Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hard to believe

I have a friend I discuss politics and social issues with from time to time. Recently during a discussion he made the statement that he is a "states rights" person. In fact, believes in the dissolution of the Federal government keeping only a few departments to handle interaction with the rest of the world. Then government makeup would be local. If a small unit, say the size of a county, wanted to live in any manner they wanted, that would be their right. If this small unit wanted to exclude person because of race, exercise gender discrimination they should have the right to do that.

It is hard for me to understand that kind of a philosophy. This man has a Ph.D. and is an extremely intelligent person. I have thought about his statement and am really concerned with that philosophy. The man further wanted to make the point that the Civil War was about "states rights" not slavery. I have heard this argument before in the South. Bullshit! One might make the argument after the fact that the decision on slavery would be made at the state level, but the issue was not about "states rights." I've heard others advance that argument that the war was strictly an economic issue, that to some degree bears a bit of truth. The north had gotten accustomed to hired workers, the South felt slavery was necessary to maintain a competitive position. Competitive with who, cotton sure as hell wasn't grown north of the Mason/Dixon line. Slavery had become ingrained in the Southern society, even to this day it is not uncommon to hear "rednecks" referring to blacks as niggers.

Going back to the local rule my friend advocates would open up the issue of discrimination on all levels. We have not progressed to the point in this society that racial, religious, and gender discrimination are dead. They are very much alive, just held in check by the rule of law. Until such time as we are able to accept all persons as equals we cannot allow such myopic philosophies to take root.

This man shall remain my friend, for several reasons. One, he has always treated me with respect and has treated me well. Second, I find it hard to believe that the philosophy he touts will be viable, ever. So, let him make his points, I do not believe they will go any place. It would make for an interesting story line in a novel.

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