Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Excerpt from Irving Kristol (part III)

In the previous post I discussed the merits of a federalized system of governance particularly in maintaining peace in a culturally diverse nation. What this basically entails is granting states and local communities greater leeway in resolving contentious social issues, as we did in the past.
The immediate objection that my liberal friends will voice is, "gay marriage, abortion etc. are fundamental rights that are too important to be subject to the whims of local communities..."

My response to them is: be very cautious in granting the federal government the power to impose its will on states and local governments in cultural issues. Today, the federal government may be willing to use its expanded power to enforce values that you find favorable on "backwards communities." But, one day when political forces shift the federal government towards values contrary to your own, the expanded powers that you granted it will be used to impose values and policies that you and much of your community hold distasteful. Of course this does not mean that the federal government should ignore true violations of civil rights if and when they emerge. Rather, our 1st instinct should be to allow local communities to negotiate solutions to their social and economic dilemmas.

Interestingly the very same "progressives" who lament the decline of civic and political involvement on a local level are very inclined to use federal courts to thwart the expressions of the popular will of local communities. Virtually any referendum that generates results not favorable to the "progressive" agenda will engender lawsuits and endless court battles. Needless to say, the more you limit a community's ability to determine its own destiny, the less involved the populace will be in working to shape that destiny. I've never understood the expression "you can't have your cake and eat it too," but I do believe that it applies in this situation.

No comments:

Post a Comment