Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wait, why do we even need to BE a country

So recently I read Plain, Honest Men, a book about the constitutional convention, I have read several thousands of pages (really!) of pages on the constitution over the past two years, and I have read wildly divergent takes on its "true meaning", and on what can and should and MUST be done with it.

No one seems to question the idea that the constitution, and its subsequent ratification are good things. They may be abused, they may have flaws, but it is essentially...well, essential to our history that they were eventually agreed upon by the states .

If it hadn't been so brilliantly written (and it was brilliant, if only from a political and political-philosophy standpoint), it would not have been adopted by all the states, and today, we would most likely simply be a large conglomeration of countries.

My question is, so what? why is it necessarily so great that I have to live in the same country as people from jerk states!

If we were all different countries...would it be so bad? Would Alabama be in the third world? Would we have better rail systems and more backpackers? Would we all hate immigrants from the Dakotas?

6 comments:

Adam said...

that certainly would make sense in a free market capitalist sort of way, but it would probably be economically devastating.

It's a tough argument to make on either side.

On one hand, you would see certain states instantly deteriorate into 3rd world countries.

On the other hand, do they currently deserve our corn subsidies or government weapons contracts?


Actually on a global scale, I expect that it would really fuck even the wealthier states. (though maybe no different from what's currently happening anyway)

Adam said...

looking into it now.

It's pretty crazy.

http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/fas-09.pdf

The states with the most federal aid per capita are mostly red states.

Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Vermont, Maine, DC.

Chris Yarrison said...

Adam - I think those might not be red states (esp. NY, DC), but you're right about it being economically devastating. In the EU, countries (Greece, Spain...) start out poor and get poorer for the benefit of wealthier exporters (Germany).

I think the value of states united by a federal government is that when injustice arises in one state, another state can fight it (Jim Crow). "States' rights" is often code for "backwards laws" (Arizona).

The EU can officially not give a shit while France rounds up and expels Gypsies, a population with memories of the Holocaust.

But while the federal government will indeed maneuver funding in a cynical way, it's still an avenue for addressing injustices that affect us all.

ben said...

it's a funny thing, it's mostly selfish on my part, when I think about how awesome certain states could be without having to pander to right wing garbage.

I think one of the most interesting questions to ask is, what would have happened to slavery.

The last "western" country to officially abolish African slavery was Brazil in 1888 (23 years after the war of northern aggression). If their had been no union, their would have been no war between the states to protect that union.

I can't really speak to whether or not the evil of 20 years of slavery is greater than the evil of 700,000 deaths...

Alls I know is, the good people of Maryland, Ohio and California (the three states I have called my home), would never have had to suffer through, well...any of the post-JFK presidents.

Chris Yarrison said...

They'd probably let Ohio and Maryland secede, to be honest.

ben said...

yeah, I guess that's true, MD would have kept on with those slaves too...