I just listened in to an extended rant by a former media hero of mine, Rachel Maddow. Rachel, you are too smart to be delivering analysis like what I just heard. I really miss your coverage during the Bush years when you were highly objective and questioned the Federal government’s claims to power. You used to educate about Federal tyranny on a daily basis. I miss that Rachel.
A change in Maddowâ€™s approach was evident last week. Her argument was that since Rand Paul had reservations about the Federal governmentâ€™s relationship with private business (via the civil rights act) that Paul must think itâ€™s ok for private colleges to ban bi-racial dating or for a community pool to ban black kids. She would later infer that this was true for all Libertarians.
Patterns exist that describe how unjust the Federal government can be if you happen to be a person of color. Racially disproportionate prosecutions are ongoing and have been a significant source of our prison population in the US, which now includes 500 out of every 100,000 Americans. We are the most imprisoned population per capita in the western world and it would not be possible without the massive consolidation of power known as the Federal Drug War.
Most of those non-violent minority prisoners were arrested per Federal mandate after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Why then, would Maddowâ€™s analysis conclude that â€˜the only way black kids are going to be able to swim or date white people is if the all-powerful Federal government steps inâ€™. Itâ€™s a common view amongst statists really- the impression that Federal decree is the only way to keep all of us human animals from enslaving and/or exploiting each other.
The founders had a different idea. They thought that horrible things such as racial injustice or destruction of natural resources would best be dealt with on a level close to our systemâ€™s sovereign (We the People). They knew from experience that a centralized behemoth sending orders from afar was a bad way to govern, so they set out to do things differently here in the new world.
“Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government. Public servants at such a distance, and from under the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens; and the same circumstance, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite public agents to corruption, plunder and waste.” –Thomas Jefferson to Gideon Granger, 1800. ME 10:167
This republic was intended to be governed by two entities, a Federal government to handle a short list including post offices, foreign affairs and defense and a State government which would handle everything else not delegated to DC by the US Constitution. The point of this division was to allow the most important problems, things like hate crime and industrial abuse of the environment, to be addressed quickly and in a manner that represents the specific interests of the people in a given state. Just picture for a moment, how things might have gone differently for New Orleans had the Louisiana statehouse been able to direct the entire Katrina relief effort, rather than being forced to stand down and wait for the Federal behemoth to stir.
Like Federal response to Katrina, The continuing BP oil spill demonstrates that itâ€™s not a lack of control by the Federal government that jeopardizes Americans, but rather the commonly held faith in our â€˜all-powerful Fedsâ€™. Statists put all their money on the EPA to swoop down and protect the Gulf Coast states from just this kind of environmental danger. Howâ€™s that bet looking now Louisiana?At this point we have strayed from the republic our founders designed for us, but it is not too late. I wonder if Maddow will ever emerge from her statist cocoon like progressives such as Deb Sweet and Naomi Wolff.
If she does, she might just see that people who question Federal power are not motivated by a desire for ugly racial divides, but instead a desire for governance that sits outside of a documented epicenter of tyranny, Washington DC.
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