When you work to advance a controversial idea like nullification, you expect to deal with a certain number of hostile opponents.
But I’m not gonna lie; sometimes countering the same ridiculous arguments over and over again gets tedious. I mean, how many different ways can you say “nullification was never used to support slavery?” Or “only federal acts ‘in pursuance of’ the Constitution stand supreme?”
I try to be patient and just keep hammering the facts. Slowly but surely, we are making progress. A Rasmussen poll released this week actually indicates more Americans than not believe states should nullify unconstitutional acts. That’s pretty amazing and extremely encouraging.
But every once in a while, some of these clowns really get under my skin. The ones who sanctimoniously belittle those of us who support nullification, using smears like “wacky” and “demented” and “crackpot,” yet clearly don’t know the first thing about the history of nullification really make me see red. They act like no sane person could possibly support nullification. They don’t even attempt to counter the idea. They just smugly make fun of us with an air of intellectual superiority.
Yet in the process, these brilliant caretakers of conventional wisdom get basic facts completely wrong.
Take this second-rate columnist named Sid Salter. He recently wrote a wonderfully condescending tome condemning nullification.
I’m not even going to do him the favor of linking to the article. I find it amusing that two days after publication it only showed one Twitter share, and I’m not inclined to boost his readership. But Salter provides the perfect example of what I’m talking about: an arrogant political hack who has no idea that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.
Salter buried this historical jewel concerning nullification in with the predictable uninformed blather about federal supremacy.
“John C. Calhoun of South Carolina first took that position (that states can nullify unconstitutional acts) prior to the Civil War.”
I’m sure Thomas Jefferson and James Madison would find this interesting, since they took that very position in 1798. Yeah, Calhoun borrowed extensively from the “Father of the Constitution” and the author of the Declaration of Independence when he was talking about nullification in the late 1820s and early 1830s. But in Salter’s defense, tying Calhoun to nullification makes his case much better than those other guys. Why let a little historical truth get in the way of making your point, right?
Of course, Salter isn’t the first so-called expert to belittle nullification while butchering basic facts and lying about the history. Some of these brainiacs do it over and over again. They just pretend like alternate points of view don’t even exist. So-called legal scholars are the worst. Journalists like to parrot these guys because they have “law professor’ in front of their names. Most of them should probably write their laws school and ask for a refund.
So here are a few words of wisdom for Salter and his ilk: know what you’re talking about. It will really boost your credibility. As it is, your ignorance nullifies your opinion.