The past presidential election emphasized the dichotomy of rural and urban voters. If you look at an electoral map, you’ll notice the United States is awash in a sea of red dotted with blue bobbers. Those bobbers are districts with big cities.
City dwellers demand a strong, centralized government, while country folk believe in self-government and less intrusion in their lives. In geographic terms, we have enclaves of teat squawkers in a land of people yearning to be free.
This rural/urban conflict goes back to America’s founding. When the Constitution was debated in the public sphere, newspapers would dismiss Anti-Federalist writings warning of the flaws of this new government. Urban dwellers wouldn’t tolerate diverse opinions. They would cancel their subscriptions if a publication dared to print any criticisms of a strong central government. Samuel Bryan (author of the Centinel essays) made a keen observation:
The Printers were certainly most of them more willing to publish for, then against the new Constitution. They depended more upon the People in the Towns than in the Country. The towns people withdrew their Subscriptions from those who printed Papers against, and violent Threats were thrown out against the Antis and Attempts were made to injure them in their Business.
Some things never change. That kind of mentality exists to this day. Newspapers around the country are infested with liberals advocating centralized government. Dissent is considered anarchy or anti-government. That was how the Anti-Federalist was portrayed, that is how the Tea Party is marginalized today.
Why are inhabitants of big cities advocates for big government? Are urban dwellers incapable of self-government? Are they morally inferior to their rural cousins? Here is an excerpt from Alasdair Roberts, America’s First Great Depression:
The president of Boston city council, Peleg Whitman Chandler, made the uprisings in Rhode Island and Philadelphia the subject of his oration for the celebration of July 4, 1844.
The monarchies of Europe, Chandler said, maintained order with a strong “internal police.” The United States had chosen instead to rely on the self-governing instincts of its people. But something had gone awry, Chandler said; the sense of “personal responsibility [and] manly self-denial” among Americans was manifestly in decline. The effusion of riots and rebellions was symptomatic of a moral decay.
Chandler warned that the enemies of self-government were not foreign adversaries, but inhabitants of large cities. He suggested that the northeast needed “civic armies” to discipline the populace. They needed a government
strong enough to overawe those, who cannot govern themselves…. [T]he tendency of events in our big cities has been such as must result in the creation of such a strong coercive power, as is not yet known among us, and which has heretofore been looked upon as foreign to the spirit of our institutions. It is to be hoped, that the indications and the necessity of such a change will be confined to our largest cities, but it is through them, if ever, that the American people are to learn, what a strong government is.
The Supreme Court wasn’t willing to confine this need for big government thuggery to our largest cities. They wanted to infect the States as well. Here is an excerpt from one of my previous blog post:
A series of Supreme Court rulings dating back to the 1960’s subverted the political process by retarding the rights of a State’s self governance. These judges – this priestly class – molested federalism by dictating the manner with which States’ shall choose their senators and representatives. This was by no means a federal consideration. This was purely local.
The rulings in question are Baker v. Carr, Reynolds v. Sims, and Wesberry v. Sanders. The Supreme Court fundamentally changed the legislature of States by dictating their districts and how they were to be represented. Basically, rural citizens were to be dominated by urbanites. Degenerate values that breed on city streets would emanate from state capitols and spread throughout the countryside.
More importantly, this reconfiguration would benefit a political party that advocates centralized government. Having Democrats dominate state legislatures, they would draw districts that marginalize hard working, liberty loving citizens while packing federal congressional districts with teat squawkers, who are looking for an agent that would steal from his neighbors.
And the battle over big government continues.