Thursday, April 12, 2012

Revisiting Federalism

Via Volokh, Yale Law Professor Heather Gerken’s progressive case for federalism.

There is little here I find encouraging.  As Johah Goldberg, perhaps unwittingly, explains, Heather's argument is bereft of principle -- or rather, her defense of federalism is unsupported by any appeals to, say, self government or social peace.  Rather, it is framed entirely on the same ol' Stalinist who-whom thinking:  how can federalism help the Designated Victim Groups -- NAMs and gays -- take a piece out of the hated whitey.

Goldberg writes:

Pushing government decisions down to the lowest democratic level possible — while protecting basic civil rights — guarantees that more people will have a say in how they live their lives.

Good grief.  Which expansion of central government power of the last 40 years was it, exactly, that wasn't justified in terms of protecting an ever increasing list of "basic civil rights."  Does your "lowest democratic level" not like abortion? Tough.  Does it prefer school prayer to evolution?  Tough again.  Does it think marriage is between a man and a woman?  Skroo u, hillbilly.  Does it think that workers in the state should be lawful residents, but employers should otherwise be free to hire and fire who they wish? . . .  I could go on, but you get the idea.

3 comments:

Professor Hale said...

There is a serious flaw with federalism. We cannot restrict the communists in one state from moving to the capitalist paradise next door after they have made their homestate unlivable. Then they immediatly procede to trash their new homes.

It would be best if movement could not be restricted, that the benefits of residency could be restricted. But the Supreme court already struck that down. No collecting public benefits for 1 year, no voting for 10 years. Something like that.

Justin said...

Intelligent minds are coming to the same conclusion: the answer is decentralization and secession.

Dr. Φ said...

Prof Hale: that's a good point, and I wonder how, in a democracy, a failed state can ever recover when the people who would embrace the necessary reforms live other places, leaving only the dregs.

Justin: Perhaps, but not even Puerto Rico wants to be independent anymore.