On this day in 1781, the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation. They were worthless. But you can see why conservatives love them. Basically, the combined government — the Confederation Congress — could ask for money from the states, but they had no power to enforce such a request. It reminds me of how modern conservatives think employment should operate: we all be nice to the rich and they will hire the rest of us and give us proper compensation.
I’m constantly amazed that conservatives think that liberals are naive. The whole conservative mentality is based on the idea that people will just do “what’s right” — as though that something that we all agree on. People have an amazing ability to justify why whatever helps them will be best. And what history has shown very clearly is that people will pay their taxes only when they are forced. And it does not matter how low those taxes are. That was one of Ayn Rand’s big claims was that if you just got the government small enough people would voluntarily pay their taxes. But she was a thoroughly modern intellectual — in the sense of never actually reading anything that disagreed with her except for the explicit purpose of attacking it.
But the main reason that conservatives hate the federal government and think that local government is always better is because you can be much more powerful on the local level. Look at Frankly Curious: it is tiny, but like Yertle the Turtle, I am ruler of all I see! And what is it that these conservatives really want? Is it low taxes and regulations? Not really! It’s having slaves. And I assure you that if every state in the United States became independent, there are states that would bring back slavery.
But imagine if the Articles of Confederation had not been replaced. What would have happened? I can’t say for sure, but I think history guides us to a fairly obvious conclusion. The states would begin to have wars. And eventually, the greatest warrior would have brought all the colonies together. So it would have been like what we got, with one exception: it would have been an autocracy. There would have been no Bill of Rights. And of course, the Articles of Confederation would have been a thing of the past. But conservatives don’t think that far ahead. That would have been King Andrew Jackson. Or perhaps just King George, because once the colonies were fighting, it wouldn’t have been hard to defeat them.
The Articles of Confederation were a joke. But they are what conservatives want. Because local governance is always better. I mean, the federal government does terrible things like make people pay their taxes. And the local government only does things like enslave people.