The president of the Texas Nationalist Movement, picking up on the precedent set by British voters, desires that the Southwestern empire where I make my home hold its own vote on seceding from the top-heavy politburo that seems to run America. Good luck on persuading the U.S. Army to march away from Fort Hood on command of whatever unlikely coalition the Nationalist Movement might assemble.
On the other hand, the Supreme Court of the same country to which the nationalists would wave bye-bye reminded many on Monday of the pass to which we have come over the past 70 or 80 years. We have a central government that calls all major shots, sets all major policies; never mind what those governments closest to the people might see as right or just or in the popular interest.
The U.S. government of our time is, for many purposes, the European Union with an Ivy League accent.
On Monday, our land's highest court, by a vote of 5 to 3, rebuked Texas for actions its lawmakers had viewed as consequential in protecting unborn life. The court said a 2013 Texas law upgrading medical standards for abortion clinics imposed an "undue burden" on women seeking abortions.
The law's rigorous requirements — clinics had to meet the standards for ambulatory surgical centers, with admitting privileges at local hospitals required for abortion doctors — had cut in half the number of abortion clinics in Texas. The court majority's judgment: "Each (provision) places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access ... and each violates the Federal Constitution."
The U.S. government's promotion, in 1973, of abortion to the status of constitutional right stripped Texas of its former right to confer on unborn life unambiguous preference over a woman's asserted right to control of her body. According to the Supreme Court's 7-to-2 majority, the hicks in Texas and elsewhere could maintain their antique notions as to the value of unborn life, but the Supreme Court was stepping in to demonstrate the limit of those notions. So much for the supposed rights of local people to make decisions locally, in accordance, more or less, with the plan of the Founding Fathers.
States' attempts to improve the lot of the unborn rest on shaky grounds, pending some improbable moral counterreformation in American politics. The court keeps a close watch on uppity state legislators who note, among other realities of the abortion age, a growing moral callousness that allowed a Philadelphia abortionist several years ago to kill infants born alive, and even to commit manslaughter on a patient.
Ah, but too bad for states like Texas that stepped in to close the doors on potential horrors of that sort. The court wanted evidence that the requirement for hospital admitting privileges "would have helped even one woman obtain better treatment." Instead, the court majority focused on the inconveniences attendant on navigating interstate highways to reach a trustworthy, and still open, clinic in one of the state's big cities. The judgment of mere lawmakers representing mere people is hardly to be trusted these days — just as in Europe, come to think of it.
More and more, the rule of "experts" (e.g., Supreme Court justices) takes precedence over the understandings — touching as the experts might own them to be — of those who live on the ground floor of society, taking in the comings and goings that make up life.
A majority of Britons registered their discontent with arrangements that leave them playing second fiddle to the EU experts clustered in Brussels, who enjoy unfettered power to overrule local desires not in concert with the big picture the experts paint.
So it is over here, with arrangements from New Deal days that assign Washington, D.C., priority in the large matters of life, such as the protections to which life is entitled. There is little consolation in knowing one's self to be part of an international problem. There may be some in knowing that the resultant anger and discontent are spreading fast, with consequences too shocking to forecast.
William Murchison writes from Dallas. His latest book is "The Cost of Liberty: The Life of John Dickinson." To find out more about William Murchison, and to see features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.