View Full Version : Civil Liberties: Power transition from Federal to State, what's the point?

01-06-2012, 01:15 PM
Dear Ron Paul supporters,
I looked into Ron Paul a couple of days now and am very greatful to finally see an honest politician who tackles the real issues; thus I have decided to give Dr. Paul my vote. Nevertheless I do find some open gaps in his logic, mainly in his transition of power idear.

On a lot of issues, e.g drugs policy, he wants to transfer the authority to decide on those questions to the states.
I see little value in transfering authority from the federal level to the state level. It remains unwanted governmental influence.
What is the point of decentralization? What is wrong with a federal central power that can decide on those matters (on libertarian perspective ofcourse ;)).

Tranfering power and authority does not create freedom and liberty. The power should be centralized to defend personal liberties. It is, in my opinion, wrong to not give the federal government the authority to make decisions on our personal behaviour but gives states the right to do so.

I apologize for my bad English, I am an US citizen but living in the Netherlands (altough moving to US after finished my education).

Thank you for your time,

Feeding the Abscess
01-06-2012, 01:48 PM
When power is centralized, bad decisions are forced on everybody (like the 18th Amendment; the alcohol prohibition amendment). His stated position of states' powers is a means to an end; not the end. Ron does believe you have the freedom to use drugs and do other non-violent things, and ideally would have no government regulating your personal behavior, but understands that under our Constitutional government, states are less likely to infringe on your freedom than is the federal government. He does support pardoning non-violent prisoners, and ending the war on drugs, for example. Doing those two things as president would drastically alter the landscape of political debate, and make it much more likely that states would not trample on the rights of the people.

It is also partially a selling point to conservatives who would otherwise disagree with those policies.

Welcome aboard!

01-06-2012, 01:52 PM
Ending the federal drug war is the first step. It is already legal in many states, but the federal government interferes and pressures other states not to legalize it. Once it is ended federally, and the states where it is legal can show that it isn't the end of the world, other states will follow.

tod evans
01-06-2012, 02:05 PM
It's not just the "war on citizens(drugs)" ...

Look at this from a business perspective, no more EPA for instance....It's very possible that many states would choose to entice some of our businesses to return from the pacific rim.

How about HUD.... Getting the federal government out of the housing industry would work wonders for both the housing market and the builders.

FDA...Maw-n-Paw farms able to sell fresh food to local customers without the threat of the jackboots.

One more thing off the top of my head...Think of all the money just in salaries/expense accts. and real estate these nonproductive federal workers consume.

01-06-2012, 03:40 PM
The "States Rights" issue boils down to competition between states to derive the best policy. If Michigan has legal marijuana and Ohio doesn't then if I like marijuana and live in Ohio I can move to Michigan and vice versa. When everyone starts leaving Ohio in favor of other states that are more open to freedom of choice then Ohio will eventually come around or they will loose tax revenue. Places with more freedom generally have more people wanting to live there. If there were a state that disregarded all federal laws I would pack up and leave (move there) immediately. Federal blanket laws trap everyone and are inescapable without emigrating. Federal laws are oppressive because they are inescapable. Look at all the problems the federal meddling in the raw dairy community has caused. Busting people for drinking milk from a cows udder. Why does the federal government feel the need to terrorize these people?

EDIT: I meant move there not leave the freer state.

Inny Binny
01-06-2012, 07:03 PM
I don't buy this competition thing, because most of the time it ends up competing to give corporations special favours. The third world countries are competing to provide the most appalling labour laws they can in order to attract the sweatshops, and almost every country is trying to give tax breaks and subsidies to media conglomerates to get them to film their blockbuster film there.

The argument for decentralisation is quite a bit simpler imo - the Iowa government is easier to destroy than the federal government.

01-06-2012, 09:58 PM
I think the point is that every state has a different demographic. I know in Oregon there is a battle raging right now to try and create a new state. Most of the population lives in the northwestern portion of Oregon, so most of the state laws that are passed pertain to this area. The other sections of Oregon that are mostly farmland have little say in the state legislature most of the time. For this reason, Northern California and Southern Oregon are trying to create their own state called Jefferson so that they can create laws that pertain to their lifestyle that does not fit with the majority of California or Oregon laws.

We can easily scale this up to a federal level. The federal government creates laws that pertain to all 50 states. Each state has their own demographic and each state has their own needs. By trying to create blanket laws and departments that encompass all 50 states, it makes it difficulty to please all of the different needs of the people. Giving the individual states more power allows each state to better cater to their own demographic.

01-07-2012, 08:59 AM
I don't buy this competition thing, because most of the time it ends up competing to give corporations special favours. The third world countries are competing to provide the most appalling labour laws they can in order to attract the sweatshops, and almost every country is trying to give tax breaks and subsidies to media conglomerates to get them to film their blockbuster film there.

The argument for decentralisation is quite a bit simpler imo - the Iowa government is easier to destroy than the federal government.

In your statement, that I highlighted in bold, you basically agree with me. The government allows corporations to take advantage of their workers. So take away the ability of government to give anything to the corporation then it is no longer a problem. This is the problem with the "well we have to do something" mentality in Washington. You're right you have to do something. Protect the peoples rights and not corporations special interest. If Michigan has Corporatism (government/corporations colluding to screw you and steal your money) then move to Ohio where they don't do that and eventually Michigan will come around because they will loose all their work force and tax base. It's so simple a child could understand it. When my daughter is playing with someone and they are mean to her she tells them that if they are going to act like that then she won't play with them and they either quit or they loose a friend. Plain and simple. The problem is some believe that situations need to be difficult and "experts" are the only ones who can figure out how to get people to associate with each other in a responsible manner and this is false. Don't disregard competition. It seems most of the time many people think they are forced to work for a corporation at the barrel of a gun. This is simply not true (the exception being third world countries with tyrannical government but even then they usually just kick you out on the street and replace you with someone else). This is were I believe collective work forces come in to play. Organize a walk out between the workers if the business is taking advantage of their employees. That will send a powerful message. If they can't produce then they can't make money and then they will start to care.

You are right though, that the state is easier to get a hold on than the federal level and county government even better.

01-07-2012, 09:24 AM
The example I like to use is this: If the federal government takes over your local fire department, and there's a problem with your local firehouse, you have to convince twenty million people or so (in the U.S. in an average electoral turnout) that your local firehouse is more important than gay marriage, abortion, and everyone else's local firehouse combined. That's hard to do. Yet with the PATRIOT Act and DHS grants, I'll just bet your local fire department (once you get here) has more than half a dozen federal grant proposal writers on staff right now...

Now then. You're in the Netherlands. Presumably, if you didn't like it there for some reason, you'd be in Sweden. Or Belgium. Remember the Soviet Union? Remember that? Or, if you're not old enough, perhaps you heard of it?

What was that you were saying about centralized power protecting civil liberties again? I'm not so sure that works out in practice, my friend--but then, I'm not talking theory here, I'm citing concrete examples. Seems to me those states which protect civil liberties the best are the ones you can leave if you don't like them. It's only absolute power that seems to corrupt absolutely. And absolute power is centralized.

01-07-2012, 09:26 AM
At the state level, the government is closer to the people who live there and will (hopefully) be more responsive to the wishes of those people. Even if the state gov't gets to ignoring what the people of the state want, it is a lot cheaper and easier to oust bad pols from state offices than it is to do so from fed offices.

If you believe the people are entitled to self government, the more localized you can get the law making entity, the better (for the reason noted above).

Decisions at the state level will more accurately reflect the wishes of those residing in that state.

And the competition factor is key - states benefit when they set policies the people want, states lose when they set policies the people do not want.

Look at migration between states and the relationship to taxation levels. The high tax states are losing their productive population to states with a more reasonable tax burden.

Now, if you truly want a state with lots of "free" stuff for the less fortunate, that's going to be mighty hard to create. The reason is simple: those who want to get things for themselves without paying the cost of those things would be naturally attracted to states with high taxes on earners - and excellent bennies for all. The problem is such a state puts such a high tax burden on its productive people that they end up leaving the state. Fewer ways for the state to get money to pay for all the "free" stuff they promised (excellent bennies for all) means more borrowing and/or increasing the taxes on remaining earners even more...chasing even more earners out of the state.

I think that's what happened in CA.

01-07-2012, 09:32 AM
Why Federal => State?
The constitution.

The constitution does mention a few things that the State Governments cannot do --- which is where the Federal Government will intervene.

Paul's politics are Constitutional, not purely Libertarian. A pure Libertarian would probably not want the State government to be able to limit any freedoms.

01-07-2012, 09:43 AM
I don't buy this competition thing, because most of the time it ends up competing to give corporations special favours.

You're about to find out. In fact, the rapid failure of the EU is about to teach you many things we've already had the misfortune to learn.

OK, one more time. A few thousand federal regulations means a dozen lawyers. If you do business in fifty states and employ ten thousand people, a dozen lawyers is no big deal. If you run a burger joint and employ five people, a dozen lawyers put you out of business.

If you pollute, and people who get hurt can sue you, you're in trouble even if you're a big corporation. If you pollute, yet still meet EPA regulations, you can't be sued.

If you grease enough federal palms, you could wind up with a monopoly. No way you wind up with a monopoly greasing state palms--or, at least, you get a monopoly one fiftieth as big.

In short, it's a whole lot harder to get special favors--er, sorry, bloke, special favours--from fifty state legislatures than to go to Washington for one stop shopping. Which is why we're trying to get back to our Constitution and it's lovely Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

Why Federal => State?
The constitution.

That's all well and good, but I think we need to help people understand why the Constitution is set up the way it is and why we should be less disdainful of it. If we want to keep it, that is. Not so long ago, we could just say 'it ain't broke, don't fix it.' It still ain't broke, but since we started disregarding it completely, we sure have trouble--and those who don't understand that we have trouble because we aren't following the Constitution might be inclined to blame the Constitution for our troubles.

01-07-2012, 09:50 AM
It's not transferring power. It's taking power away from the most powerful regime there is, the US federal government.

It will still be up to you to fight tyranny in your state and local governments. But the minute the federal government steps in and starts forcing your state to make you free (like it supposedly did for Iraq), it necessarily becomes a tyrant itself.