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Localities Shouldn’t Be Dictating (Inter-)National Policy

July 17, 2019

Federalism is too infrequently mentioned, and when it does come up, it is woefully misrepresented and abused.

Federalism is too infrequently mentioned, and when it does come up, it is woefully misrepresented and abused. Let’s check with our old friend Merriam Webster:

“The distribution of power in an organization (such as a government) between a central authority and the constituent units.”

Our Constitution is fully imbued with decentralized federalism. The Founding Fathers were brilliant. Not only in limiting for what the “central authority” is responsible, but in rightly assigning the policies for which it is. The Constitution gives the federal government (the “central authority”) a few expressly enumerated powers. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments give all other power(s) to “the States and the People.”

Merriam’s “constituent units” are the fifty state and very many municipal governments. Most unfortunately, as government is want to do the “constituent units” insist on doing (too much) of their stuff…and the central authority’s limited portion as well.

We certainly see this with immigration. These are the policies this country has with regard to whom and how many from other countries we allow to come here which is clearly a national prerogative – and therefore clearly a federal government prerogative.

But behold the “Sanctuary _____” – States, Cities, Counties, etc.

These non-federal elected officials openly flout our immigration laws and allow illegal aliens to stay in their jurisdictions. Worse, they openly obstruct justice, refusing to cooperate with federal authorities on the rare instances they decide to enforce our immigration laws. These non-federal elected officials should be in prison, and as with all things rightly national, pretending it’s local…doesn’t keep it local.

Los Angeles, California has been a Sanctuary City for decades. Illegal aliens have spent these decades pouring in there and the result has been a mass disaster area. But it doesn’t just stay there. Once they’re in L.A., they don’t have to stay in L.A. They can move to anywhere else in America they wish completely unfettered by the checks rightly and wisely imposed along our borders.

L.A.’s alleged local preemption of rightly national immigration policy doesn’t keep it local. It becomes a national disaster. As demonstrated by the massive illegal alien problems throughout the country. Including in far-flung “border areas” like Long Island, New York and Portland, Maine.

This is our non-federal governments making massive national messes. So too are they doing with the World Wide Web. Get that first word – “world.”  We again check with Merriam:

“The earth with its inhabitants and all things upon it.”

Like with immigration, this clearly means the Internet’s rule and regulation is a federal government prerogative. Just like with immigration, there are very many reasons the Constitution insists the Internet is federal whether the fore-thoughtful Forefathers realized all of them or not. To wit: We are currently in a race with Communist China to be first to the Fifth Generation (5G) wireless Internet.

If Communist China were to beat us to 5G – it would be bad for our economy.

If Communist China were to beat us to 5G – it would be VERY bad for our national security.

Why the Founders made the Internet federal – economy:

We now invite you to (re)visit the Commerce Clause:

“[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes….”

The most originalist reading….:

“The narrowest definition of ‘to regulate’ is to ‘make regular,’ that is, to facilitate the free flow of goods, but not, except in cases of danger, to prohibit the flow of any good.”

Why the Founders made the Internet federal: national security: We don’t want Communist China setting global Web standards, which they get to do if they get to 5G first. There are all sorts of global implications to our World Wide Web policy. Which is why non-federal governments should be doing…nothing at all to the Internet. Leftist non-federal officials want very stupid Internet policies imposed. Policies We the People won’t elect federal officials to impose. (How dare We not.)

So these provincial officials are unconstitutionally doing it themselves.

Oregon Enacts Net Neutrality Law as Pacific Northwest Trump Resistance Grows

California Lawmakers Pass Nation’s Toughest Net Neutrality Law

Maine Governor Signs Net Neutrality Bill

Again, a reminder locals messing with national policy…never stays local. So even if you like a law’s concept you may not like how this state or that details it. If you’re to the Right of Karl Marx you almost certainly won’t like how nation-warping California details it.

California Passes Strict Internet Privacy Law With Implications For The Country

Maine Passes Nation’s Strictest Internet Privacy Protection Law

New Jersey Passes Consumer Privacy Act:

“State laws governing the collection and use of personal information continue to proliferate.”

Again – this is NOT a good thing.

Our nation’s provincial governments are very often…provincial.  In thought and deed. When they mess with (inter-)national issues their provinciality is often highly damaging to our nation. Which of course means provincial officials are more than happy to eviscerate the Constitution’s federalism and damage our national policy when it means taking more money from us.

Want Cheaper, Better Internet?  Limit the Local Government Shakedowns of Internet Providers:

“(Internet Service Providers) ISPs show up in your area – looking to spend millions or billions of dollars to build or improve their service to you.

“But before they can do that – they must first play ‘Mother May I’ with the government(s) in your area.

“You know, the governments that are already taxing the living daylight out of ISPs. That now create ridiculous lists of additional demands of ISPs – for the ISPs’ ‘right’ to spend millions or billions of dollars providing you service.

“It’s like very many governments going shopping – with the ISPs’ credit cards….

“The number of cities and towns making…ridiculous demands is staggering. The wide variety of these ridiculous demands is mind-numbing.

“All of which are geared by government – to find new and additional ways to extract ever more money from the ISPs.”

So…imagine being an Internet Service Provider (ISP). You have to deal with 194 different nations’ Internet laws, regulations and taxes. As each enters the US portion of the World Wide Web – and (if you do) you enter each of theirs. And now you have to deal with fifty different state governments’ Internet laws, regulations taxes? Oh, and thousands of municipal governments’ laws, regulations and taxes?

What a giant anti-economy, anti-national security, anti-coherence nightmare mess. The Feds are currently working to restore Constitutional order. They are looking to streamline the local shakedowns and preempt the local laws. God bless each and every one of them for so doing.

[Originally Published at RedState]

Article Tags
InfoTech & Telecom
Author
Seton Motley is the president of Less Government, a DC-based non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the power of government and protecting the First Amendment from governmental assault.
smotley@lessgovernment.org @SetonMotley