TRUE DIVERSITY. ...

TRUE DIVERSITY. Speaking of Jonah Goldberg, he's got a long piece extolling the virtues of federalism in the latest National Review that's sort of accidentally revealing. After conducting an evaluation of federalism based largely on open container laws and squeegee men, Goldberg writes:

For some people owning a monkey might be the very definition of freedom. For others, it’s a pointless public-health hazard. Either way, that a presidential campaign has become the venue for proselytizers of monkey freedom should tell you a lot about the mess we’ve made of the constitutional order. There is no correct answer, discernible through reason or revelation, about whether people should be free to own pet monkeys or to drink beer outside without a brown paper bag. It depends on where you live and how you and your neighbors want to live. The beauty of federalism is that it values real diversity over the superficial diversities of skin color and gender.

It takes a particular type of, um, thinker to conclude that monkey-ownership represents real diversity, while the experience of being an African-American or woman is a shallow, largely aesthetic, distinction. And to assert, rather than argue, the claim! Well! One might, in fact, call this a very serious, thoughtful, argument that has never been made in such detail or with such care. But then, we'd expect nothing less from Jonah.

Update: Well, that drew blood. Jonah complains that this was an "impressionistic, travelogue-esque piece" and I'm trying "to make it into a definitive argument about federalism, rather than a mere meditation on it." So Jonah's advice on reading Jonah: "Don't take this seriously, I haven't thought it through." Well, okay then!

--Ezra Klein

Advertisement