cross-posted from the Texas Tenth Amendment Center
In 1648, the Dutch earned their freedom from Spain. The amazing thing is that later this tiny country evolved into a major commercial empire. One reason, the Netherlands had for its time a lot of economic freedoms.
One example, the Dutch respected Freedom of Speech and allowed foreigners to come into their country to print books which were banned across Europe in order to keep them in circulation.
Much of that same spirit survives today with their lax rules on issues like drugs and prostitution. However, their membership with the European Union is restricting their freedoms. The EU and other nations are pressuring the Netherlands not to provide these goods and services to foreign guests visiting their country
We are often told while visiting a foreign nation, we should respect their laws and customs. I will never suggest to an individual while traveling to the Netherlands that they should do drugs or pay a prostitute for his/her services.
However, I do wonder where the United States has the authority to tell me that I can’t partake into these activities while legal there. Does a country have the authority to force their own laws on its citizens when they are not within their borders? The last time I checked, I don’t have a “Made In the USA” tattoo on my body
If not these issues, what about having to pay a tax on income I earned in foreign land? Most nations will tax that income in their own land, so why do I have to pay the IRS as well?
If the Dutch want to continue doing commerce that is banned in various places, should they be able? Should they also allow these types of transactions with foreigners who visit as well? Or should they succumb to the pressure of the EU?
Do the Dutch have the right to leave the European Union if they choose and reclaim their liberty? I hope the Dutch remember their remarkable history breaking off from Spain as well with the printing of banned books.
Most reasoned people would suggest that people have the right to determine their own rule. Like the Dutch leaving Spain, or the American Colonies against Great Britain. Most people would even agree that we also have rights.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a system that recognized that groups want to have their own self rule. Also, recognize that we have rights.
(The writer is tapping his keyboard as he ponders on this thought more)
OH WAIT! Such a system does exist!
If the Dutch wanted to enter some arrangement with its European neighbors for mutual protection and economic trade while respecting their sovereignty, they should have insisted on the U.S. Constitution as a model.
(Note- The U.S. Constitution is roughly 7,200 words long while the Lisbon Treaty which is the binding document for the European Union is 76,000 words long.)
We have similar problems here in the United States.
President Obama feels that he can force everyone regardless of what State they live in to purchase a health care product. If he is allowed to do this, could the President in theory force us to buy… say… a car from GM over Ford?
Presidential Candidate Michelle Bachman claims to be the “Constitution” oriented candidate. However, she has proposed a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage just between a man and a woman.
In theory, she could push for this and it might even pass. However, doesn’t this break from the spirit of the idea that the founders gave us? The idea of the States are sovereign. Her idea would force this onto States that might oppose her position.
How are the actions by both President Obama and Michele Bachman any different what member nations of the European Union are trying to do with the Netherlands?
Why should a Democrat who lives in Illinois try to force the liberal agenda on citizens of Texas through the power of Washington? Why should a Republican from Arizona force a conservative agenda on the citizens of California through the power of Washington?
The simple answer is they can’t. (At least in theory)
Our Founders included something in the Constitution to avoid this scenario. It’s called the Tenth Amendment. It reads:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
This is the cornerstone of our system of government. We have a Federal System. This is why we refer our government as the Federal Government not NATIONAL! This is why we’re called “The United States of America” not “The United Provinces of America.”
The beauty of our system that our Founders laid out is: If you don’t like political landscape of your state, you can always move to another state which is more aligned with your views. The states should compete for you.
A luxury that the Dutch doesn’t have.
And a concept that many in Washington has forgotten.