All of those are relevant, but consider one further, broader dynamic at work: The Right is finally coming around to the understanding that what mainly distinguishes it from the Left is not its general preference for muscular foreign policy, its not always convincing defense of the Judeo-Christian tradition, or even its relatively faithful reading of the Constitution, as important as those things are. Rather, the fight between Right and Left is about coercion.
That the Left has become much more intensively coercive in recent years has not gone unnoticed among conservatives. In Liberal Fascism and elsewhere, Jonah Goldberg has popularized a longstanding view of the left-wing philosophy that in the United States calls itself “liberalism” — though we cannot in good faith call it that — that connects it with the nakedly coercive, antidemocratic, and anti-constitutional tendency of Woodrow Wilson and the progressives of his era, and with the various nasty totalitarian movements that inspired them and were inspired by them in turn. It’s not that we expect Robert Reich to come marching up Fifth Avenue wearing jackboots (the Pride March ain’t what it used to be) but that managerial progressivism is fundamentally corporatist in the sense that Mussolini et al. used the term: It conceives of formal political power and economic production as a single unit to be kept working in harmony, like a well-tuned engine, by such experts as the state recognizes as suited to the task. In theory, these men are to be guided by evidence meeting scientific standards — they are to be the sort of disinterested and dispassionate pragmatists that exist mainly within the narrow confines of Ezra Klein’s cranium.
The problem, as various capital-”F” Fascists and National Socialists and Communist politburos and Vox readers all discovered in their turn, is that even if these dispassionate and disinterested existed — and they don’t — bureaucracies do not have the collective cognitive firepower to replace markets, or even to intelligently guide them. From the Soviet five-year plans to Obamacare, all central-planning exercises begin in hubris and end in chaos.The Force Left has discovered that using political correctness and other cultural tactics either will not get them over the hump, or at least will not get them there fast enough, has now turned to criminalizing unpopular thoughts and actions. For example, 17 State Attorneys General are proposing to prosecute climate skeptics under theories that the reason people keep denying climate change is because they are profiting from racketeering. Other examples come from Dustin Howard's article at Conservative Review entitled Gun Taxes, Thought Policing, and the Triumph of the Force Left. Howard:
The totalitarian temptation is proving too much for the left across America. Daniel Flynn, in his book A Conservative History of the American Left, contrasted the “Freedom Left”, the benign old-fashioned liberals, versus the “Force Left”, the descendants of Marx that malignantly oppose fundamental rights in pursuit of their radical aims. The Force Left has successfully seized control of their movement, and their fundamental transformation is manifesting in current events daily as we watch their struggle for ever more power.
The left as a whole has long been hostile to the Second Amendment, but has been divided of the regulatory means of mitigating its effects. Background checks, registries, magazine limits have all been incrementalist “salami tactics” to limit gun ownership, and according to them, limit violence.
The latest tack is to levy taxes against weapons and ammunition — some more confiscatory than others. In Seattle, it is 25 dollars per firearm, with a nickel tax on ammunition over .22 caliber, and a 2 cent tax on smaller calibers, which the National Rifle Association is litigating against. In the Northern Marianas Islands, to compensate for losing their handgun ban in court, their Governor imposed a $1,000 “excise” tax on the importation of firearms.The latest massive iron fist to hit is the letter sent to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory demanding that he, not the legislature, rescind the so called bathroom law. Mark Hanna has the story over at the American Thinker entitled Obama's Toilet Revolution:
His most recent stunt to this end is to use North Carolina’s “bathroom” law, or House Bill 2, as a springboard for the U.S. Justice Department to issue a sweeping dictate in the name of social fairness and civil rights. House Bill 2, which requires individuals to use the public bathrooms and showers that correspond to their birth sex, was drafted and passed in order to negate an unconstitutional Charlotte city ordinance that forced different sexes to share public accommodations.
What’s most ominous about Obama’s latest maneuver is that the letter sent by the Justice Department to North Carolina governor Pat McCrory stakes out a position for the federal government that would apply to every business in America, as well as all universities and colleges that receive federal funds, that are subject to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.Pat McCrory seems to understand that he is now locked in battle for the 10th Amendment rights of States. The States existed prior to the Federal Government. Each State was sovereign, and within it borders, made laws which seemed good to them. Each State could create currencies, and set the value thereof, could raise armies to defend its borders, and could set tariffs on goods imported from other States. Indeed, a State could ally itself with a foreign country against another State. It was chaos. In 1791, the States agreed to give up some, but only some, of their powers to a body to be called the Federal Government. The Federal Government would deal with things like setting currency for all the States, expand free trade among the States, and provide a national defense. The States remained sovereign, however, and to show good faith, the 10th and final Amendment was added to the Constitution.
People who say that what the Fed is doing is no different than what the State did in upending Charlotte's bathroom ordmance have not thought about it. The State chartered the City of Charlotte, and can uncharter it as well, not without consequences to itself. Indeed, a recent example of the State taking over a city was when the State of Michigan appointed an Emergency Manager to oversee Detroit finances when that city defaulted. The City is a creature of the State, and its right to govern itself exists within boundaries set by the State. The Fed is also a creature of the States, and if a State begins to feel that the Fed is no longer in its best interests, the State still has the right to secede. For now though, the North Carolina and the Fed will fight it out in court.
Update: Also at the American Thinker is this blog post from James Longstreet entitled The Guidelines for Federal Coercion The problem that now faces North Carolina was foreseen by the Anti-Constitutionalists at the time of the signing of the Constitution. It is probably why the 10th Amendment was inserted in the Bill of Rights. Governor McCrory and the State Legislature may ultimately face a grave choice to forego certain funding to which they are entitled in order to remain free.