I’ve been meaning to write about this piece from a while back that argues against devolution. It’s a bit odd. For one thing, the two examples seem to confuse the very different ideas of devolution and secession. Having the blue states become part of Canada would not be an example of devolution, but one of secession. (So, for that matter, was the proposed Scottish referendum. Which failed in part because of promises of greater devolution.) While there are some domestic liberals who do favor secession (there’s a decent percentage in Vermont, at least), very few favor devolution (which is, after all, just a fancy word for enhanced federalism/less central control) so far as I can tell. Nearly all prefer federal to state power, and my guess is that post-2010, there would be significantly more liberal support for a unitary state (i.e. one without states) than an enhancement of the powers of individual states. The polling on this isn’t there but my guess is that it would be 3-to-1 with the public at least, and nearly unanimous among influential liberals. In any event, there has been zero support for the various devolutionary approaches that have been proposed in the past couple of years, such as block-granting Medicare. So the article comes off as baffling, arguing against a more-federalist liberalism that doesn’t seem to exist in any significant way, and has nothing to do with the specific examples raised.

A more relevant argument would have opposed the more provably real phenomenon of liberal secessionism. I don’t favor such an approach at this time, but it’s conceivable that at some point in the future, progressives might find it more enticing to create separate, smaller countries that could be enclaves of leftist politics. It’s not likely in the immediate future, but this country’s longstanding and ironic animus toward “bigness” could provide the basis for such a move, and if you disagree, then why is it that the first step in demonizing anything necessitates affixing the word “big” to it. You know, big government, big labor, big tobacco, big business, etc. I would actually be interested in reading some serious liberal arguments for and against this approach–my guess is that it would revolve around the anti-side arguing against hanging red-state minority members out to dry and appeals to mythos, and the pro-side invoking the lack of responsiveness of a very distant federal government and media as well as the poor people in blue states that should also be considered.

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  1. Metavirus says:

    very interesting. i’ve never thought about the issue of potential liberal secessionism. annexation of some of new england by canada is a very peculiar idea indeed. maybe minnesota -- they already speak canadian. :)

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