[FoRK] Misunderestimating "The" Tea Party

Russell Turpin russell.turpin at gmail.com
Fri Mar 19 06:53:54 PDT 2010


On Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 4:36 PM, Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> wrote:
> If given the opportunity to form its own "state" --- Russell, do you really think
> e.g. Austin, independent of Round Rock much less e.g. Dallas, Abilene, or
> Lubbock, would be anti-choice?

Yes, in some imaginary realm where each community regulated abortion,
Austin would support choice, while those other communities would all
ban abortion. Notice that that would result in a significant loss of
individual liberty, for the vast majority of Texans, and in
particular, for women living in Round Rock, Dallas, Abilene, and
Lubbock. It would represent a shift in power from one level of
government (federal) to a second (city), that came with a net decrease
in individual freedom. I fail to understand why someone concerned with
individual liberty would find that an attractive shift.

What's worse is the more plausible scenario, where the individual
states regain the power to decide this question. Do you have any doubt
that abortion would then be banned in all of the Texas, Austin
included?

I can imagine theoretical arguments that smaller units of government
would be more conducive to individual liberty than larger. We don't
live in that imaginary place. We live in a nation that fought its
Civil War because some states wanted to guarantee their citizens the
freedom to own slaves, unimpeded by possible federal policy, and where
the strongest support for individual liberties ever since has come
from application of the federal Bill of Rights to the states, under
the 14th amendment ratified as a consequence of the Civil War. That is
why South Carolina can no longer ban speech it dislikes. That is why
Virginia can no longer ban miscegenation. That is why Texas can no
longer ban homosexual intercourse or abortion. And that is why Chicago
soon will no longer be able to ban possession of handguns. All
freedoms I support. All because of the federal courts.

Which makes me more than leery of the rhetoric, descending from the
Lost Cause, that the course of history after the Civil War,  through
the meddling of federal courts, has robbed Americans of their freedom.
I understand why social conservatives chase that rhetoric. To them,
freedom is about the power of their communities to control individual
behavior. They want abortion banned in Abilene, and they chafe that
the federal government prevents that. I don't understand why
libertarians sometimes chase that rhetoric.

> In the end, IMHO, a free market wins.  And a free market with more
> choices (and less barriers-to-entry for those that would offer alternative
> chocies) is better than a free market with less choices.  Let's have more
> choice in government, not less.

Hmmm....

Is Europe's economy as a whole more or less free because of its
greater integration under the European Union? Would America's economy
as a whole be more free had the states gone their own ways in 1789?
Again, I'll press the point that political boundaries are market
barriers. It seems to me that much of the move to political
integration, at the national level in the US and the super-nation
level in Europe, has come about precisely because of the benefits of
market integration.



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