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What necessary functions do the states perform?

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Like many, I've been thinking about politics and government a lot lately. And something recently occurred to me. The state governments (speaking of America, here) sit between the local and federal governments, but what purpose do they serve that, under proper capitalism, couldn't be absorbed by either one? The local governments can handle local concerns like police work, the federal government lets us better resist attack by pooling our resources for a strong military, and the states do... What, exactly?

I understand that they may be essential to standing up to Uncle Sam in the current crisis, but would they be superfluous in a proper system? Or is serving as a buffer between local and federal government in itself a vital function? To put the question another way: if government were voluntarily financed instead of having the power to tax, why would I want to volunteer any of my cash to a state? What would I get out of it?

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My view is that the "proper system" is unlikely to ever be in place (it was, before, to an extent, and the socialists destroyed it). The State therefore acts as a buffer between Californian hippies' dreams of eco-parks and Jack-Russell-Terrier-droppings-burning "generators", and your wallet. Provided you are not Californian, of course.

The main reason this works is because it takes the balance of power away from the centralised government (which sits very far from, say, Dallas, or Eugene) and thus introduces some accountability into the system.

Freedom to vote being essential in a free country, you need to know that you are safe for now as a small majority of Americans vote themselves to the slaughter.

This has been particularly powerful in Switzerland: although politicians repeatedly attempt to make the Swiss vote for integration into the EU (which would be a form of suicide, really) the Swiss themselves repeatedly deny politicians their dreams of Brussels Michelin dining, limousines, infinite wallet and occasions to be populist, the last time at 72% (which is about the proportion of Swiss Germans and Swiss Italians to total, which means the Swiss French voted for :D). Because the Federal government is so powerless, it cannot do what the Irish etc. have done and force through freedom-curtailing legislation. I am all in favour of fragmenting and weakening government power (with the exception of defence, justice and law enforcement, of course).

It is not a theoretically particularly strong argument, though. Looking forward to hearing other people's thoughts on this.

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I would add that the State structure helps maintain bastions of freedom through periods of socialism, such as New Hampshire, Colorado and Texas now (all for different reasons). These are important in the ideological fight that will ensue as people realize that no, socialism isn't going to work this time either.

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Like many, I've been thinking about politics and government a lot lately. And something recently occurred to me. The state governments (speaking of America, here) sit between the local and federal governments, but what purpose do they serve that, under proper capitalism, couldn't be absorbed by either one? The local governments can handle local concerns like police work, the federal government lets us better resist attack by pooling our resources for a strong military, and the states do... What, exactly?

I understand that they may be essential to standing up to Uncle Sam in the current crisis, but would they be superfluous in a proper system? Or is serving as a buffer between local and federal government in itself a vital function? To put the question another way: if government were voluntarily financed instead of having the power to tax, why would I want to volunteer any of my cash to a state? What would I get out of it?

I'm not sure what you mean by local government here. The states are the local government. Very few cities, mainly just the very large ones, have police forces or courts or prisons. Many states have county governments. When the country was founded, most people were loyal to the states not to the federal government. People thought of themselves as Virginians, New Yorkers, Georgians, etc. When the Revolutionary War was concluded, the treaty was signed with all thirteen states, not the federal government. The states were their own sovereign government and the federal government had a few delegated powers. The fact that most people have lost their state identity is an indication of the usurpation of power by the federal government. For me, I live in Maryland, but I'll always be a New Yorker. I have little devotion or loyalty to Washington, DC other than as a beautiful place for museums.

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