Since the early day of our republic, states’ rights have been an integral part of our country’s federal system. In The Federalist, No. 40, James Madison states, “I ask hat are these principles [of opposition to the Constitution]? do they require that in the establishment of the Constitution, the States should be regarded as distinct and independent sovereigns? They are so regarded by the Constitution proposed.”
Without a doubt, the states have rights, but riddle me this: Do the states have the right to take away the individual rights of their citizens? Undoubtedly not, as Slade Mendhall explains:
In order to illustrate the immorality of their positions, let us consider a hypothetical circumstance. Imagine that the federal government was to cede all of its regulatory authority to state governments— the regulation of industry, healthcare, education, communications, food, drugs, transportation, and environmental impact were retained as they stand today; all entitlement and social welfare programs were divided between the states according to the amount of their citizens’ contributions to the programs; nothing was changed save for the locus of power in our national political structure being reoriented from Washington D.C. to the fifty capitals. With all policies held constant, ultimately, the degree to which current laws and regulations violate the rights of private citizens and corporations would remain unchanged. In envisioning such a circumstance, the question which arises is this: if force is to be used to extract from individuals the products of their labor in order to contribute their wages and property to unjust aims, of what significance is it that the party that takes those wages is an agent of the state instead of the federal government?
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