Federalism Disad



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Tyranny Internals




Federalism prevents tyranny and helps create stable democracies

Steven G. Calabresi, Associate Professor, Northwestern University School of Law, December 1995; Michigan Law Review, "A government of limited and enumerated powers," lexis

First, federalism is popular today because in a surprisingly large number of circumstances it has the potential to offer a direct cure to a central and age-old failing of democracy: the tendency of certain kinds of political majorities to tyrannize and abuse certain kinds of political minorities.(30) This problem -- majority tyranny -- is a problem in all democracies, but it is most acute in democracies that are very heterogeneous as a matter of their racial, ethnic, religious, linguistic, or social class background. It is the problem that concerned James Madison in the Federalist Ten,(31) and it is the problem that has generated support in this country and around the world for judicial review Arend Lijphart, a distinguished and leading political scientist, puts the matter as follows: That it is difficult to achieve and maintain stable democratic government in a plural society is a well-established proposition in political science -- with a history reaching back to Aristotle's adage that "a state aims at being, as far as it can be, a society composed of equals and peers." Social homogeneity and political consensus are regarded as prerequisites for, or factors strongly conducive to, stable democracy. Conversely, the deep social divisions and political differences within plural societies are held responsible for instability and breakdown in democracies.(32)
Federalism prevents tyranny of the majority

Steven G. Calabresi, Associate Professor, Northwestern University School of Law, December 1995; Michigan Law Review, "A government of limited and enumerated powers," lexis

As Lijphart emphasizes, social heterogeneity can pose a big threat to stable democratic government. Federalism sometimes can reduce this threat by giving minorities a level of government within which they are the geographical majority. If minorities are concentrated geographically to some degree and if the nation is willing to cede control over key issues to constitutionally established subunits of the nation, then federalism can help maintain social peace. Obviously there are some very big "ifs" here that cannot always be satisfied. But, in a very important and growing category of cases, voters are discovering that they can solve the problem of majority tyranny simply by redrawing the jurisdictional lines of government. This redrawing can take two forms. Sometimes expanding the size of the polity is enough to make a formerly tyrannical majority only one of many minorities in the new, more "international" federal jurisdiction. This solution is the familiar pluralist" solution of Federalist Ten.(33) Other times, the redrawing involves a devolution of national power over a certain set of emotionally charged and sensitive issues down to a regional or local federalist entity. This solution is the one employed by Spain with Catalonia and the Basque Country and by Canada with Quebec.(34)
Federalism uniquely solves tyranny better than any other solution.

Steven G. Calabresi, Associate Professor, Northwestern University School of Law, December 1995; Michigan Law Review, "A government of limited and enumerated powers,"

Federalism clearly is not the only constitutional mechanism for dealing with majority tyranny in a socially heterogeneous polity. Other mechanisms for dealing with this problem include: judicial review, separation of powers with checks and balances, proportional representation, the creation of collegial cabinet-style executives, and the complex interlocking web of practices that Arend Lijphart calls "consociational democracy."(37) But federalism is a uniquely successful constitutional device for dealing with many of the most heartfelt and divisive problems of social heterogeneity. No one thinks the Bosnian Serbs, the Basques, or the Quebecois ever could be appeased and satisfied by firmer guarantees of judicial review, separation of powers, proportional representation, or cabinet power sharing. Those solutions -- while they might help somewhat at the margins -- really do not get at the heart of their distinctive grievances. The problem that agitates the Bosnian Serbs, the Basques, or the Quebecois is that, in important ways and as to questions that are fundamental to their identity, they do not believe that they should be part of the same demos as their fellow countrymen. At the same time, as to other economic and foreign policy issues, they may be perfectly happy to remain within a larger entity so long as their social autonomy is guaranteed in iron-clad ways. Federalism addresses these needs in a way that no other constitutional power-sharing mechanism can hope to do.


AT Secession Scenarios



Federalism solves violence, economic inequality and secession – prefer this evidence, it is based on empirical examples

Will Kymlicka, Professor of Philosophy at University of Toronto, Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, July 2000



I believe that this trend has been beneficial, and indeed quite successful, as measured by any of the criteria which should matter to liberals, such as: [use a bullet here and below]- peace and individual security: these multination federations are managing to deal with their competing national identities and nationalist projects with an almost complete absence of violence or terrorism by either the state or the minority. - democracy: ethnic conflict is now a matter of "ballots not bullets", with no threat of military coups or authoritarian regimes which take power in the name of national security; n10 - individual rights: these reforms have been achieved within the framework of liberal constitutions, with firm respect for individual civil and political rights. - economic prosperity: the move to multination federalism has also been achieved without jeopardizing the economic well-being of citizens. Indeed, the countries that have adopted multination federalism are amongst the wealthiest in the world. - inter-group equality: last but not least, multination federalism has promoted equality between majority and minority groups. By equality here I mean non-domination, such that one group is not systematically vulnerable to the domination of another group. Multination federalism has helped create greater economic equality between majority and minority; greater equality of political influence, so that minorities are not continually outvoted on all issues; and greater equality in the social and cultural fields, as reflected for example in reduced levels of prejudice and discrimination and greater mutual respect between groups. On all these criteria, multination federalism in the West must be judged as a success. Indeed, this trend is, I believe, one of the most important developments in Western democracies in this century. We talk a lot (and rightly so) about the role of the extension of the franchise to Blacks, women, and the working class in democratizing Western societies. But in its own way, this shift from suppressing to accommodating minority nationalisms has also played a vital role in consolidating and deepending democracy. These multination federations have not only managed the conflicts arising from their competing national identities in a peaceful and democratic way, but have also secured a high degree of economic prosperity and individual freedom for their citizens. This is truly remarkable when one considers the immense power of nationalism in this century. Nationalism has torn apart colonial empires and Communist dictatorships, and redefined boundaries all over the world. Yet democratic multination federations have succeeded in taming the force of nationalism. Democratic federalism has domesticated and pacified nationalism, while respecting individual rights and freedoms. It is difficult to imagine any other political system that can make the same claim.
Federalism prevents secessionist warfare

Will Kymlicka, Professor of Philosophy at University of Toronto, Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, July 2000.



Why have Western countries become less hysterical about secessionist mobilization? One reason, as I've noted, is that allowing secessionists to mobilize freely may actually reduce the likelihood of secession. Secession is less likely in a democratic multination federation where secessionists can mobilize freely than in a centralized state where illiberal measures are adopted to suppress minority nationalism. But there is another factor, namely that adopting multination federalism reduces the stakes of secession. After all, relatively little would change if Flanders, Scotland or Quebec were to become independent states.



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