One Reply to “Federalism update”

  1. Is the voting process the enemy of the conservative mindset? I find myself asking this question whenever questions of state sovereignty and the the possibility of secession come up. I think that many of the following observations could apply to liberals or other political groups, but they strike me as particularly applicable to conservative politics.

    Secession – here we have a nullification of the vote. If a state or group of people don’t like the way a large part of the voting public have been voting, they simply say “your votes don’t count for us”, claim sovereignty and secede. This process has always puzzled me since it seems that conservatives have a fear of consolidated power, yet in ever smaller groups of people each vote contains more power. I also think that one only needs to look at the history of Christian denominations to see that secession won’t stop at a state (denomination), or even times within a small area (church).

    Tradition – while respect for tradition is admirable, the upholding of the Constitution as a near-holy document that is “dead” (Justice Scalia) or otherwise limited seems to again override the voting public. It gives the ‘Founders’ a vote that consistently overrides the will of the people. Conservatives often don’t limit themselves to what is explicitly in the nigh-infallible Constitution – arguments are given about what the Founders intended or would have supported. Again, the votes, opinions, or even cultural prejudices of long dead white men are used as a weapon against the voting public.

    Permission – would the ‘nanny state’ be named as such if it used a federal ruling to prevent or outlaw homosexuality or abortion? Federal power is often viewed with contempt, but only so far as it used against conservative ideals. The idea of widespread, blanket imposition of a law or policy is not necessarily anathema to conservatives, but it has to go along with what they want – otherwise, it is decried as an excessive use of federal power.

    Basically, the vote seems to be a problem for the conservative worldview because its very existence indicates a possibility for disagreement or potential for change. If conservatives truly want to ‘conserve’ the way things are (or were in a supposedly ideal time when the Founding Fathers got everything right), then why promote a method to allow disagreement or promote change? If any group of people can simply walk away from the binding effects of the vote, why bother? And if federal power is useful in very narrow circumstances to enact conservative policies, why not take over and act with impunity and without regard for the American people in the federal arena?

    I realize that some of my thoughts and characterizations could be seen as too general or ‘misled’. I would appreciate the thoughts of the blog writer or anyone else to help me better understand how the idea of the vote is a friend of the conservative mentality. I appreciate the exchange of ideas that a blog like this promotes.

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