I saw this question tweeted out a while back and jotted it down to blog about some time:
Do “states rights” supporters object to “counties rights” taking priority over “states rights”?
–Some guy on Twitter
The concept of “states rights” as a technical term, is an issue that comes solely from adherence to the wording of the constitution and the explanation of the structure of the constitution in the Federalist Papers and other early commentary. The constitution assigned the states (through the process of Senatorial assignment and the amendment process) to be a check against the Federal government’s natural momentum toward apprehending more power to itself. The internal governmental structure of the states themselves is beyond the scope of the constitution. The twitter’ers question is therefore technically non-sensical.
However, he/she is making a larger point, I think, about whether or not the concept itself should be carried right on down the chain to the most local level. Should a home owner’s association’s laws trump the city’s? Should the city’s trump the county’s? These are fair questions. And, I think the answer is absolutely yes, as long as the question is phrased correctly. As stated, it still doesn’t make sense since state’s rights doesn’t entail states “taking priority” over the Federal government. It’s not that simple.
State’s rights means simply that whenever there is an issue not explicitly enumerated in the constitution as being a Federal issue, the state is the ultimate authority. I don’t see any reason why that shouldn’t flow right on down to the lowest levels. Why shouldn’t it? The best politician is the one who’s closest to you – the one you can go knock on his door and ask him why he just voted for such and such. The more local the lawmaker, the better.
Here’s something I, and probably you, didn’t know: The British used concentration camps in South Africa more than 30 years prior to Germany or Soviet Russia. This was during the second Boer War:
During the later stages of the Second Boer War, the British pursued the policy of rounding up and isolating the Boer civilian population in concentration camps, one of the earliest uses of this method by modern powers. The wives and children of Boer guerrillas were sent to these camps, which had poor hygiene and little food (due to attacks by Boer guerrillas on supply trains). Many of the children in these camps died, as did some of the adults.
And America has a nice little pre-Nazi, pre-Soviet concentration camp record of it’s own:
The earliest of these camps may have been those set up in the United States for Cherokee and other Native Americans in the 1830s; however, the term originated in the reconcentrados (reconcentration camps) set up by the Spanish military in Cuba during the Ten Years’ War (1868–1878) and by the United States during the Philippine–American War (1899–1902).
The English term “concentration camp” grew in prominence during the Second Boer War (1899–1902), when they were operated by the British in South Africa.
There were a total of 45 tented camps built for Boer internees and 64 for black Africans. Of the 28,000 Boer men captured as prisoners of war, 25,630 were sent overseas. The vast majority of Boers remaining in the local camps were women and children.
The always great Thomas DiLorenzo chronicles the “civil war” as the beginnings of the modern American warfare State. And since warfare and welfare are inseperable, you could simply call it the beginnings of the modern American State. You should listen to this, especially if you’re a Southerner. We in the South still hold attitudes and beliefs about many things that are traceable back to the brutality of the war and reconstruction. But, if you don’t know the real history of the events, they are impossible to trace.
The typical government schooled 9 year old will spend 2 years learning multiplication and division. A 13 year old could learn both in about 15 minutes. And, the younger you start, the more futile it is.
Here’s a recent example from an unschooling mailing list my wife subscribes to:
My oldest son took some classes at our community college and took a math placement test. They had three remedial courses before college algebra (which many degrees require). Basic math started with simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Then there was beginning algebra and intermediate algebra. That’s it! So even if your child learned NO math during his years with you and decided he wanted to do something that required it, he would be three semesters from college algebra. That is three semesters to learn ALL the math learned between K-12. I think you can safely put that on their shoulders. It is their job to learn. It is your job to support them, help them, offer ideas and suggestions, give them choices, and affirm their decisions.
I just got this email from Amazon about another price drop for their EC2 (cloud computing) service:
We are excited to announce a reduction in Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS, and Amazon ElastiCache prices. Reserved Instance prices will decrease by up to 37% for Amazon EC2 and by up to 42% for Amazon RDS across all regions…
Today’s price drop represents the 19th price drop for AWS, and we are delighted to continue to pass along savings to you as we innovate and drive down our costs.
If you aren’t familiar with cloud computing, you’ll need to know that Amazon is the dominant player in that market. They do things that no other cloud service offers, like elastic block storage and community instance images. There are other cloud hosts out there like Rackspace. But Amazon has no real direct competition when you compare apples to apples.
So, without direct competitors, wouldn’t you think that Amazon would exploit that fact and keep prices high? Why have they dropped prices 19 times over the life of the service? It’s because not all competition is external to a company. Some competition is internal. And not all external competition are direct product competitors. Those are common misconceptions. A proper understanding of competition requires correctly defining the term. Here’s the correct definition as it’s been understood to history: “…competition is viewed as a dynamic rivalrous process of firms struggling with each other over the expansion of their market shares.” [ref]
Firms don’t just compete with each other. They also compete with the market itself. They compete with every other potential choice a consumer would make on where to spend their money. In a truly free market, it’s the constant struggle of each company to lower their prices continually, so as to stimulate new customers to buy their products that previously had been sitting on the sideline. Every entrepreneur understands this from day one.
Many entrepreneurs start businesses in markets that are unique and have no direct competitors. But they still know that they have to bring prices in line with more and more consumers in order to expand their share of the market.
My wife sends me fantastic quotes all the time from her research. Lately her focus has been on researching “unschooling.” It’s a whale of a subject, but also a treasure trove of information about how we really learn things. It’s definitely a red pill.
What do people need? People need what they use. And they learn what they need by using it.
The things they don’t use are the things they don’t need.
What most people don’t understand about learning is that you don’t need to understand something in order to use it. You learn how to use it as a side effect of using it.
Think about how kids learn English. They have no clue how to use English when they’re born. In fact they don’t even know what language is. But they find bits and pieces of English — and other tools like pointing — useful to get what they need. Saying “ook” gets them milk more efficiently than crying. So, as they use “ook” and get feedback — like Mom saying “Oh, you want some milk?” — they get better at English as a side effect. We don’t need to explain the proper rules of English to them before they start using it. English is just there and they pick up the parts that look useful for what they want to get. They don’t even need to use English properly. But properly does come along as a side effect of using English. As they use English they find ways that work better to get what they want.
Learning works that way for math and science and history.
But those subjects — like English — aren’t actually things to learn. They’re tools to help you do something else. You don’t need to know the right way to use a tool to use it. You just use it to get something else. How well the project turns out gives you feedback on using the tools better.
My daughter asks how long until Daddy gets home. We use math as a tool to figure that out. The point isn’t the math. The point is finding out “how long until.” Math is a tool we use to figure out “how long until.” Using math and being exposed to math is a side effect of wanting to know “how long until.”
A hammer is a tool, not the point. The point is to build a bird house. How well the nails go in gives us feedback on how to build the house better and, as a side effect, how to use a hammer better. But the point is never the hammer. It’s always what you’re using the hammer to make.