I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Thursday, December 02, 2004

The New Federalism

Last night I listened to Talk of the Nation, where some liberal guests were now advocating state's rights and federalism, taking power away from the federal government and giving it to the states. As a libertarian, this gladdens my heart. To me, this recent election is a good reason for liberals to join forces with libertarians in advocating smaller federal government. Liberals believed for years that there was no problem, individual or collective, that the federal government should not step in to solve. To do this, it's neccessary to grow and expand the power of the federal government, increasing its cooercive power to punish those who don't fall into lock step with progressive goals. The pitfall in creating this powerful, coercive government, however, is that eventually people who don't share the progressive's values will take control of the government and use it to steer society in entirely different directions. I'm not accusing conservatives of "bad" values here--I fully believe that they feel like they are using governmental power for the greatest public good, just like liberals do. But no matter who has power, they are going to leave half of the public unhappy. With liberals in power, the government seems geared toward keeping people from starting businesses, owning guns, and smoking. Conservatives use their power to keep men from kissing other men and terminally ill patients from smoking pot or dying with dignity with a doctor's aid. Both sides are fated to have the governmental power they grow and empower eventually turned against them. When the hobnailed boot of government is standing on their throats, I hope they remember they helped tie the laces on that boot.


Mr. Cavin said...

Okay, granted that both parties have for many a while now been pushing for larger government in an effort to dictate party mores; but isn't a petulant grab for "state's rights" just a ploy to continue along the same road with legislation transferred to another governing body? It isn't like you are going to find yourself in a state-free zone (except for DC, of course, 9.1 of every ten people voting democrat, and without a right in the world), and government is government. While I am all for the lessening of federal regulation, the idea that this regulation will fall to state government is cold comfort unless I move. I am afraid that the burden of government will look the same, no mater how it is severed and parceled, from my vantage below.

And frankly, all I hear about state's rights is from petulant blue states whining about subsidizing the red states. And here I was under the impression that materials were as important as products. Even with a pretty big boost, regulation of interstate commercial tax laws will be governed by the fed, right?

So what am I missing here?

James Maxey said...

Mr. Cavin, you are absolutely correct that the burden of government would only shift, rather than be eliminated. But the advantage would be that the laws in all 50 states could be different. For instance, I know that Kentucky has a fairly high percentage of folks who favor legalizing hemp. So, why not let hemp be legal in Kentucky, and illegal in North Carolina? Why not allow gay marriage in California and ban it in Tennessee? Some of these big social issues are presented in a all or nothing light. If three or four state allow euthanasia for a couple of decades and it doesn't turn their population into mass murderers, perhaps other states will change their laws. Or, if they do turn into mass murderers, then at least the damage is confined to a few states. Let the states willing to gamble on adopting controversial social policies do so. Some will pay off well, some won't.