Mike Lee: ‘There’s Never Been a Time In American History When We Have Needed Federalism More’

‘It’s a constitutional value, one that would work well today and one that would allow more Americans to get more of what they want out of governments’

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DICKERSON: Let me move on to your book, “Written Out of History.”

It’s an argument about what’s been lost. Explain to us what has been lost and why that is important now.

LEE: What has been lost are the stories of our early forgotten founders, those who taught us about things like federalism, about separation of powers.

One of the things that we have lost today is the understanding that not all power is supposed to be vested in the federal government. I tell the story of eight forgotten founders, people like Canasatego, an Iroquois Indiana chief, who taught Benjamin Franklin about federalism, about the idea that you can form a confederacy in which the central power has only limited powers and local control is retained.

Benjamin Franklin then taught those principles to the other founders, who worked those principles into the Constitution. We have forgotten about Canasatego, in large part because we have forgotten about federalism.

And yet, as we see from these discussions about health care today, there’s never been a time in American history when we have needed federalism more. This is neither Republican nor Democratic. It’s neither liberal nor conservative.

This is simply American. It’s a constitutional value, one that would work well today and one that would allow more Americans to get more of what they want out of governments and less of what they don’t want.

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