Saturday, September 08, 2012

Find me a real "state's rights" Republican

I read a trite little essay over at "American Thinker" about whether it is best to refer to the USA as singular or plural. The author seemed to think that it was meaningful (and good) that Romney and Rubio had referred to "these" united states rather than "the" United States.

As the author writes:
There is nothing in either the Declaration or the Constitution to suggest that our forefathers fought to free themselves from the bonds of one central government merely to surrender their newly won sovereignty to another.
The late historian Shelby Foote noted that before the Civil War, Americans used to say, "The United States are...," and after the War, the phrase transmogrified to "The United States is..."  In the past, I thought of that as a good thing, but today, I have to wonder -- for in the years since, and especially since the rise of liberalism that began in the early twentieth century, the transition in phrasing, from "are" to "is" and from "these" to "the," has come increasingly to transform, in Americans' minds, a transforming of the nation, from a federation of fifty independent states, into a collective -- and, increasingly, collectivist -- single state, with the formerly independent states reduced to the status of mere satraps.
And that, I would submit, and with all due respect to Paul Ryan, is the real debate the nation needs to have, and the one that conservatives need to win.  Whether America is to return to its roots and experience a rebirth as an individualistic nation or succumb to slow decline as a European-style collectivist welfare state is infinitely more important to our future than how we deal with this or that government program.
Without saying as much, the author seems to be a proponent of state's rights, and is projecting these opinions onto Rubio and Ryan based on their use of old-fashioned vocabulary. As readers here are probably aware, there are some major problems with the concept of state's rights, and it should not be thought of as a synonym for localism or decentralization. However, for those in high office who claim to support the idea, there are a number of unambiguous policies that they could enact to clearly demonstrate what they think about the relationship between the state and federal governments:

1) Don't treat state flags as subordinate to the federal flag. Fly them alongside or above the federal flag. Congressmen should propose to eliminate federal supremacy from the Flag Code.

2) Abolish or radically rewrite the Pledge of Allegiance. At least, eliminate the clause "One nation... indivisible", though the entire notion of the pledge implies supremacy of the USA over the states.

3) Revoke the "Freedom to Display the American Flag Act ", since the Federal government has no place in regulating the agreements between landlords and tenants (right?)

As described in the essay, the supremacy of the USA over the states was solidified after the Civil War. The above laws were established in the 1920's, 1940's and 2005, respectively.

Will "state's rights" republicans repudiate these assertions of federal supremacy? I'm not holding my breath.

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