Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy Birthday ya old Constitution! And many un-nullified returns! - Touching on Tyranny pt.5

Happy Birthday ya old Constitution! And many un-nullified returns! - Touching on Tyranny pt.5 
If you, as with some friends of mine, are wondering why I'm bothering with this nullification business, what with all the issues facing us today - Obamacare, budget bust, 2nd Amendment issues, Syria... - it is because very soon now, we are going to have to fight back against the cultural forces arrayed against our Liberty, and in that conflict simply defending our ground is not going to cut it. Our Rights and The Law whose purpose is to support them, must be thrust like daggers in the faces of those seeking to eliminate them, and if we want even a shred of a chance at succeeding, we are going to have to respond in some other way than politics as usual. We are going to have to wage a soundly pro-constitutional assault that will be able to strike our foes on several fronts at once, and if our side continues attempting to advance our position through faulty means, we will fail. In order to be able to effectively focus on the worthwhile measures, we've got to rid ourselves of the false cures that abound out there, distracting and sapping our strength, and the modern urge towards Nullification is one of the worst of them.

In the previous post in this series, I was looking into the first of Tom Woods' three summary points in support of his concept of nullification, interestingly, as you'll see, they are all variations on the theme of a state's unbreached sovereignty... which... was also one of the driving issues behind the creation and ratification of the Constitution, 226 years ago - Happy Birthday Constitution! - more on that in a few inches.

As with most of the modern day nullifiers, Woods asserts that our Constitution constituted what amounts to a confederacy of independent, wholly sovereign states, each populated with their own people, rather than a Union, and that while the Constitution affords these sovereign states the opportunity to share the burden in issues of defense & such, it can be opted out of whenever that alien-entity-which-states-have-no-responsibility-for:The-Federal-Govt, should intrude beyond what any state should decide is kosher. In the last post I pointed out how the first three words of the Constitution, 'We The People', effectively refutes this first assertion, as clearly today as it did 226 years ago (Happy Birthday Constitution!), and you are of course welcome to chime in on that aspect of the issue there.

Oddly enough though, most of the people who disagree with me on this, haven't felt up to stating their case, or challenging mine... but, as it appears they don't really have one, perhaps that's to be expected.

Better luck this time.

Woods' next summary point is that:
  • "2) In the American system no government is sovereign. The peoples of the states are the sovereigns. It is they who apportion powers between themselves, their state governments, and the federal government. In doing so they are not impairing their sovereignty in any way. To the contrary, they are exercising it."
The quick answer is: Yes to the first sentence, No to the second, and No to the implications of the third. Yes to the last two... but only after the preceding two have been corrected.

Betcha wish I could leave it at that... not gonna happen ;-)

A Sullied Sovereignty
As you can see, the wonder of sovereignty is appealed to again here, "The peoples of the states are the sovereigns. It is they who apportion powers between themselves, their state governments, and the federal government.", and again it is misrepresented and misapplied, and in more than one sense.

In the American system, 'We The People', note the singular, not plural, People not Peoples, are sovereign, again, singular, not plural, and in ratifying the constitution, in entering into a union of states, and the status, authority and sovereignty which those original thirteen states 'enjoyed' prior to the Constitution being ratified, was radically changed, and changed in part because people went from that of many particular peoples in many states, into one people, which, though retaining their several subdivisions of states, would from then on be one people, We The People.

Be clear on this: the sovereignty of the states as they stood before ratification of the constitution, was indisputably altered, intentionally so, by ratifying the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land. In the previous post I went over the revolutionary nature of those first three words of the Constitution, and the controversy they caused at the time. There are also other clauses as well in the Constitution, where that separate, unalloyed sovereignty, is clearly altered by the text of the Constitution which We The People debated and ratified. It was recognized to be altered by it, and as that alteration was controversial it was debated, and in the end it was ratified all the same, because it was judged to be superior to the state they were in as completely simple, single, solitary, sovereign states.

For those of you who harken to the siren song of unbreached sovereignty, you'd do well to read a letter circulated before the Constitutional Convention, by Madison, "Vices of the Political System of the United States", which makes very clear the dangerous nature of the then sovereign states. No fewer than 11 points,
1. Failure of the States to comply with the Constitutional requisitions
2. Encroachments by the States on the federal authority.
3. Violations of the law of nations and of treaties.
4. Trespasses of the States on the rights of each other.
5. want of concert in matters where common interest requires it.
6. want of guaranty to the States of their Constitutions & laws against internal violence.
7. want of sanction to the laws, and of coercion in the Government of the Confederacy
8. Want of ratification by the people of the articles of Confederation.
9. Multiplicity of laws in the several States.
10. mutability of the laws of the States.
11. Injustice of the laws of States.
Each of which he gives brief examples for, and he even goes on to identify a couple of their causes, which, not surprisingly, aren't very far from the same causes plaguing us today,
"These causes lie 1. in the Representative bodies. 2. in the people themselves."
If you've bought the lines of Woods & Co., that the Founders were singularly attached to the idea of unbreached sovereignty of independent states, and haven't even done so much homework as to look into why it was the Founders left the state of their states, for the state of our states under the Constitution - then look especially to the 2nd cause noted above.

Our Founders lived in states of unbreached sovereignty. They did not find it as appealing as our modern day nullifiers. They didn't however seek to replace that state for a National one, but of a mixture of the two, something wholly new upon the world stage, and it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with it.

One of those means of finding a new ground between confederacy of states and a national state, was one which touches upon #6 above, and it was one of those initial clauses of alarm for those who feared the Constitution was proposing a national government; it wasn't, but these clauses, such as Article IV section 4, needed to be examined and debated (and they were). It says:
"The United States shall guarrantee to every State a Republican form of government."
Take a moment and consider what that statement so clearly portends: it cannot be (honestly) denied that this places the Constitution in a position of authority over the very nature of the states constituted under it. No state could possibly be considered to retain an unalloyed independent sovereignty, when the form of government which that state might have otherwise expected to be able to choose for itself, has been so explicitly withheld and restricted to them, by another body. That is a radical alteration to the nature of sovereignty retained by any state entering into this union, be they of the original thirteen, or any of the thirty-seven states that have joined into the union, since then. And yes, this too was recognized to be an abridgment of their dear sovereignty, at the time.

Because it was seen by many to be alarming, it, as well as the other clauses, was argued over during ratification. One example of that, from the Massachusetts anti-Federalists:
"William Symmes to Capt. Peter Osgood, Jr.

15 Nov. 1787Storing 4.5.2
"The United States shall guarrantee to every State a Republican form of government."

Republics are either aristocratical or democratical: and the United States guarranty one of these forms to every State. But I disapprove of any guarranty in the matter. For though it is improbable, that any State will choose to alter the form of its government; yet it ought to be the privelege of every State to do as it will in this affair. If this regulation be admitted, it will be difficult to effect any important changes in State government. For the other States will have nearly as much to do with our government as we ourselves. And what Congress may see in our present constitution, or any future amendments, not strictly republican in their opinions, who can tell? Besides it is of no importance to any State how the government of any other State is administered, whether by a single magistrate or two, or by a king.

I therefore presume, that, as this clause meddles too much with the independence of the several States, so also it answers no valuable end to any or to the whole."
Fears such as these, and those expressed by Patrick Henry & others which I noted in the previous post, that the states would lose their accustomed sovereignty by ratifying the Constitution, were real fears, but they were fears which thorough discussion and debate ultimately concluded to be either wrongly perceived, or besides the point. It was gradually discovered that the Constitution did not mean only a National government, any more than it meant carrying forward with some form of an improved confederacy of distinctly sovereign ones - it meant something new and something more than either of those.

What ratifying the Constitution meant, was what it said, that the peoples of the several states were agreeing to unite, and that as We The People, would form a more perfect union, one which enabled them to retain their separate states, though in a manner that was reformed through the Constitution, strengthening the liberty and prosperity, of all.

An Ordered Union
It was unavoidable, and desirable, that some of the individual states traditional sovereign powers would be ceded to the union of states. Powers of war and treaty, such as in Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3, had to be relinquished. Even the power, as in the just noted Article IV section 4, to define themselves in any form other than a republican nature - had to be relinquished. In order to 'form a more perfect union - they did not do so lightly, and they did not do so without cause, and they did not do so without a great volume of debate. But the Constitution was formed so that a federal government would provide a reasonable means (and alternative to conflict and war) for all of the states to create, adhere, challenge and have recourse to, a common set of laws that could be trusted to be held supreme in all of the states of the union.

One of the many benefits of doing so, was that it enabled each state to share in the common defense and combined commerce, and Rights under law, and to do so while enjoying the support of their fellow states in securing these powers & rights for their citizenry, rather than having to fear the encroachment of those states (more on that later) upon the same.

While Woods and the nullifiers can't seem to grasp the concept of a Union of individual States, it really shouldn't be that difficult to understand. I went into this at some detail in the previous post, but if it's still hazy you might try looking at the same concept though in an entirely different context, such as that which is the basis for "Roberts Rules of Order". Seriously.

Anyone who has ever been part of a body of people which needed to organize themselves for effective discussion and action, has probably used this classic on enabling a body of people to do just that - as did the Framers in framing the Constitution - and as such you should already be familiar with it. If you read any narrative of the Federal Convention, you constantly read of how the convention " resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole", or into smaller Committees of Style, etc. Both the parts, and the whole, come from the union of all of the people involved, who then organize themselves as convenience and efficiency demand. It is possible, and common for many peoples to come together to form a single people, and then, without losing that singular nature, still resolve themselves into numerous distinct bodies, which interact, or return to one whole, as the needs of their purpose demands. It is almost commonplace to do so.

What was uncommon, was that our Founders realized that that same concept could be applied, not just to organizing a meeting, but to the organization of an entire nation, and they did just that,
"...in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity...".
Is that really that hard to grasp?

Unhand We...
It is an indisputable fact that prior to ratification, the thirteen original states were independent sovereign states, who had confederated under the Articles of Confederation, to associate with the other states. It is also an indisputable fact, that that confederacy, and the unalloyed sovereignty which made it so dangerously ineffective, was ultimately acknowledged to have failed - hence the Constitution being written and submitted for ratification to We The People.

When Woods speaks of "It is they who apportion powers ", he implies that his imagined several sovereigns have a direct hand in government, but both Madison and Hamilton noted that the distinctive feature of the Constitution, the feature that set it apart from all other ideas of governance in history, was the fact that neither "The People", nor the states, had any direct hand in the Constitution's govt, apportioning power or otherwise. From The Federalist Papers, papers written, it must be remembered, as a means of explaining, promoting and selling the Constitution to We The People during the ratification debates, Federalist #63:
"From these facts, to which many others might be added, it is clear that the principle of representation was neither unknown to the ancients nor wholly overlooked in their political constitutions. The true distinction between these and the American governments, lies IN THE TOTAL EXCLUSION OF THE PEOPLE, IN THEIR COLLECTIVE CAPACITY, from any share in the LATTER, and not in the TOTAL EXCLUSION OF THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE from the administration of the FORMER. The distinction, however, thus qualified, must be admitted to leave a most advantageous superiority in favor of the United States...."
A central design feature of our Constitution, is that the Sovereign, what in Britain would be the King, and in America was to be We The People, were removed from active involvement in the machinery of power, for the same reason it was thought best to remove a king, as much as possible, from the hands on exercise of power - the lure to use it for your own satisfaction is too tempting. In our constitutional representative republican form of government, the actual sovereign doesn't exercise power, is instead to elect responsible, capable members to govern in their stead, because delegation and representation introduce a degree of separation from power, a buffer against impulse, so that cooler and more (hopefully) reasoned hands would be responsible for the exercise of governmental power, and who would themselves be answerable to a higher authority.

Not to the states, not to the peoples, but to the Sovereign, We The People.

Years later, in Madison's "Notes on Nullification", where he hotly opposed the entire notion of the then new twist on Nullification by the likes of John C. Calhoun, he pointed out a key flaw in the assumptions about Sovereignty which nullification rests upon:
"The main pillar of nullification is the assumption that sovereignty is a unit, at once indivisible and unalienable; that the states therefore individually retain it entire as they originally held it, and, consequently that no portion of it can belong to the U.S ...."
This is an extremely important point, and applies to all of the points made by Woods & Co; they behave as if the states are in exactly the same state, in relation to We The People, as they were before the Constitution. That is simply not the case. Prior to We The People, when a legislator of one state or the other referred to 'The People', they were of course referring to only the people of their state, but after ratification, by means of the ratification of We The People, it referred to all of the people of the nation, whole, and within which, the States resided.

Madison's point continued:
"...But is not the Constn. itself necessarily the offspring of a sovn authy? What but the highest pol: authy. a sovereign authy, could make such a Constn.? a constn. wch. makes a Govt.; a Govt. which makes laws; laws which operate like the laws of all other govts.by a penal & physical force, on the individuals subject to the laws; and finally laws declared to be the Supreme law of the land; anything in the Constn or laws of the individual State notwithstanding.

And where does the sovy. which makes such a Constn reside. It resides not in a single state but in the people of each of the several states, uniting with those of the others in the express & solemn compact which forms the Constn To the extent of that compact or Constitution therefore, the people of the several States must be a sovereign as they are a united people.

In like manner, the constns. of the States, made by the people as separated into States, were made by a sovereign authy by a sovereignty residing in each of the States, to the extent of the objects embraced by their respective constitutions. And if the states be thus sovereign, though shorn of so many of the essential attributes of sovereignty, the U. States by virtue of the sovereign attributes with wch they are endowed, may, to that extent, be sovereign, tho’ destitute of the attributes of which the States are not shorn.

Such is the political system of the U. S. de jure & de facto; and however it may be obscured by the ingenuity and technicalities of controversial commentators, its true character will be sustained by an appeal to the law and the testimony of the fundamental charter."
There is an unsettling implication of this nature of sovereignty in America, which Madison points out, and that is that it is not possible to blame the government, without first looking directly and deeply into the mirror at yourself. I've been coming to the opinion lately that this, more than anything else, illustrates why Nullification has gained such popularity in recent years, it enables us to blame someone else, whether the Federal Govt, or one political party or another, while giving ourselves a pass. But the truth is, that under our form of government, if you, a member of the true sovereign power, are unhappy with the direction of our government, to the extent that you have not yourself done your utmost to awaken, inform and move the opinions of your fellow Americans, then that is a measure of your own responsibility, or guilt, for the state of our union.

The attempt to make something, of nothing
Woods and his supporters, annoyed that an older and wiser James Madison attacked Calhoun's brand of Nullification as stingingly as he did, they attack Madison himself for being older and wiser, casting aspersions upon his age and some such supposed motivations they suspected him to have acquired in the 1830's, as opposed to his 'more legitimate' (in their eyes) opinions as expressed in the 'Kentucky Resolutions' as proposed in 1798. Here's an example:
"Madison’s later protests are feeble and incoherent. As Gutzman put it, “One of Madison’s most notable ‘tactical adjustments was his campaign, as a retired former president, to becloud the events of 1798 by denying they had meant what they plainly had meant.”"
What Woods & Co. do not do, that I have seen, is attempt to find fault with either Madison's logic in opposing the later interpretation of nullification or sovereignty - that of 1830, as opposed to 1798 - or his assessment of the nature of sovereignty, instead they attack his age and up hidden motivations he may have had in the 1830's, as opposed to 1798. But simply calling his later protests 'incoherent', without showing why, without pointing to or demonstrating the flaw in his argument, is nothing but an ad hominem, a logical fallacy, and is itself, incoherent.

Aside from the obvious motivations Madison surely did have, such as wishing to defend the Constitution which he and his fellow framers put such effort into creating and ratifying, the fact is that he does not, in 1830, contradict his positions of 1798... or of 1781 for that matter. Madison never supported the idea of a state countering or obstructing the laws of the union of states under the Constitution. He and Jefferson did feel that there needed to be action taken by the states in order to push back against the federal govt, yes, and so the Kentucky Resolutions were proposed, in hopes of stirring up matching sentiment in their sister states so that like-minded congressional action would follow from Congress!

Take a look at those words: The Kentucky Resolutions were proposed, there is a vital sense, and especially vital to Woods' reading of them, that is not contained in either of those words - Action. No nullifying actions , in the modern sense, meaning state laws passed to directly obstruct and confront federal laws, were taken against the Alien & Sedition laws!

What is even more interesting is that Woods never seems to consider the possibility that the nullification movement of the 1830's might just possibly have been the period which had actually lost the thread of understanding which the earlier period had a better grasp of, the modern nullifiers never seem to consider that it is their later interpretation which has been corrupted away from, the movement of 1798, which Jefferson & Madison led! For Woods & Co., it is simply 'self evident' that what they wish (need?) Jefferson & Madison  to have meant by Nullification, is better expressed by the later pro-slavers, such as Calhoun, of the 1830's, than by Jefferson & Madison themselves, in 1798. But this view can only be made by equivocating between what Madison and Jefferson clearly understood nullification to be, and which they spelled out quite clearly in the resolutions themselves, as having the same meaning and intent as what Woods & Co. cast it as today, which is deceptive at best.

Madison clearly meant what the Kentucky Resolutions said, to 'Protest the Federal Overreach'. What he & Jefferson had hoped to accomplish through the resolutions, was to stir up grassroots opinion throughout their sister states, in hopes that those states representatives would refrain from aiding in the execution of the objectionable federal laws, and to stir up, from the bottom up, a public outcry that would insist upon their representatives in congress effecting change, constitutionally, in congress, to repeal or replace those onerous federal laws.

Unlike the modern form being promoted by Woods & others, the Kentucky Resolutions did not mean, in any way shape or form, to obstruct or to pit state law against federal law. See how the harsher of the two pens, Jefferson's, made it abundantly clear that its purpose was only to protest them,
"... it would consider a silent acquiesecence as highly criminal: That although this commonwealth as a party to the federal compact; will bow to the laws of the Union, yet it does at the same time declare, that it will not now, nor ever hereafter, cease to oppose in a constitutional manner, every attempt from what quarter soever offered, to violate that compact:

AND FINALLY, in order that no pretexts or arguments may be drawn from a supposed acquiescence on the part of this commonwealth in the constitutionality of those laws, and be thereby used as precedents for similar future violations of federal compact; this commonwealth does now enter against them, its SOLEMN PROTEST."
[emphasis mine]
Wood's entire rebuttal to this, that I've seen (and while I've read several of his essays, I've not yet finished his book), is saying "What, do you think, that they went through all of that, JUST FOR A NON-BINDING RESOLUTION?!!!", and the answer to that silly question, found entirely in what they did say, and what they did not say, In Their Resolutions, is Yes, Tom, that is exactly what they did mean and intend, and had they intended something more by them, these two, Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, and James Madison, Father of the Constitution, revolutionaries, masters of language, philosophy & politics that they were... do you actually think that they settled for a non-binding resolution when they secretly thought it was right to do more? How can you possibly believe that if they had believed more was required of them, that it was right to do more, or that if they had intended more, that they would not have said and stated so?

Do you really think that these two, that they would not have moved political mountains in order to do more, if they truly felt it was their duty to do so? Do you really think that if they thought it was right, proper and wise for individual states to counter, obstruct, and oppose the union... you really think that would not have done just that? Seriously?

Yes, they were alarmed, they were frustrated, and they deeply desired that the rest of We The People saw things as they did... but the fact was, they did not see things as they did, and Jefferson & Madison realized that fact was far more than an error to be brushed aside and nullified, they realized that that judgment, in error though it may have been, was the very basis of representative government, and it was only properly battled through persuasion - first by the Kentucky & Virginia Resolutions, and after those failed, by a political campaign which brought about the Jeffersonian Revolution (why do you suppose Washington, Jefferson & Lincoln... and that other guy... are on Mt. Rushmore?).

To be blunt, what it comes down to, is that Woods & Co. rely upon your ignorance of the Kentucky & Virginia Resolutions, in order to transform Jefferson & Madison's intentions, into legitimizing support for their own purposes. Read the resolutions and read Jefferson's own thoughts on the matter, and judge for yourself.

Signs from the times
What the nullifiers also rarely mention, is that that initial attempt at nullification (which was a resolution of two states, not a single one... a small point, but worth noting nonetheless, as 'single state nullification' is what is commonly being urged today), was itself nullified by the vocal opposition of their sister states who reminded them that a law had been constitutionally passed by the union, and that they felt that no individual state had any business opposing what had already been decided and voted upon by all of the states.

Jefferson & Madison's proposals were roundly condemned by their fellow 'sovereign' states, The Virginia & Kentucky resolutions being held up as successful examples of nullification, were not seen as being all that noble or successful by the other supposedly sovereign states of the union. The other states' responses were not too sympathetic at the thought of one or two 'sovereigns' attempting to impose their judgment over the issue decided by all of the other 'sovereign' states together, such as this from Massachusetts:
"That the people in that solemn compact, which is declared to be the supreme law of the land, have not constituted the state legislatures the judges of the acts or measures of the Federal Government, but have confided to them the power of proposing such amendments of the Constitution, as shall appear to them necessary to the interests, or conformable to the wishes of the people whom they represent."
One synopsis points out:
"The state responses to the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions disappointed the Republicans. For example, Delaware considered the Resolves an "unjustifiable interference with the General Government." Rhode Island declared the Alien and Sedition Acts to be constitutional insofar as they promoted the general welfare of the United States. Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire asserted that the Supreme Court was the ultimate authority for deciding the constitutionality of acts of Congress. Massachusetts proclaimed that liberty of the press was not interfered with, because true freedom of the press forbade only prior restraints. To their chagrin, Madison and Jefferson received not one favorable answer from the seven states that responded. The legislatures of the Republican-dominated southern states did not answer at all. According to Jefferson scholar Dumas Malone, the replies from the North and lack of responses from the South were not accurate gauges of public opinion. In any event, Kentucky reaffirmed its resolution, and Madison delivered his report of 1800, which considered the responses of the states at length and remains one of the clearest expositions of the Constitution."
Jefferson & Madison's Resolutions, however well intended, were not very well received. George Washington was so furious over them, that in a letter to Patrick Henry, he described their efforts as:
"... systematically and pertinaciously pursued, which must eventually dissolve the Union or produce coercion..."
I'm of course not supporting the Alien & Sedition Acts, but I am pointing out that while the 'nullification' which was directed towards the law, a law which was debated, passed and signed into law, had a total of only two states supporting it, Kentucky & Virginia, which were roundly condemned by their sister states for having done so. After participating in lawful debate, these two states were seen as attempting to impose a legislative do-over, after the legislative process they participated in didn't turn out as they wished.

Whether or not Jefferson & Madison intended it that way, the takeaway is that they were perceived as attempting to act outside of the law (I don't think their actions were, but that's not the point here), and that was understood to be the greatest of threats to all of the states and to the Sovereign.

The Resolutions were not only not a great success, they weren't a success at all, at least not if successfully nullifying a federal law was what success is meant to mean. In Virginia itself, James Thomson Callender was tried, convicted, sentenced and fined under the Alien & Sedition acts which the nullifies claim that Jefferson & Madison nullified.

Hellooo... clue!

With the lack of support, and outright condemnation of the resolutions by their sister states, Jefferson & Madison dropped the idea of particular states attempting to rouse their fellow states into re-acting against the legislation of the union of states, and instead re-directed their actions towards the opinions of We The People. That particular approach was a much greater success, as the Alien & Sedition acts provided fuel for the next national election, which Jefferson won, providing him the opportunity to advance beyond fragmented protest, an onto a unified assault with a legislative meat-axe upon what he saw as Federalist Courts, see the Repeal Act, and The Judiciary Act of 1802, and that is a precedent which, IMHO, I'd like to see a whole lot more of (and which we may have just seen an echo of in Colorado)!

Again, I have no problem whatsoever with States making clear their protest of federal laws which they view as unconstitutional, as long as they are made in a constitutional manner. Examples of that can be found in several states recent measures that legalize marijuana, and withdraw state support for federal bans, or the California County Sheriff, John D’Agostini, who stripped agents of the U.S. Forest Service of their law-enforcement powers in his county. State agencies make up a significant portion of the Federal Govt's ability to act, and if those state agencies abstain from participating in objectionable federal programs, that is a protest which cannot help but have real results, and which would draw serious attention to, and be a legitimate and lawful exercise of state powers, in order to counter perceived federal overreach, without pitting the State's powers, against the Federal Govt's powers.

But that is not what the modern nullifiers have in mind when they promote 'Nullification', they, as in Missouri's bill (vetoed, and thankfully sustained (though that 'success' is nearly as disturbing as if it had been overridden - more later)), that would have had local police and federal agents pulling guns on each other to defend 'their' law, as if it were nothing more than a turf war between rival gangs.

Yes, bad laws must be dealt with, but we they must be dealt with lawfully, or the law itself is lost. We'd do well to learn from our history, as Madison did, and leave the attempt to pit power against power outside the structure of law, far, far, behind us.

And with that, I'll call 'Strike two!' against the nullifiers 2nd summary point (care to dispute my call? Comments are open), and if I want this post out on Constitution Day, I'm afraid the third point, and strike, will have to wait till the next post.


freespeak said...

Thanks for putting this in my face for me to see. It is certainly worth the attention, though I am still reading :/
It is not so much the length, as the absorption rate!
This proves that, what sounds good, is not always correct, and emotions do not make it so!

Van Harvey said...

Freespeak said "This proves that, what sounds good, is not always correct, and emotions do not make it so!"

Yep. I entirely understand and sympathize with the nullifiers desire to strike back, but to strike back by cutting off your feet... not so productive in the long run.

freespeak said...

So, does this mean the new anti-Fed gun legislation here in MO they are trying to "activate" is a bad idea?
It makes a lot of sense to me, but it will not work?

Van Harvey said...

Freespeak said "So, does this mean the new anti-Fed gun legislation here in MO they are trying to "activate" is a bad idea?"

Well if you mean this one that went down last year, then yes it does. That particular bill was actually mostly tolerable, as I went into a little in the preceding post here, its problems could have been easily corrected... up until the part where it declared that:

"6. Any official, agent, or employee of the United States government who enforces or attempts to enforce any of the infringements on the right to keep and bear arms included in subsection 3 of this section is guilty of a class A misdemeanor."

, which is little better than declaring civil war by proxy. We cannot defend the 2nd Amendment by undermining the Law it is a part of.

Nullification, in the sense that Jefferson & Madison understood it, state resolutions that proclaim federal overreach as being just that, and refusing any state aid or cooperation in enforcing it, I'm with all the way. But 'nullification' in the Calhoun and modern sense, of pitting law against law, will be, at the very best, ineffective, and at the very likely worst, disastrous to the rule of law itself.

Pitting law against law is not going to get us anywhere. But that doesn't mean we have to sit and take it.

Proposing and ratifying an amendment to the constitution with a 'States Repeal' amendment (Lloyd Sloan has a version of this he calls "Madison's Lost Amendment", I can't find the link at the moment, but it is far and away better than the other versions, including Mark Levin's, that I've seen to date), giving lawful representation back to the states, giving a representative majority of states the power to repeal particular federal laws, would, in my opinion, resolve not only these alarming examples of federal overreach we see on all fronts today, but go a great way towards remedying what the 17th Amdt destroyed, the States seat of power in our federal system.

As soon as I can return to finishing these posts, and going into the best Constitutional options, I will.

Van Harvey said...

I found the link to a summary of "Madison's Lost Amendment", Lloyd Sloan's SRA amendment.

Wish he'd get that book finished!

freespeak said...

So, like myself so far, you are supportive of http://www.westernfreepress.com/2013/07/11/mark-levin-constitution-article-v-and-the-liberty-amendments/

freespeak said...

I do believe that bill has been reworded...I will look it up. Sometimes these things are not updated fast enough when searching for updates. I cannot learn the Constitution fast enough (!).

Van Harvey said...

Well... not quite. I'm very pleased that he's got the conversation started, but I was disappointed with the quality of the amendments he offered, and baffled why some of them were even suggested.

Also, although I don't buy into some of the, I can only describe as hysteria, I've seen over an Article V convention, I'd still much prefer to have an SRA Amendment (perhaps others too, but I'll need some more convincing) proposed in congress (which if there's enough uproar, I think they'd do, rather than risk an Article V) and then ratified the way they have been in the past.

But in any case, I do think a select few amendments are the way to go. And some repeals. 16th for sure. I'd love to see the 17th repealed, that more than any other political action began our current mess, but I don't think repealing it would be able to put things back in order.

freespeak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
freespeak said...

I am with you on the 17th!!!!
We'd...maybe not even have Obama to deal with at all! Certainly not Reid!

Good day!