Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Strike Three! You're out nullified! Setting Tyranny Free part 6

Looking at the news today, there are a lot of things that need to be covered... but none of it from the news today. Why take the time? Liars & fools doing what liars & fools do: trying to fool all of the people all of the time.

I should waste time my time and yours with that?

Nah. Better to help some of the people to recognize how too many of the people are subverting what all of the people rely upon to live their own lives all of the time.

What we need to better understand in order to actually advance the cause of liberty, is how our best laid plans too often unwittingly aid in "Setting Tyranny Free", as with the first two posts (here and here) looking at John Locke's undiscovered error, and a too relevant case in point is where I left off with on the last post, examining the popular libertarian cure-all that, as it's proposed today, which is far worse than the disease itself,and cannot fail to quicken it: Nullification.

I've gone through modern nullification, beginning here, and replied to the first two of three summary points by its leading modern proponent, Thomas E. Woods, here and here, and I'll deal with the last point, today.

As I mentioned in the last post, Woods' three summary points are essentially the same single point, put three different ways - that there is no singular 'We The People', and that instead we have 'We The States', each of which have their own peoples, which have no binding relation to, or responsibility for, the nation which our Constitution constituted, 226 years ago. Since I've already answered that twice already, I'll keep this post brief (well, for me), so we can move on to a more fundamental problem and then solutions - and yes, there are solutions.

Here is how Woods puts it in his third summary point:
  • "3) Since the peoples of the states are the sovereigns, then when the federal government exercises a power of dubious constitutionality on a matter of great importance, it is they themselves who are the proper disputants, as they review whether their agent was intended to hold such a power. No other arrangement makes sense."[emphasis mine]
Actually, lots of other things make sense.

For We The People to have formed a more perfect union, for the purposes of then having individual states singly ignoring, disputing or thwarting any decision (law) made and passed by the whole of that union, because their particular state disagreed with it... that would truly make no sense whatsoever.

But such a claim makes even less sense, when you consider that the Constitution was originally entered into by the original thirteen colonies in order to replace the Articles of Confederation, which actually did refer to the states as fully sovereign and independent powers, capable of thwarting the intentions and laws proposed by all of the rest of the states together. A large part of why they wanted to replace the original Articles of Confederation, was because they enabled each state to behave as an independent, fully sovereign power, thereby preventing any coherent and unified laws being passed between the several states.

And more to the point: their unilateral confederacy did not work!

And since we are not a confederacy of independent states stitched together by a unilateral contract, and since the 'PeopleS' of 'We The States', are not entities which exist under our Constitution, then they obviously cannot be 'the proper disputants' for reviewing 'their agent', and to claim it, makes no sense at all. And BTW, to the obnoxiously repeated 'What, do you really think the states would have signed onto an agreement that limited their sovereignty?', yes, you patronizing putz, I do. The Constitution was clearly, deliberately, and openly designed to delimit the sovereignty of the states within its framework, and far from that being a latter day interpretation on the part of James Madison & everyone else since 1830, that intention was stated right out in the open by he, Hamilton, Jay and the rest in the Federalist Papers and elsewhere while selling the constitution during the process of ratification, as this in Federalist #62 demonstrates:
"In this spirit it may be remarked, that the equal vote allowed to each State is at once a constitutional recognition of the portion of sovereignty remaining in the individual States, and an instrument for preserving that residuary sovereignty. So far the equality ought to be no less acceptable to the large than to the small States; since they are not less solicitous to guard, by every possible expedient, against an improper consolidation of the States into one simple republic."
Language such as 'the portion of sovereignty remaining' and 'residual sovereignty', are not the stealthy sort of language best used to trick the people of the several states into thinking that their states will remain fully sovereign and independent states! The states do retain sovereignty, but only as much as can be retained within the larger government our Constitution defines.

Else, why bother with abandoning the Articles of Confederation? It wasn't just to have change for change' sake, but for a purpose.

The old Articles were replaced because the one dimensional idea of state sovereignty had proved to be a failure, which was why the constitutional convention was called, which was why the Constitution was submitted to We The People instead of We The States, and all of which was debated before the proposed constitution was ratified, and ratified for that purpose, because the idea of single states nullifying the actions of all of the states, was not only found to be not working, it was eventually understood to be downright wrong.

Hamilton in Federalist #22, in speaking against the Articles where each state really was sovereign and able to nullify the laws of the whole, touches upon that principle of separate sovereignty which nullifiers are blindly urging us towards, at our peril, today,
""But this is not all: what at first sight may seem a remedy, is, in reality, a poison. To give a minority a negative upon the majority (which is always the case where more than a majority is requisite to a decision), is, in its tendency, to subject the sense of the greater number to that of the lesser. Congress, from the nonattendance of a few States, have been frequently in the situation of a Polish diet, where a single VOTE has been sufficient to put a stop to all their movements."
The Founders, the Framers, the Ratifiers, were concerned that such solitary actions continued over time, would obstruct the creation of a uniform set of laws which were understood more and more to be indispensable to upholding the Individual Rights of all Americans.

What they sought, the reason for appealing to We The People, rather than 'We The States', was a union established under the authority of all of the people, so that no subset of them needed to fear the unlawful acts of another; their understanding of history, ancient and recent, taught them that their continued liberty required them to ordain and establish a single unified constitution with which to structure our laws around and under, but through the Constitution they devised a method which was neither confederate, nor national, an important point which nullifiers have the greatest difficulty in grasping: our system is neither entirely federal, nor national, but something new, something different - a blending of the two.

Granted, it's not the easiest system to explain, though Madison gave it a shot here in Federalist #39
"...The mode provided by the plan of the convention is not founded on either of these principles. In requiring more than a majority, and principles. In requiring more than a majority, and particularly in computing the proportion by STATES, not by CITIZENS, it departs from the NATIONAL and advances towards the FEDERAL character; in rendering the concurrence of less than the whole number of States sufficient, it loses again the FEDERAL and partakes of the NATIONAL character.

The proposed Constitution, therefore, is, in strictness, neither a national nor a federal Constitution, but a composition of both. In its foundation it is federal, not national; in the sources from which the ordinary powers of the government are drawn, it is partly federal and partly national; in the operation of these powers, it is national, not federal; in the extent of them, again, it is federal, not national; and, finally, in the authoritative mode of introducing amendments, it is neither wholly federal nor wholly national."
As I pointed out in the last post, the first three words of the Constitution, We The People, as opposed to 'We The States, was the very first issue dealt with, and resolved, during the ratification debates. For some reason nullifiers refuse to see the United States as a union, maybe because that view enables them to see "a rogue federal government" as a discrete foreign unit which they can then claim to have no part in, and no responsibility for; or perhaps in their minds it frees them from feeling any responsibility to their sister states, as was the case that earlier semi-functional and loosely interlocking compact.

Personally I'm not nearly so forgiving of my fellow Americans, nor so willing to push the blame on others, as Nullifiers are want to do.

But pursuing such fantasies and easy excuses will not get us any closer to making any real progress towards re-establishing a nation of Laws, and not the unbridled powers of men. What does it mean if you are willing to see "a rogue federal government", but are equally willing to assert that the laws don't have to be followed by those states who don't want to? Does a state require no other authority than its own, to declare a law that has been otherwise constitutionally passed by the congressional representatives of a majority of the states... to be unconstitutional? Under what authority, mutually recognized by your fellow states, can you claim the power to invalidate a law made by the majority of your fellow states and signed into law by a president who has been elected by an electoral majority of the entire nation?

There can be no 'authority' to do that, such a thing is an exhibition of power, and nothing more. Does it even get any more 'rogue' than that?

If we are truly seeking after solutions, it is that charter which We The People brought into being, as well as the understanding which it developed from, which needs to be consulted, and followed, in addressing the questionability of laws passed in its name, not the petulant objections of those who failed to make their case during those legislative sessions in which all of the people of all of the states were represented, or by elevating pure power over the Law, even bad law.

That's three strikes, nullifiers, you're out... unless you want to get a jump on things and question my call?

But that's highly unlikely, because what I've found in debating nullifiers, is that real understanding and real solutions are not what they are after. I say that, because each time I provide not just an answer to their assertions and objections, but the reasoning for them, and instead of refuting them or responding with a better argument, they simply brush them aside and retort with something such as this:
  • "Sometimes I wonder if guys like you really understand just how bad things are."
  • "I'd like to know if you plan on handing over your guns if the Senate ratifies the anti-gun U.N. treaty?"
  • "If single state nullification is bad, what if 30 states nullified a law?"
  • "What if the federal govt passed a law saying your child was a slave?!"
  • "What is your limit?! What will it take for you to fight bact?!"
  • "If you lived in the 1700s, would you have sided with Sam Adams and Company or with King George?"
In other words, what they are after is not an answer or a solution, but an excuse. They are frustrated with the undeniably unconstitutional laws being passed by our federal government - and with good reason, as am I - they are deeply concerned by the steadily increasing erosion of our Rights - and with good reason, as am I - but rather than working with and building upon the ideas our constitution was constituted upon, what the nullifiers are really after, is a plausible rationalization for retaliating with their own misuse of power, exerted against those many federal laws which are indeed anti-constitutional in spirit and in fact.

I can hardly blame them.

But no single state can choose to disregard the laws which govern it, delimit and restrain its power, without becoming an outlaw and putting their own people in even deeper thrall to unrestrained power. And being joined by 20 or thirty others doesn't change that one whit. No progress will be found through trumped up sovereignities and manufactured peoples, only disunion, even weaker laws and more emboldened and unrestrained abuses of power can follow, and all of our rights and all of our liberties will be sucked down into that whirlpool together - a union, after all.

We have many problems, but only one supreme law of the land, and we require a unified constitutional solution to resolve them, not fragmented rebellions which set out to nullify us all.

If we truly want a solution to our problems, we've got to confront the nature of our problems, which means going to the nature of what Law is, and the Declaration of Independence's charges of 'Pretended Legislation', provides the most fruitful path towards just such an actual solution. I'll turn to that in the next post.


freespeak said...

"Since the peoples of the states are the sovereigns"
I have been understanding this more and more...

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