Question: What is the Objectivist view on States' Rights?
Answer: Well, Objectivism first holds with individual rights; rights to life, liberty, property, pursuit of happiness, and empowers government in order to protect those rights, but with limitations on that government power, explicit in the Bill of Rights, checks and balances, and so on.
Now in the Federal system, there are 50 states and those general principles do leave lots of room for variation in implementation, and as long as states are not violating individual rights, the Federal government should leave them to go their own way.
But if the states are overriding or violating any individual rights, then the Federal government can and should properly override what the states are doing. Now that goes the other way as well. If the Federal government is violating individual rights, then the states should properly resist by discussion, legislation, and judicial test cases.
Stephen R. C. Hicks, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at Rockford University, Executive Director of the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship, and Senior Scholar at The Atlas Society.
He is author of The Art of Reasoning: Readings for Logical Analysis (W. W. Norton & Co., 1998), Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (Scholargy, 2004), Nietzsche and the Nazis (Ockham’s Razor, 2010), Entrepreneurial Living (CEEF, 2016), Liberalism Pro and Con (Connor Court, 2020), Art: Modern, Postmodern, and Beyond (with Michael Newberry, 2021) and Eight Philosophies of Education (2022). He has published in Business Ethics Quarterly, Review of Metaphysics, and The Wall Street Journal. His writings have been translated into 20 languages.
He has been Visiting Professor of Business Ethics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Visiting Fellow at the Social Philosophy & Policy Center in Bowling Green, Ohio, Visiting Professor at the University of Kasimir the Great, Poland, Visiting Fellow at Harris Manchester College of Oxford University, England, and Visiting Professor at Jagiellonian University, Poland.
His B.A. and M.A. degrees are from the University of Guelph, Canada. His Ph.D. in Philosophy is from Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.
In 2010, he won his university’s Excellence in Teaching Award.
Instagram Takeover Questions:
Every week we solicit questions from our 100K followers on Instagram (a social media platform popular with young people. Once a month we feature Stephen Hicks' answers to select questions, transcripts below:
Also several articles, selected for likely interest to Objectivist audiences: