[FoRK] Misunderestimating "The" Tea Party

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Tue Mar 16 12:08:17 PDT 2010

Russell Turpin wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 9:29 PM, Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> wrote:
>> Several of the constituent groups that could fit into the category are *explicitly* saying that (at least the Federal) government should have no say in that, or other similar, social-engineering matters.

Whether that makes sense or not depends.  In many cases it does not.  In 
the case of abortion, it does not.  Blue laws (see below), it does not.  
Copyright/patent, no.  Deciding how to pay for local services, sure.  
Healthcare is broken.  Fixing it at the state level is still mostly 
broken except for people who happen to live in a functional state and 
where none of them or their family move to or from another state.  
Healthcare, being tied to the person who has the freedom to move 
throughout the US at will, is fundamentally interstate commerce.  In 
other words, a person is an interstate entity so any services that 
travel with that person (as their health insurance does) is interstate also.

There's nothing wrong with state inspection / scrutiny of insurance 
carriers, however the restrictions and requirements should be national.  
The costs of the state-by-state adherence is huge, something I've seen 
first hand.

> Yes, of course. Because they want to empower the STATE governments to
> ban abortion. Need I point out that the repressive effects of that?
> I don't buy the argument that increasing state autonomy vis-a-vis the
> federal government automagically increases individual liberty. Yes,
> the Civil War led to the modern federal government. But remember the
> first part of the title of Hummel's nice history of that:
> "emancipating slaves." There's no reason to think those go together in
> theory. In practice, in actual American history, state governments
> have not been friendly to civil liberties.

A very good recent example is Lawrence et al. v. Texas in 2003:

This is a great paragraph that begins the opinion:

> Liberty protects the person from unwarranted govern-
> ment intrusions into a dwelling or other private places. In
> our tradition the State is not omnipresent in the home.
> And there are other spheres of our lives and existence,
> outside the home, where the State should not be a domi-
> nant presence. Freedom extends beyond spatial bounds.
> Liberty presumes an autonomy of self that includes free-
> dom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate
> conduct. The instant case involves liberty of the person
> both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions.
> I

This is an area that was clearly broken at the state level.  That 
various common sex acts were illegal in many places even between 
heterosexual couples, even if they were married, was bizarre at the 
least.  In places like Utah, such laws could have survived for decades 
or more.

The general model of States trying to restrict with Federal preventing 
restrictions when they are universally bad (unconstitutional or 
otherwise) is probably good most of the time.

At least some of the time when Federal laws are created, they don't 
really make sense the same in every state.  Maximum traffic speed laws 
being forced to 55mph through backdoor legislation (i.e. via budget 
pressure) is a good example of a bad move.


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