A close-up/macro photograph of Iowa from a desktop globe. Adobe RGB color profile.

Man From Singapore Doesn’t Understand the United States of America

The New York Times has an interesting piece by Parag Khanna in its opinion section. I missed it last week.

In it, the academic from Singapore suggests a revised map and structure for the United States with regional entities.

The problem is that while the economic reality goes one way, the 50-state model means that federal and state resources are concentrated in a state capital — often a small, isolated city itself — and allocated with little sense of the larger whole. Not only does this keep back our largest cities, but smaller American cities are increasingly cut off from the national agenda, destined to become low-cost immigrant and retirement colonies, or simply to be abandoned.

This line of thinking, pretty common among technocrats of all ideological stripes and among progressives, is a pet peeve of mine.

The states in the union are not subdivisions of the federal government. They are semi-sovereign distinct states that have ceded limited powers to a federal government to do those things nationally and internationally the states themselves could not without great cost.

Thirteen original nations came together to do this. Other independent countries came into the federation. Still others were formed through land acquisition and then given status as states. The powers ceded to Washington were limited in writing under Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

The states still matter. They are still relevant, sovereign entities and not just administration subdivisions of a larger state that can be reorganized at will by technocrats.

About the author

Erick Erickson

View all posts