Saturday, October 16, 2004

Another Non-theological post:

The country is very divided and the divide is again falling (mostly) along old regional lines. The North East will vote very differently in this election than will the Deep South. The divide is actually greater than it will seem because blacks in the South will vote almost exclusively democratic even though they, as a whole, are culturally very religious and differ with the Democrats on issues like abortion and gay rights.

We, in practical terms, no longer have a “federalist system.” Instead, we have a highly centralized form of Government. Washington makes policy on most issues for the whole country, but we are socially and culturally dissimilar in a number of ways because of regional and cultural differences.

Each region can not be satisfied with its own culture and let others be as they are. Folks in Washington speak of pluralism, but treat us as though we are “ONE” people by imposing its views across the spectrum on the whole land. It is not OK for Massachusetts to have abortion and gay marriage and Mississippi to outlaw these things. It is a "winner take all game," so each region and people must try to impose its own views on all others.

I think that is just as it is. I think a return to federalism is the only just way to keep the country together, but I am not optimistic that that could be done even if the there was the political will to do it (which there is not). It is interesting to note that the terms federal and confederacy were used interchangeably by the founders. This is clearly visible in their writings and you can see how the words are defined that way in, Founding Father and Federalist, Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:

FED’ERAL, a. [from L. faedus, a league, allied perhaps to Eng. wed. L. vas, vadis, vador, vadimonium. See Heb. to pledge.]
1. Pertaining to a league or contract; derived from an agreement or covenant between parties, particularly between nations.
The Romans, contrary to federal right, compelled them to part with Sardinia.
2. Consisting in a compact between parties, particularly and chiefly between states or nations; founded on alliance by contract or mutual agreement; as a federal government, such as that of the United States.
3. Friendly to the constitution of the United States. [See the Noun.]

CONFEDERACY, n. [L., a league. See Federal and Wed.]
1. A league, or covenant; a contract between two or more persons, bodies of men or states, combined in support of each other, in some act or enterprise; mutual engagement; federal compact.
The friendships of the world are oft confederacies in vice. A confederacy of princes to check innovation.
2. The persons, states or nations united by a league.
Virgil has a whole confederacy against him.
3. In law, a combination of two or more persons to commit an unlawful act.


George Washington, in his letters refers to the United States under the, then new, Constitution as “our new confederacy.” The two great fears of most of the Federalists and Anti-federalists were dissolution of the Union on one side and the centralization of power in a national government on the other. The Federalists won the debate the Constitution was ratified and the warnings of the Anti-federalists (such as Patrick Henry, George Mason, James Monroe) have come to pass. The United States has ceased to be a federal republic. It is now the highly centralised national government that most of the Founding Fathers feared and worked very hard to prevent.

Dominus Vobiscum,

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