Recently various states have decided to punish their fellow members of the United States of America for daring to adopt laws of which they do not approve. The method: bans on government employees traveling to those states on business and the state dime, with the hope that the state’s lead will discourage private travel as well. Why are they doing this? Oh, many reasons, I suppose, all of them insufficient to justify the conduct, which is unethical.
Some of the state legislators who pass these bans, and the governors who sign them, want to place economic sanctions on the other states, even if the effects are limited. After all, they can’t stop the citizens of the states from traveling, only government employees. But pressure is pressure, and the limited measures are an attempt to meddle in the democracy of those other bad states. Another reason is virtue-signalling, as a state seeks to show that it supports a group that is politically strong in that region against another state’s policies that displease it. A third reason is the related motive of grandstanding. Finally, a state might use a travel ban to strike back at another state that is banning state travel there. An eye for an eye, a voucher for a voucher.
Yes, this will end well.
I wish I didn’t have to say this, because I know everyone thinks I pick on liberals, progressives and Democrats, but it’s the Democratic majority states that are using this weapon, especially…well, can you guess? Oh, come on, guess. Yes, the major offender is California. Others are New York, Minnesota, and Washington state.
“Our country has made great strides in dismantling prejudicial laws that have deprived too many of our fellow Americans of their precious rights,” says the public statement of California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra of California, who has been instrumental in getting the Golden State to limit trips to Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. You know, those conservative bad places, where people with sub-normal IQ’s cling to their guns and Bibles. His quote is a classic of arrogant, doctrinaire, narrow-minded, elitist self-righteousness.
Some people feel, in some states, that they should have a right to go to a public bathroom without being watched by fellow citizens with pee-pees. California voters don’t respect those rights or care about them? Fine. After all, they are the ones who live there. But by what divine right—wait, I’m sorry, I forgot that California doesn’t respect religious rights for anyone but Muslims, or something—by what right do the denizens of California derive the delusion that they should punish other states and their businesses and citizens who don’t share their peculiar views of the world? Simple: they know best, that’s all, and they feel it is their mission to force everyone else to think, act and believe as they do. Democracy isn’t good enough.
Some of the evil, troglodyte-infested, banned states aren’t taking this lying down. The Tennessee General Assembly passed a resolution condemning the imposition of “unfounded moral judgment,” while pointing to California’s “exorbitant taxes, spiraling budget deficits, runaway social welfare programs and rampant illegal immigration.” Oh, no, those are all justifiable. California knows best, don’;t these hick understand that? It’s Tennessee that is backwards.
Mark Twain said that “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” The anti-democratic legislators in California, New York, Minnesota, and Washington disagree. They think they what they see as prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness will be smothered by a lack of travel. They don’t want to know how anyone outside their little own cultural bubble thinks or why. They just want them to think the way they do—the right way.
“Is this more symbolic than actually an economic driving force? Most certainly so,” Evan Low, a California assemblyman who sponsored a measure that restricted travel,restrictions, told the New York Times. “But it allows the conversation to continue to occur to say, ‘Wow, these states really don’t value the basic, fundamental rights of all of its citizens?”’
No, what these measures do is allow a conversation to start in which people say, “Wow, Democrats really don’t believe in democracy at all, do they?”
Not much, no.
Every $1 million in sales of travel goods and services supports nine nonexportable American jobs. A state like Texas, which hosts 10% of the nation’s trade shows and has a large number of popular convention destinations could easily lose many millions of dollars in business as a result of these out-of-state attacks. It will be hotel front-desk clerks, waiters, rental car agents and salespeople–and their families, of course—who will suffer, not the legislators. Like all boycotts, the travel bans are intrinsically unethical and unfair. Ah, never mind, say Californians, Minnesotans, New Yorkers and Washingtonians—nobody good would live in these unenlightened pits of deplorables anyway. Screw -em.
To say that this practice is un-American, that it is dangerous, and that it strains and frays the bonds of our nation and political culture is an understatement. The National Conference of State Legislatures told the Times that it knew of no similar, longstanding efforts by states to express its disagreements with other states by using economic boycotts. That’s hardly surprising, since the practice is indefensible, and irresponsible for anyone who respects pluralism, democratic principles while supporting the concept of America being one nation. indivisible.
No, this will not end well.
For a nation and a culture, it is suicidal.