In this, our first installment of the ACS-FedSoc semester-long exchange, the ACS and FedSoc media committees will begin with a few broad ideological distinctions between the two groups. Please remember the writers write on their own behalf. For more information click here.
States or Federal
It seems a common critique of the ACS and left-leaning legal voices that they disregard states’ rights; that they desire an omnipresent and overwhelming federal government. States are powerful engines of progress — in the “progressive” sense. Workers’ compensation, universal health care, and rational climate change policy all began (or are beginning) with bold action from state governments. As Justice Brandeis put it: “[t]here must be power in the States and the Nation to remould, through experimentation, our economic practices and institutions to meet changing social and economic needs.” New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, 285 U.S. 262, 311 (1932) (Brandeis, J., dissenting). However, states have also served as bastions for discrimination and unequal protection under the law, shielding (or perhaps obfuscating) immoral and fundamentally un-American practices behind the mantra of “states’ rights.” So we are left with a complicated picture: states must be free to serve as democracy’s laboratory, but this freedom cannot be invoked for anti-democratic and unconscionable ends. In that spirit, it seems prudent to assess practical consequences when vesting political power at one or the other level of government.
Rick points to federal “usurpation” of states’ powers in providing social services as depriving states of the ability to compete for their citizenry. This observation is both deft and daft. Apt in that it accepts the welfare state and admits its desirability to citizens. His comments are marred by an implicit contradiction: social security is premised on the understanding that government is better positioned than individual citizens are to care for the general welfare. The point of social security is to sacrifice choice in the name of financial and social stability.
To see a FedSoc Member's take on this issue, click here.
Labels: ACS v. FedSoc