California as a free 'nation state': New York Times endorses states' rights approach

Today for the first time, The New York Times endorsed a states' rights regional solution to a national issue.

It is antithesis to the newspaper's very being, as the Empire State since its birth hoped for and intended a single, uniform, global empire challenging that of Greece and Rome. And in the interim, it fought a civil war, sent the black ships to Japan and occupied Germany to actualize it. Today, the Empire State joins the downsizers, the hostile secessionists and devolutionists, the rustic red-necks who answer to the call of the Duck Commander, the Appalachian free preachers and hillbilly free-staters, and it answers Sarah Palin’s challenge to the “lamestream press.”

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From the Times editorial board: “In an effort to compensate for the failure of central governments to address the dangers of climate change with comprehensive national policies, cities, states and regions have developed their own strategies to rein in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. California’s ambitious plan aims to reduce emissions 80 percent by 2050 by requiring cleaner cars, more energy-efficient buildings and renewable fuels. Nine northeastern states have joined in a regional trading program aimed at reducing power-plant emissions.”

Very like the 30-some states in the middle of the country that have recently joined together to oppose federal regulations on a variety of issues ranging from guns to abortion, ObamaCare to the 10th Amendment. What makes the California initiative more interesting is that a western Canadian province has joined in, which makes it even more illegal. But will Alberta, similar in politics and culture to the American west, now join in coalition with the middle American states?

The agreement is not legally binding and contains no new money, say the Times editors, but “The new coalition has been largely inspired by impatience with Congress and the Canadian Parliament, both of which are in thrall to oil and seem deeply resistant to facing the reality of climate change.”

It is not legally binding of course, because it is illegal, and an unconstitutional strategy of states' rights is called “secession.” As any of the early Tea Party prototypes, like the New Hampshire “Free Staters” or Vermont’s Second Vermont Republic, would gladly explain: Hello, Commerce Clause!

But in fact, the states' rights strategy started in California with former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), who, before it became cool in the Appalachian hills and hollers, first spectacularly opposed federal regulation on pollution, claiming several times in his 2007 inaugural address that California was its own “nation state.”

Like Paul on the road to Damascus, the Governator had an experience that opened his eyes in the failure of his first term, he said.

“And what was it that I saw? I saw that people, not just in California, but across the nation, were hungry for a new kind of politics, a politics that looks beyond the old labels, the old ways, the old arguments. The California historian Kevin Starr says that we must think of ourselves as belonging not just to the Republican Party or the Democratic Party ... but to the Party of California ... because California is a collective ideal worth preserving. The Party of California is beyond ideology and one to which all of us belong.”

That is what we are seeing today. That is what is awakening today in California.