The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Another look at Federalism—you know, how our government was originally designed?

And when the Fed's ban sex toys? Where do you go then? Sure, it's nice when the Feds enforce the laws you like, but what do you do when they enforce those you don't?

It's true that, left to their own devices, some states are going to choose some laws that are more restrictive than the laws Feds might enforce. For example, I think CA would have much more restrictive gun laws. Many Southern states would probably ban abortion.

However, it's much easier to reform and escape state law than it is to escape or reform Federal laws.

If we had a more federal system, marijuana would be completely legal in many states, and perhaps harder drugs as well. You might be able to buy a silencer without a FFA license in others.

Advocates of liberty would also be able to point to real life examples of American communities that are working just fine, despite the legalization of drugs/machine guns/prostitutes, instead of hypothetical examples, or distant foreign experiments that most people will never see.

In a more federal system, states would also have to compete for people more fiercely. Want high tech/bio tech businesses to locate in your state? Anti-abortion, anti-gay statutes are going to be a big turnoff to the employees (and hence, the employers) of such companies.

People would be more free to choose which legal regime most closely matched their preferences. If you wanted to live where abortion was legal, live in CA. If you wanted to shoot machine guns, choose WY or ID. Want to do both, move to NH.

Compare that to what you would have to do to escape oppressive federal laws. One route would be to move to a completely new country, which would require you to leave behind friends, family, and business contacts. You would also have to surmount language, cultural, and legal barriers to immigration.

Or, you could spend decades waging a campaign to reform the law at the federal level. This would probably require millions of dollars, and the cooperation of thousands of people to wage, with no guarantee that you would ultimately succeed.

A more federal system might not mean a more libertarian society on a given issue, in a given state. But overall, I think it would result in greater practical freedom for those who want it.

comment about States' Rights & Alabama sex toys at Flutterby

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