Sunday, December 15, 2013

Is It Acceptable for American States to Oppress People?

"Volunteers" - "free" men - for a Confederate Army in the War of Northern Aggression...or was it Southern Oppression? Somehow the volunteers didn't feel more free than before.

Libertarianism in the U.S. has taken a strange turn. For one thing, people who call themselves libertarian in a rural area versus a metropolitan area are likely to have very different sets of opinions. Rural libertarians quite often are very much against allowing gay people to marry, allowing people to worship as they choose or not worship at all, or allow individual discretion in the consumption of mind-altering substances. But somehow, somewhere, these people claim they're the ones really in favor of freedom. Many an urban libertarian has told a rural resident that no no no, libertarians are in favor of gay rights, religious freedom, and drug decriminalization, and then been asked, "So how are you a libertarian then?"

The Civil War still looms large in rural libertarians' often provincial minds as well, which is why they appear to favor state government oppression instead of Federal oppression - that's what "States' Rights" really means. Another translation of States' Rights is, "Decisions should be made in a forum where the people with whom I culturally identify are the majority. At the national level, urban blue-staters outnumber people who think like me, so I shouldn't have to agree with them. However, in my state, people who think like me are the majority. So people in my state should have to agree with me."

The Federal government's limitation of rights remains their bete noir, and that's not a bad place to start. But it's the inter-level hypocrisy that's so glaring. What's confusing is that apparently, state-level oppression is okay. Washington D.C. tells the country what religion they have to be? Or passes a law demanding service of some kind? A distaster. (And in this, they're correct.) But if Utah or Texas forced Mormonism or Baptism on their people - well, that's okay. Why this reverse state worship, as Reason magazine labeled it? If socialists were Christians, these rural libertarians would be Satanists.

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