Jim Holt's article in today's New York Times Magazine has an unique plan for Blue Staters weary of Republican political control: adopting a pro-states' rights platform.

There are big differences among the states, as the last election showed -- differences in their understanding of tolerance, in their attitude toward the role of religion in public life, in the value they place on education, conservation and scientific research. The more sovereignty each state has, the better it can pursue policies that are appropriate to the needs and preferences of its people.

Let us assume that the Left believes that their ideas of tolerance, the separation between church and state, and the importance of science all have moral justifications, and are not just parts of liberal policy for political reasons. In that case, would it be right to "compromise" with other areas of the country where the inhabitants have immoral opinions?

Most importantly, in today's political climate, I do not think that state's rights would be viable for the Left. While one could argue that decentralization has always been part of marginalized parties' policy, I would argue that it is not actually a viable political philosophy, but a stopgap measure by groups without political control. To give states more rights, one must have national political power. When one gets that power, increasing the power of state and local politics is not only no longer necessary, but actually counterproductive. This is one of the reasons why the Republican Party, a champion of states' rights and a smaller federal government during the Clinton Administration, has increased government spending.

Even if one succeeded in achieving reforms (in anticipation of the next loss of political power), there is no guarantee that those reforms would not be rolled back once conservatives gained political power. The political doctrine of states' rights has only political justifications, and thus can be discarded when it is no longer useful. For example, take "activist judges," which seems to refer to judges who ignore prejudice and bigotry, chossing instead to interpret laws through the use of legal documents like the Constitution. What lesson should we learn? If someone disagrees with us, we should marginalize them by claiming that: