I grew up in Georgia and was taught that American history ended in 1865 with the fall of the Confederacy. The original federal system was killed. It was disinterred and a stake was driven into its heart in the 20th century with increasing centralization of power in the federal government and the decreasing importance of the states. I grew up thinking of myself as a Georgian first and an American second. We were obliged in the government schools to take a year of Georgia history in the 8th grade and to demonstrate competence in the official history of our glorious state. I loved Georgia with all my heart.
I still love Georgia, but in a different, healthier way. I love the landscape and the people and my cultural heritage, but I think that the State of Georgia is nothing more than a criminal conspiracy. Libertarians and conservatives sometimes wax nostalgic about federalism, the former out of principle and the latter when it is convenient for them. (Conservatives support states if they outlaw gay marriage but call in the feds if a state legalizes medical marijuana.) I am not entirely convinced by the arguments for dispersing power to smaller units of government, and I have commented before about the tyranny of local government. Smaller government is still government with all the attendant evils, and a smaller government may have more of an interest in screwing with my life than a more remote ruler.
Back to Georgia and why its government sucks. Georgia used its sovereignty to enforce the enslavement of thousands, hardly an argument for states' being more liberty loving than the central government.
Georgia used its sovereignty to segregate and discriminate against its subjects of African descent. Today, Georgia taxes and regulates its subjects mercilessly and exercises every power it can. If the federal government relinquished a power, Georgia would surely take it up with a vengeance.
Before anyone claims I am picking on Georgia, let me state that I have no regard for my adopted state of New York's government, either.
I question whether I would be better off if federalism were observed.