Americans are unsatisfied and increasingly angry with our government. It does not represent us and is not really accountable to us. It is often self serving and even corrupt. None of this is simply because the wrong people got elected or appointed or hired.
The American Founders designed our system of government to divide up power and keep most of it close to us–in our states, counties, and cities. While we followed that model, the United States rose from being a shaky backwater to the worlds preeminent superpower; the American people became the most innovative and prosperous in the world.
Today, politicians in Washington, D.C. have taken most of that power for themselves and their sprawling bureaucracy. Government power is massive, centralized and frustrating to ordinary citizens. Government is too big and too far away.
If we want “government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” we need to keep government power close to the people. Thankfully, that is how our constitutional system was designed to operate. All we need to do is get back to two basic principles: federalism and localism.
Federalism is our constitutional system of states. While government power rests with the people, it is the people acting within our states who created the Constitution just as we also, through our states, created counties and cities. The most basic and most important level of government in our constitutional system–federalism–are the states.
Localism, which is sometimes called subsidiarity, is the idea that we should always try to keep power as close to the people and at as small a unit of government as is practical. Some purposes of government, like defense against foreign powers and international trade policy, call for a national organization. Many other purposes of government are reasonable left to local communities or, at least, to individual states.
The Liberty Foundation advances both federalism and localism. We work with partner groups and individuals to make the case for returning power to states and local communities. We are a clearinghouse for information and a catalyst for action.
The mission of the Liberty Foundation of America is to leverage local resources and partnerships to assert state primacy and personal liberty as national public policy.
The Liberty Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan organization, that exists because of the generous support of our donors.