What Is It They Say About Great Minds?

Sound familiar?

America has an unfortunate history with secession, which led to the bloodiest war in our history and divisions that persist to this day. But, in general, the causes of secession are pretty standard around the world: Too much power in the central government, too much resentment in the unhappy provinces. (Think Hunger Games).

So what’s a solution? Let the central government do the things that only central governments can do — national defense, regulation of trade to keep the provinces from engaging in economic warfare with one another, protection of basic civil rights — and then let the provinces go their own way in most other issues. Don’t like the way things are run where you are? Move to a province that’s more to your taste. Meanwhile, approaches that work in individual provinces can, after some experimentation, be adopted by the central government, thus lowering the risk of adopting untested policies at the national level. You get the benefits of secession without seceding.

Sound good? It should. It’s called federalism, and it’s the approach chosen by the United States when it adopted the Constitution in 1789. As James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 45, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”

It’s a nice plan. Beats secession. Maybe we should give it another try.

That’s Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame writing in USA Today – today.

This is me – from July of this year:

So what do you say that we work the original plan and throttle the national government back to its enumerated powers, put the Commerce Clause genie back in the bottle, reduce the power of the Congress, SCOTUS and the Executive to matters of true national import like defense, protection of our borders, a common currency and interstate highways and utilities? We then restore the power of the states and allow them to decide just exactly what their people want them to be…MassCare – totally cool – if that’s what Massachusetts folk want. Vermont wants to go full-on Marxist, there you go. New Hampshire votes for pure capitalism, OK by me. New Yorkers want state funded abortion on demand – killer idea (pun intended), if that’s what all the feminists want. Mississippi wants the Christian faith taught in schools – hallelujah! The people of Texas want every citizen to carry a side-arm, no problem. California wants a 75% tax on the “rich” and Utah wants to abolish taxes altogether? I smell a referendum coming.

What do you say?

At least that way, people have a choice. If they want something that their state doesn’t offer, they can relocate. Similarly, if they object to something, they can leave or work to change it. When controversial programs like O-Care are passed at a national level, people who disagree are just stuck.

See – this was the wisdom of the Founders that was destroyed by the Civil War. The original 13 colonies were settled by people from common heritages and cultures and as such there was a wide variation from the fishing and whaling seafaring societies of the northeast to the agrarian societies of the southern colonies – the founders recognized this diversity (don’t you think diversity is a good thing?) and allowed a mechanism for dealing with it. Autonomy at a state level – smaller segments of the population are more likely to share common ideas and to be able to gain continuity in governing themselves.

My take is this: the problems with our political discourses today are that the concepts being debated at a national level are just too big and complex to expect the entire nation to agree on them…and having an idea forced on half of the national population does not generate goodwill and trust. Refusing to deal with a national problem, such as illegal immigration, when the Border States are suffering the effects causes significant discord.

Federalism. This one concept is the answer to our political stalemate and for both of us to have what we want and expect out of America.

If you are so confident in your ideology and you don’t need us dumb, gun-totin’, NASCAR watching hicks, you should be all-in on this…you get to central plan your own state level Utopias.

Then 20 years from now, lets look back and see which states are prosperous and which are sucking wind.

Let me know how that works for you.


2 thoughts on “What Is It They Say About Great Minds?

  1. Maybe, just maybe,
    “we” aren’t alone….

    Good work.

    I read your writings for a year b4 I decided you might be for real. 🙂

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