In countries that have adopted socialism, governments inevitably infringe on the people’s liberties. Despite this checkered history, many—particularly young Americans—think socialism would be good for America. Fortunately, the US Constitution makes it difficult to enact genuinely socialist policy.
A Central Feature
Socialism demands the centralization of government power and the supremacy of the state over the individual. The framers of the Constitution sought to prevent exactly this. They understood that centralizing power threatened individual liberty; they purposely set up a system to prevent it.
The Framers’ Vision
The framers established a federal government of limited, enumerated powers, with most authority remaining with the states. Even within federally ascribed powers, the Constitution would further separate these powers so that each branch of government would check and balance the others. For socialism to prevail, it would have to eliminate these restrictions.
A Balancing Act
Over the past century, the federal government has expanded its power at the expense of the states through expansive interpretations of its commerce and spending powers. While these actions have weakened the framers’ design, federalism resists the concentration of government. Maintaining and strengthening the balance between the national and the fifty state governments will ensure that power remains dispersed and our liberties will flourish.