Our 124 states

A National Review Morning Jolt from last week quoted Glenn Beck as criticizing himself for “helping tear the country apart.”

Which prompted NR’s Jim Geraghty to pass on this map …

… from Mansfield University Prof. Andrew Shears, who was reported upon in the Washington Post.

Notice that Wisconsin becomes three states. Blue Wisconsin runs from Grant County to Milwaukee. Superior includes the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, neighboring northern Wisconsin counties, and part of Minnesota.

Northern Wisconsin’s antipathy to Madison is, in my experience, nonpartisan — they generally think official Wisconsin ignores anything north of Wisconsin 29. The state of Blue Wisconsin is too large, given that Grant County is represented by Republicans in the Legislature, and I doubt Milwaukee’s suburbs want to identify themselves with Tom Barrett, Red Fred Kessler, Christine Sinicki, Lena Taylor, et al. As you know, though, if Madison through Milwaukee wanted to secede, that would be fine with me. (Perhaps they can change the names from Red Wisconsin to Working Wisconsin and Blue Wisconsin to Tax-Sucking Scum.)

Geraghty adds:

If Beck really means America is deeply politically divided, indeed, it is, but I’m not so sure our divisions would look that much better or different if Glenn Beck had remained a wacky “Morning Zoo” radio DJ his entire life. …

We’re a divided country because we have 317 million people, and at least two major strands of thought and philosophy about the role of the government.

It’s a broad generalization, but we have red states and blue states. Ideally, we would have let each part of the country live the way they want, as long as its laws didn’t violate the Constitution. You want high taxes and generous public benefits? Go ahead and have them; we’ll see if your voters vote with their feet. Let Illinois be Illinois, and let South Carolina be South Carolina. …

But a big part of the problem is that we have an administration in Washington that is determined to stomp out the state policies it doesn’t like. The president doesn’t want there to be any right-to-work states. His Department of Justice is doing everything possible to obstruct Louisiana’s school choice laws. They’re fighting state voter ID laws in court, insisting that it violates the Constitution, even though the Supreme Court ruled, 6 to 3, that requiring the showing of an ID does not represent an undue burden on voters.

This you-must-comply attitude can be found in the states as well, of course. Hell, in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to drive pro-lifers, Second Amendment supporters, and what he labels “anti-gay” out of his stateMayors decree that they won’t allow Chick-Fil-A in their cities because of the opinions of the owners. In Oregon, state officials decreed that a baker must make a wedding cake for a gay wedding; the state decrees you are not permitted to turn down a work request that you believe violates your conscience or religious beliefs.

The country would be “torn apart” less if we were allowed to address more of our public-policy problems on a local or state basis. But anti-federalism is in the cellular structure of liberalism. All of their solutions are “universal,” “comprehensive,” or “sweeping.” Everything must be changed at once, for everyone, with no exceptions. Perhaps it’s a good approach for some other species, but not human beings.


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