Saturday, May 18, 2024

To Save America, We Must Abandon the Unitary State and Embrace Confederalism

The root of America’s growing social unrest can be traced to two divergent trends that are in direct opposition to one another.

Those old enough to remember life in the 1960s will recall a time of compromise and cooperation among family, friends and business associates. For example, it was not unusual for the entire family to gather around a single television to watch a weekly serial show together. Most households had a single phone and one bathroom. Sharing and consensus were necessary and accepted during those times. Weekends, trips, birthdays and holidays were all part of a lifestyle that emphasized cooperation and compromise. This didn’t mean that every group decision was accepted without discussion and dissent, but concessions were expected, and no one got everything they wanted.

During the 1960s, and through most of the late 20th century, this attitude of compromise was mirrored in government. From Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill to Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, neither side expected to win every ideological or policy battle, and when there were concessions, they were accepted in the same manner that people accepted compromise in their daily lives. 

However, in every successive decade, expressions of individuality broke the bonds of community and group think. By the turn of the century, every bedroom had its own TV, and family viewing became extinct as a cultural trend. Everything from beds to cars to clothing became more personalized. With mass adoption of the internet in the 2000s, and the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, virtually every facet of modern life became increasingly personalized.

Along with this trend came the explosion of information. No matter what your point of view might be on any issue, there is a website, app or publication that reenforces it in hopes you’ll click, and they’ll earn revenue. Entire TV networks are geared toward providing news with the slant their viewers want to see. Even within political ideologies, there are sub-cultures repeatedly splintering into smaller and smaller groups like an asbestos particle in a lung.

As a result of this relentless and unstoppable cultural shift, people demand their government craft policy that conforms to their personal beliefs, and opportunities for compromise have narrowed to the point where it is the exception rather than the rule. Instead, ideological and policy issues are framed in terms of winners and losers.

The Unnatural Trend Toward the Unitary State

Simultaneously, as we have become less unified and more individualist, woke leftists have become increasingly disassociated from reality as they try to blunt the natural inertia toward decentralized government. Instead, they work relentlessly to implement strategies to destabilize the Constitution and replace it with a unitary, authoritarian state with them in charge. Their unremitting effort to expand the reach and authority of the federal government through regulation and executive order has pushed us to the brink of an unintended societal catastrophe, as each leftist edict becomes more outrageous and restrictive than the last.

Virtually every contentious issue at the forefront of the culture war originated in some radical leftist think tank. Instead of respecting the views of those most negatively impacted by their policies, woke leftists seem to enjoy watching their political opponents suffer.

To understand the great divide, we need only examine the two most populus states in America, California and Texas, and examine their strikingly different policies and ideologies.

California is the left’s utopian nirvana. They are a sanctuary city state, meaning they welcome illegal aliens. They provide aliens with driver’s licenses, healthcare benefits, free food, free money and free rent.

Socially, California provides the greatest protections for the LGBTQIA+ community, including laws requiring gender neutral bathrooms, pronoun mandates, advisory boards in school districts and a host of other laws and regulations that make LGBTQIA+ people a preferred and protected class.

Environmentally, there is no state more committed to the elimination of fossil fuels, regardless of how it negatively impacts its citizens. Despite the fact that human-caused climate change cannot be confirmed by a single experiment, California has adopted the toughest climate laws in the country, including a directive that only environmentally unfriendly and unpopular EVs can be sold in the state by 2035.

California has implemented, or is planning to implement, many more oppressive and unpopular woke leftist mandates, which is why 75,000 people left the state in 2023, by far the highest exodus in the nation. However, it’s important to note that those who remain may actually support huge budget shortfalls, feces in the streets of major cities, and electric rates based on income.

If leftist, masochistic Californians want to live in misery, that should be their right. However, they should not have the ability to impose their warped values on the rest of the nation.

Texas is not a sanctuary state. In fact, the governor and the legislature are doing everything they can to stem the scourge of the illegal alien invasion. This includes passage of SB 4, which provides $1.5 billion for physical barriers on the border with Mexico. Additionally, Texas passed an immigration bill that allows state law enforcement to uphold federal immigration laws by arresting migrants who have crossed the border illegally. Currently, the constitutionality of the law is being considered by the Supreme Court.

There has been no state, except perhaps Florida, that has been more aggressive in its efforts to protect minors from surgical mutilation and chemical castration in the name of gender affirming “treatment.” The Texas legislature also passed a bill to restrict biological men or boys from playing on women’s sports teams.

When it comes to the environment, Texas is conscientious, but realistic. Bills to limit greenhouse gasses have been routinely rejected, and a law that prohibits cities from taking unilateral climate change action was passed. Another bill passed by the legislature requires state entities to divest from companies that refuse to support or boycott fossil fuel energy companies.

Confederalism is the Only Realistic Compromise Between Dissimilar States

Texas and California are on divergent paths that grow more polarized by the day. These large population centers cannot be expected to conform to the ideologies, philosophies and policies of the other, and any attempt to force one set of ideas on the other state will only be met with hostility, resistance and potentially worse.

However, this is the path that woke leftists insist we follow. They are not satisfied with creating authoritarian, third-world stench holes in places where masochistic leftists welcome their diminished and less safe lifestyle. They demand other places like Texas and Florida be forced to accept their unpopular mandates as well.

As individuals and groups, the societal trend is toward less uniformity and more personal displays of individuality. As long as the left’s thirst for national power is unimpeded, animosity between Americans of differing ideologies will grow, and we will continue to experience increasingly aggressive acts of intimidation, especially from the left.

Confederalism is a political model that consists of member states largely retaining control over most internal and external affairs. In a confederation format, the federal government is limited in its scope, and its primary focus relates to interstate commerce, roads, immigration, defense, and disputes between member states. Yes, there would still be disagreements, but they would be fewer and much less contentious.

Morphing the U.S. into a confederation would end the era of thousand-page omnibus bills no one in Congress has the time to read, multi-trillion-dollar deficits, laws enacted through executive order, oppressive regulations, and the weaponization of federal law enforcement by the left. Decentralization would make it more difficult to amass fortunes through influence peddling and racketeering, as it appears the Biden family has done.

The recent decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade is a perfect example of the resolution of an issue that fits the confederation model. You will notice that most of the outrage at the decision comes from the left, who want national abortion rights codified, regardless of how states who support the right to life feel about the matter.

It is time for Republicans to embrace the confederalism model and begin to explain the benefits to U.S. citizens across all political spectrums. 21st century government must adapt to technology and trends, and the more personal control citizens have over their lives, the more harmony we will enjoy as a nation.

Promoting confederalism will also expose the left’s lust for totalitarian power since they relish the idea of imposing their will on everyone. Explanation and persuasion are the answer, and until we recognize the consequences of our societal evolution, we will continue down the road of conflict, divisiveness and disagreement.

Federalism as a concept and policy must be ended, or America as we know it is doomed. We need government tailored to our individual preferences in the same way we have personalized travel and mass communications.

Confederalism may prove to be the only way to save the Republic.