Obamacare

Looking for Consistency in Rick Perry's Federalism

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While I was on vacation, I received a bunch of messages taking me to task for my August 10 column about Rick Perry and the Christian right. Several expressed concern (or rather un-Christian glee) at the prospect of my eternal damnation. The less metaphysical ones questioned my argument that Perry's support for constitutional amendments banning abortion and gay marriage contradicts his professed commitment to federalism—suggesting, as I put it, that he "does not really believe in the 10th Amendment." These readers pointed out that Perry does not propose simply ignoring the 10th Amendment; rather, he wants to follow the constitutionally prescribed procedure for carving out new exceptions to it. Joe Carter raises a similar objection on the First Things blog:

These "fair-weather federalists" are growing tiresome. No, I don't mean [Bryan] Fischer [of the American Family Association] and Perry, I mean folks like Sullum. If they were willing to follow their logic they'd argue we should have never added the 13th Amendment since it interfered with the states' right to legalize slavery and involuntary servitude. But they have no qualms with that particular amendment since it matches up with their own moral values.

When exactly did supporting the 10th Amendment mean that you could never, ever support a constitutional amendment that limits the rights of states? 

Paul Kroenke argues that amending the Constitution is itself an exercise in federalism:

How can mandating this or that at the federal level be federalist, you ask? The answer is simple. Amendments to the constitution are not fly-by-night mandates on the people a-la Obamacare's mandate that we all buy health insurance or face stiff fines. Amendments to the Constitution represent one of the most federalist processes we have to govern ourselves.

First, an amendment must be introduced in Congress, go through the rigorous process of debate and revision and whatnot, and then be passed by a 2/3 majority in both the House and the Senate. After this happens, the amendment is then sent to the states to be voted on, where it must be approved by 3/4 of all of the states to be added in as part of the Constitution.

This is not some top-down, anti-federalist ignoring of the 10th amendment to further one's agenda. This is the process by which a massive, massive majority of the country decide that we are going to fundamentally change the laws under which we live.

In supporting amendments to the constitution, Perry is indeed supporting the federalist process. 

While the nationwide bans that Perry favors would be constitutional by definition, it is hard to see how a process in which a majority of states dictates policies to a minority exemplifies federalism. And Perry does not merely acknowledge what the 10th Amendment requires; he passionately defends the underlying principle of leaving all but a few specifically enumerated areas of public policy to the states, so that decisions can be tailored to local needs, values, and preferences. Furthermore, he has specifically cited abortion and marriage as matters properly addressed by state governments in accordance with this principle. Hence his current position is rather like defending freedom of religion while advocating a constitutional amendment denying that right to Muslims—after citing tolerance of Islam as an example of what's so great about the First Amendment.

Carter is right in suggesting that federalism is a means to an end, not an ultimate value. The Constitution imposes various limits on state sovereignty that, like the ban on slavery, aim to preserve liberty and prevent local tyranny. Although I do not see Perry's proposed bans on abortion and gay marriage in that light, perhaps he does. If so, however, it is hard to understand why he cited state autonomy regarding abortion and marriage to illustrate his federalist convictions. Would an abolitionist circa 1860 have seen diverse approaches to slavery as testimony to the genius of the Framers' design?

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  1. To some there’s not a bigger liberty issue than killing fetuses.

    1. why should fetuses be exempt fm mankinds’ well-developed killing of mankind?

      1. It’s more sporting if you let them hatch?

  2. Obviously, a complex issue. Amedning the Constitution is not that easy. My guess is that the two proposed amendments discussed (gay marriage, abortion) do not have a sno-cones chance in hell of aming its way through the various hurdles imposed. But, if they did, any argument that their passage is contrary to “federalism” should fall on deaf ears. It is part and parcel of the federalist “system” we adopted in the Constitution in 1787.

    1. does the amendment on gay marriage rectify Constitutional errors on that issue? Wait; there is nothing in the Constitution regarding gay marriage. Or abortion. Or, for that matter, individual mandates to buy certain products.
      Curious, isn’t it, how one man’s social engineering is another man’s policy prescription.

    2. Well, it depends on what you mean by “federalism”. I think that “constitutionalism” would be a better word in this case. Banning abortion by constitutional amendment is, of course, perfectly in line with the constitution. But is still somewhat anti-federalist in the sense that federalism generally leaves intra-state criminal matters to states. In this sense, the federal government having more power is constitutional, but not really federalist in any real way. The constitution was originally meant to create a federal system, but that doesn’t mean that it cannot be amended to the extent that there is no longer a federal system.
      You could pass an amendment that says that all criminal law is handled by the federal government from now on. That would be constitutional by definition, but certainly not federalist.

      1. I think that’s an excellent distinction to make, Zeb. The entire conversation, my contributions included, conflate “constitutional” with “federalist”, when they may in fact be largely overlapping, but not completely synonymous, terms.

        I will use it in the future, without crediting you.

      2. Yes, that is a very good distinction.

        1. agreed

    3. So even if you limit actual federalism (letting states run things like social policy on which there are cultural disagreements in different geographic areas), it’s still federalism, as long as you follow the rules? I think Sullum is right here. Constitutionalism does not equal federalism, even though it protects federalism to some extent.

    4. “But, if they did, any argument that their passage is contrary to “federalism” should fall on deaf ears. It is part and parcel of the federalist “system” we adopted in the Constitution in 1787.”

      So is Romneycare.

  3. I love ya, Jacob, but I kinda have to agree that advocating a Constitutional amendment is the most legitimate process for creating new rules superseding the 10th amendment.

    Now, if you want to just scrap the Constitution, declare yourself an anti-Federalist, and get back to the Articles of Confederation, I’m down.

    1. I’ll declare myself an anti-Federalist. The original Federalists were actually Central Powerists (compared to what the Articles of Confederation set up), but they wanted undecided citizens to think they respected federal principles in their power grab. The more freedom-loving founders were anti-Federalists, because they opposed the self-described Federalists.

  4. I would argue that the ? requirement for amendments was good enough when it was understood by all parties that states could secede if they didn’t like the outcome. Is that the case again? Maybe more appropriately, are the individual states still sovereign in any real sense anymore?

    I would argue that there’s no such thing as creeping decrementalism: the only way the federal government gets less powerful in any meaningful way is if states start seceding or threatening to do so. I’m waiting. Come on, NH/KS/ID/whatever: get the ball rolling. 🙂

    1. Idaho’s state constitution prohibits secession, so that’s a non-starter. New Hampshire retains the right, I believe. Texas retained the right also, but when the citizens there voted to exercise the right, Lincoln and the non-seceding states violently disagree.

    2. As the Civil War proved, it’s more of a military question than a constitutional one.

      Personally, I think it’s an open question whether the coasts would even attempt to block secession by portions of flyover country, or vice versa.

      In the end, I think things would have to get a lot worse before secession would be seriously considered by any state or group of states.

      1. Someone is

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..87490.html

        AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up an anti-tax “tea party” Wednesday with his stance against the federal government and for states’ rights as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, “Secede!”

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..87490.html

  5. “Several expressed concern (or rather un-Christian glee) at the prospect of my eternal damnation.”

    When I began to question my then-Christian faith (after reading several books by Rand and Heinlein) the question that finally put me over the edge into non-belief was this – How is it ethical for a supposedly loving god to punish someone for eternity for mere non-belief? Why should an otherwise ethical and wonderful person be tortured to death for merely this one fault? Even at the hight of my faith as an Evangelical Christian I never felt glee for someone going to Hell – more like sadness.

    1. Yep, it seemed backward to me. What kind of God doesn’t want you to question things?

    2. I am not religious. However, I find many religious people to be wonderful, kind people. I, like Penn Jillette enjoy talking to Mormons and many evangelicals. They seem genuinely concerned about my going to hell. Anyone who revels in another possibly going to hell is not a true Christian. And they can go fuck themselves.

      1. I agree with Penn Jillette on this. Some of my best friends are Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are wonderful people and religion at its root is a form of philosophical inquiry – I love to talk about philosophy.

      2. Anyone who revels in another possibly going to hell is not a true Christian. And they can go fuck themselves.

        I’m an atheist. As several of the longer tenured members of this board can attest, I used to be a dick about it.* Dealing with several Christians who were decent, intelligent people made me realize that I should stuff my sarcasm about the subject. I have tried to hold true to that, and respect (or at least STFU about) others’ religious choices.

        Having said all that, I will say this: the Christians who are generally gleeful (rather than sad) about the prospect of another spending eternity in the lake of fire always seem to quote the Old Testament more than the New Testament.

        *(not at a “shrike” level, but a sarcastic smartass nonetheless.)

        1. and the Christians who revel is in someone’s hell are no better than the atheists who act as you once did. It’s a big country, too big to spend with folks of either of those descriptions.

            1. Measure people by their acts , not their motivations!

              1. You fucking gay-hating Christian racists need to learn some fucking tolerance!

    3. The Bible is pretty vague about the fate of non-believers. Dante put virtuous pagans at the very highest (least unpleasant) level of Hell.

      1. Dante greatly admired Virgil and if he thought he would not be burned at the stake for doing so probably would have placed him in heaven next to Jesus.

    4. “How is it ethical for a supposedly loving god to punish someone for eternity for mere non-belief?”

      I am not religious, but I would counter that with something I read. It said that what born-again Christians experience(and call being born-again) is really just a Gestault Ah-ha.

      Because of this, they believe that they are special and that others who belive differently are damned to hell.

      But what these “special” people fail to realize is the supreme power of Christ’s salvation covers everybody.

    5. How is it ethical for a supposedly loving god to punish someone for eternity for mere non-belief?

      Maybe the supposition is wrong about the attitude of the Creator to us humans.

      Maybe the ethics of supernatural beings are different.

      Maybe the part about the eternal punishment is made up or misinterpreted.

      1. Unless I’m mistaken, according to Calvin, a component of the bliss that the blessed experience in Heaven is their knowledge of the torments that the dammned are suffering in Hell.

        1. Holy Schadenfreude?

    6. One suggestion I’ve heard from some Catholic theologist is that all the afterlife consists of is eternity of dealing with the results of what you became in life. The fire isn’t God burning you with dissaproval, but you burning yourself with regrets. From that perspective one wouldn’t see a problem with questioning if reasonable, as opposed to say just trying to hurt your dad with it.

  6. I like this line of thought, specifically that, “federalism is a means to an end”.

    It is possible to constitutionally bring back slavery. That does not make it right.

    When people accuse me of having no principals (as when I sometimes cheer if the fedgov overrides a tyrannical state statute, and other times deplore the fedgov interfering with a state’s internal politics), I tell them the principal is always liberty. If the states restrict it, and the feds step in, then fuck the states. If the feds restrict it while the states are trying to expand it, then fuck the feds.

    Problem being, most times, the two walk hand-in-hand down the path of restricting it.

    1. I tell them the principal is always liberty.

      Agreed.

      IMO, there is no “best” government, because all government sucks. If we admit government, the best we can do is design it to be as resistant to tyranny as possible, but there is nothing sacred about any particular structure.

      1. My thoughts exactly. If we have to put up with one, the best we can do is to have a few layers (fed v. state) that we can play off one another for the best result when possible. Doesn’t make one or the other always right…just helps to have a mom to run to when dad says “no”.

        1. The problem, lizard monster from the sea, is that there is no “best result” from government. Its nature is that no matter what you do to restrict it, it will find a way to grow.

          If you chain it too harshly, when there is an emergency, the chains get thrown out the window. If you don’t chain it that harshly, there are always loopholes and semantic tricks around the law (see: the Constitution).

          It doesn’t work. You can try and try and try again, and every time it will fail eventually, and you will end up with massive statism.

          1. Epi, you know I’m with you on this. I fly the ancap flag all the time, esp. in immigration threads. I’m only saying that, given that there currently is a state which I cannot wish away, I’d rather have competing layers of it than one monolithic layer. I’m not meaning to endorse it’s existence. It’s more akin to my saying, “You know, as a gay communist jew, given the choice and having no third option, I’d rather live in Greenwich Village than Nazi Germany.”

          2. do you also not bother to shower because you’ll just get dirty again?

          3. this isn;t one of your half-ass endorsements of anarchy is it? because the system is doomed not to work or something?

            whatever perfect is the enemy of the good wanks we can make about our system, we are still in possession of immense freedom and opportunity.

            in brief, it works

            it just needs to work better

            1. it just needs to work better

              Top. Men?

              It’s pretty easy to follow the logic:

              “Government is the solution” becomes “Government is the problem” becomes “Get government out of the way”.

              What’s the difference between a libertarian and an anarchist? About two years if he’s paying attention.

              There are very few modern problems that don’t have some fucked-up government regulation at their hearts.

              … Hobbit

              1. There are very few modern problems that don’t have some fucked-up government regulation at their hearts.

                That’s certainly one way to look at it. The thing is, some of those few remaining problems are doozies. Psychopaths and foreign empires and such.

    2. I agree. Sullumn just doesn’t agree with Perry’s values. If you honestly consider abortion and gay marriage to be great evils, there is nothing un federalist about arguing for a constitutional amendment banning both. You may be wrong in your assumption that the two issues are such evils. But you are not being a hypocrite for advocating for amending the constitution to deal with them.

      1. Murder (except murder of certain judges and politicians) is NOT a federal crime. Yet every state in the union has laws against the murder of people who have been born.

        1. If certain states decided that it was okay to murder people during odd months, wouldn’t you support a federal constitutional amendment banning murder?

          1. In the current nation-state paradigm, yes

          2. Yes, but how does that apply to the case of a non-crime, like people deciding who they want to marry?

            1. if the Rick Perry wing gets its druthers, then some who want to marry will be treated, more or less, as criminals.

              1. we punish criminals…

        2. So all the Feds would need to do is extend citizenship to viable unborn (those who could survive outside the womb / third trimester).

          1. Why not? It could be called Amnesty.

            1. What did the Indians call it?

    3. I’m with Gojira. If the fed does something which enhances freedom, it is good. If it impinges on freedom, bad. The constitution is very well put together, but it is not a good in itself.

      1. Human nature compels many to grasp for power, the Constitution is the best yet devised system to check that urge.

      2. The problem with this is that this can be a tricky thing due to precedent. There are moves that could enhance liberty in the short term but damage it more in the long term.

        Giving a government actor substantial additional power so that he can right a wrong is still giving him additional power. Power that might not always be used for good things in the future.

  7. “Several expressed concern (or rather un-Christian glee) at the prospect of my eternal damnation.”

    Actually, Jake, according to none other than St. Thomas “The Dude” Acquinas, one of the pleasures of the blessed in Heaven is observing the tortures of the damned in Hell. So when I’m sittin’ on a cloud eating, you know, a pound of heavily salted cashews without gaining weight and watching some demon stick a pitchfork in your fat ass,* I’ll be laughing. Because it will be funny!

    *Because what greater sin is there than being a fair-weather federalist?

  8. “Neither of those amendments will ever see the floor of Congress, much less be passed by 2/3 majorities in both houses, and you can forget 3/4 of the states ever ratifying.”

    Here are some historical precedent showing that this can change:

    Several amendments to the U.S. Constitution only passed after activists prepared the ground by working on the state level. The suffragists got voting rights for women into several state constitutions, paving the way for the federal 19th Amendment. The 24th Amendment (limiting poll taxes) passed after all but five states had already abolished poll taxes.

    There are prolife activists doing the same thing today, by promoting amendments to the Bills of Rights in state constitutions affirming that constitutional rights protect all living human beings – even those in the womb. It’s an interesting sign of our political culture that proposing to apply constitutional rights to all human beings is considered “extremist.”\

    After enough successes at the state level, the plan is for a federal life amendment.

    1. And look at the massive shift in public opinion regarding abortion in the last 30 years? A lot of that I think has been the result of the development of the sonogram. I think as technology increases and we have better and better understanding of human development, the fewer and fewer people will support abortion.

      1. There really hasn’t been a “massive” shift.

        There’s been a movement of a few percentage points.

        And I bet that if we controlled for shifts in the demographic makeup of the country by age, race, religious belief, and ethnicity we’d account for most of the change.

        1. Actually there really has been. And it has been in the last 15 years. According to gallup in 1995 56% of adults described themselves as “pro choice” and 33% described themselves as “pro life”. In 2009 those figures were 42 and 51 respectively. That is a pretty massive shift.

          http://www.gallup.com/poll/118…..-time.aspx

          1. He is right, Fluffy.

            1. while those stats are true, let’s also remember abortion extremists have tried to redefine what is “pro choice”. iow, they say it you don’t support partialbirth abortion (D&C) in the last trimester for the “health” of the mother, you are anti-choice in their eyes.

              it’s kind of like how few women these days are feminists, since it now means andrea dworkin type hysterics, instead of equal opportunity, gender neutral laws, which most women and men support.

              by pushing the definition, they affect what people call themselves.

    2. And of course lets not even discuss the irony of a Libertarian lecturing anyone about the futility of pursuing goals currently viewed as out of the mainstream.

      1. Ooh, snap!

      2. Who knows better about the endless futility than us?

        1. Stop trying to take my job!!!!!!

  9. DOMA & Roe are poor federal law for the same [REASON] namely that states issue & regulate licenses.

    1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t DOMA stay within proper federal parameters? If I remember correctly, it primarily deals with two things: first, reaffirming that states are allowed to disagree on the issue and not be forced to recognize licenses issued in other states, and second, defining marriage for federal tax purposes. Unless it does more than this, it is entirely within the proper purview of the federal government.

      1. yes w/in proper purview ON FEDERAL PROPERTY. otherwise issunig & regulating marrage & medical licenses remains a state issue. DOMA & Roe are poor federal law.

        1. But DOMA does not prevent states from issuing or regulating licenses within their own borders. It leaves the issue primarily to the states, and only regulates marriage in the areas in which it has already been regulated by the federal government: federal law (primarily immigration and federal tax laws, which are clearly within the purview of the federal government).

  10. I will take Perry’s inconsistent support of Federalism over Obama’s consistent scorn of it.

  11. I do have to say Sullum’s critics are in the right here.

    Saying you support the 10th Amendment except when we specifically amend the Constitution to create federal control of certain issues is a pretty damn aggressive move in the direction of greater federalism.

  12. peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeenis

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    1. Tony|8.26.11 @ 2:55PM|#

      I guess that really works.

  13. So, if amendments taking gay marriage and abortion out of the hands of the state are un-federalist, because they shift control from the states to the national level, then

    Why aren’t the court decisions doing exactly the same thing also un-federalist? Gay marriage is being pushed through the courts as a federal Constitutional issue, as have abortion rights.

    Face it, abortion already is national, not state, except around the edges, and supporters of gay marriage consistently argue that it should be national, not state, as well.

    So the objection to the amendments seems to be less about state v. federal, than about the content of the amendments.

    1. Why aren’t the court decisions doing exactly the same thing also un-federalist?

      Because amendments are the result of a majority of the states themselves approving the issue becoming national. That is completely different than a federal official (a judge) deciding the issue is now national.

      1. So, the amendments are actually more federalist than the court decisions,

        yet the amendments are attacked as being un-federalist.

        1. In a sense yes. I think it depends on how you define “federalism”.

        2. court decisions are monarchist.

    2. how is abortion already national except around the edges?

  14. I might also add that Jacob’s dislike of Rick Perry might be coloring his views a wee tad bit. I mean, I can’t stand the duplicitous fucker but all this seems like a tempest in a teapot. There’s plenty to criticize Rick Perry about without weak sauce like this.

  15. As any constitutional minimalist knows, states are empowered to crush individual freedom much more than the federal government. It is nonsensical to be for greater state autonomy and more individual freedom at the same time. Perry doesn’t know anything about the constitution. He’s really quite an idiot. The 10th amendment is a rhetorical device for people who want extra credit for their policy beliefs, probably because they are unpopular. It’s tiresome.

    1. “As any constitutional minimalist knows, states are empowered to crush individual freedom much more than the federal government.”

      Not really. States have constitutions too. And many of those constitutions contain protections above and beyond those contained in the Bill of Rights.

    2. It is nonsensical to be for greater state autonomy and more individual freedom at the same time.

      No Tony it is nonsensical for you to think that only the federal government is capable of protecting rights. For you to call Perry uniformed is irony at its best.

      1. It’s not, it’s just been better at it.

        Remember the original argument for states’ rights: they wanted the right to enslave people.

        1. No Tony it has been horrible at it. It wasn’t the states who interned the Japanese, who run the drug war, who slaughtered the Indians and so forth.

          You don’t even try anymore do you?

          1. Clarification: southern states have been bad at protecting rights.

            And it’s not conservatives who’ve marched for the rights of minorities and drug war victims.

            1. I will give you that Tony. Liberals love to march. Changing policies when they are power, not so much.

              1. What are you talking about?

                Oh, every major advancement in civil rights in this country coming from progressive federal legislation that you find so detrimental to freedom and your kind has stood in the way of at every step.

                1. So Nixon, who created the EEOC and put teeth into the civil rights laws by creating personal liability was a progressive? Good to know that. Can you people now accept responsibility for Watergate?

                  And Bush I who signed the ADA, the last major civil act this country has produced is a Progressive too?

                  1. Nixon sure as fuck was a liberal compared to the current generation of Republicans. Or Democrats.

                    1. Yes – he sucked.

            2. So it wasn’t Woodrow Wilson who made segregation the official policy of the U.S. Civil Service and military?

              1. I have no time for Glenn Beck followers.

                1. I also have no time for facts that go against my twisted worldview.

        2. the 10th is a hold-over fm the weak central govt aritcles of confederation

        3. Actually, decades before that, states’ rights supporters wanted the right to free people. But apparently Tony doesn’t think that Vermont, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey should have been able to end slavery three or four generations ahead of the rest of the country. Maybe he wishes they had been forced to wait until all the southern voters agreed too.

          1. Well, decades later, “states’ rights” rhetoric was used to attempt to keep society racially segregated. That’s why it’s considered a loaded phrase, and it’s mighty curious why only southern conservatives use it. I don’t think it’s because they care about freedom, per se.

            1. No the simple racsism of Woodrow Wilson and other Democrats was sufficient to keep segregation going.

              1. Wilson was president in the 1910s and 1920s. He did not force the South to be racially segregated for the next 40 years from beyond the grave.

                1. Actually, he created the legal framework for segregation that took a couple of decades to unwind.

            2. “only southern conservatives use it”

              “…abolitionists who opposed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 expressly endorsed nullification and even referred to John C. Calhoun by name in support of their ideas….

              “[Godwin edit] despised states’ rights; does that make him a model of enlightenment and toleration?”

              http://www.lewrockwell.com/woods/woods131.html

        4. I’m thought that argument came from Douglas almost 100 years later.

          1. doh I really should preview

    3. It is nonsensical to be for greater state autonomy and more individual freedom at the same time.

      I can move from a state I don’t like to another state more easily than I can I can give up my US citizenship.

      Because national power is so much harder to avoid, minimizing that power via federalism is the libertarian thing to do.

      As illustrated by:

      It is nonsensical to be for greater state autonomy national power and more individual freedom at the same time.

      Yes, yes it is.

    4. So, using your logic, Tony… we should demand the federal government takeover of all state governments.

      After all, it’s much more efficient to crush individual freedom from one centralized power source, than fifty smaller power sources.

      1. Hold on… my pen’s out of ink.

  16. John says: And look at the massive shift in public opinion regarding abortion in the last 30 years?

    Fluffy says: There really hasn’t been a “massive” shift.

    There’s been a movement of a few percentage points.

    And I bet that if we controlled for shifts in the demographic makeup of the country by age, race, religious belief, and ethnicity we’d account for most of the change.
    reply to this

    I found this paper which looked at the GSS attitudes towards abortion over 4 decades for WM, WF, BM, and BF. (chart on page 9) John is wrong that the shift occurred in the last 30 years; abortion attitudes were most positive in the 90’s but decreased significantly since then. WM and WF are now below the 70’s level. BF returned to almost exactly 70’s level, and BM are still well above. I don’t there’s been enough demographic change since the 90’s to give odds on Fluffy’s bet.

    Someone else can read the multivariate analysis.

    1. The WM and WF numbers surprise me.

      But the white population skews older now that it has at any time since 1946.

      We also are at the tail end of a broad religious revival that has only recently begun to recede.

      I still think that the shift is largely due to the fact that we have an older, more religious, and more Hispanic (and thus more Catholic) population, than it is to the fact that we now have sonograms.

      1. If you read the paper, it finds that there is some correlation between increased religiosity and the decrees in support for abortion but no correlation between age and such attitudes.

        Old doesn’t mean “conservative” as much as it used to. Archie Bunker is dead. Meathead and the 60s generation are the old now.

      2. I don’t see how the ability to actually see an unborn child via a sonogram doesn’t affect abortion support. It personalizes the issue in a big way. The subject of the debate is no longer an abstract entity.

        And I don’t know where you live, but I think you are a bit optimistic about the religious revival receding. I don’t see any evidence of that. If anything it is likely to continue and intensify since people’s religious views bear a strong correlation to that of their parents and religious people have more kids than the non religious do.

        1. And I don’t know where you live, but I think you are a bit optimistic about the religious revival receding.

          If we went by what I personally see, there never was a religious revival to begin with. The only evidence of religious revival I’ve ever seen has been second-hand – through newspapers, the TV, the internet.

          To the best of my knowledge I’ve never met a born again person.

          I suppose I see the fake funny churches that sprang up on the highway, but I don’t know a single person who goes to one.

          The reason I think the revival is fading is entirely because of the deterioration of religious belief among young evangelical Christians that I see reported.

          It’s actually harder to propagate a revival across generations than you might think, John. Revivalism is really about intensity of belief, and not nominal religious identification. Post-revival generations tend to keep the identification but lose the intensity.

          1. I suppose revivalism in a real big form like the Great Awakening waxes and wanes. But less intense forms of religious belief has been shown to have a pretty high correlation to one’s parents religious belief. And you don’t have to be a revivalist to be pro life.

            1. Man, that’s a term that needs to be changed. AFAIK, only nihilists, suicides, and homicidal maniacs are not “pro-life”.

          2. “I suppose I see the fake funny churches that sprang up on the highway, but I don’t know a single person who goes to one.”

            Nobody I knew voted for Nixon either.

            1. bingo. i love the pauline kael paradox, because it so perfectly applies to liberals and progs so often

      3. I don’t think there’s been enough white Hispanic immigration in the last 15 years to matter.

        Religious identification is as at least as much cultural as spiritual. IOW the causal arrow may point in the opposite direction.

        My understanding is that sonogram usage rose drastically under the time frame. It’s at least a plausible theory.

        I might dig around the GSS later for age/abortion history.

        1. A consistent positive relationship between age and conservatism was found in the past
          (Sullins, 1999), however, recent studies show age becoming less of a predictor of abortion
          attitudes. As young people are increasingly opposing abortion, supporters are aging yet not
          changing their attitudes (Fine, 2006; Scott, 1998). Indeed, birth cohort appears to be a more consistent predictor of abortion attitudes than age (Scott, 1998). Further, when other factors are controlled, older people appear to have more positive attitudes toward abortion than younger people (Strickler and Danigelis, 2002).

        2. The big problem I see with that theory is that the people who get abortions don’t get sonograms.

          Cooing over a live sonogram picture is an affectation of people who have embraced a pregnancy they intend to take to term.

          1. We’re talking about population level attitudes on abortion. That people who abort don’t personally see a sonogram of the fetus hardly seems relevant.

          2. The big problem I see with that theory is that the people who get abortions don’t get sonograms.

            But we are talking about support among the general public for abortion not the actual numbers of abortions. Most people don’t have abortions. Most women will never have them and most men will never be closely associated with a woman who does. So it cold be that the rise of sonograms has turned large numbers of people who, while they will never have abortions themselves, from pro choice to pro life.

            1. support among the general public for abortion

              Not to be pedantic, but we’re talking about attitude towards abortion. IMO the GSS is much better than political polling because it captures the underlying attitudes with less contamination from the latest political brouhaha. Here’s a good primer :
              http://blogs.discovermagazine……al-survey/

          3. That’s why abortionists should be *forced* to show their patient a sonogram.

  17. “Would an abolitionist circa 1860 have seen diverse approaches to slavery as testimony to the genius of the Framers’ design?”

    A smart one would have. The central government, even in 1860, had pro-slavery laws on the books. At least with federalism we got to have some anti-slavery laws *somewhere*.

    And here we’re talking about the real 1860, when many states had already individually abolished slavery and become inspiring examples of the result. A century earlier even northern states hadn’t banned slavery. If we’d been making that a national decision ever since 1776, preventing states from abolishing slavery one at a time, how much longer would it have taken to reach the point where the national majority viewpoint could change for the better and allow abolition all at once?

    1. That is an excellent point.

    2. It works the other way around too. How much longer would Southern states have had slavery or Jim Crow if the feds didn’t act?

      Southern states are just a little slow, and need to be brought into modernity from time to time. If you want the feds to be less powerful, stop oppressing people in your states and forcing the feds to act.

      1. Why does everyone still argue with Tony?

        He never EVER admits any shortcomings and constantly moves around goalposts so much that his point becomes irrelevant. In this thread alone John showed Tony that progressives didn’t push through Civil Rights legislation as well as the GOP. So instead of admitting he’s wrong he says “Nixon sure as fuck was a liberal compared to the current generation of Republicans. Or Democrats”.

        Tiresome troll is tiresome.

        Hey Tony, do you have liberal friends who can argue their points any better than you? Please send them over, because your shtick is worn out.

        1. Policies are progressive or not, people are just people. Yeah Nixon passed progressive legislation. I didn’t say anything about parties. What I accused John of being is conservative in the tradition of people who opposed progressiveness at every opportunity.

          1. Rarely has a poster contradicted himself so thoroughly in so short a time.

            Straight from

            Policies are progressive or not, people are just people.

            to

            What I accused John of being is conservative in the tradition of people

            1. Stop trying to confuse the issue.

              The only positive narrative of US history that I’m aware of is increasing access to civil rights for formerly oppressed people.

              What’s the positive conservative narrative? Standing in the way of these advances at every opportunity? And still fighting the good fight. Because now that we’re onto healthcare as a civil right, the conservatives will make their stand and finally get one right, the trajectory of the rest of the civilized world be damned.

              1. HEAD I WIN, TAILS YOU LOSE.

                We get it Tony. You’re always right, and so are progressives. Anything done by conservatives is automatically racist and running in direct opposition to the trajectory of the rest of the civilized world.

                Your act is SO FUCKING LAME.

                1. I fail to see what’s wrong with that description. Why would I choose to ally myself with the team that is always wrong?

                  1. anybody who thinks his team is always right is a blithering moron.

                    NOBODY’s team can be.

                    ideologues ignore when their team is/was wrong.

                    realists don’t

                  2. like that whole history of eugenics in the progressive movement?

                    1. They’re right often enough that people have to dredge up scare stories from 100 years ago.

                      Conservatives, er states’ righters, er ‘libertarians’ used to fight war against the country in order to preserve their right to own people. Really wanna compare pasts?

                    2. progressives are wrong every friggin’ day.

                      college speech codes?

                      wrong

                      happy meal bans?

                      wrong

                    3. They’re right often enough that people have to dredge up scare stories from 100 years ago.

                      So we’ve given up on the always-positive narrative already then?

                    4. “right to own people”

                      A scare story from over 100 years ago. Irrelevant by your own standards.

                    5. You know who else admired American progressive’s eugenics policies?

          2. What about the tradition of people who oppose anything NON-progressive at every opportunity?

            Or is that just fine’n’fuckin’dandy with you?

      2. Southern states are just a little slow, and need to be brought into modernity from time to time. If you want the feds to be less powerful, stop oppressing people in your states and forcing the feds to act.

        Now replace southern states with foreign nations.

        1. Progressives don’t seem to have much disagreement with Bush here… they just want their team captain at the helm.

  18. My understanding of federalism is that it is a loose arrangement of mostly sovereign states, voluntarily joining together for issues of mutual defense and a unified monetary system, setting up an unlimited free trade zone among the several states.

    Issues outside that limited scope, such as social policy and even criminal law, were to be left up to the states.

    The 14th amendment came along later, and set up a minimum baseline for all of the states to follow, by at least not violating the restrictions on government power enumerated in the Bill of Rights, restrictions that had previously limited only Congress and the central government.

    1. If only more people shared your understanding, CE.

      Hell, I’d settle for just 9 more, as long as they were Justices.

  19. Part of me just wants to ignore politicians to support for these amendments that have zero chance of ever passing. Its so blatantly obvious that they’re just paying lip service to factions of their constituencies that I’m just wanna say “that’s politics” and focus on the positions that actually matter.

  20. I’m still trying to figure out where he actually expresses support for these bans.

  21. All we know for sure is that the path taken regarding slavery caused 750k deaths. And it destroyed much of the south. And led to a backlash called the Jim Crow era. We’ll call that option A.

    How bad does option B need to be to beat that?

  22. Well, Jacob, I don’t know about you, but I’m not afraid of going to Hell. The reason being I’ve had Rick Perry as a governor for ELEVEN F*CKING YEARS!!!! Eternal damnation would be paradise about now!

  23. Dude makes a whole lot of sense mane.

    http://www.real-anon.at.tc

  24. If you believe abortion to be murder, it’s perfectly reasonable to support a consitutional amendment to outlaw it.

    1. And if you’re simple enough to believe that it’s no more complex than that, you need to have your motor-voter card soaked in kerosene and torched.

  25. The retort to this argument is simple: Perry says that currently abortion and gay marriage are issues for the states and represent areas where the 10th Amendment stops gov’t intrusion. If at some later date, they are part of the Constitution, then the 10th Amendment will be irrelevant to them. Perry surely knows two things as well: 1) The President is not part of the Constitutional Amendment process and 2) these amendments have zero chance of passing. He at once panders to the social cons in the primaries and can easily shift back to his previous positions in the general. I may be pro-choice and pro-gay marriage, but I also don’t fear Perry on what he can do against my positions as pres.

    1. Exactly. Except for appointing Supremes the Pres is irrelevant on social issues.

  26. Its a matter of who has what say over what laws the states should follow in common with each other. The federal shouldn’t have that say but the constitution should.

    1. Also, there are limits to what the federal government can do but there are very few limits what the constitution can do since there are few restrictions on what amendments can be added. I say Perry’s position on state’s rights are consistent.

  27. “These readers pointed out that Perry does not propose simply ignoring the 10th Amendment; rather, he wants to follow the constitutionally prescribed procedure for carving out new exceptions to it.” Amendments are not “exceptions” to the 10th amendment. If you delegate a power to the federal government by constitutional amendment, then you are thoroughly in line with the 10th amendment in all respects. The 10th amendment does not make any reference to WHEN a power must be delegated – just that the constitution must explicitly delegate such a power or deny it to the states.

  28. Perry is bad, but he’s not as bad as that racist piece of shit Ron Paul. Don’t you libertarian zombies back him?

  29. Fuck you, Joe Carter. I fucking dare you to find ONE libertarian who approves of slavery.

    ONE, Joe.

    Bring it, or shut the fuck up.

    Oh, and Anna… help Joe fuck himself, woudja?

    1. I can help with Joe, but Anna has a vag, and they’re ucky.

  30. “Conservatives, er states’ righters, er ‘libertarians'”

    Yeah, we’re all one in the same. Every libertarian = Rick Santorum + ever Confederate who ever lived X infinity.

    Go.
    Fuck.
    Your.
    Self.
    You.
    Fucking.
    Government.
    Worshiper.

    1. By the way… if your view of the First Amendment held sway, I wouldn’t have been able to post the above.

      Or this post.

      Or the next one.

    2. Fuck you, you market fundamentalist asswipe.

  31. No one took the position that the Constitution prior to the 13th amendment was already an anti-slavery document?

  32. These readers pointed out that Perry does not propose simply ignoring the 10th Amendment; rather

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