Are States Really a Relic of the Past?

Lawrence R. Samuel, author and Washington Post contributor, thinks it’s time for us to move on past states. Before you get excited, he meant individual states i.e. Indiana and Maryland, not states as defined by those who wield the monopoly on the legitimacy of the use of force and violence. It’s too bad, I was excited when I read the headline stating, “States are a relic of the past. It’s time to get rid of them.


It seems that Mr. Samuel is just a shill for progressivism. The premise of his argument is catered around, you guessed it, the electoral college and how a modernized America needs to abandon the Constitution. It’s apparent he has no understanding of how America functions when he says,

“While Donald Trump resoundingly won the electoral college — the state-based “point system” we’ve used in presidential elections for more than two centuries [emphasis added] — Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by about 780,000 as of a week out of the election. In other words, more Americans wanted Clinton to win, reason enough to revisit the wisdom of using the electoral college to determine elections.”

I doubt he had the same response in 2000.

In his podcast, Tom Woods gave a perfect analogy to better describe the electoral college. Woods related it to the World Series, explaining that if Team A won the first 3 games 8-1, then Team B won the next four games by a margin of 2-1, it would be absurd to claim that Team A won the World Series because they scored more points than Team B (28-11 to be specific). Kevin Gutzman furthered this analogy by saying Team B wouldn’t use their best relief pitcher if they were down 8-1 in the 9th in the first any of the first three games, because margin of defeat doesn’t matter, if it did, strategies would change. (Check out the episode of the Tom Woods Show referenced here.)

Trump even chimed in on Twitter furthering the destruction of this argument:

(Bigger is, of course, read: more bigly)

Trump proves it is completely fallacious to base an argument over the popular vote.

Samuel continues that in present-day America, states just add levels of bureaucracy, confusion, and expenses. His solution then, is to cut the ‘middleman’ (the states) out of the equation, similar to how a business would cut an inefficient middle layer. He explains,

“Two layers of government — federal and local — offers a cleaner, more sensible and much more affordable system than our current one, a notion not unlike cutting out the middle layer of an overly bureaucratic, inefficient company.”

Samuel arrives at the conclusion that states are unnecessary mainly because everyone in America shares similar beliefs. If this is true, surely nobody would be rioting over the election of Donald Trump; surely there would be no need for the main two parties, as well as several other minor parties; surely different states wouldn’t have different laws, a point he even concedes,

“Not just the political system, but the legal system would have to be overhauled. (Probably a good thing in itself given the vast inconsistencies in laws across state lines.)”

Samuel, seemingly unabashed by the lack of evidence (another hint he’s a progressive) he provided, again misses another key function of states: the only [legitimate] line of defense against a tyrannical federal government. Nullification is one of the greatest powers granted to the states. Nullification is the ability to deny the federal government of enforcing a law deemed unconstitutional in that specific state’s borders. It’s a libertarian’s weapon of mass destruction when we worry about an overbearing federal government. (I should mention, Tom Woods has a whole book about nullification you can get here, and it could count as your free book you get from me for signing up for his Liberty Classroom!)

He thinks states are simply too expensive, and he’d much rather regress so he can tax (read: steal from) everyone ‘equally’, so his candidate wins the ‘popular vote’ and election, and so he can enforce his will, no matter the constitutionality on it, onto the greatest number of people. Though he did admit it would be tough, he still thinks it’s a revolutionary idea.

His claims are vacuous and dangerous. Whether he realizes it or not, he claims to eliminate a crucial part in preserving our life, liberty, and property. Instead, he should wish to dismantle the federal government and then give supreme power to local governments, with states either playing the federal government role (on a much smaller scale) or simply abolishing them.

For in a world where states – the group of people who have a monopoly on the legitimacy of the use of violence – must exist, it is best for there to be as many tiny states as possible. This route allows us the best chance to protect all individuals’ pursuit of life, liberty, and property, not its antipode as Samuel would lead you to believe.


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