"The first people totalitarians destroy or silence are men of ideas and free minds." ~ Isaiah Berlin
The 'No Child Left Behind Law' Is Left Behind by Utah
The Republican-dominated Utah legislature passed a bill recently that orders state officials to ignore provisions of a federal law that conflict with Utah 's education goals or that requires state financing.
The bill, say some critics, is the most explicit legislative challenge to the federal law by a state, and its passage marked the failure of a lengthy lobbying effort against it by the Bush administration.
Federal officials fear Utah 's action could embolden other states to resist what they consider intrusive or unfunded provisions of the federal law, known as The No Child Left Behind Act. They have good reason for this fear, too.
The Utah bill leans heavily for its rationale on a provision in the federal education law that Republican congressmen passed into law during the first years of the Clinton administration, which forbids federal officials from requiring states to spend their own money to enact the policies outlined in the NCLB Act.
I always applaud when people stand up and defy Leviathan, albeit in a very small baby steps kind of way. However, it is a start, and I hope it is the beginning of a trend.
This ghastly intrusion on parental rights is what happens when a jackass stupid Republican from Texas turns to a spendthrift socialist from Taxachusetts to write his legislation for him in order to curry favor with his ilk. So, good for the people of the Beehive State for taking a principled stand in opposition to all this.
I am beginning to see the emergence of a trend here. Cities and towns all over America have started telling the feds to piss off with all of their laws that infringe upon the liberty of their residents through such usurpations such as the USA-Patriot Acts 1-4. There are other 'non-governmental organizations' taking up the cudgel as well.
The Minutemen border 'vigilantes' (as President Bush called them) arose out of grassroots local activism and serve to further illustrate the utter failure of the feds to address their anxiety about private property rights and border security. While I honestly do have serious concerns about what they are doing, I certainly can and do understand their motivation.
It has been old news for a while now that some cities have taken serious exception to various federal policies and so have passed resolutions and ordinances that challenges some aspect of federal law.
Places such as Berkeley, Ann Arbor, San Francisco, and Madison have all declared themselves variously as in sympathy with the Sandinistas, made themselves 'Nuclear Free Zones,' and passed immigration sanctuary laws, just to name but a few. Now it seems that states are starting to get into the outright defiance act as well. This is very good, methinks.
Utah 's action is not simply grandstanding. The feds have made known that this temerity will cost Utahans between $750 million and a cool $1 billion in federal education funds. As even a semi-sentient observer of the political classes in this country must know by now, local communities and the states have found federal funds as addictive as crack cocaine. I wonder if the political science professors have a term for 'rule by crack whores' similar to the term kleptocracy for 'rule by thieves'? But I digress.
I wish Michiganders had the same level of testosterone as Utah in regard to this matter. In 2003, Michigan 's Secretary of State was all set to go to court over the feds' requirement that states put Social Security numbers on driver's licenses. However, her courageous efforts were all for naught. The GOP-controlled legislature and the Democrat governor teamed up in an impressive display of bipartisan cooperation to stop her cold in order to keep the federal freebase lit and smokin'.
I have never been able to see where people get the idea in their heads that federal or state money is 'free' money. In fact, not only is it not free, but it is actually stolen from the people who earned it in the first place. Arguing about 'public funds' has all the moral purity of a gang of purse-snatchers arguing over how to split up their swag.
It is interesting to note that this has all come to pass on the tenth anniversary of the Republican election victory of 1994, with its much ballyhooed Contract with America campaign. You remember that little document, don't you? It was a short declaration of principles by the GOP, among which was this one: 'We will work to restore the bonds of trust between the people and their elected representatives' and to 'end government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public's money.'
It all seems somewhat quaint and prosaic these days now, doesn't it? Or that is what we tell ourselves anyway, lest unwelcome thoughts about what stupid cattle we were to ever have believed that promise from the likes of them creep up on us.
So my hat is off and a big 'Huzzah!' for the people of Utah ! May their bird flip in the direction of DC be the snowball from Hades that once tossed, begins rolling down the slope of discontent, gathering size and momentum until it finally results in a crushing and unstoppable avalanche that buries the Imperial City on the shores of the Potomac.