The Great Domestic Battle of Our Time

Ben Shapiro
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Posted: Dec 15, 2010 12:01 AM
The Great Domestic Battle of Our Time

This week, President Obama and the last-gasp Democratic Congress parlayed on whether to allow Americans to keep their own money (no), considered whether to pay unemployed people with the money of those who have jobs (yes), and proposed a new budget topping $1.1 trillion. Meanwhile, Congress' last major "achievement," the nationalization of health care, was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in Virginia on the grounds that it forces Americans to buy a particular product -- and Democrats went ballistic.

You may be noticing a pattern here. Democrats worship the national government and despise the American people and the states. They see any growth of national government as a net positive, and any movement in favor of individual economic liberty as a net loss.

Even more than liberals hate individual economic freedom, however, they hate the states. That's because states show how government "should" work. State governments show that those governments that are most local, responsive and non-intrusive are also most successful. For example, the three best states in terms of unemployment are North Dakota (3.8 percent), South Dakota (4.5 percent) and Nebraska (4.7 percent). Not coincidentally, all three states are conservative. The three worst states in terms of unemployment are Nevada (14.2 percent), Michigan (12.8 percent) and California (12.4 percent). All are Democratic and heavily unionized. States are laboratories of democracy; they show consistently that fiscally responsible governance works every time it's tried.

That's why Democrats have no interest in fostering state and local government -- they're more interested in filling pockets in Washington, D.C, and centralizing their own power. That's why they scorn state governors, try to utilize states as tools of federal enforcement (except if states attempt to enforce federal immigration law), and encourage their allies on the state level to run up state debt -- thereby forcing states to go to the federal government for cash.

After usurping state power, the feds then turn their backs on the states during times of emergency. That's the M.O. of the Obama administration, which has expanded federal power beyond all measure, yet could not even cut through its own red tape during the Gulf oil disaster.

"One of the things the federal government has got to learn is that you can't worry about paperwork and process; you've got to cut through the red tape and just get the job done," Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana told me on my radio show.

"I think the direct reason the federal government was not competent in responding to a crisis the way it should have been was basically that the government is trying to do too many things. It's lost its focus. You've got a government trying to run health care companies and car companies and trying to run banks. ... it loses its focus on being able to secure the borders, fight our enemies here and abroad, and do those things the Founding Fathers believed our central government should do."

Jindal should know -- he watched as the Obama administration held up resources due to bureaucratic infighting as oil coated Louisiana's coast. Today's federal system is the worst of both words: a state government empowered to do nothing, and a bloated federal government unable to do anything.

America will not recover from her incipient fiscal meltdown until the federal government's growing tyranny is ended. And that recovery cannot start until Obamacare is killed outright.

"What's so scary," Gov. Jindal said, "is if ... the Supreme Court doesn't rule [Obamacare] unconstitutional, there will be virtually no limits. If they can shift that burden to the states, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution will be rendered meaningless. The Founding Fathers got it right. They did not intend a large, intrusive federal government that was running our lives."

Jindal is absolutely right, of course. His fight for autonomy from the federal government is our fight, too. Conservatives are not anarchists -- we do not want a land without a government. We want a federal government that performs certain basic functions, and we want state governments responsive to us and minimal in scope. We need state governments in order to retain our freedom. We can talk about returning the power directly to the people all we want, but that phrase is rendered meaningless without some form of local government we can control, shape and mold in our own communities. Without that local control, there is no doubt that the federal government will continue to steal away our freedoms day after day, until at last there is nothing left.