Wednesday, August 22, 2007

States' Rights

I won't provide more than just a brief opinion on this article, which is an interview Mitt Romney gave to the Associated Press.

In particular, I have to address the abortion issue. While I have blogged over at my personal page about his positions on abortion, I think some discussion is appropriate in this space. In fairness to my colleagues, let me again disclaim that my personal opinions about Romney are just that: personal. In no way do my thoughts about his candidacy reflect the opinions of my colleagues, nor should my opinions be construed as this blog endorsing his candidacy. Ready?

From the article:

States' rights also take precedence in the abortion debate for Romney, a conservative and a Mormon who's against abortion and would like to see the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling overturned. He said in an interview with The Associated Press that states should "fashion their own laws with regard to abortion. That's what I think the next step should be."

As I've said before, Romney is to the left of me on this issue, and for the record, I don't think abortion is an issue that can be permanently relegated to the states; to me, this is sort of a forfeit by federalism. Government at all levels is charged with protecting the inalienable rights of its citizens. There's just no way around that fact. Anyone who disagrees with that simply disagrees with the most important foundational tenet of our Republic, and that which truly makes us American.

There's a bit of pragmatic wisdom, though, in his approach, and it is notable that Romney called this "the next step." From a balanced government perspective, we can draw parallels to the abolition of slavery. Had that institution been universal among the states (at one time, early in our history, I think it had; and the New England states were the first to outlaw the practice), an excellent first step would have been allowing the states to "decide" if they would allow it. Practically speaking, this is what happened between the states with respect to slavery. Eventually, the sea change swept away that blot on our national history, and hundreds of thousands of Americans died to correct that wrongs that had been allowed for so long.

Every cause has milestones that can be seen clearly with the benefit of hindsight. I hope, while I yet think the long-term fight must be fought, that with an articulate and strong leader, we can get most Americans to agree that letting the states decide is a decent first step - understanding that first means many more steps would follow.


Dave Marlow said...

I too am a federalist (albeit of a different variety) and unlike many of those similar to myself, I agree with you on the issue of abortion being a matter of state's rights. Federalism is based on a careful division of power between the national government and state governments, and this is an issue which should be evaluated on a more specific level.

Michael Tams said...

First of all, thanks for the comment.

Dave, you're to be excused for misreading me because there's a lot of background that goes into my position.

Let me re-state: I think relegating abortion "to the States" is "forfeit by Federalism." I don't think it is an issue that can be permanently resolved by letting the States decide, although I acknowledge that if that's where the majority of Americans are at on the issue, it is astute of Romney to recognize that and accept a minor victory. Is there a moral difference between letting the States decide abortion and letting the States decide owning slaves? Or euthanizing everyone over 70?

My philosophical underpinning is simply the laws of Nature and Nature's God - the spirit captured in our Declaration of Independence. Inasmuch as people are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights - rights that can't be transferred or taken from one class of persons and given to another - and that among these rights are LIFE, LIBERTY and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, abortion is inconsistent with reason and the laws of Nature and Nature's God. This is why I indicated that Romney is to the left of me on this issue. I take a DoI-centric approach: government at any and every level is charged with the protection of the inalienable rights of its people. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

I find socialists to be peculiar creatures. I read some of the comments on your blog, and I couldn't help but note the references to "race", especially in your post on immigration. It appears that cultural, as well as economic, Marxists have cornered the market on failed ideas. I'm curious if you consider yourself one or the other?

If I lived to be a thousand years old, I'd never understand the logical gymnastics a socialist must go through to argue that businesses oppress the poor workers of the world, while at the same time holding the belief that people aren't entitled to the fruits of their labor (which is really what socialism is about). You might not like free markets because they're not "fair" but at least in the free market a person is entitled to the fruits of their labor.


P.S. You're welcome to visit and hang around... but I can't say I'd recommend it. While my fellow travelers aren't as frequent in their postings here, they're likely to be a little less gentle than I am in correcting certain types of "thinking."

Anonymous said...

id like to tell Federalism is based on a careful division of power between the national government and state governments, ,,,