States Rights?


Reading this piece by Jonathan Chait leads me to believe that Ron Paul inhabits an alternate universe.

The stronger version of this argument, advanced by Paul himself, is that racism is not irrelevant to his ideology, but that his ideology absolves him of racism. “Libertarians are incapable of being racist,” he has said, “because racism is a collectivist idea, you see people in groups.” Most libertarians may not take the argument quite as far as Paul does — many probably acknowledge that it is possible for a libertarian to hold racist views — but it does help explain their belief that racism simply has no relation to the rest of Paul’s beliefs. They genuinely see racism as a belief system that expresses itself only in the form of coercive government power. In Paul’s world, state-enforced discrimination isthe only kind of discrimination. A libertarian by definition opposes discrimination because libertarians oppose the state. He cannot imagine social power exerting itself through any other form.

In a perfect world, where everyone followed a moral code such as “the 10 Commandments” and/or “the Golden Rule”  Ron Paul’s ideas might have a chance of working.  Human beings are not wired that way.  Individual aggression, nations at war, striving for larger quarterly profits, these are all hallmarks of the human animal.

If you take away the Civil Rights Act of 1964, you in effect turn the clock back to 1865.  You cannot allow each business, each city, each state to have their own set of laws regarding civil rights including skin color, marriage preference, life or choice or any other divisive issues that the radical, evangelical, pea-brained, dogmatic right thinks is appropriate and still have a nation that is a world power.

Fifty states, each possible going in a different direction is the reason that the Articles of Confederation did not work.  From Radford University

Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation:

The Articles of Confederation, the first official government of the United States had many serious weaknesses. 1) Under the Articles there was only a unicameral legislature so that there was no separation of powers. 2) The central government under the Articles was too weak since the majority of the power rested with the states. 3) Congress, under the Articles, did not have the power to tax which meant that they could never put their finances in order. 4) In order to change or amend the Articles, unanimous approval of the states was required which essentially meant that changes to the Articles were impossible. 5) For any major laws to pass they had to be approved by 9 or the 13 states which proved difficult to do so that even the normal business of running a government was difficult. 6) Under the Articles, Congress did not have the power to regulate commerce which will cause competition between states as well as diplomatic issues,

The linch-pin of the United States rise as a world power was the interpretation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The significance of the Commerce Clause is described in the Supreme Court’s opinion in Gonzales v. Raich, 545  (2005):

The Commerce Clause emerged as the Framers’ response to the central problem giving rise to the Constitution itself: the absence of any federal commerce power under the Articles of Confederation. For the first century of our history, the primary use of the Clause was to preclude the kind of discriminatory state legislation that had once been permissible. Then, in response to rapid industrial development and an increasingly interdependent national economy, Congress “ushered in a new era of federal regulation under the commerce power,” beginning with the enactment of the Interstate Commerce Act in 1887 and the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890.

The Commerce Clause represents one of the most fundamental powers delegated to the Congress by the founders. The outer limits of the Interstate Commerce Clause power has been the subject of long, intense political controversy. Interpretation of the sixteen words of the Commerce Clause has helped define the balance of power between the federal government and the states and the balance of power between the two elected branches of the Federal government and the Judiciary. As such, it has a direct impact on the lives of American citizens.

Now we have a third-string-minor-league player advocating for a set of rules that will return us to the dark ages as they existed in the last half of the 19th century.

I, as a 70 year old white male who has been married to Mrs. Chief for over 50 years, do not feel threatened by people of color coming to this country trying to get ahead.  I do not feel that my marriage is threatened by a family that has two parents of the same sex and or two parents with different skin tones.  If a woman feels compelled to have an abortion, I would hope she could have it done under clean and sterile conditions by trained medical professionals.

In other words, when ever the concept of States Rights prevails, we as a nation are the poorer.

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