The Decline of States’ Rights

With a population of over three hundred million people and an increasingly diverse set of principles and opinions, the United States has a growth problem.

The Founding Fathers predicted this issue and emphasized the importance of local governments. Their logic: that people with similar principles will congregate in similar areas. As members of the overall country, the process is made simple and requires no special passport or application. Smaller communities can take a stand on issues of importance and make an exception for their jurisdiction.

The individual state, as originally intended as the largest of these communities, has now been subverted by an even larger national one. We are increasingly merging into the United State as opposed to a collection of United States. Just saying the “United State” sends 1984 chills down my spine.

Here’s the problem; the federal government is growing. Just look at the latest bailout bill, national health-care legislation or TARP funds. It doesn’t end there either; just a few days ago another smaller $15 billion dollar billion “jobs bill” was passed.

Do you believe in socialized medicine? You have a right to that belief, but why forces it on every other state instead of making it a priority in your own? Massachusetts attempted health-care reform and it didn’t work out too well. But they have a much better chance of successfully overhauling their system because they have a population of 6.5 million compared to three hundred million. Do you trust the government to efficiently run a project of that size?

Then there is the issue of majority opinion. Even if they manage a 51 percent majority consensus on an issue like health care (which is impossible), wouldn’t you rather have a larger percentage? If every state had a different health-care initiative, people could rally more successfully for what they want. Why not take it a step further and bring it down to counties and cities. There would be less need to compromise on crucial issues and more chance of a higher ratio of majority acceptance. And best of all, your opinion and your voice are (literally) much more likely to be heard and appreciated.

Look at your local proposals for the last few years; individual states and communities can actually make decisions with greater than a 60 percent popular vote! How likely is that on the national scale? In the local scenario you would have the freedom to go or move to another city, county or state if you really cared enough about certain issues. And you wouldn’t have to change your citizenship.

Comments

  • This seems like a clever solution to the objections that I suppose we share against collectivized health care on the Federal level.

    It should be noted though that many states have, to different degrees, regulated health care and the health insurance business already and little good came of that.

    What’s to stop all states from enacting a “public option”?

  • As Rand said: “The constitutional concept of “states’ rights” pertains to the division of power between local and national authorities, and serves to protect the states from the Federal government; it does not grant to a state government an unlimited, arbitrary power over its citizens or the privilege of abrogating the citizens’ individual rights.”

    the paramount issue here is individual rights and how best to realize that goal, not a states’ rights to subjugate its people by unlimited majority rule. For example, if 51% of Texans think there should be slavery, or abortion should be banned or socialized medicine should be enacted then it is passed, etc…. In such a case the citizens of a state determine the victims and the victimizers, rather than the federal government; your are trading one dictatorship for another.

    the push needs to be not federal vs. states rights but the realignment of both to the protection of individual rights. The individual should not be sacrificed for the alleged benefits of others no matter what these benefits maybe.

    Having said that it should not be taken as a given that the current system of a federation of states under the present constitution is the best way to achieve that.There is ultimately no substitute for cultural change. Without it, the political framework is fairly marginal.

    just my 2 cents

  • At least on the state level, there are less politics involved in changing the system. As we have seen on the federal level, it is almost impossible to remove anything once it has been set in place.

  • Maybe we should be called the United Individuals instead of the United States? Perhaps the necessary cultural change will follow suit.

  • Why would a local government by any less likely to become tyrannical? Sure, MAYBE, a smaller size means it is easier to remove bad policies supposing voting really is the best way to run a government. But it could also be easier to implement bad policies. 50 small tyrannies or 1 big tyranny, it’s all just as bad.

    Any distinction between state/federal should really just be a matter of structure

  • I agree that the less control the government has over your life the better, but not everyone agrees with me on that principle. Shouldn’t there be some way of allowing those that prefer their way of life to continue to do so (so long as it doesn’t effect your own)?

  • I share Fareed’s fear though. As I noted earlier, what’s to stop all states from collectivizing health care?

  • The congregation of those with like interests. People that prefer freedom and individual responsibility will all live in… Washington (the state). And then when every other state collapses on itself, Washington will be the one “United State”. (Maybe I should of picked some place nicer like Hawaii or California!)

    In all seriousness though, I would prefer fifty chances of getting it right versus one. I would prefer the government not be involved at all, but what of compromise?

  • Shane, your statement

    “I agree that the less control the government has over your life the better, but not everyone agrees with me on that principle. Shouldn’t there be some way of allowing those that prefer their way of life to continue to do so (so long as it doesn’t effect your own)?”

    what is “their way of life”. if their way of life entails using force or violating the rights of others because they need something e.g. universal health care, education etc…. then no it is immoral because you would need to use force to accomplish it.

    and this one

    ” Do you believe in socialized medicine? You have a right to that belief, but why forces it on every other state instead of making it a priority in your own? Massachusetts attempted health care reform and it didn’t work out too well. But they have a much better chance of successfully overhauling their system because they have a population of 6.5 million compared to three hundred million. Do you trust the government to efficiently run a project of that size?”

    A government cannot run any project like that efficiently in the first place, no matter how small.

    “I would prefer fifty chances of getting it right versus one”

    So you have to move to a state each time one violates your rights?

    I mean I GET what your saying, but all you need is to do is create a proper government– easier said than done I know—.You don’t just throw a bunch of rules together and see what works, and try 50 versions outs.

    “but what of compromise?”

    compromise of principles: never. those who try to be all things to all men, end up by not being anything to anyone.compromise of strategy I can certainly agree with.

    however you first you have to clarify the idea of what the proper role of government is. You need to narrow down the essentials.

  • what is “their way of life”. if their way of life entails using force or violating the rights of others because they need something e.g. universal health care, education etc…. then no it is immoral because you would need to use force to accomplish it.

    For the sake of argument—what if the “victims” are willing and no force need be applied? There’s plenty of people of means who’re quite OK with surrendering part of their wealth for the sake of helping others.

    Of course, nothing’s stopping them from doing so in a free society.

  • For the sake of argument—what if the “victims” are willing and no force need be applied? There’s plenty of people of means who’re quite OK with surrendering part of their wealth for the sake of helping others.

    Of course, nothing’s stopping them from doing so in a free society.

    Then let them immolate themselves. If they ALL voluntarily agree to it, it is fine.

  • Sure it is immoral to want these things – they rely on egalitarianism – but it should not be illegal if voluntary.

  • Indeed. I pretty much deconstructed my argument there already, because, as I noted, in a free society, there’s nothing stopping people from “immolating” themselves, as you call it.

  • “compromise of principles: never. those who try to be all things to all men, end up by not being anything to anyone.”

    And usually they end up burned out too.

    But what of opposing principles? People that are equally as dedicated on the other side? Is it possible to convince everyone to join your school of thought? And what of those that resist on equally immovable ideals, do you overrule them of their right to disagree? Ignore them? Banish them? Conquer them?

    Maybe I’m too cynical, but you can’t convince everyone. Short of founding your own country with these ideals, I’m not sure how you could implement change in such a diverse global community. Perhaps through discussion and reflection (like we are having), but again not everyone will participate or care.

  • your not job is not convince everyone nor should you attempt to do so. some people will always vote republican or vote democratic or vote green or keep hating big business no matter what. however there are some who have an active mind and will consider and listen to what your saying. those are a minority and those are the people you want to reach. Change never came from a majority after all.

    If my principles disagree with theirs I will make it clear the points we disagree and agree on. I may even try to reason with them for someone with wrong principles is better than someone with no principles at all.

  • Leave a reply