Every American citizen who is concerned about the increasing centralized power of Washington DC should immediately subscribe to their local newspaper. The preservation of limited, Constitutional government requires small localities across the country to be the center of American political life. If we want to decentralize political power, we need state and local governments to be able to do many of the things that the federal government currently does and do them better.
For decentralization to be successful on a large scale we must develop a more active local political community. Newspaper subscriptions might seem like a strange way to accomplish this, especially given the recent decline in newspaper circulation, however, it is a small step that could have a great impact in strengthening local political communities all across the country.
In order for local government to work effectively, citizens must be actively engaged. If the majority of citizens ignore the activities of their city council and school board those institutions become weak. If the school board is weak, most parents will not be content to allow schools to deteriorate indefinitely. Instead, they will vote for congressmen and presidential candidates who promise to spend more money on education. This federal money will come through the Department of Education, which will increase in power as local school districts become more and more dependent on it. This trend of increasing federal power will continue until conservatives effectively demonstrate that state and local governments can be more effective that the federal government.
Local newspapers, whether online or in print, can do a lot to create the kind of political environment necessary to reducing Washington’s bureaucratic power. Because these papers are local, they are able to report on local issues and inform citizens about what is going on locally. Perhaps more importantly, they can also print letters to the editor written by local residents, encouraging serious thought and discussion of local issues. This can help citizens develop habits of self-government and build communities all across the country that are capable of handling problems on their own and pushing back against over-reaching federal power.