Jonah Goldberg

Federalism! It's not just for conservatives anymore!

That's right. All of a sudden, liberals have discovered federalism and states' rights. I discovered this while listening to a recent episode of NPR's "Talk of the Nation," in which host Neal Conan and various callers discussed the idea as if some lab had just invented it. In that respect, it was a pretty depressing conversation. A listener called in and explained that, as a liberal, she doesn't feel "welcome" in America any more. For her, this whole wacky "states' rights" thing was her last hope before moving to Canada.

It's not surprising that liberals would suddenly be interested in federalism, given that a sizable fraction of them think George Bush is an evangelical mullah, determined to convert America to his brand of Christianity. As conservatives have known for decades, federalism is the defense against an offensive federal government.

In the weeks after the election, the Internet has exploded with juvenile expressions of this silliness. A new map of North America, depicting a red "Jesusland" in the South and West and a blue "United States of Canada" including most of the North and hugging both coasts, has winged around the Web countless times. Jim Holt wrote an ode to "A State's Rights Left" in The New York Times magazine.

And, of course, there's been a lot of idiotic talk about "secession." For example, former Democratic Senate staffer Lawrence O'Donnell whined on "The McLaughlin Group" about how blue states subsidize red states because they pay more to the federal government in taxes, and that this will spark "a serious discussion" about secession in the next two decades. Tony Blankley asked him, "Are you calling for civil war?" O'Donnell replied, "You can secede without firing a shot."

O'Donnell's higher than a moonbat with his secession talk. But I'm ecstatic that liberals suddenly love federalism. For years I've been ranting that federalism is the greatest system ever conceived to maximize human happiness.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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