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In catholicism there is a social justice concept called “subsidiarity”. This refers to maintaining authority at the lowest possible level to address an issue. For example, in New England the town government should deal with snow removal for town streets – there is no need for higher level government intervention so the state and federal government should not be involved. The highways are a larger level problem, and snow removal is dealt with at the state level, no federal involvement is needed. Not only is authority in DC over snow removal in Maine not efficient or effective, it’s also not just. Part of the reaction described above can be seen as rejecting unnecessary centralization of power, in line with this concept of injustice.
A parallel is seen in the mistaken descriptions of American Tea Party rejection of DC government – they are not necessarily against government involvement in things, as much as not seeing any justification of further centralizing that government authority in DC. Because news reporting doesn’t generally distinguish between levels of government, they aren’t equipped to understand this distinction.