It’s hard not to be sad about North Carolina’s double-banning of gay marriage; but it does make it clear that very many of us disagree on very many things. Perhaps the right is right: perhaps a little more federalism would be a good idea here.
Fundamentally, the people on each side of today’s major politico-social questions are making broad statements about what will make a better world: “the US will be stronger without Mexicans,” “allowing gay marriage makes our society better,” etc. The big problem here is that nobody’s challenged to back up their grand proclamations. Imagine for a moment that we had one place that allowed gay marriage and another place that didn’t; we could observe them over time and see where, for instance, marriage was stronger. If we could run such little experiments, well, wouldn’t almost all of our conflicts resolve in time as we saw the actual consequences of our choices?
Oh look, we do actually have one place that allows gay marriage and one that doesn’t: New York and North Carolina. Maybe these two differing states can be an example of how we should handle our problems: by letting a thousand flowers bloom. We have 50 states; why not try 50 experiments and see what works the best? Then we can all eventually adopt the options that make us the richest, freest, safest, happiest, and whatever else-ist we think is important.
Oh, but what about people and their rights, you ask? Well, that’s reasonable. After all, our experiments can’t negatively impact the rights of individuals; that would be inhumane. No, just like we should all be held accountable for the consequences of our choices, we should also be held accountable for the costs imposed by those choices.
If we can’t impinge upon the rights of individuals (after all, that’s what our country was founded on), and we’re determined not to give them those rights (that’s our experiment), well, we have to find someone else to give them their rights. If North Carolina doesn’t want to give gays the right to marry, well, then, North Carolina needs to pay for these individuals to go elsewhere to marry. Don’t want gays at all? Pay to relocate them!
This can go both ways: believe that having a diverse community makes your state stronger? Pay to import those same homosexuals that North Carolina wants to get rid of! Imagine how the whole country will work when every different demo- or psychographic group lives in places that wants them! Nobody in Tennessee need worry about Sharia law, because Michigan will have accepted their Muslims with open arms. Heck, Michigan could implement Sharia (all the conservatives are always talking about how the 1st Amendment doesn’t stop states from establishing a religion), and everyone who doesn’t like it can get relocated by the state to a place friendlier to them. It’s worth a try; nothing else seems to be working for Detroit.
The big gotcha here is minimizing the impact of relocation on any given individual. Since we’re being rights-focused in thinking of relocation, we definitely can’t allow involuntary relocation: that is, if you’re gay and want to live in North Carolina, well, you’re all stuck with each other. (Hint: the state should probably offer a bigger bonus to leave! Solve it with the free market, right?)
But, look, if California really wants more gays (and why not? they tend to be highly-educated high-earning professionals), then California needs to make a good pitch. Friendly communities, good job opportunities… and we’ll need to ensure that property rights are maintained across the relocation. If you leave North Carolina with a house, well, you at least need a nice, stable place to live in California, plus an investment that will appreciate like that house. The North Carolina Department of Relocation can help you sell your house and get a good, fair return; the Department of Relocation in California can help you understand which local communities have resources to help you move in; and the Federal Department of Relocation can help ensure that the North Carolina Department of Relocation really does get you a fair price for your property, and maybe kick in a little to help manage the drastic difference in property values between the two states.
This could even end up being cheap. Arizona doesn’t want Latin American immigrants? They can spend a lot of money trying to enforce laws the Federal government doesn’t, or they can just spend a few thousand dollars to send one immigrant, with all their possessions, to friendly California. No breaking up families or long prison terms. If California’s right, then our immigrants will make our state stronger and richer, while Arizona’s economy stalls for a lack of low-cost labor. If Arizona’s right, California’s Welfare costs will explode. Why not actually see?
The goal here is really to create a free market in values. Over time, the values that are most effective in creating the society that we want will prove themselves. Meanwhile, we’ll ensure that, for any individual, they can always raise their hand if they feel their rights are being negatively impacted, and end up in a situation in which they’re safe. Let’s embrace our differences! (And let’s also not talk about details in the comments. Obviously this whole thing falls down once you get into the details. Let’s stick to big concepts.)