This piece by Columbia Tribune Titled Nullification a Right Wing Strategy, shows the level of illiteracy and indifference people have regarding the Constitution in specific, or just issues of liberty, in general. In an article that apparently is attempting to make fun of Missouri’s latest attempt to check the unbridled expansion of the federal leviathan, the Columbia Tribune shows their statist colors. Throughout the article, columnist Henry J. Waters III spews misunderstandings, fallacies and silly stereotypical cartoon images of the ongoing battle to restore the Republic. We here at the Tenth Amendment Center would be remiss to let the article stand without setting the record straight!
First of all, he starts out identifying nullification as a “right-wing” strategy.
“This whole idea of nullification typifies the current state of myopia gripping many conservative politicians. It is a civilized version of tactics used by people holed up in remote cabins with guns ready to defend themselves against any interloper.”
The fact is, that in recent years the most consistent and successful nullifiers are on the left. Medical Marijuana and Hemp legalization are by far the most frequent nullifications to date. Real ID is another frequent nullification, all of these where started in opposition to primarily Republican policies. Firearms Freedoms Acts and Obamacare nullifications are fairly new by comparison.
The article also attempts to set up nullification as the “anti-thesis” of small government..
“The American Legislative Exchange Council and other right-wing groups say they want free markets and limited government. However, many of their initiatives, including nullification, are the antithesis of that doctrine. They want a big state government able to deny federal initiatives. It all depends on which government and which laws are at stake.”
What he fails to recognize (or most likely.. recognizes, but refuses to acknowledge) is that by splitting sovereignty in such a way, government is forced to keep itself small. What it does is set up a competition among governments for power. Each state competes with the Federal government to keep, under their auspices, their own power, and to protect their respective citizens from the over-reach of an unrestrained general government. The Federal government, in return, competes to try to maintain it’s own authority. In addition state governments compete among one another to maintain their citizens (by offering better services/lower taxes/more freedom). This competition, at one time, had restrained government’s size and scope. Rather than increase the size of both, like beneficial bacteria in a ….. septic system, the State government limits the Federal government, and through competition each other and vice-versa… and with consistent action, it could again! Such a system is called ‘federation,’ (and it shouldn’t have to be explained to a ‘professional’ journalist).
This ‘professional’ journalist then quotes a State Rep., to ask the silly question that removes all doubt as to whether or not he is qualified to report on Constitutional issues such as these (he’s not)…
“Rep. Chris Kelly, who often finds himself trying to make sense on such issues, said Monday: “Where can you show me in law where a state can arrest or interfere with a federal officer in the business of enforcing a federal statute?”
I say he is unqualified because – to ask this question (or to report it, as if inviting an answer from readers) is to completely misunderstand the issue at hand. The state governments have ‘general’ governmental authority. This means that the states have the powers (subject to limitations within their own constitutions, and the few limitations placed upon them within the Federal Constitution) to do whatever they need to do as a government, to address the issues facing them. If those issues are an out-of-control federal Congress, then they have the authority to nullify Federal laws. It’s the Federal government that must justify its actions by finding an enumerated power within the US Constitution. To misunderstand this, is to misunderstand the very origin of power within a federated Republic!
Next, he drifts into other issues that do not specifically have to do with nullification, but they expose his inner statist for all to see.
“The freedom to carry is here to stay, but why should guns be concealed? If deterrence is the goal, it would be more effective to carry in plain view. Somehow we regard overt packing as a return to the Wild West, but I can argue it is more dangerous for people to hide tiny guns out of sight with no conceivable purpose other than to shoot or threaten another person.”
Of course I show my outer Libertarian when I answer this question, but what better deterrence to crime could there be than the knowledge that every individual may be armed, and that any attempted crime could be met with deadly force in the pursuance of self-defense!? To require that all weapons be exposed would make the victims obvious targets, would it not? Silly statist…
More of his big-government ideology on display:
“I drift slightly off course, but not far. The purpose here is to assert the foolishness of state lawmakers who try to nullify federal law and their larger philosophy that small government and the vague concept of “freedom” are specific virtues in themselves. Of course, laws at every level should be limited and freedom maximized, but every law is an infringement deemed necessary for reasons we all debate and codify.”
Rather than refute this one, I will simply state for the record that more freedom is always better. Freedom is a virtue in-and-of itself, and codifying tyranny – by convincing a majority to vote for it – does not make it a virtue. Slavery is always wrong (even if the slaves are well-fed and/or complicit in their own subjugation)!