>> Tuesday, April 20, 2010
In case you couldn't figure this out, this post represents my point of view rather than fact.
I've been butting heads, as I frequently do with Relax Max, on the topic of local control (state's rights) vs. Federal. I tend to prefer federal control/regulation/standards. RM, as usual, thinks I'm ill-informed and idealistic.
You probably won't be surprised to find I think of it differently.
But he did me the favor of making me think why I feel the way I do. See, I felt that history wasn't kind to groups of small city-states and independent countries working in a close alliance. You know what? I still think it. In fact, every collection of small independent allied countries that did not have a strong central government that I could think of has either collapsed or turned on itself in an ugly way or has grown to have a stronger central government. But, if you can think of an exception, let me know.
I know the United States, before it was a federal entity, was a confederacy that failed pretty miserably.
So what? Just because they haven't worked in the past doesn't mean they can't, right?
So then I thought about it. Why doesn't it work? What is it about close community or local government that make it a bad bet in a larger community?
I'm sure there are many people who have written their thesis on that particular topic and, hell, I don't claim to be a political scientist...
I thought for a minute on what types of people tend to be rabidly attached to the notion of local control, that spurn the notion of broad brush standards or centralized regulation. They tend to talk about freedom and commerce and tradition and whatnot and I'll get to what I think of that. But, looking past the hype, what is it they're really looking for? Why are they so passionate?
Well, to my way of thinking, they tend to fall into two categories. One are the organizations that have a vested interest in local regulation instead of centralized such as insurance companies who like the advantages of setting up business in one state that might have lax regulation and then doing business elsewhere. Having a hodgepodge of laws, tax schemes, regulations and tariffs works to the advantage of those who like to take advantage if you know what I mean. That can also apply to criminals. Just sayin'.
The other groups, the general public that tends to cry out for local control, state's rights, etc. tend to be those that seem to want that control to facilitate oppressing subgroups within their midst. Now, before you start squawking, think about it.
Say the Civil War was all about state's rights. What did they want the right to do? Keep a minority oppressed, maintain a rather antiquated hierarchy (and social structure that was short-sighted, doomed to failure and only benefited a very small minority) and safeguard a number of prejudices. They used "freedom" as their call, but what they really wanted was the freedom to oppress others.
It's been 150 years, folks, but the story hasn't changed. The ones that want local control, state's rights, etc. also tend to be the ones who want the "freedom" to have "marriage preserved" by keeping gays from having it, or want the "freedom" to "maintain moral standards" by prohibiting abortion (and a woman's right to choose) the like or perhaps the "freedom" to rewrite history to ignore key historical figures or their well-documented motivations for other slanted views, like Texas.
Truth is, when you have a larger and more diverse pool that sets the standards, it's harder, not easier, to oppress minorities, to distort the past, to impose rules based on moral, or rather religious, views. If everyone's playing by the same rules, it's harder to treat people differently just because they're "different." It's also harder to use the rules to your advantage to circumvent them.
It's interesting, despite the choruses of "freedom" that go with the local control advocates, that you rarely hear that same group talking about becoming more tolerant or open or treating everyone on the same level. If they talk about tolerance, it tends to be tolerance for their "right" to take choices from others, their right to be intolerant.
You know what? I don't think that's a coincidence. How's that for some confederate history?
Oh, and RM, don't respond with a rant. Better provide counterexamples from your superior knowledge of history. That will at least get my attention.