States' rights and wrongs | Bleader

Friday, April 6, 2007

States' rights and wrongs

Posted By on 04.06.07 at 07:46 AM

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

click to enlarge 1253.jpg
click to enlarge 1252.jpg

When I see Jonathan Rauch's byline I read the story. Simple as that.

In this month's Atlantic (available here if you're too stingy to subscribe), he argues that gay marriage should be left to the states, as abortion rights should have been -- because such a patchwork nonsolution will make the issue less attractive to extremists on both sides, and allow democracy and compromise to do its work.

About abortion rights, it's an old argument (that the Supreme Court should have butted out) and in some ways an appealing one, but now that he's generalized it I have my doubts. Are Second Amendment issues less extreme because they're usually fought out in states and cities? Did Illinois' Stephen Douglas succeed in defusing extremists on human slavery in the 1850s with his doctrine of popular sovereignty?

Let's leave aside the question of which of these rights exist and how they should be regulated if they do exist. There's a knotty question of political philosophy here, and one that doesn't seem to appeal much to the echo-chamber blogosphere on either side. (As Rauch amusingly documents, Mitt Romney, who's no Stephen Douglas to be sure, has come down firmly on both sides.) So -- when should the universality of justice trump local option?

Don't be too quick with the answer -- murder laws differ from state to state, and what could be more important than the right not to get murdered?

There are legitimate universalizing tendencies on both sides: folks on the left tend to think that your rights shouldn't depend on your address; folks on the right tend to think that the market functions more smoothly when people aren't terrified of living in South Dakota or Mississippi.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Harold Henderson

  • The Recyclable House

    The Recyclable House

    If Ken Ortiz has his way, no one in Chicago will ever simply "demolish" a building again.
    • Jul 24, 2008
  • Sympathy for the Devil?

    Sympathy for the Devil?

    Progressive scribe Rick Perlstein made his reputation finding the good in conservatives. Then they really started screwing up the country.
    • Jan 24, 2008
  • Dynamic Flash for Democrats

    Dynamic Flash for Democrats

    Wanna raise funds to run for office? Nag Schwarzenegger about health care? Or just make fun of Bush? Call Articulated Man.
    • Jan 10, 2008
  • More »

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Big Fish Greenhouse Theater Center
September 29
Performing Arts
The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story Elizabeth F. Cheney Mansion
October 24

The Bleader Archive

Popular Stories