Philadelphia Reflections

The musings of a physician who has served the community for over six decades

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For some Delegates, taxes were all that mattered.

Birth control, Ride-Summoning, and States Rights: Science Shakes All Three Levels of Government

Until the Industrial Revolution, most histories was a story of leadership, usually military leadership. But since then, history has become a story of new ideas, mostly in the form of technical advances. Even wars are now won by new weapons. This essay describes how the three levels of American government are destined to respond to changes in ideas.

The first is BIRTH CONTROL, discovered around 1956, but eventually revolutionizing nation states. One of the cardinal rules of state relations, established at the Congress of Westphalia, was that nation-states would exercise sovereign control within their boundaries, but never attempt to change boundaries or influence national sovereignty within the boundaries of other nation states, except as an act of war. As matters turned out, the greatest violators of this doctrine were women, trying to change and protest the clothing, work habits, freedom to drive automobiles of women within the boundaries of other nation-states, regardless of local custom and laws. Local leaders resisted such violation of local sovereignty, and it is unclear where this is going. The banner they are flying, "human rights" is clearly a challenge to traditional local sovereignty, regardless of the League of Nations and the United Nations, where such ideas had previously to birth control been mere murmurs of discontent.

Originally published: Sunday, February 18, 2018; most-recently modified: Tuesday, May 14, 2019