An Economic and Political Union of Fifty Member-States (even when it comes to language)

“May a plague descend on both their houses! May their manors and stables burn to ash! May the Lord of Hosts strike their names, and may even their sons forget their fathers! May beetles, and locusts, and foreign armies descend upon their fields, and may all their monuments be toppled down! May those ancient things who lie sleeping wake, and may those things render them justice! May floods from heaven sweep them away, and may the darkest pit consume their souls. May all these things be done, and may we be granted freedom from them!”

In other words, I do not agree with those who are enemies of our federal republic.

Today’s topic of dispute: proposed extensions to The Voting Rights Act.

I am an enemy of uniformism. Humanity, indeed all life, comprises complex adaptive systems. Experiments are tried here and there, actions beget reactions, and through this all our intelligence and success increases. Massachusetts (bowing to elite opinion, through elite courts) legalizes homosexualist marriage, and a year later South Dakota (bowing to popular opinion, through elected legislators) criminalizes abortion. Perhaps one of these methods is right, perhaps both are, perhaps none are. But it is through this competition of governments, enforced by the ability of citizens to leave states they dislike and enter ones they do, that we find better and better solutions to the problems we face.

Uniformism is not American. It is centralizing, Soviet, and French. It is the opposite of the dynamic and open qualities that make this Continent great. The American way of federalism was well summarized by the grand strategist Tom Barnett, when he wrote

we’re the world’s oldest and most successful multinational an political union — 50 member-states strong

Thus it is disturbing that Know Nothing anti-immigrationists would agree with Centralizers who know nothing that the Union should be subverted. Happily, they are at each other throats. Maybe they will even cancel each other out.

Elizabeth Dole, that female whose racing Pam Homan for the title of Greatest Womanly Train-Wreck of Bad Ideas, wants to extend the portion of the VRA that allows the federal government to take primary authority for voting in regions as diverse as California, South Dakota, and New York. Why? Because a federal official trusts the federal government more than one of the member-states, which might make a bad decision. In some places even “at large” seats (where all may vote for a representative) are forbidden, in other places “at large” seats may be required. Sometimes this is in the same place. At best this is democratic experimentation by the Courts. In reality this is the short-circuiting of complex adaptive systems by those least equipped to do so — mandarins of the central government,

Ironically, the best sign for the preservation of our economic & political union of sovereign member-states may be the know-nothings, and the grid lock they might create (so be the will of God). Take this, for example:

All right, I exaggerate. Still, the white-Anglo-guilt factor, more than anything else, helps Spanish secure for itself a larger and larger place in our affairs. With Congress’ extension sometime this summer of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, we may expect the provision of Spanish-language voting materials to continue, raising as it does the question of how such materials inspire commitment to the ideals and systems of the English-speaking.

Never mind our union has had a President who grew up not speaking English (Martin Van Buren). Never mind that some states, including South Dakota, had their Constitution printed in languages such as German for ratification by the people. Nope. Many people, including apparently some Congressmen, which for the federal government to prevent local authorities from printing languages in ballots their people can understand.

If our member states are able to decide for themselves what languages ballots should be in — whether English, French, German, Norwegian, Swedish, or even Spanish — mistakes will be made. Mistakes are always made. But by letting every state to see for itself, other states can observe the successes and failures of their fellows. They can craft policies best suited for the local conditions. They can actually be democratic.

This should not be a federal – centralized – issue at all. This is an issue for each member-state to solve. Not bureaucrats and judges.


Many states, under God,” by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 28 May 2004,

Provisions of the Voting Rights Act Up for Renewal,” by Gary Feuerberg, Epoch Times, 5 June 2005,

Add bilingual ballots to the debate,” by Marsha Mercer, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 8 June 2006,

Minorities push to extend Voting Rights Act,” by Michael Barrett, Rocky Mountain Telegram, 11 June 2006,

One Country, One Language,” by William Murchison, Human Events Online, 13 June 2006,

Activists Push Voting Rights Bill,” by Brian DeBose, Washington Times, 15 June 2006,

Resilience and WMD Threats,” by Stephen DeAngelis, Enterprise Resilience Management Blog, 16 June 2006,

Update: Stephen F. DeAngelis writes:

A varied defense-in-depth is required. I’m going to tell Task Force members that the best way to make the system resilient is to think regionally rather than nationally. By nurturing what I call Regional Resilience Ecosystems, you have a much better chance of getting cooperation. Regional groups can address common challenges (it’s not difficult for people to understand that the challenges facing New York City are different than those facing Topeka, Kansas).

I agree.

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