Friday, February 25, 2011
Federalism vs. Federal
Recently, it has become apparent to me that the word 'federalism' and 'federal' semantically refer to their own opposites. 'Federal,' an adjective, is used to modify words that refer to institutions of the central government. In these institutions, power is centralized and consolidated. However, 'federalism' is a theory of government that seeks to limit the power of the national government and to localize power to the states. If we replaced the word 'federal' with the word 'national,' we would fix most of our problems... Thus, when we say "I want to federalize such-and-such" we would be saying that we want to move power to the local/state (federal!) level. And when we say "we want to nationalize such-and-such" we want to move power to the national level.