An open letter to statists everywhere

Editor’s note: The following letter was originally posted on ‘The Freeman’ website.  ‘The Freeman’ is a publication of the Foundation for Economic Education. Lawrence W. Reed serves as the president of FEE.

Dear Statist Friends:

I know, I know. You’re already objecting to my letter. You don’t like the label “statist.” You don’t think of yourselves as worshiping government; rather, you think of yourselves as simply wanting to help people, with government being your preferred means to achieve what is usually a very worthy end. “Statist,” you say, is a loaded term—a pejorative that suggests an overweening, irrational kinship with the state.

Well, let’s wait and see how the term stacks up after you’ve read my whole letter and answered its questions. Meantime, if you have any doubt about whether this missive is directed at you, let me clarify to whom I am writing. If you’re among those many people who spend most of their time and energy advocating a litany of proposals for expanded government action, and little or no time recommending offsetting reductions in state power, then this letter has indeed found its mark.

You clever guys are always coming up with new schemes for government to do this or that, to address this issue or solve that problem, or fill some need somewhere. You get us limited-government people bogged down in the minutiae of how your proposed programs are likely to work (or not work), and while we’re doing the technical homework you seldom do, you demonize us as heartless number crunchers who don’t care about people.


Arizona NDAA nullification bill passes out of Senate committee

PHOENIX (Feb. 29, 2012) – On the same day the Virginia Senate overwhelmingly passed its version of legislation to nullify federal kidnapping under the NDAA, a similar bill in Arizona also took a step forward, passing out of an important committee.

On Tuesday, Feb. 28, SB1182 passed out of the Committee of the Whole with no debate and no recorded vote.  A Committee of the Whole constitutes the entire senate and generally convenes to consider procedural issues such as proposing amendments or limiting debate, and to allow members to offer reports on legislation. Back on Feb. 16, the bill passed out of  the Arizona Senate’s Border Security, Federalism and States Sovereignty Committee by a 6-1 vote. The next step for the bill –  a final vote in the Senate.

“So far, so good,” Karen Winfield, the assistant to bill sponsor Sen. Sylvia Allen, said after the committee hearing.

The Arizona Liberty Preservation Act declares, “This state and any agency of this state shall not provide material support or participate in any way with the implementation of sections 1021 and 1022 of the national defense authorization act of 2012, Public Law 112‑81, against any citizen of the United States.” The bill also has teeth, making it a misdemeanor for any state agent or employee of a corporation providing service to the state to attempt to enforce the kidnapping provisions in sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA.


Virginia NDAA Nullification: Not to the Finish Line Just Yet

Delegate Bob Marshall said today that he is “deeply gratified” that the Virginia State Senate has passed his bill to protect Virginians from having to participate in the unconstitutional detention of United States citizens by federal authorities.

“I am hopeful that Governor McDonnell will sign this bill,” Marshall (R.,Manassas), and that this law will provide an important protection for Virginians against improper federal action.  Moreover, it is my hope that other states will follow Virginiains responding to Washington,D.C.’s latest overreach, and that Congress will re-think this unconstitutional action.”

The Senate passed Delegate Bob Marshall’s HB 1160 to bar Virginia from assisting the federal government in the unlawful detention of United States citizens under an obscure provision of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress.

The Senate approved Marshall’s bill today by a 38-1 roll call vote.  It now must be returned to the Virginia House of Delegates for its approval of the clarifying Senate amendment, which vote probably will come tomorrow or Thursday.  The House passed the original bill on Feb. 4 by an overwhelming 96-4 roll call vote.

“This action is a repudiation of the unlawful action of Congress,”Marshall said after the Senate vote.  “The Constitution is to be followed, not abused.  The people of Virginiahave spoken through their elected representatives in the General Assembly in rejecting a federal law purportedly giving the military the power to indefinitely detain American citizens without charges, counsel, or trial.

“I am deeply gratified that today the Virginia State Senate passed my bill HB 1160 by the overwhelming vote of 38-1.  The near-unanimous Senate vote follows passage of HB 1160 in the House of Delegates by a vote of 96-4.  Almost all Republicans and Democrats joined together in a great bipartisan effort to tell the Federal Government that these are powers that no President should be entrusted with.”

The House vote occurred Feb. 4.  By a 20-20 tie vote, HB 1160 survived a Senate motion yesterday to send it back to its Courts of Justice Committee

“Twenty-four hours after the Virginia State Senate nearly killed my bill, thousands of Virginians learned that our liberties were on the line, and they made their views known.  Groups from the Virginia American Civil Liberties Union to Gun Owners of America, National Association for Gun Rights, Virginia Libertarians,, various Tea Party groups, and Campaign for Liberty, and many others, all publicly endorsed HB 1160.  The bipartisan nature of the vote today shows that Virginians are joining together to defend their liberties.”