Legal Acts Aren't Civil Disobedience

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A reader, noting my recent post on Charles Murray's anarchic nostrum for restoring individual freedom in America, directed my attention to a sympathetic article, "The Civil Disobedience Charles Murray Wants Has Already Arrived", by Joy Pullmann of The Federalist. I found Pullmann's piece interesting, but want to raise a small point: At least one of her examples, local authorities rejecting federal funds due to the strings attached, is not against the law:

[W]hat we're losing here is far more costly than the mere money we're gaining. A number of states worked out the cost-benefit of NCLB [No Child Left Behind --ed] before it passed, and found it cost them more than it brought them. So we're losing both money and freedom. We're losing money and our dignity. We're sacrificing kids' spirits and futures to bureaucrats who have never taught a child and can't budget their way into the right amount to tip a waiter.
Another, of students sitting out standardized tests, is either not actually illegal or is unenforceable for reasons in addition to those Murray relies on.

While the case for freedom demands more than a mere cost-benefit analysis, Pullmann's focus on Murray risks us losing the real value and significance of what we're seeing here. These are perfectly legal ways to get out from under improper federal regulations. As such, politicians who support limited government can do well to use them to gain breathing room or buy time until more substantive action, such as repeals of -- or court rulings against -- improper laws can take place.

This isn't anarchism: It's part of the correct way to fight back.

-- CAV

No comments: