I’m looking for some information on how the subsidiarity of small power centers (local churches, community organizations, local governments) have historically been the best weapon against totalitarian regimes. I know I’ve read/heard this a few times, but I cannot remember from where. My recollection is that historically, the decentralization of power and competing power centers have been the best method for thwarting totalitarianism. Can you help me find some sources on this topic? Many thanks!
The basic idea is that small jurisdictions provide ample opportunities for oppressed people to “vote with their feet.” But I think you may be wondering more about the role of mediating institutions in protecting individuals from the state. Robert Nisbet’s works, especially the “Quest for Community,” would be helpful here. Alexis de Tocqueville also discusses this idea in “Democracy in America.”