brainswell posted at 04:42:20 PM on Feb 03, 2012:
Despite your disregard of the fact that I asked first, you can start with the basic concept of Federalism. States, which are inherently more receptive to their constituents, have been handing (or have had taken) their authority to the Federal government since its inception.
The smaller and closer a government is to those empower it make government more efficient and responsive to the needs of its constituents. To maximize your liberty, one could choose the state that best represented your needs, benefiting the individual. States had little to no say in how other states decided to handle their own affairs.
Post civil war, we had the rise of the administrative state, where dozens of new agencies were formed at the expense of state powers, homogenizing law. Your options for moving to find a political climate that suited you, and thus your liberty, were severely restricted if you wanted to remain in the country.
Federal income tax is another example. It didn't exist until 1913 and our government had managed to survive. Taxation is a restriction on your property. Government, by threat of force, is depriving you of the benefit of your work. With smaller, local government, bureaucracy is decreased and the individual has a better say of how to assess and allocate our tax dollars, increasing his or her liberty.
These are just a couple of examples. I could go on, but I have stuff to do. Gotta keep working so the Feds can keep fighting oil/religious wars in the middle east. Ohio hasn't declared war on anyone for 176 years and counting.
I did note that you asked first; but without waiting for an answer, you followed your questions with your own statement. I took this as a signal that you wished to have the floor, so I let you have the floor.
I'm still not sure how your examples directly justify Libertarianism, but I'll try...
Your first assertion that states have been "handing their powers to the federal government" is true, to a degree. We originally had the Articles of Confederation, which allowed for a weak federal government and strong states, and was a mess. The fathers saw a need for a more balanced approach, hence the Articles were done away with in favor of the Constitution. The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution establishes it as the supreme law of the land. The Supreme Court has been handing down decisions upholding this clause since well before the Civil War. This is one reason why states no longer have their own currency or ability to declare war on other states.
The period you are speaking of, I assume, is the reconstruction and gilded age. I'm really not sure this was the period of government oppression you're painting it to be. There was, however, plenty of oppression on the state level, in the form of Jim Crow laws. So, if you liked that sort of thing, there were still plenty of states you could move to. There was oppression from the private sector, too...With the rise of industry and the lack of any substantial regulations, worker rights were trampled, child labor was common, women could not vote, and pollution was rampant. And the "free market" failed to stop several monopolies from forming (one was my alias: SOHIO, or rather, Standard Oil of Ohio). During the progressive era that followed, the federal government had to step in and make changes to address these issues. All of this was the result of laissez-faire capitalism, which Libertarians support.
That said, you can STILL choose the state that best suits your needs. The heavy hand of the federal government has not stopped certain states from legalizing (or not) gay marriage, legalizing (or not) gambling, or even requiring (or not) vehicle inspections (like Pennsylvania does). Each state sets their own tax structure, as does every municipality. Each state is a little bit different, and each state can do what they want as long as it is not found by the Supreme Court to be in violation of the United States Constitution. And states STILL have little or no say on how OTHER STATES handle their affairs. Your crying wolf that the fed is somehow usurping state's rights doesn't hold water; you are decrying the destruction of a system that is still very intact. There have always been powers granted to states, and certain powers granted to D.C. When there is a conflict, we
have a very handy Supreme Court charged with sorting it out and hopefully finding the truth. They don't always decide the way I'd like them to, but it works better than any system I know of...and, after all, I am not the only person living in this country. Who said I would always get my way?
Your statement that income taxes did not exist until 1913 is simply false. They did not become a constitutional matter until then, and it was then that the income tax took on the form we know of today. But income taxes had been levied, in various forms and degrees, off and on, several times in our nation's history. An income tax was enacted to help pay for the Civil War, and again years later with the Wilson-Gorman act, just to name two.
Taxation is not a restriction on my property. Taxation pays for several things that enhance my property, such as the police who patrol my neighborhood, the firemen who will come try to save my house if it ever catches fire, the dike that protects my land from the waters of Lake Erie, the street that leads to my house, and the nice park a few blocks away that I can walk to and use any time I want to, which adds value to my property. True, my taxes also pay for things for other people, and sometimes they pay for things I disagree with, such as certain foreign wars. But I am able to try and change that with my votes, or, I can vote with my feet. Taxation is part of the social contract we agree to when we accept citizenship. We can disagree about what should be IN the contract, and we can try to make certain changes. But the contract is there. Some level of taxation is unavoidable; it is a legitimate charge for necessary services; the only debate is how much
is fair and for what purposes. Collection of taxes is not "threat of force," it's enforcement of a contract. Nobody is forcing me to accept it, I can leave this country any time I'd like. Since most other countries would also have a social contract that would be similar or worse, and because I love my home, I choose to stay.
Oh, and Ohio does not have the RIGHT to declare war on anyone. That is a power reserved for the federal government.