Tag: FederalIsm

First Principles: The Fairweather Federalist


I find curious the subject of sanctuary cities; specifically why limited government conservatives support the Trump administration’s attempts to “do something” about them. Those attempts haven’t yielded much other than litigation, and so the Trump administration has started talking about arresting local officials who do not play along. Similar is the Attorney General’s recent decision to rescind the Cole Memo, paving the way for federal prosecutors to begin cracking down on marijuana producers and retailers in states where such a thing is legal.

We have the phenomenon of those conservatives who talk about the virtues of federalism, states’ rights, subsidiarity, and limited government but it all goes right out the window when it comes to Mexicans or pot.


Richard Epstein explains the contents of President Trump’s new executive order on healthcare, explores the controversy around a White House proposal to cut subsidies to insurers, and explains why conservatives who fretted about President Obama’s use of executive orders shouldn’t be bothered by this exercise of executive power.


The Cavalry Isn’t Coming from DC – States Need to Save Themselves


Obama brought us Obamacare, the Stimulus, and doubled the debt to $20 trillion. George W. Bush brought us the Wall Street bailout and interminable middle-eastern wars. Congress, alternately run by Democrats and Republicans over the past 16 years, approved all of these messes. And seeing how everyone in DC — politicians, press, lobbyists, and probably Uber drivers — have spent the past five months in an endless slap fight, we shouldn’t expect the Beltway to produce much of consequence for the foreseeable future.

How do we enact conservative change in this environment? The best option is to build a doorless wall around DC; Washingtonians of every stripe can give each other swirlies while the rest of America gets about fixing the nation. But since that effort might be frowned upon, let’s just ignore the lot of them the best we can and focus closer to home.


Why Every Liberal Should Favor Small Government


Being a conservative who likes art, music, film, theater, new foods and cultural celebrations isn’t a stretch. That makes up the majority of conservatives I personally know. And while our preferences in those arenas may be different, we all share a near universal belief that government that is small is government that works best — streamlined, efficient, not trying to be an expert in areas that it is not. And, most importantly, a government that doesn’t think its interference makes things better.

But, for so many in liberal media and those moving narrative over facts, the conservative in America hates the arts (see: Meryl Streep), despises culture, and universally is an evil demagogue who hates brown people, wishes to live back in the ’50s, is desperate to eradicate all levels of government, and can’t stand the Commies.


Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for December 20, 2016, it’s the Electoral College Edition of the podcast…only it’s not! It is really the Judy Curry podcast where we talk with the noted climatologist and courageous skeptic about the details – we’re talking details here – of the climate alarmist argument.

The HLC podcast is brought to you by Donors Trust, by Patriot Mobile and by our friends at SimpliSafe.


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Let’s Talk about Self-Determination and Federalism


I once worked for a holding company of three grocery store chains that were supposed to serve distinct customer segments. But customers of the full-service grocery store were complaining of low-quality products and poor service. Customers of the discount supermarket were complaining of exorbitant prices and products that were too upscale. And customers of the hypermarket were complaining that it had become a confusing blend of the other two chains. Inadvertently, centralization of back-office functions had caused the chains to lose their distinct identities. The resulting nondescript offering pleased no one.

Today the United States has a problem similar to that of my former employer: When it comes to government, people want blue or red; nondescript purple pleases no one.


Is Modern Conservatism Too … Utopian?


I have come to the conclusion that modern American Conservatism (in its classic, three-stool, Buckley-Regan model) is utopian and not a viable model for governing modern America.

Now, let us not misunderstand one another: I think American Conservatism is the truest and the most correct political philosophy there is; one that — under the right circumstances — best-serves a fallen, sinful, broken, or imperfect world (choose, from among those adjectives, the one that best fits your personal political, philosophical, or religious outlook). To paraphrase the old Churchill saw, it is the best of all the bad options that exist. But it simply will not work in modern America and must be replaced with some sort of pragmatic approach that ameliorates our current problems until a better day appears.


A New Constitutional Convention Is Not the Conservative Option


citizenshipday09The other day Peter Robinson asked what I thought of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s call for a constitutional convention. (Peter will be interviewing Gov. Abbott for Uncommon Knowledge early next month.)

The conservative in me thinks a constitutional convention is a bad idea because of the inability to limit the convention’s work. We could go in with a Constitution with a separation of powers, federalism, and a Bill of Rights, and emerge with a wholly new framework of government that merges all state power into one government, as in Great Britain or Europe. A convention’s work would still have to gain three-quarters approval of the states under Article V, though the Convention could reject that process too.


Compact for America: Using the States to Fix Washington


Compact-for-America-logoAs we’ve seen during Republican administrations and Democrat administrations, and with Republican congresses and Democrat congresses, Washington, DC refuses to fix its addiction to spending. During “conservative” George W. Bush’s two terms, the debt jumped by $4.9 trillion, and during “progressive” Barack Obama’s term (so far), it has jumped $8.2 trillion.

Looking at our nearly $19 trillion hole and with no end in sight to deficit spending, many limited government fans have decided that any solution to the Beltway can’t come from the Beltway. So, Marco Rubio caused a minor stir last week when he floated an idea that has been circulating in the right-leaning policy community for the past few years: Having the states leverage the power given to them by the Constitution.