Stop Smearing Federalism

From consumer advocacy to gay marriage, liberals routinely embrace federalism. So why do they keep comparing it to slavery?

Earlier this year, the liberal Princeton historian Sean Wilentz published a widely quoted essay in The New Republic comparing the political opposition to President Barack Obama’s health care act and other federal initiatives to the racist secessionism of the Confederacy and Jim Crow South. “There are those who now seek to reopen this wound in the name of resisting federal legislation on issues ranging from gun control to health care reform,” Wilentz wrote. “Proclaiming themselves heralds of liberty and freedom, the new nullifiers would have us repudiate the sacrifices of American history—and subvert the constitutional pillars of American nationhood.”

In Wilentz’s skewed telling, support for federalism—which is simply the idea that federal law should control in some limited areas while state or local law should control in others—comes across as no better than supporting the worst forms of state-sanctioned brutality. And he’s not alone in that negative judgment. Liberal New York Times’ writer Kate Zernike has referred to the “echo of slavery, Jim Crow and George Wallace” discernible in Tea Party criticisms of the Obama administration, while MSNBC host Keith Olbermann recently attacked Tea Party political candidates for wanting to “march this nation as far backward as they can get, backward to Jim Crow.”

Yet while these and other liberal commentators demonize the federalism championed by conservatives and libertarians, others on the left have been successfully employing the concept of federalism to advance a progressive political agenda. Just yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, a case centering on a cell phone contract whose terms passed muster under the Federal Arbitration Act yet ran afoul of a more stringent California law. In this case it was progressive activists urging the Supreme Court to side with state law over federal regulatory power. As Brooke Obie of the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center put it, “Will the Court follow its federalism principles and allow state contract law to be enforced?” Yesterday’s oral arguments suggest the Court probably will. “Are we going to tell the State of California what it has to consider unconscionable?” asked conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

Similarly, in last year’s Wyeth v. Levine, the Supreme Court ruled that federal law did not preempt a state failure-to-warn lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company even though the drug warning label in question was approved by the Federal Drug Administration, a decision cheered by left-wing consumer advocates and criticized by free-market policy analysts. The ruling was also notable for its unusual 6-3 line-up, with conservative Justice Clarence Thomas concurring in the judgment written by liberal Justice John Paul Stevens (which Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer joined) while fellow conservative Justice Samuel Alito authored a dissent joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Scalia.

The usual left-right tables were also turned this year in the landmark gun rights case McDonald v. Chicago, where many liberal activists argued that state and local governments should be allowed to serve as “laboratories of democracy” when it came to gun control while libertarian lawyers spearheaded the successful movement to make the Second Amendment apply to the states.

In other words, there’s nothing inherently liberal or conservative about making an appeal to federalism. It’s a legal and rhetorical tool used—sometimes correctly, sometimes not—by both sides of the political aisle. Unless liberal critics like Wilentz, Zernike, and Olbermann will also admit to hearing the “echo of slavery” in state-level consumer advocacy campaigns, or in the many ongoing state and local efforts to legalize gay marriage and medical marijuana, they should stop smearing federalism and start evaluating the merits of the actual issues. That might not be as easy as tarring your political opponents as closet white supremacists, but it does have the advantage of being intellectually honest.

Damon W. Root is an associate editor at Reason magazine.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    After Prop 19, where lots of liberals got up and said that they thought opposing the "chaos" of federalism was more important that reforming admittedly insane drug laws, I think this one's a lost cause. But continue to fight the good fight, Damon.

  • juan||

    ^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^

  • Old Mexican||

    Isn’t it time for the left to stop comparing federalism to slavery?

    "It's only federalism when WE do it."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrcM5exDxcc

  • AlmightyJB||

    Was that Max?

    Yeah, a Liberal is someone with one set of rules for themselves, and another set for everyone else. They keep proving that to be true over and over and over.

  • ||

    like the flap over bathtub boy and his political donations???

  • ||

    Nonsense (and this small 'm' max not big "M" Max), liberals believe that who you are is more important than anything else. It therefore logically follows that even though there is only one set of rules, it should be applied differently to different people. In liberal ideology we are a nation of people not a nation of laws, all else follows from that.

  • Anonymous||

    Fart.

  • The Old South||

    We will rise again! And we'll win this time, as soon as we figure out how to weaponize type 2 diabetes!

  • hehe||

    What is Krispy Kreme is if not weaponized type 2 diabetes?

  • phoenix||

    Weapons of Ass Expansion, or Weapons of Max Deliciousness?

  • ||

    You are not actually supposed to laugh out loud while reading the commentary. I almost spilled my tea...

  • Pip||

    It's like foie gras. They force-feed dogs nothing but sugar and lard, with just enough flour to hold it all together. Then, when the dogs need to shit, they make them do so over a deep fat fryer.

  • Rich||

    Nice.

  • ||

    I don't wanna know where the jelly filling comes from....

  • ||

    So who, exactly, is pro-Jim Crow?

  • ||

    Hmm, using a facially neutral law to discriminate against blacks-- I'm thinking the Orlando police with regards to barbers?

  • Pip||

    That story's gone national, BTW.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Pro Libertate,

    If you go by what Keith Olberman and Lawrence O'Donnell allege, that would be Tea Partiers - or anybody that's against "liberal government."

  • ||

    Yes, the fact that we can't even debate anything whatsoever on the merits shows how screwed up we really are.

  • Almanian||

    ....or how RACIST

  • They||

    Who's "we"?

  • ||

    I'm including you, too.

  • Almanian||

    Jim Crow's mom?

  • ||

    Well, yes, of course her.

  • fish||

    I am....I can't wait to buy some "employees" (hint...that's code for slaves) to work in my newly legal marijuana farm!

  • Pip||

    People in Louisiana. I remember a local telling me how much happier and better off blacks were when they had their own stores, churches, barbershops. I was shocked.

  • ABC||

    Well you'd be happy i'f you're a black businessman and you have a demographic that has to shop at your establishment due to Jim Crow laws.

    And churches and barbershops don't seem to be that mixed to this day.

  • mr simple||

    Funny, I met a guy in New Orleans who said he knew plenty of black people who didn't like MLK Jr because they wanted their own separate society.

  • ||

    "I remember a local"

    Yet the conclusion is: "People in Louisiana." So how are you any better, tarring a whole state on the basis of ONE anecdote?

    In any case, I call bullshit on this. Even racists are pretty guarded in what they say these days concerning race, at least face to face.

  • SteveV||

    Even racists are pretty guarded in what they say these days concerning race, at least face to face.


    White racists are. The non-white racists are still pretty brazen.

  • Old Mexican||

    Earlier this year, the liberal Princeton historian Sean Wilentz published a widely quoted essay in The New Republic comparing the political opposition to President Barack Obama’s health care act and other federal initiatives to the racist secessionism of the Confederacy and Jim Crow South.

    Interesting perspective, as nullification has NEVER been used to either justify or advocate Jim Crow laws or slavery. In fact, South Carolina's secession declaration mentions that one of the reasons for its independence from the Union was that other ststes were nullifying too many laws (like the Fugitive Slave Act.)

  • Tony||

    I'm all for the laboratories of democracy thing. But at some point, shouldn't experiments produce results? Given the evidence (not just from states but from other countries) the only reason not to have a national healthcare system is because certain industries wouldn't like it.

  • Almanian||

    Massachusetts says Hi!

  • ||

    As does Tennessee!

  • Tony||

    So does Alabama. What's your point?

  • Brian R||

    I believe the point was that those two "laboratories" have returned results, in the form of enormous financial problems from their "nationalized" healthcare systems.

    (Yeah, I know they're not "nationalized" - I'm not sure what the equivalent word is for a state)

  • Jason||

    Socialized.

  • ||

    Fucked?

  • lambdalion||

    My father's wife was just diagnosed with thyroid cancer. They're Canadian. Her cancer is operable, but she's scheduled to see a doctor to begin the necessary precursors to surgery nine months from now. Luckily for them their son makes a fair bit of money- she will likely be able to pay for treatment outside the system.

    I grew up in the Canadian system, and I could tell you a lot of unpleasant stories about it. And Canada's system is probably the best nationalized system out there- I would be surprised if the US could do as well.

    My reason for not wanting nationalized healthcare is that I have had nationalized healthcare. It sucked.

  • ||

    I'm Canadian too. Yes, that happens more often than we think, lambdalion. Actually, Canada is one of the worst performing ones in the OECD. In Quebec alone there's a severe doctor shortage because of draconian cuts made the parochial separatist wannabe Scandanavian socialist anti-liberty Parti Quebecois.

    Canada's health system is a mess. I've no idea how it functions with all the mismanagement.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I'm all for the laboratories of democracy thing.

    As opposed to what?

    But at some point, shouldn't experiments produce results? Given the evidence (not just from states but from other countries) the only reason not to have a national healthcare system is because certain industries wouldn't like it.

    You mean you don't find reason in bloated bureaucracies, long lines, decreasing quality of care, increasing unfunded liabilities?

    You also seem to conveniently forget that people may not want it either, focusing only on some mythical "certain industries."

  • Tony||

    No doubt lots of people think they don't want national healthcare, mostly because they are fed bullshit like

    bloated bureaucracies, long lines, decreasing quality of care, increasing unfunded liabilities

    from stooges of "certain industries" in media and government.

    But as you are capable of ignoring facts you don't like, I won't bother pointing out that ours is the worst healthcare system in the industrialized world while being the least nationalized.

  • PhRMA||

    Hey, we supported the PPACA!

  • Big Insurance||

    So did we!

  • ||

    Then why does our fully-nationalized care for seniors not score any better on the same metrics you like to use, Tony?

  • ||

    "Then why does our fully-nationalized care for seniors not score any better on the same metrics you like to use, Tony?"

    +1

  • KPres||

    +2

  • M. Simon||

    Pikers.

    +3

  • sevo||

    Tony|11.10.10 @ 5:04PM|#
    "No doubt lots of people think they don't want national healthcare, mostly because they are fed bullshit like..."

    That's right, Tony. People don't like it because it just hasn't been explained to them by their betters.
    Couldn't be because it's a tinking pile of shit.

  • Tony||

    Obamacare is a stinking pile of shit, though it does stink slightly less than the prior status quo.

    I'm arguing for medicare for all. I even think that would be pretty popular.

  • sevo||

    Tony|11.10.10 @ 5:30PM|#
    "I'm arguing for medicare for all. I even think that would be pretty popular."

    You bet! Stuff people think is free is always popular.

  • Tony||

    And a cheaper, fairer healthcare system that everyone likes is forbidden!

  • sevo||

    Tony|11.10.10 @ 10:45PM|#
    "And a cheaper, fairer healthcare system that everyone likes is forbidden!"

    What an ignorant asshole. Your fantasy isn't "forbidden"; it's your ignorant fantasy.

  • ||

    Tony -
    Know any actual doctors? You do realize that many doctors lose money on medicare patients don't you? And when a doctor can't make any money to make up for the zillion years in med school and residency it take to actually become one, who is going to take care of you? last time I checked Canada was suffering from a doctor shortage...it's only cheaper because it's either (a) subsidized by other insured patients or (b) rationed, at the most basic level. Have to wait 6 months to see a doctor? Guess what, that's rationing.

  • ||

    Again, talking out of your ass. Canada, while "cheaper" per capita (you get what you pay for OUR EQUIPMENT comes from YOUR COUNTRY) it's not the far off what you guys pay. The U.S. is about $5000 while us it's $4000. In Canada, the smart ones who aren't buying the progressive nonsense anymore, Canadians are questioning the bang for buck.

    Look. It can work. It's nice to have. The only thing I advocate is WHERE PEOPLE WANT TO OPT OUT LET THEM. In Canada, WE MUST TOE THE BUREAUCRAT LINE. We have no choice and that's BULL SHIT.

    I can't stand people like Tony who actually think they have a right to make decisions for me for the "greater good."

  • ||

    "Better" noticeably missing from that sentence.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Wait a minute. Even Obama admits that Medicare is rife with fraud and abuse. You want to make everybody join a broken and abused system?

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    +1

  • ||

    ---"No doubt lots of people think they don't want national healthcare"---

    If only the rabble were as smart and sophisticated as the liberaltariat, we would realize how much we really like national healthcare and stop our opposition.

    This sounds like more "the People aren't smart enough to understand, and we need to explain it better" bullshit that I keep hearing from the Administration, Pelosi, et al.

    If you want my support for anything, quit calling me stupid!

  • ||

    "If you want my support for anything, quit calling me stupid!"

    Smart libs like our President apparently aren't smart enough to get that concept. So maybe they aren't that smart after all ?

  • Tony||

    I wouldn't say stupid, just ignorant. Anyone with an unbiased grasp of the facts of healthcare policy around the world would endorse a national system.

    Now I agree that "we didn't explain it well enough" is condescending, but I'm not a politician, I'm posting on reason, and being condescending and insulting is my job.

  • ||

    "we didn't explain it well enough" is condescending"

    so is: "Anyone with an unbiased grasp of the facts of healthcare policy around the world would endorse a national system."

    Condescending, Arrogant, Stupid...all good, apparently.

  • sevo||

    Tony|11.10.10 @ 5:29PM|#
    "Anyone with an unbiased grasp of the facts of healthcare policy around the world would endorse a national system."

    So long as you lie about the costs:
    "Costs that in Ontario alone could wipe out 70% of their annual budget by the year 2013 – just three short years from now."
    http://www.uncoverage.net/2010.....et-buster/
    And Tony, you're good at lying.

  • ||

    The thing Tony doesn't grasp is this: Canada's health care system is anything but compassionate. It's cost-centric. We pander to all but the level of apathy (for many reasons including short staff) is appaling for a rich country.

    Do you find it normal, Tony, people wait (like I did with my wife) NINE HOURS for a blood test while she was pregant? The doctor told us HE WAS THE ONLY DOCTOR FOR THE ENTIRE HOSPITAL.

    Again, keep farting and blowing wind.

  • Vaccine||

    I had a snowboarding accident at Mt. Tremblant in Quebec a couple of years ago and sat for 4 hours in the waiting room before I decided to take the chance that my mild concussion wouldn't kill me. The smoking hot attending nurse said there was only one doctor in the hospital that day. Midday on a Tuesday. WTF? Oh, and they charged me $200.

  • marlok||

    This is a wonderful use of the Emporer's new clothes fallacy: IF YOU ARE SMART, YOU WILL SUPPORT THE LIBERAL WING OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

    Also- Since you are a liberal who posts to reason, wouldn't you be more effective/persuasive if you weren't condescending and insulting?

  • J||

    You assume he does this to persuade people, and not for sport.

  • sevo||

    Oh, and you'll want to continue lying about the "service" also (Canadian government data):
    http://www.uncoverage.net/wp-c.....Large1.jpg
    Got breast cancer? Better hope it doesn't get worse in oh, six months.

  • Apogee||

    What's even more disgusting than Canada's failure to treat its people is the attempt to prevent the same sick people from seeking care from other sources.

    These evil fucks want control, and that's it.

  • Chad||

    Hey Sevo: What's wrong with the Japanese system?

    They pay half what we do, despite having a much higher proportion of seniors (20% vs our 12%).

    They go to the doctor much more often than we do.

    Virtually no wait times, and you really don't even need an appointment if you don't mind sitting around the office for a couple hours.

    More MRIs, CAT scanners, etc per person than us.

    Insured from cradle to grave, no questions asked.

    WAAAAAAYYYYY better health, infant mortality, and longevity than Americans.

    The downsides? Smaller insurance and pharma profits, and lower salaries for doctors.

    Cry me a river...

  • sevo||

    Chad|11.10.10 @ 6:28PM|#
    "Hey Sevo: What's wrong with the Japanese system?"

    Hey Chad: it stinks:
    "It does so by banning insurance company profits, limiting doctor fees and accepting shortcomings in care that many well-insured Americans would find intolerable."
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....01630.html
    You'll be the last to figure this out, but one reason health care is expensive in the US is for the same reason we drive expensive cars; we spend money on what we prefer.
    BTW, seen any medical advances from this wonderful system with no profits?

  • Chupacabra||

    Yeah, but what about the externalities?

    FOR GOD'S SAKE, WHAT ABOUT THE EXTERNALITIES!!!!!

  • Ron||

    The only problem is they too can no longer afford their own system. A prime example, in Japan now if your stomach exceeds 33 inches, small even by Japanese standards your employer is now charged more for your health care. Not so free anymore.

  • sevo||

    Chad
    "Insured from cradle to grave, no questions asked."

    Ron
    "in Japan now if your stomach exceeds 33 inches, small even by Japanese standards your employer is now charged more for your health care."
    Hey, Chad, so they don't ask questions, they just get out the tape?

  • MJ||

    "WAAAAAAYYYYY better health, infant mortality, and longevity than Americans."

    A nice little untruth. When one corrects for the differences between what counts as infant mortality in this country and others and the higher death rate from auto accidents and homicides, the statistics for these categories are better in the USA.

  • sevo||

    MJ|11.10.10 @ 8:39PM|#
    "WAAAAAAYYYYY better health, infant mortality, and longevity than Americans."
    A nice little untruth. When one corrects for..."

    Now, see, this isn't going to work. Asking Chad to support claims Chad makes only gets a nasty response that *you* can 'look it up!'
    It's not Chad's responsibility to back Chad's claims; it's yours.
    Right Chad? How's the homework going this evening?

  • Tony||

    Ha I love the "America sucks" defense of America's sucktastic healthcare system.

  • sevo||

    Tony|11.10.10 @ 10:47PM|#
    "...sucktastic..."

    Go ask your mommy for a cookie and don't let her know you used that language.

  • cynical||

    Also, you have to live in a dying nation, which has to be a little depressing.

  • ||

    Chad, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU SMOKING? Are you fucking nuts? Per capita we have the WORST STATISTICS. Cite me your source. NOW. Or else, like Tony, sit down and stop talking.

  • ||

    Sorry. Chad. You meant Japan and not Canada. My error.

  • c andrew||

    Chad,
    I don't know what it's like now but I lived under that Japanese system back in the 80's. In 1982 I went to Gifu-Shi University hospital to look at correcting a congenital defect (an indirect inguinal hernia) that seems to be hereditary. I waited six hours. The doctor took a blood sample by slicing my earlobe and drawing the blood with a mouth tube! Then after another hour and a half he came back and told me that I didn't have appendicitis. I'd already told him what the problem was. And since I speak Japanese there was no language problem. Besides, hernia is a "borrow word" - you just say it with Japanese pronounciation.

    I later went to an American funded hospital with an American trained (Japanese) MD. He told me to go back to the US to get this treated. Otherwise I'd spend 30 days on my back in a hospital bed. This was the same technique used for my grandfather back in the 1920's; by the 1930's they had improved the procedure and required daily exercise starting 3 days after surgery.

    My doctor said that even though better techniques were available, the govt dictated what techniques could be used, even in an American funded hospital because it fell under the Japanese health care system's jurisdiction.

    My grandfather had 17 hernia operations in his lifetime, including some cutting edge ones at the Mayo Clinic. The problem seems to be a lack of connective strength between adjacent muscle fibers; successive hernias occur just outside the scar tissue built up from the previous operation.

    I've had 3 operations; one 1982 (left side) 1984 (right side) and a bilateral in 1994 (after living with a double hernia for 6 years) that installed a supporting mesh (laprascopically no less!) that resolved the issue. That is what innovation in a more or less private system does for you.

    Now I realize that the plural of anecdote is not data. But under socialized medical systems I'd probably be trussed to a fair-thee-well and confined to a wheelchair.

  • ||

    In other words, no true Scotsman would possibly think...

  • Joe R.||

    Nationalized healthcare is a perfect solution if your goal is nationalized healthcare. People around here care about pesky things like liberty, though. It's why I hate the arguments about costs.

  • ||

    I wouldn't say stupid, just ignorant.

    Well, Tony, I wouldn't say you're a douche, just incredibly presumptuous. No, on second thought, you're a douche.

  • ||

    Anyone with an unbiased grasp of the facts of our completely socialized system for dialysis-- it's all free and guaranteed by the government, and has terrible mortality and spending problems-- would think twice before thinking that a national system would fix our problems.

    Unfortunately, Tony and Chad are simply intellectually incurious.

  • sevo||

    John Thacker|11.11.10 @ 8:02AM|#
    “Anyone with an unbiased grasp of the facts of our completely socialized system for dialysis-- it's all free and guaranteed by the government, and has terrible mortality and spending problems-- would think twice before thinking that a national system would fix our problems.
    Unfortunately, Tony and Chad are simply intellectually incurious."

    True enough and easy to understand. Chony and the remaining herd of followers are 'informed' by the same media day in and day out. Societal norms and mores' are set by those inputs, providing great comfort to the moral actors through the constant re-reinforcement.
    Deviating from them to any great degree means great social losses to them, possibly involving the loss of friends and acquaintances. Further, as ideas tend to propagate across perceived systems, integrating the ideas into the old system and possibly rejecting parts of it means difficult and extended thought. Hence, any effort to examine given views from a contrary position is seen as dangerous; It takes moral courage and dedication and it’s damned intellectually challenging.
    Chony seems to have triangulated a position as close to the center of that stream as is possible absent precision instruments, while exhibiting neither intellectual courage, nor any suggestion of intellectual rigor or dedication.
    And, hey, they might not get all the free stuff their mommies promised.

    Jacques Delacroix makes a similar point about Obama:
    (10/19: "An Intellectual Snob who is no Intellectual"
    http://factsmatter.wordpress.com/

  • ||

    How can anyone "explain it well enough"??? A bunch of idiots passed legislation without knowing what they were voting for. Can anyone explain to me if I can use my HSA to purchase Preparation H without a prescription after January 1, 2011?

  • ||

    Anyone with an unbiased grasp of the facts of healthcare policy around the world would endorse a national system.

    Jesus Haploid Christ, could you possibly be any more smugly arrogant? Have you ever seen the inside of a VA hospital or a BIA clinic? You want those people to be in charge of medicine?

    You're pig-ignorant jackass, Tony. I hope someday you realize it and get some competent professional help.

    -jcr

  • Rodney Dangerfield's Ghost||

    If you want my support for anything, quit calling me stupid!

    OK. You're ugly!

  • ||

    ---"OK. You're ugly!"---

    I can live with tha.

  • ||

    "I can live with tha."

    I ban live with that.

  • ||

    "I ban live with that."

    I can live with that.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    This sounds like more "the People aren't smart enough to understand, and we need to explain it better" bullshit that I keep hearing from the Administration, Pelosi, et al.

    They are still working through those dozen cases of industrial-strength Turd Polish Team Blue bought back in 2006.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    No doubt lots of people think they don't want national healthcare

    So the people do not, in fact, know what is in their own best interests when they disagree with you? Should we just make you king now and do away with the toxic farce of representative government, o' wise philosopher-king?

  • DLM||

    So the people do not, in fact, know what is in their own best interests when they disagree with you?

    There *are* people who do not know what is in their best interest, or simply do not have the skills, education, time, etc., to fight the insurance/heath card industry. Having to fight government bureaucrats isn't much better. While this is no way means it is necessary to penalize those who do know, I think it would still be worthwhile providing some aid to those who need it. How to do this without the inevitable concentration of power to government and undesireable expansion of benefits for purely political goals is the dilemma.

  • ||

    "I think it would still be worthwhile providing some aid to those who need it. How to do this without the inevitable concentration of power to government and undesireable expansion of benefits for purely political goals is the dilemma."

    Um... No. I really don't care if the 'program' were run at maximum efficiency and perfectly served the precise target group. The fact that some people don't know what's best for themselves does not entitle them to my money.

  • ||

    As someone who's had to deal with the government while my kids were on Medicaid, you're an idiot and clearly don't have a clue what you're talking about.

  • lambdalion||

    I've lived under the Canadian system. I don't need to listen to "certain industries" to know which is better. Ours is, hands down. It does suck, of course, but it sucks less.

  • ||

    Oh, you think it's bullshit?

    What's the waitlist time for a knee replacement in Canada?
    How many MRI/ patient do they have?
    Why is all the 'medical travel' traffic southward over the border, not the other waty round?

    And how isd it that, dadgummit, Massachusetts and Tennessee both wound up with, hmmmm- oh, yes: bloated bureaucracies, long lines, decreasing quality of care, increasing unfunded liabilities.

  • ||

    SCREW YOU TONY.

    THOSE ARE FACTS.

    YOU WERE FED BULL SHIT.

    Yes, I used caps.

    I just can't stand people like Tony when they talk out of their asses.

    Canada's nationalized health care system is over burdened, over praised and over rated. GET OVER IT.

    Wait times are very long, ration does take places, equipment relative to population is low, doctor shortages - ALL BECAUSE IT'S RUN BY BUREAUCRATS WHO KNOW JACK SHIT ABOUT HEALTH.

    Just like how they're running education into the ground. And before you sing the praises of public education here, I work in the field. Moreover, I spent a year behind the scenes our medical system.

    A MESS.

    So again, screw anyone who is oblivious to this.

    One last thing, PRIVATE clinics are on the rise in Canada because people WANT OPTIONS AND CHOICES. You think they want to wait fucking nine months for anything especially when it's serious.

  • fish||

    ....the only reason not to have a national healthcare system is because certain industries wouldn't like it.

    No. The reason not to have it is that FedGuv fucks up everything it touches.

  • Steve||

    You mean that Medical Weed from the gov would be all stems and seeds?

  • T||

    Low grade ditch weed, from what I hear. Google the legal marijuana farm.

  • ||

    The Merdas Touch: everything it handles turns to shit.

  • ||

    And Maine. We may be small and insignificant on the national scale, but we f'ed up our government run health insurance, too.

  • Jeffersonian||

    I'm all for the laboratories of democracy thing. But at some point, shouldn't experiments produce results?

    They do, and have. Blowing up the lab IS a result, and it's the same result every state has had with their run at collectivizing health care.

    A smart scientist would draw the necessary conclusions from these explosions.

  • Apogee||

    But they're neither smart nor scientists.

  • ||

    No, no, no!!! Don't you understand? The problem was those other scientists. When I run the experiment, It'll be waaay different!

  • Political Scientist||

    I have invented a working perpetual healthcare machine! It's 100% efficient!

  • Race card||

    Tony, you haven't used me yet on this thread. I'm feeling unloved.

  • ABC||

    Yes, other than the chances of surviving cancer in NHS as opposed to here. Among other factors.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    And the results from these "experiemnts" are not designed to beccome federal law, but that similar laws are adopted/adapted by other states.

    The Federal government is supposed to create an environment where states can conduct these experiments, not force one version on all of us.

    If you want socialized, go to Massachusetts, if not stay in Texas. Not, socialized medicine will now be shoved down your throats whether you want it or not.

  • Steve||

    Wouldn't many (most) problems be better left to the states and localities? Want gay "marriage?" move here. Want school prayer? Move there.

    Must everything be solved in DC just to make sure that NOBODY is happy?

  • 1st, 14th amendments||

    And what if you want us?

  • Many, Most||

    ...not "all"

  • Steve||

    The 1st applies to the feds. The 14th applies to the states, demanding equal for all. No problem.

  • ||

    The gay marriage thing cracks me up. The argument shouldn't be legalizing gay marriage, it should be getting the government out of sanctioning any kind of marriage. A government that says you "can" is also a government that says you "cannot".

  • ||

    Remember Gary Hart the disgraced presidential candidate.

    He wrote a doctoral thesis at Oxford called Restoration of the Republic. The book advocates federalism from a left wing point of view. Basically it is a call to implement a governance that Jefferson wanted. Which was smaller and smaller units of government approaching the local where most decisions would be made.

  • marlok||

    No wonder his party rejected him. Forget Jefferson; FDR's where its at!

  • Apogee||

    How can you possibly steal with that scenario?

    So Jefferson wasn't a fan of the big con?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    That's an interesting thesis--in the main, it basically addresses a root problem of our modern intrusive government, which is that of scale--but he may have been wildly optimistic in his assessment that the end result would be far more progressive communities.

    A smaller, locally-centered government based around community harmony and cooperation is going to be far less tolerant of a parasitic or socially deviant class, as these create fissures that break down the trust-bonds necessary for the communities to survive. These are features of the city, not the countryside, since the social and economic infrastructure is better equipped to handle them. A mostly rural state like Vermont, which is largely inhabited now by migrants from New York and Massachusetts, is an exception that proves the rule.

    A big reason organizations run by malcontent labor, like the Wobblies, were ultimately rejected by rural populist towns is because their whole MO was infecting the local body politic and sowing discord amongst its residents. No tightly-knit community can survive that kind of social upheaval for long.

  • SteveV||

    The book advocates federalism from a left wing point of view. Basically it is a call to implement a governance that Jefferson wanted. Which was smaller and smaller units of government approaching the local where most decisions would be made.

    Hmmm. What part of this is in any way "left wing"?

  • ||

    Isn’t it time for the left to stop comparing federalism to slavery

    It will never happen...if they did that then the left would have to admit progressivism has its roots in slavery and Jim Crow.

  • Glenn Beck||

    In addition to teaching you important little-known facts such as that, I play in my own shit.

  • ||

    When did you start controlling wikipedia?

  • ||

    Also If you want you can go back to 2005 2006 and 2007 reason archives and look at the long arguments Joe and I had on the subject.

    Wikipedia says Glen Beck's CNN TV program started in 2006...and did not move to Fox news until 2008 where his show began to examine the history of progressivism and socialism.

  • H||

    It's a just a side effect of election strategies re-branding words with ad hominem arguments. Asking for a stop to smearing probably won't work, might be more effective to run for office using your own vocabulary... but if you don't give them bread and circuses your words will have negative connotations.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_strategy
    "As civil rights grew more accepted throughout the nation, basing a general election strategy on appeals to "states' rights" as what some believe was a play against civil rights laws would have resulted in a national backlash. In addition, the idea of "states' rights" was considered by some to be subsumed within a broader meaning than simply a reference to civil rights laws, eventually encompassing federalism as the means to forestall Federal intervention in the culture wars."
    I didn't even know we were in a Culture War.

  • bubba||

    Liberals are unprincipled hooligans who subscribe only to the ends justifying the means.

    They don't give a rat's ass about federalism.

  • sevo||

    "comparing the political opposition to President Barack Obama’s health care act and other federal initiatives to the racist secessionism of the Confederacy and Jim Crow South"

    I think Godwin was too conservative; it seems there's statements which qualify as Godwin squared.

  • Realist||

    Great picture of an asshole!

  • The Left||

    Isn’t it time for the left to stop comparing federalism to slavery?

    Nah.

    PS You're racist.

  • Emily Litella||

    I thought you were saying " feral government."

    Never mind.

  • Chad||

    There are trade-offs between local and national (and even inter-national) control.

    Local governments know local problems better. However, they lack the efficiency of one-size-fits-most solutions, and have a strong tendancy to race to the bottom and beggar their neighbors. Finding the right blend of local, state, federal, and international power is hard work. Too bad libertarians just throw their hands in the air and scream about "big government".

  • ||

    It's completely fucking hilarious that you can say the words "efficiency" and "one-size-fits-most" in the same breath without a trace of irony, Choad.

  • AlmightyJB||

    seriously...it's like bizzaro world with these guys.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I know, that cracked me up.

  • Ecolibertarian||

    have a strong tendancy (sic) to race to the bottom and beggar their neighbors

    {{cn}}

  • sevo||

    Chad|11.10.10 @ 6:23PM|#
    "and have a strong tendancy to race to the bottom and beggar their neighbors."

    Cite, asshole.

  • Chad||

    Sevo, I doubt you even understand what racing to the bottom means.

    If I had a nickel for every politician whose "jobs" plan is to cut taxes even lower than the next states, so that businesses will re-locate to his or her own, I'd be retired. No one ever asks them what's to prevent another state from cutting taxes even lower, and yet another state from cutting them to zero, and yet another state from eliminating taxes AND subsidizing the businesses, and yet another state from doing both of these AND paying kickbacks directly to the corporate execs, and yet another state from doing all of these AND gutting regulations, etc.

    You can't win a race to the bottom, and shouldn't want to even if you could. Too bad economic conservatives don't even understand that the problem exists.

  • sevo||

    Chad|11.11.10 @ 7:00AM|#
    "Sevo, I doubt you even understand what racing to the bottom means."

    So you have no evidence? Typical.
    And I know well what a 'race to the bottom' is; we have you as the the winner of that process as regards intelligence.

  • ||

    "No one ever asks them what's to prevent another state from cutting taxes even lower"

    The fact that states like California are populated by left-wing idiots.

  • ||

    Am I the only guy here getting a creepy image of Chad wearing a leather uniform with this?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I picture him more as a cat asser still living in his Mom's basement.

  • ||

    Chad,
    Get over it you can't have it both ways, if you want efficent government it needs to be small and limited, if you want all your luxury entitlement programs than that form of Government will be bloated and cost to much to be sustainable. We have proved that point over and over for the last 100 years. But history is not your strong suject ...eighth grade must be tough on you.

  • ||

    Personally, I think all marriage is wrong. Gay or straight. Monogamy is a crime against nature. Men need to spread their seed around and women always need to be on the look-out for a more qualified male to father their children.

  • AlmightyJB||

    good luck with that plan

  • Coeus||

    No luck required. It's happening already. Marriage is at a historical low.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer......64968.html

  • Jen||

    The problem is that there aren't any qualified males. So we settle for reducing our risk of getting syphilis.

  • lambdalion||

    Are you hot? I'm reasonably confident I don't have syphilis (yet.)

  • SteveV||

    Monogamy is a crime against nature.

    Yes, we can see this in all the wonderfully successful societies where monogamy is frowned on. Just pick any spot in Africa.

  • ||

    Yeah, but polygamy is a crime against Western Civilization, and Western Civ. has been kicking nature's ass for a while now. I want to be on the winning side.

  • TallDave||

    Comparing federalism to slavery now, comparing federalism to slavery tomorrow, comparing federalism to slavery forever!

  • Robert||

    You can be intellectual, you can be honest...but you can't be both.

  • DDavis||

    Why do liberals equate opposition to their policies as racism, sexism, slavery, and genocide?

    Because that is who they are, you racist, sexist, homophobe!

    That's what they are, that's what they do. If you disagree with them, that's clear evidence that you sodomize little boys in the rest rooms of public parks.

    Where have you been for the last 40 years?

  • MJ||

    Liberals are almost completely utilitarian in coming up with rationalizations for their policy prefernces. Pointing out the inconsistancies in their arguments from issue to issue does nothing because they do not have consistant principles backing up tehir ideology. It's not that they are unaware that they are making dissonant arguments between different issues, it is that they do not care. All that matters is that the argument they use advances their policy.

  • Tony||

    You're almost right! Ideological consistency is not as important as real-world outcomes, because ideologies can be wrong, whereas reality generally isn't.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    It isn't "reality" that everyone is entitled to healtcare. It is an ideology.

    It's isn't a "reality" that improving the health of some at other's expense is a higher value outcome than maintaining maximum individual freedom for all. It is merely an opinion based on ideology.

  • Tony||

    It is a reality that universal healthcare systems are cheaper and, uh, more universal.

    Saying that more expensive healthcare you have less access to = more freedom is ideological.

  • sevo||

    Tony|11.11.10 @ 10:23AM|#
    "It is a reality that universal healthcare systems are cheaper and, uh, more universal."

    So is taking an aspirin, and that might be a better choice.

  • SteveV||

    Cheaper to who? Not to the people currently paying for health care.

  • ||

    Tony Tony Tony.....it's only going to be cheaper for the people who "qualify" for the "Free shit" that your hero's dole out.

    People like me will get to keep on paying at a higher rate each year "cause i got a job" and there are others that have more "need" than i do.

    .....Are you needy Tony?

  • ||

    It is a reality that universal healthcare systems are cheaper

    ..as long as you have no regard for keeping people alive, sure.

    Go read Solzhenitsyn and try to learn something.

    -jcr

  • sevo||

    Tony|11.10.10 @ 10:50PM|#
    "You're almost right! Ideological consistency is not as important as real-world outcomes, because ideologies can be wrong, whereas reality generally isn't."

    How in hell would *you* know?

  • MJ||

    The ends justify the means, in other words.

    However, an internally consistant thiought process is an acknowledgment of reality. Changing your argument to fit the immediate needs of an issue is sure sign that are against what is real.

  • ||

    Excuse me- are you asserting that lefties deal in reality?

  • Kant||

    Tony - you...me... outside now for fisticuffs

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Jim Crow is dead.

    Jim Crow will never return FROM the dead.

    Get over it, liberals.

  • SteveV||

    You're right in general, but the left does not embrace federalism with respect to gay marriage. The whole point of trying to push gay marriage at the state level is to get the feds to embrace it. The idea that a single state in the union might NOT allow gay marriage is unbearable to them.

  • sevo||

    John Thacker|11.11.10 @ 8:02AM|#
    “Anyone with an unbiased grasp of the facts of our completely socialized system for dialysis-- it's all free and guaranteed by the government, and has terrible mortality and spending problems-- would think twice before thinking that a national system would fix our problems.
    Unfortunately, Tony and Chad are simply intellectually incurious."

    True enough and easy to understand. Chony and the remaining herd of followers are 'informed' by the same media day in and day out. Societal norms and mores' are set by those inputs, providing great comfort to the moral actors in the constant re-reinforcement.
    Deviating from them to any great degree means great social losses to them, possibly involving the loss of friends and acquaintances. Further, as ideas tend to propagate across perceived systems, integrating the ideas into the old system and possibly rejecting parts of it means difficult and extended thought. Hence, any effort to examine given views from a contrary position is seen as dangerous; It takes moral courage and dedication and it’s damned intellectually challenging.
    Chony seems to have triangulated a position as close to the center of that stream as is possible absent precision instruments, while exhibiting neither intellectual courage, nor any suggestion of intellectual rigor or dedication
    Jacques Delacroix makes a similar point about Obama:
    (10/19: "An Intellectual Snob who is no Intellectual"
    http://factsmatter.wordpress.com/

  • That Guy||

    "they should stop smearing federalism and start evaluating the merits of the actual issues"

    Um... I'm pretty sure that most are happy to do that, especially when it comes to Obama's healthcare plan, which is where your nonsensical story starts. If opponents of health care use states rights as a bludgeon instead of "evaluating the merits of the actual issues", do the supporters have any choice but to attack their arguments?

    Please stop trying to burn us with stupid.

  • sevo||

    That Guy|11.11.10 @ 6:00PM|#
    "'''If opponents of health care use states rights as a bludgeon instead of "evaluating the merits of the actual issues",...."

    So you'd like the merits *other than* the merit of states rights examined? Why ignore that one?

  • ||

    Root is attacking a straw man. Federalism does not equal nullification. By pretending that it does, he makes the claim that liberal are hypocrites because sometimes they support states’ rights. He has to misrepresent three sources to set up this argument. The important one is Sean Wilentz’s attack on nullification, “States of Anarchy: America’s long, sordid affair with nullification” in TNR. But Wilentz isn't criticizing federalism, at least the way normal post-Civil-War America understands the term. What he objects to is the “claim that state legislatures or special state conventions or referendums have the legitimate power to declare federal laws null and void within their own state borders.”

    Root then writes that, “Kate Zernike has referred to the ‘echo of slavery, Jim Crow and George Wallace’ discernible in Tea Party criticisms of the Obama administration,” whereas what she really said is:

    "In the Tea Party’s talk of states’ rights, critics say they hear an echo of slavery, Jim Crow and George Wallace. Tea Party activists call that ridiculous: they do not want to take the country back to the discrimination of the past, they say, they just want the states to be able to block the federal mandate on health insurance."

    Her whole NYT article, which Root does not link to, is like that, balancing “Tea Party members say this” with “their critics say that.” Judge for yourself at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08.....html?_r=1. The Keith Olberman reference is even less relevant. His article isn’t about federalism at all; it’s just a laundry list of every weird statement he could find that tea partiers have made. A quotation is truncated after “Jim Crow” to make it look like federalism is his theme, but what Olberman accuses tea partiers of doing is taking us “backward to Jim Crow, or backward to the breadlines of the ‘30s, or backward to hanging union organizers, or backward to the Trusts and the Robber Barons.” In other words, a series of horribles with no special reference to federalism. Lame, but not evidence of Root’s thesis that liberals equate federalism with slavery.

  • ||

    Federalism, Smederalism - there are 50 states, independent countries and an umbrella over them - that's the USA.

    The only thing the federal government should be doing is doing things that the states tell it to do.

    You guys have this all bass ackwards - typical for the ruling class in Washington.

    75% of the federal government needs to be disbanded and the 50 states take over. Taxes is a great example of this.

  • ||

    You're the ones who don't believe in federalism. You believe state's rights should be virtually absolute. But I know "Reason" has an agenda to demonize the left at every turn in the road. We have to be lectured about the "Constitution" ad nauseam when we know the entire document to you consists of the Second and Tenth Amendments. I can't wait to hear candidate Palin attempt to answer serious questions about the document to which she alleges undying allegiance during the 2012 GOP promaries. Set your dvrs!

  • ||

    1. Nullification was done by the north, not the south, leading to the war of southern independence.
    2. sanctuary cities, are again the progressives using nullification.
    3. The south was defending federalism, not slavery.

  • ||

    Nullification was done by the north, not the south,

    Not entirely. The south nullified the Tariff of Abominations.

    -jcr

  • ||

    South Carolina, voted for nullification,to take effect feb. 1 1833, Attached to the "force bill later in feb, was an adjustment in tariff."The South Carolina convention reconvened and repealed its Nullification Ordinance on March 11, 1833".

    South never carried it out, on the other hand the North did in fact nullify the fugitive slave laws.

  • tiffany jewellery||

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  • ||

    Leftists care nothing about their double standards, inconsistencies, and hypocrisies. In summary, they'll opt for any tactics that allow them to WIN. Federalism today, State's rights tomorrow, back to Federalism the next day. It doesn't matter to them. They'll turn on a dime depending on the issue at hand. They'll spout any philosophy of the moment, as long as it gets a victory for their side TODAY.

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