One of the most-used tropes in the right-wing’s arsenal, along with their “strict constitutionalist” nonsense (as if any of them have read enough of the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention to know what anyone working on the Constitution thought at the time), is the idea of what they call, “States’ Rights.” And, as usual, they simply do not care which “rights” states have. This should surprise no one, since the far right doesn’t care much about rights for anyone, really.
However, while they care little about your rights, or even theirs, they’ve ostensibly fetishized the concept of states’ rights. To those on the Republican right-wing, states are more important than the federal government. They have even managed to create a group called “The Federalist Society” that is essentially anti-federalist. The “Federalist Society” thinks the rights of states are paramount and that the authors of the “Federalist Papers” were all against the establishment of a federal government, which makes no sense. Why would they call themselves “Federalists” if they were against establishing a federal government and wanted the states to have ultimate power as… what, exactly? I mean, how do you establish even 13 separate states without establishing a government to administer it all. For one thing, with either 13 or 50 independent states, what happens if there is no common governmental thread? What if one state does harm to another state? Without a federal judiciary, how are disputes settled?
For that matter, what’s the point of the “Federal” Constitution, if not to create a federation of the several states? See what I mean? The far-right makes no sense on anything political.
The only thing left to the extreme far-right that currently runs the Republican Party was the idea of “principle, but their claimed adherence to “states’ rights” belies that idea completely. It’s as asinine as a “principle” as their claim of “gun rights” and the “right to life,” which means it has no real basis at all.
Think about it. They don’t believe in “gun rights;” they believe in gun absolutism, meaning that everyone with any type of gun at all should have an absolute right to both own that gun and carry it wherever he wants, as long as he is a straight white male. That’s their concept of “gun rights” and it is an unprincipled stance that no courting the United States has ever agreed with, even slightly. Seriously, even DC v. Heller, the seminal Supreme Court case that established an individual right to bear arms, says the government has the right and power to limit access to certain types of guns and gets to make rules for carrying them.
Then there is the alleged “right to life” that marks the Republican Right’s anti-choice stance on abortion, which is essentially an absolute ban on abortion, followed by the banishment of everyone involved to prison, with no exceptions, even for rape and incest.
That third pillar os alleged “principle” is the “states’ rights” pillar, and it’s possibly even more absurd than the other two, which is hard to imagine. When it comes to “states’ rights,” states are supposedly endowed as “sovereigns” that the federal government cannot order around, even though all the Republican Party does these days is to wield their federal power over the states and use it as a cudgel of sorts.
And yet, that “principle” is as fungible as the others to the right-wing, even when Donald Trump and his cultists try to count on it for an argument. Consider this from Trumper Evangelist Jerry Falwell, Jr., who claims to be a “Christian” like his father.
You see, right now, Falwell is the leader of a group of right-wingers, called “Vaxit,” that feels that when a right-wing red-state takes a leftward turn through the election of Democrats., as Virginia has done recently, those wingnuts who object should be able to take their portion of Virginia and take it with them to a redder state, like, say, Kentucky or Tennessee.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, Falwell recently proclaimed:
“As in many states, residents in parts of rural, conservative Virginia say they seem to inhabit an increasingly different daily reality than that of urban and suburban districts. That feeling of separation was compounded by last November’s Democratic sweep of the state’s elected offices. Now residents in Frederick County are mulling a radical proposal: seceding from Virginia and joining neighboring West Virginia.”
Really. So, those who don’t think they should have to “take orders” from state officials should be free to secede from their state and either go on their own pr latch onto another state they feel more comfortable with? What the hell does that do to the concept of “states’ rights”? I mean, if they plan to be honest about “states’ rights,” the idea that a few hundred or a few thousand citizens of a state should not be able to simply up and leave the state and join another.
What are “states’ rights” if that is the case?
As we have always suspected, the term means nothing, obviously. If a county can secede from a state, then states cannot be sovereign, no matter how much the Republican Right has tried to convince their faithful to believe. It’s impossible to claim states are sovereign on their own and then make the case that any group of right-wingers within the state has the right to just take their land and take it out of the state. As we have suggested for many years, the right-wing, as demonstrated by the current incarnation of the Republican Party, has absolutely no principles.
They can’t. Guns are not entitled to rights, so there are no “gun rights.” Their claim of a “right to life” necessarily leaves out the rights of the women who get pregnant, and they are too pro-war and pro-death penalty for “right to life” to mean anything on their part. And now, they have even given up the “states’ rights” principle, in favor of the absolute right of a right-winger to tell the state what to do or take their county to another state at will.
The far-right has no principle and they have proven it for all to see.