How does a nation of sovereign people who believe in the fundamental principles of liberty, create a government that will not infringe on the natural rights of the creators of such a government?
Let me take you on a brief history lesson to explain.
This federal system of government we created came on the heels of a revolutionary war with Britain. The framers of the constitution and the founding fathers through tedious debate, took great care to craft a constitution that would guard against the infringement of personal liberty by their government.
According to the Declaration of Independence, men establish governments to secure their pre-existing natural rights. Where there is no government, rights are easily threatened by others, since the coercive power of the state does not function as a deterrent. The purpose of government is, therefore, to create the conditions that allow each individual to freely exercise his rights. At the collective level, this amounts to what the Declaration of Independence calls the “safety and happiness” of the people. Legitimate government must not only secure rights but also arise out of the consent of the governed.
The consent of the governed is the standard by which a government’s legitimacy is judged.
“Governments are instituted among Men…deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Since all men are created equal, no individual or group has an inherent right to rule over anyone else. The only way anyone can have the authority to govern his equals is if they consent to his rule. A government not based on consent would unjustly deprive its citizens of the fundamental right to liberty.
The framers understood this to be the most important task of the government they set forth to create.
In 1787, and for at least 25 years prior thereto, the doctrine of the separation of powers was so fully discussed in colonial newspapers, in pamphlets and in general works on government that the ordinary layman fully understood that the legislative must make, while the judicial interprets and the executive executes the law in all “balanced” republican governments. Everyone understood that the new federal government, constructed by the Constitution, was grounded on republican principles as they knew them. The people were so adamant on that point that a guarantee of perpetual republican government in the states was thought appropriate in the Constitution itself.
It was well understood in 1787 that there were generally three kinds of laws:
Fundamental or constitutional; statute law; and, common law.
The Constitution was a “constitution” because it constituted a new government. The new government could claim no such continuity with any preceding as would make the common law any part of it unless the constitution so provided. It was limited and not general and did not so provide. The legislative power conferred by the Constitution was specifically restricted to those objects described and granted in the Constitution itself. That there should be no doubt about it the words “herein granted” were inserted and the specific powers cataloged in Article I. The Congress was required to look to the Constitution for all of its powers. It could not look to the common law or elsewhere for power.
The doctrine of Nullification was conceived by Jefferson and Madison in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts. Why do you think that is? It was obvious that the congress was NOT looking to the Constitution to see if it had the power to pass this Act.
The Declaration tells us that when this happens, it is the “right of the people to alter, or abolish it.” Jefferson and Madison felt that the state (or the sovereign people of the state) needed a way to alter it, without going to the federal government to do so. After all, the people created the federal government, not the other way around. Why would you ask permission from the institution of which you issued the authority to in the first place.
To make an example, the Governor of Virginia Edmund Randolph, Edmund Pendleton, James Madison, George Nicholas, and John Marshall, sold the ratification of the constitution to Virginia on the basis of it being a limited government. Virginia didn’t want it. The five man team of delegates had to sell it to them. Secession was alluded to in the ratifying conventions of VA, NY, and NH…but let’s focus on just Virginia for this example.
If 13 individuals are about to make a contract and one agrees to it, but at the same time declares that he understands its meaning, signification and intent, to be, what the words of the contract plainly and obviously denote, that it is not to be construed so as to impose any supplementary conditions upon him, and that he is to be exonerated from it, whensoever any such imposition shall be attempted – I ask whether in this case, these conditions on which he assented to it, would not be binding on the other 12? In like manner, these conditions will be binding on Congress. They can exercise no power that is not expressly granted them.
Some would argue that there is no legal basis for secession in a ratifying convention, but that is not here nor there, secession is a pre-existing right, the Constitution doesn’t grant right’s it only protects them.
in a recent article by Jarrett Stepman “SECESSIONISTS AND NULLIFIERS WON’T SUCCEED,” he writes
“To attempt to nullify federal laws and even abandon the union, it must be noted that those actions are unproductive, unconstitutional, have led to the destruction of two national political parties and one bloody civil war.”
Nullification kept free men from being captured by slave owners in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and many other states during the Civil War era, I wouldn’t call that unproductive. Nullification is constitutional as it is not prevented by the Constitution. We can look to the 9th and 10th Amendments to see that this is a right reserved to the people. As far as it leading to the destruction of two national parties and a Civil War…Quite simply, this wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have a tyrant in the office of the president, and the congress looked to the constitution to understand it’s powers instead of usurping them.
So you see, the federal government has very little authority, certainly no authority to tell the sovereign people who created it what kind of light bulbs they can use, or how big their toilet can be, or even to mandate health care. They do not have the authority to create an EPA, FEMA, a Department of Education, National Endowment for the Arts, National Wild Horse and Burro Program, Dept of Energy, FDIC, Administration on Aging, Family and Youth Services Bureau, and literally hundreds of other programs. This is why Nullification is not only needed, but long overdue. This is why people are discussing succession. The people have had enough. It’s time to take this country back, and we certainly don’t need permission to do it.
I’ll quote the legendary Bill Cosby, and I think this is the message from all of us.
“You know, I brought you into this world, I can take you out”