States' rights and conservatism are old friends -- except when they're not. While many Republicans nurse a libertarian streak, the party has been selective in its support of federalist principles. George W. Bush's administration refused to honor states authorizing medical uses of cannabis, for instance, but aimed to return abortion and marriage issues to state jurisdictions.That particular bit of conservative hypocrisy has always riled me. It is also apparent with regard to doctor assisted suicide and gay marriage.
I think that we would enjoy a somewhat saner country if the Federal Government had stayed out of most of what we do, leaving control to the states. Likewise, states should shift control to counties and cities so that the governed can have local control of those governmental actions which directly effect their lives. And, if you don't like what the state or county does you can vote the bums out, or move. That, in a nutshell, is what states' rights is all about.
Of course, you have to be able to afford to move, and the local governments can't raise enough revenue to do what needs to be done, and they would have to cooperate with neighboring jurisdictions so that roads are built to the same standards everywhere, for example. But it's nothing that a perfectly good 19th century country couldn't do.
The current conservative mindset sees no conflict since clearly the parts of our lives that they want to control are bad for us and immoral. The War on Drugs really started in earnest when Nancy Reagan spoke the bumper sticker phrase, "Just say no!" The implied justification being that taking drugs is bad, wrong and immoral. Congress, under control of the ever gutless Democrats, fell over each other in the rush to create ever harsher punishments for all those evil doers in the drug trade, thus to not be painted with the soft-on-crime brush. And away we went. Life sentences for pot possession, three strikes and its life laws and the biggest prison population in the world. All because a former actress declared drugs to be immoral and lawmakers agreed.
So, does it bother anyone else that this huge, and expensive, debacle is based upon the moral pronouncements of those with very little moral standing, i.e., the Congress of the United States of America? It sure bothers me. Stop Prohibition Now!