24 July 2009


If you receive an email titled "Naked Picture of Nancy Pelosi", DO NOT OPEN IT!!!

It contains a naked picture of Nancy Pelosi.

16 May 2009

Founder-ing on State's Rights

I was enthused by my mission, and I chose to accept it, to pontificate about the Founder's opinions about state's rights. I would be so historical, and just a bit pithy. I'd compare and contrast Paine to Jefferson to Adams, with a pinch of Franklin for flavor. But alas, it was not to be. You see, there is surprisingly little in their writings that is directly on point as we know state's rights.

"But why not?", I hear you cry. Didn't the founders believe in state's rights? And if they did why didn't they write more about it?

I happen to believe that the founders DID believe in what we call state's rights, and far more than we do today. I base this belief on three pieces of evidence.

The first evidence is the Constitution as originally passed, specifically Article 1, Sections 2 and 3. These set up Ben Franklin's wonderful contribution, a bicameral legislature. These two separate, yet equal bodies were to represent two different constituencies. The House of Representatives members, elected by the voters, were to represent the will of the people. The Senators, elected by their state's legislature, were to represent the interest of their home state, and not to duplicate what the House already did.

The second evidence is the overall Constitution as they passed it. The Constitution spells out what the federal government must do. But the founders wouldn't pass it until the Bill of Rights, which spells out what the federal government could NOT do. The federal responsibilities were few and limited, while the state's responsibilities, according to the 10th amendment, are vast and nearly all-encompassing.

The third evidence is like the second, but a bit more on point. Jefferson, the main author of the Constitution, later wrote the Kentucky Resolutions. In there he writes that the federal government had few and limited responsibilities, and that anything not specifically granted to them in the Constitution was reserved to the states.

Allright, they believed in state's rights. But why didn't they write more about it? I think it is because the founders could not conceive of any other reasonable alternative. They were, as we all are, limited culturally, historically, and technologically.

Culturally, each of the colonies, later states has a unique history leading to a unique culture. Also our culture, as theirs, has certain rules about identification. If here in Louisiana, I identify myself by town or parish. In New York, I identify myself as a Louisianian. Prarieville or Napoleonville or Tangipahoa would be meaningless to a New Yorker. Their cultures were not diluted by mass media or mass migration. They were steeped in it, and few traveled far enough to see anything different. When they came together, is it any wonder that they thought of themselves as Virginians or Pennsylvanians or New Yorkers first, and Americans second?

Historically, the founders had just risked their property and lives in a war with the world's only and greatest superpower. That war was brought about by a capricious and arbitrary centralized government, and cost thousands of lives. Do you think the founders wanted to give much power to a central government after that? They had only banded together because Britain could have defeated each colony in turn, but all together they had a chance.

Technologically, the founders were very limited. Our modern system of Federalism, with it's alphabet soup of regulatory agencies reporting to the Capitol at the speed of light would be unimaginable to them. They could concieve of our situation less than I could of having dinner with Lectriod leader Lord John Whorfin from Planet 10 in the 8th dimension. Remember that in their world, nothing of human endeavor moved faster on land than a horse. Not goods, not letters, not ideas, nada. Any central government's control over an area is limited by it's communications with that area. Smart central governments set up semi-autonomous regions or states, and limit their own role. Stupid ones overcontrol, and rebellion follows. The founders were smart enough to realize their technological limits.

In short, it is self evident that the founders believed strongly in state's rights. They believed so strongly that those rights are evident in the body of the Constitution and in the 10th Amendment. They just didn't talk about it much, anymore than we would write with amazement about the sun rising tomorrow. They just didn't see any other viable way. I think the founder's wisdom holds up very well centuries later.

As I started, this was not what I intended to write. Sometimes a writer's plans get hosed, and the writer gets taken in a new and wonderful direction. This happened here, and I depart with a better and deeper understanding into our founders' thoughts. Thanks for the opportunity.

The Grey Man