Category Archives: States Rights

Federalism, Counterinsurgency, Christianity, and the Klan

Barnett ponders Brave New War

One thing Robb’s book made me realize: Core states tend to be bottom-heavy (more government below and thinner on top–e.g., the U.S. police structure), whereas Gap states tend to be top-heavy (and capital-centric to boot). The former structure disincentives the insurgent (the locals have vibrant local government), the latter is far more vulnerable to their penetration and supplanting.

Federalism (states rights, whatever you call ti)is an example of political defense-in-depth. By making it possible for insurgencies to win local vicotires, it discourages them from attacking the entire system. Further, the fact that the insurgents might actually win forces the local political elite to actually care about defeating them. Otherwise, regional governors will think that “I will leave, then this place will be someone else’s problem.”

Two fate of variations of Christianity, early Christianity as preached by Jesus and Paul and the Ku Klux Klan as devised by Nathan Bedford Forrest, show this well. The Christians were attacked by a centralized system where no limited victory was possible. However, their local opponents were only lukewarm in their opposition. This attitude went back to the Crucifixion, with both Governor Pilate and King Herod generally unconcerned about Jesus’s fate. The centralized nature of the Roman state meant that Christians would be persecuted until they took over the whole country. So they were persecuted for a long time. And then they took over the whole country.


Losers

The United States government, however, abandoned its war against the Klan after about a decade. While militarily defeated, the political wing of the Ku Klux Klan (in the form of local Democratic Parties) soon gained power across the South and were able to implement their policies. Then the violence against the State stopped. This was unfortuante for the victims involved. However, while the centralized Roman persecution of Christians meant that time was on the side of the insurgents (just wait long enough and some mircale will happen), the decentralized American system meant that time was against the insurgents (the nothern states merely waited until they were politically powerful to reinvade with minimal bloodshed).

symbol of early christianity

Winners

Read the rest of Tom’s thoughts on his blog.

Parens Patriae

I’m more sanguine about Massachusetts v. EPA (the “global warming case”) than Ed Whelan. While the court’s four liberal justices got the result they wanted (pushing the EPA closer to regulating CO2 emissions), they had to dig pretty deep into paleoconservatism for a justification how to do it. To get states-righters Anthony Kennedy’s fifth and decisive vote, the court resurrected a rather hard-edged “Father of the People” interpretation of Amendment X.

In the case, the Court decided that because States are the Fathers of their People, but are unable to resort to armed invasion to protect their people, their pleas must be listened to more readily by the Court than if the States were just land-owning persons or societies.

Amendment X, the states rights amendment, maintains the United States as an open society. It allows the sort of local experimentation and resilient networking that makes the United States an exceptionally agile country.

Amendment X is also despised by tyrants of all stripes. Both Leftist and Rightist factions happily trample on the freedom of states and citizens in order to push their through own agendas . That the court’s liberals are now retreating to Amendment X to defend their agendas is a good sign for freedom, liberty, and decentralized government.

The Right to Self Defense (as reserved to the States Respectively, or to the People)

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

“Amendment X” is one of the most important sentences of English ever written. While Amendment IX obviously does not create federally enforcable rights and Amendment XI corrects a Supreme Court powergrab on technical grounds, Amendment X works to directly limit the power of the national government. This passage protects our federal experiment from interest group tyranny, from some powerful sect enacting their morally pure laws throughout our land.

It is in this context I am excited about Eugene Volok’s words on the right of (medical) self defense (hat-tip to NRO’s Bench Memos):

Volokh’s bright but controversial idea–which is soon to be published in the Harvard Law Review and was recently presented at the American Enterprise Institute–is that there is a constitutional right to what he terms “medical self-defense.” The basic concept is that the government may not throw substantial obstacles in the path of medical treatments that might protect against death or serious harm. If accepted by the Court, this would mean that the government could not prevent a sick individual from using an experimental drug not yet deemed effective by the Food and Drug Administration. It would also invalidate the federal ban on payments for organ donations. And, of course, it could be applied in any number of other circumstances, limited only by the inventiveness of lawyers and the imagination of judges.

I agree with this completely. But at the same time, such an right to medical self defense should not give judges the right to legislate from the bench. We have states governments to experiment, to try this and that, to come up with the best solutions through an evolutionary process.

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.

Bibliography

Many states, under God,” by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 28 May 2004, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/000326.html

Provisions of the Voting Rights Act Up for Renewal,” by Gary Feuerberg, Epoch Times, 5 June 2005, http://www.theepochtimes.com/news/6-6-5/42332.html.

Add bilingual ballots to the debate,” by Marsha Mercer, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 8 June 2006, http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/273083_mercerbilingualballots.html

Minorities push to extend Voting Rights Act,” by Michael Barrett, Rocky Mountain Telegram, 11 June 2006, http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/news/content/news/stories/2006/06/11/votingrights.html.

One Country, One Language,” by William Murchison, Human Events Online, 13 June 2006, http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=15527

Activists Push Voting Rights Bill,” by Brian DeBose, Washington Times, 15 June 2006, http://washingtontimes.com/national/20060614-115012-8188r.htm

Resilience and WMD Threats,” by Stephen DeAngelis, Enterprise Resilience Management Blog, 16 June 2006, http://www.enterpriseresilienceblog.typepad.com/.

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.

James Madison Wants Union with Mexico (to avoid becoming like France)

Federalist No. 10, or, The Same Subject Continued: The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection,” by “Publius” (James Madison), Daily Advertiser, 22 November 1787, http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Federalist_No._10.

Back to Federalism,” by David Gelernter, Weekly Standard, 10 April 2005, http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/062fkzaa.asp (from Bench Memos).

The United States of America should absorb the Mexican United States, creating an 81-state economic and political union. I’ve argued this will shrink the size of government and unite the North American people.

musa
Uniting States of America

Another reason to marry the united States of America and Mexico is that it help build the America of our Founders’ dreams.


In the tenth blog post of a series that would later be published as The Federalist, James Madison (writing under the name Publius) wrote

The other point of difference is, the greater number of citizens and extent of territory which may be brought within the compass of republican than of democratic government; and it is this circumstance principally which renders factious combinations less to be dreaded in the former than in the latter. … the same advantage which a republic has over a democracy, in controlling the effects of faction, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic,–is enjoyed by the Union over the States composing it

In other words, large unions are preferable to small ones because special interests find big unions harder to take over. With a bigger and broader population, ideological minorities can find safe niches to retreat to, and have longer to use asymmetric strategies against their larger competitors.

For most of American history, this worked fine. Under the explicit ruleset of the Constitution, Americans increased their freedoms and their prosperity over the lifetimes. A serious oversight in the Constitution — whether or not States could leave our economic and political union — was resolved at some cost in the mid-19th century. Otherwise, however, the internal strength and happiness of the American States have been the envy of the world.

However, much of this progress was undone in the mid and late 20th centuries. Nationalists — American Gaullists — succeeded in throwing much of American policy into judicial tyranny. The same geography-reducing forces that allow bloggers to community — and allowed the Ottoman Sultans to destroy home-rule in that country — let men like Earl Warren undermine the logic of Federalist 10. With safe local niches destroyed by judicial fiat — and asymmetric strategies rendered impossible due to a Judicialization of the police force — our Madisonian guarantees of freedom were swept away.

Today this undemocratic centralization is seen by our National Judiciary’s leftist stance on abortion…

But the collapse of federalism has ruined this valuable arrangement. The collapse gathered momentum with the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion and was a tragedy for reasons beyond those that are usually discussed; a tragedy even for Americans who believe in completely unregulated abortion.

Roe was a power grab in which uniformity was imposed on a facet of society that had been allowed to vary. “Diversity” is a big selling point on the left, but not among believers in an activist Supreme Court.

— as if the Gaullist belief that South Dakota would be happy with the same abortion laws as the people of Massachusettes was true.

However, such a Gaullist view of America’s economic & political union of sovereign States would be untenable if the 31 southern Continental states and united with the 50 northern ones. The issues extend beyond abortion to homosexualist marriage, education politics, contracting laws, hand-guns, and other issues. It is a mistake – a Gaullist, France-style mistake – to assume that all American people should hand their fortunes to a distant National Government, when they live in states which are closer to their values.

Protect Federalism. Protect Democracy. Let the Mexican States, if they so choose, join our Union under our Constitution.

Local Government And Democracy

Everything is Meaningless [Chapter 1:3,8-11],” attributed to King Solomon, The Book of Ecclesiastes, circa 300 BC, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes%201:3,8-11;&version=31;.

The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection (continued) [The Federalist No. 10],” by James Madison, New York Packet, 23 November 1787, http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa10.htm.

Environmental Influences on Democracy: Aridity, Warfare, and a Reversal of the Causal Arrow,” by Manus Midlarsky, The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 39, No. 2. (Jun., 1995), pp. 224-262, http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-0027%28199506%2939%3A2%3C224%3AEIODAW%3E2.0.CO%3B2-2 (from tdaxp).

Local Government and Democratic Political Development,” by Henry Teune, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 540, Local Governance around the World. (Jul., 1995), pp. 11-23, http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0002-7162%28199507%29540%3C11%3ALGADPD%3E2.0.CO%3B2-V.

Democracy and openDemocracy,” by Isabel Hilton and Anthony Barnett, openDemocracy, 12 October 2005, http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-opening/barnett_hilton_2792.jsp.

Dangerously Naive,” by Mark Schulman, American Future, 18 October 2005, http://americanfuture.net/?p=637.

Agitating for a Hermetically Sealed “Democracy”,” by Mark Safranski, Zen Pundit, 18 October 2005, http://zenpundit.blogspot.com/2005/10/agitating-for-hermetically-sealed.html.

Debating our debate,” by Anthony Barnett, oD Today, 23 October 2005, http://opendemocracy.typepad.com/wsf/2005/10/debating_our_de.html.

What does man gain from all his labor
at which he toils under the sun?

All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.

There is no remembrance of men of old,
and even those who are yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow.

Ecclesiastes 1:3,8-11

In spite of my occasionally griping about the leftist, closed-minded, economically dubious, and intellectually redundant nature of the University, sometimes it is useful for blogging. Consider the evolution of a debate on globalization and democracy. Hilton and Barnett of the Sorosistically named openDemocracy journal first attack the idea that globalization helps democracy:

The end of the cold war in 1989 opened the way for the extension of democratic government to many countries around the world. Now, terrorism, fundamentalism and the imposition of the neo-liberal form of globalisation threaten to halt and even reverse this process. Democracy is under attack from without, and, even more insidiously, from within.

The way in which globalisation has undermined peoples’ belief in democratic self-government is familiar. This is the age of democracy, yet the democratic claim of universal equality of worth is mocked by the intensification of global inequalities that marked the end of the 20th century.

The reach of multinational corporations; the influence of a few powerful states and of opaque international financial institutions; the weakness of the United Nations as a force for positive government; the remoteness of the governance of the European Union; the mendacity, cynicism and populism of the global media; the awesome threats of climate change – all combine to undermine the citizens’ faith in the efficacy of democratic government.

Globalisation as part of the everyday experience of life has been part of human history since the16th century, when the marketplace that was the Netherlands stretched to the Spice Islands of what we now call southeast Asia. Historically it has sharpened differences rather than creating homogeneity. The development of markets across the world and the separation of law from the state permitted hideous exploitation under colonial empires, but also laid the groundwork for independence and national democratic constitutions.

Sadly, Schulman has no true response to these claims. He accuses Barnett and Hilton of blaming America first. He does accuse them of selective reporting of evidence, and the best he throws is mentioning that the anti-War protests are put on by some bad people.

No mention is made of the anti-democratic organizers of these demonstrations: ANSWER and the British Socialist Workers Party. Nor is mention made of the absence of demonstrations against the tyrants of our day.

Barnett seems to grant Schulman’s concrete criticisms…

As for the leadership of the anti-war demonstrations, I agree.

…because they do not effect his major point: globalization is bad for democracy.

Mark from ZenPundit joins in by defending globalization’s effects on liberty, but let’s the claim that globalization attacks democracy go uncontested:

I have to add that there is a definite incongruity between advocating political freedom to make choices in terms of one’s government while wanting to preclude or restrict the economic freedom to make choices in every other area of one’s life – work, lifestyle, access to information, travel, religion and culture. Denying people the latter ultimately makes a mockery of the former; a farmer chained in perpetuity behind his water buffalo by the state casts a ballot only to decide which hand is going to hold the whip over his head.

” In the general course of human nature, A power over a man’s subsistence amounts to a power over his will. “

What’s interesting is that the original article makes two claims, globalization hurts democracy and lack of local power hurts democracy, that have been discussed for decades. On inequality and the origins of democracy, Manus Midlarsky writes:

Although the impact of land inequality on democracy was discovered independently, this relationship is consistent with that implied in Wittfogel’s work. He emphasized the contrast between early modern Europe and despotic hydraulic civilization. As Wittfogel (1957) put it,

In late feudal and postfeudal Europe the state recognized a system of inheritance for the landed nobles which favored one son at the expense of all others. And in the modern Western world the state by and large permitted the individual to dispose over his property at will. The hydraulic state gave no equivalent freedom of decision either to holders of mobile property or to the landowners. Its laws of inheritance insiseted upon a more or less equal division of the deceased estate, and thereby upon a periodic fragmentation of property. (pp 84-85).

Thus, as a result of continual subdivision, a basic land inequality was prevented from emerging in hydraulic society. A nobility with large holdings and, in consequence, an independent power base to challenge despotic authorities could not come into being, in contrast to the Northern European experience.

Midlarsky then goes on to cite some conflicting literature. To sum up, Barnett and Hilton are oversimplifying a complex subject.

Ditto for the words on local control and democracy. Barnett and Hilton essentially echo Teuene from 1995:

The linkage between local government and democracy is based on the proposition that political participation if meaningful insofar as it deals with the familiar, a tenet of the Federalist Papers. Another aspect of tis argument is that the incentives for participation are stronger locally than nationally in that visible consequence are more visible and immediate on the local level. There are two supporting propositions for this part of the argument: the larger the political unit, the longer it takes to form a democratic political coalitions; and the larger the unit, the greater the diversity of eeh groups and individuals required for compromise, the less likely decisive action will be taken at all, frustrating the collective aspirations of the many.”

Here, the refutation is more than two hundred years old

The other point of difference is, the greater number of citizens and extent of territory which may be brought within the compass of republican than of democratic government; and it is this circumstance principally which renders factious combinations less to be dreaded in the former than in the latter. The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other. Besides other impediments, it may be remarked that, where there is a consciousness of unjust or dishonorable purposes, communication is always checked by distrust in proportion to the number whose concurrence is necessary.

Hence, it clearly appears, that the same advantage which a republic has over a democracy, in controlling the effects of faction, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic,–is enjoyed by the Union over the States composing it. Does the advantage consist in the substitution of representatives whose enlightened views and virtuous sentiments render them superior to local prejudices and schemes of injustice? It will not be denied that the representation of the Union will be most likely to possess these requisite endowments. Does it consist in the greater security afforded by a greater variety of parties, against the event of any one party being able to outnumber and oppress the rest? In an equal degree does the increased variety of parties comprised within the Union, increase this security. Does it, in fine, consist in the greater obstacles opposed to the concert and accomplishment of the secret wishes of an unjust and interested majority? Here, again, the extent of the Union gives it the most palpable advantage.

So to correct Mr. Schulman, Barnett and Hilton aren’t anti-American: only anti-Federalist. (Of course, those arguments have been made before, too).

As some man of old said, there is nothing new under the Sun. Or something like that.

Our Slave State

Medical marijuana bill fails,” by Brad Perriello, Associated Press, http://www.aberdeennews.com/mld/aberdeennews/news/10759565.htm, 28 January 2005.

Treat adults like adults? Have mercy on the sick? Not in South Dakota!

Marijuana should not be legalized for medical purposes in South Dakota, legislators decided Friday.

The House Health Committee voted 11-1 against a bill that would have allowed people with certain debilitating illnesses to use pot.

HB1109 would have given doctors permission to prescribe up to 5 ounces of marijuana for those who suffer from such diseases as cancer, glaucoma and AIDs, and for people with chronic pain, nausea or seizures.

Rep. Gerald Lange, D-Madison, said the bill provides a necessary alternative for patients who do not get relief from traditional medications.

“There are certain debilitating medical conditions that are rather untreatable by contemporary medical practices,” said Lange, prime sponsor of the bill.

The measure would have required doctors to certify in writing that patients suffer from qualifying diseases and explain the risks and benefits of marijuana use to them. In addition, both doctors and patients would have had to register with the Health Department.

The excuse? It’s because South Dakota, a state that blockaded Canada, the last state that fought to the Surpeme Court to allow 20 year olds to drink, a state courageously fights against Federal governments and its insane bantuland treaties, suddenly believes in federal supremacy

Charlie McGuigan, an assistant state attorney general, urged legislators to reject the bill. He said marijuana use would still be a federal crime if the bill became state law.

And let’s not forget that South Dakota, a state which bitterly fought against seat-belt laws and federal speed limits, suddely cares about your health

Marijuana causes many adverse health effects, McGuigan said…

And let’s not forget that South Dakota, where even our Republican Senator supports importing prescriptions from Canada, now cares about drug company profits

…adding that the active ingredient in marijuana is currently available in prescription form.

Remember…

It’s not your tax dollars, it’s the government‘s tax dollars
It’s not your child, it’s the government‘s child
It’s not your body, it’s the government‘s body

Dam Them All

Governor summit won’t gain much water leverage,” Sioux Falls Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050123/OPINION01/501230301/1052, 23 January 2005.

This article combines two themes of South Dakota politics. One is a yearning to conduct an independent foreign policy. Several times under Governor Janklow we blockaded Canada, in spite of the obvious difficulty of not sharing a border with that Northern Despotism. It wasn’t just symbolic, though. The Highway Patrol was quite active in interdiction activities and it caused real headaches for Canadians trying to drive through our interstate-stradling state.

The other theme is the Missouri River. The River defines the state (there is “East River is East River, West River is West River, and Never the Twain Shall Meet”), and we use it heavily for recreation and hydoelectricity. However, our desire for a high water level is constantly trumped by downstream states and the Army Corps of Engineers. While downstream states use the river only for shipping, and that traffic is minuscule, that special interest lobby has enough influce in Washington to prevent rational water management. During the last gubernatorial election, the President of the University of South Dakota suggested South Dakota and other northern states simply buy-out the downstream barge industry. The victor, Mike Rounds, is working with other states, but with little progress.

In that context, the Sfal’s modest proposals:

Gov. Mike Rounds has proposed another summit with eight governors from Missouri River states.

The goal would be to get everyone together and persuade the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to keep more water in South Dakota reservoirs this year.

He’s proposed keeping more water as a method – during drought – of ensuring a better barge season next year. It also would help recreation in upstream states.

While the governor will have a tough sell with downstream states …

Oh, who’s kidding whom? There’s no way in the world we’d persuade Missouri and Iowa, especially, to go along with such an idea.

The corps won’t help. It’s already has flatly rejected Rounds’ suggestion.

And we can’t expect any aid from Congress.

So getting some governors together to flap their jaws – never agreeing – won’t accomplish anything.

Maybe it’s time for South Dakota to take the bull by the horns. It seems we’ve got two choices:

# Rounds can call out the National Guard – once they all return from Iraq – and we can take over the dams. After all, they’re run by the Army’s engineers, not the Green Berets.

# Or we can build our own dam and trump the corps.

The second option seems best. There might be some objection to an armed insurrection. The USA Patriot Act probably has a provision against it.

If we built our own dam on the lower stretch of the river, we’d have the hand on the final spigot.

Why not? Governor, the ball’s in your court.