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How the Constitution Prevents Socialism


Published October 14, 2020

Though many believe that socialism would be good for America, restrictions in the Constitution make it difficult to enact socialist policy. The framers understood that centralizing power threatened individual liberty, so they designed the Constitution to prevent it from happening. Maintaining the balance between national and state governments ensures that our liberties will flourish and socialism will fail.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How is socialist policy at odds with the US Constitution?
  2. How does federalism protect individual liberties?

Additional Resources:

  • To learn more, read “Socialism vs. the American Constitutional Structure: The Advantages of Decentralization and Federalism,” by John Yoo. Available here.
  • Watch “The Supreme Court’s Role in Restoring Federalism,” with John Yoo. Available here.
  • Watch “Executive Power in the Constitution,” with John Yoo via C-SPAN. Available here.
View Transcript

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 U.S. Constitution makes it difficult to enact genuine socialist policy. 

Socialism demands the centralization of government power and the supremacy of the state over the individual. 

The framers of our 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 established a federal government of limited, enumerated powers, with most authority remaining with the states. 

Even within Washington, D.C., the Constitution would further break up the government with a separation of powers that would check and balance each branch of government. 

For socialism to prevail, it would have to eliminate these restrictions. 

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 states and the federal government will ensure that socialism will fail, power will remain dispersed, and our liberties will flourish.