When one strolls through the gardens at Versailles, one of the last ideas that goes through your mind is "Wow, what a nice prison". But when you spend some time thinking about it, you begin to realize that maybe there is some merit in that thought.
The Sun King built Versailles as much as a palace as to provide a place for the nobility of France to congregate under his control. Over time, the perks and decadence of Versailles crippled the nobility and allowed Louis Quatorze to keep the nobles at heel in a guilded cage.
The nobles passed the running of their once independent estates to caretakers and ran toward Versailles much in the same way that a moth runs toward a flame (and with about the same results). With Versailles, Louis managed to concentrate the power of France into a singular state. The nobles power was reduced to to little more than a dab hand at fashion and lechery.
The lessons here in America are similar, but there is no architectural marvel to behold, Our Versaille is built into the money that streams from Washington to fund everything from education to sewer treatment plants to police forces.
This funding has emasculated state governments, making them little more than deputy accountants and ten percent skimmers. States are not really allowed to have an opinion anymore, when they try to express one, the money starts to dry up and the screaming starts.
But, we may be starting down the path to things righting themselves. The Bush Presidency, through it's relentless and pathological fixation on accruing power may well have set the nation on a course where the States can take back their power. Like Louis, they have bankrupted the nation, and with the loss of this money, comes the loss of power. States will be left to their own devices in order for the federal government to pay for its excesses.
So now it is time for States to begin to rebuild their independence. They need to establish what their needs are and start self funding their needs. They need to begin refusing the unfunded mandates from Washington. They need to set their tax structures and duties in a manner that they can keep going when Washington collapses.
Because remember my friends, while Louis XIV built Versailles, it was his successor, Louis XV who said: