Jonah Goldberg

I've got a proposal for you. I'd call it a "modest proposal" but, thanks to Jonathan Swift, when writers say that, it means they're about to propose something absolutely bonkers to make a satirical point along the lines of "Let's eat Irish babies!" or "Joe Biden should be president!"

My proposal might still be crazy, but it's not satire.

OK, OK, I can tell you're keen to hear it.

But wait. First, a peeve.

The president and his party jammed through health-care legislation that was objectively unpopular with the American people. It remains unpopular. It stipulates that it is essentially illegal not to have health insurance. A dozen or so states are suing on the grounds that the federal government doesn't have the right to force people to buy health insurance.

Michelle Malkin

The response from backers of ObamaCare has been one of sanctimonious outrage and derision. To pick just one example, the current issue of The New Republic features an essay claiming this legal effrontery marks a return of the Confederacy's hated and racist doctrine of nullification. The "new nullifiers," exclaims the preening liberal historian Sean Wilentz, "would have us repudiate the sacrifices of American history -- and subvert the constitutional pillars of American nationhood."

Forget that when George W. Bush was in office, standing athwart the government was all the rage without conjuring any Confederate demons. Liberals talked about Blue State secession from "Jesusland" with condescending glee. The New York Times ran a love letter to the "states' rights left" by contributor Jim Holt arguing that "states' rights has not always been the intellectual property of reactionaries."

But forget all that. Consider that even now there are more than 30 so-called "sanctuary cities" that formally ban their own police from enforcing federal immigration laws or even cooperating with federal officers trying to enforce them. But not a peep about "nullification" from the Wilentzers.

Ditto when it comes to the countless, constitutionally dubious, hippy-dippy "Nuclear Free Zones" that dot the American landscape in defiance of the federal government's fundamental rights to provide for the common defense and ensure interstate commerce.

But -- and you know where this is going -- when the state of Arizona opts to pass a popular law requiring Arizonan officials to comply with and enforce federal law, suddenly all of the usual suspects come completely unglued. Police will be allowed to ask people for their "papers"! Gird your loins for Gotterdammerung!


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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