the states to deviate from its governance, that once this governance was no longer perfect and it was taken over by authoritarians, that the people living within the smaller states could no longer as easily escape this bad governance, as they could have escaped it within their state.
It would be inevitable that this federal government would become corrupt because it is completely monopolized and free from competition. It no longer answers to people’s wants or needs, nor can it even tell if it is governing efficiently or not, with the lack of competition to test this.
Those of us from the Rothbardian and Hoppean tradition believe in private property rights as absolute and supreme in a free society. So what better step towards privatizing the functions of government than to reverse the trend of centralization so that governments are subject to competition, and there are more choices available for all of us diverse people?
It will be complained that certain state governments will still have drug laws and victimless crimes will remain illegal…but is it a guarantee that if all property were private that all men would be able to do whatever they wanted in every town they lived in? After all, as libertarians, our concern should be more centered in private property rights than in the “civil rights” that leftists and neo-libertarians are so fixated on.
It is also important to note that if we accept the idea of pummeling states into submission for the sake of freedom and because their governments are sometimes imperfect, then all foreign humanitarian wars are justified. If forcefully holding states into a union for fear that their governments might not be perfect is plausible, then it would be all the more just and righteous to establish a one world government and send in troops to topple governments that we consider to be dictatorial.
So if you want to reconcile libertarianism with federalism, then you must also reconcile it with foreign interventionism and one world government… After all, those governments out in the Middle East are far more oppressive than Texas. So if it is proper for the federal government to send their police into Texas to prevent the horrors of marriage inequality and border fences…why is it not proper to do so for nations that gas their own people?
After all, we do know from very basic historical knowledge that the states within our United States were independent nations. We know that our Constitution was intended to restrain the federal government and not the states. Why is this? Because the founders understood that the federal government was most likely to exploit the people and that competing, smaller governments were an effective bulwark against complete tyranny.