The Corner

Re: Coolidge & Federalism

I’ve got a few emails on this theme over the last few days:

Jonah:

Have you lost all respect for federalism, my friend? Coolidge was Governor, not President, when he responded to the strike.

a fan,

[Name withheld]

Me: I hear what folks are saying, but it seems to me that this puts the whole federalism thing on its head. Why can’t I oppose or be troubled by the No Child Left Behind Act, the Violence Against Women Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, etc etc etc on federalist grounds while at the same time believe that it is within the duly authorized power of the commander-in-chief to prevent total anarchy, a public health disaster and an economic catastrophe from transpiring under his nose? I believe Lincoln acted correctly when he used his power to end slavery (please: we will not be debating all of that today). But that doesn’t mean I have to accept that the federal government should be mandating every jot and tittle of public life. It seems to me that New Orleans is an exception that proves the rule. How does that signify that I’ve lost all respect for federalism?

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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