Grahams_Hierarchy_of_Disagreement

A Careful Look at an Opposing View

I thought it might be fun to evaluate an old Heritage Foundation article about nullification in the context of this hierarchy. In this article, Dr. Matthew Spalding, from Heritage, tells us why he believes that the Idaho legislature was correct in 2011 when it rejected legislation which would have nullified Obamacare. If you haven’t read it, please go read Rejecting Nullification: Idaho Draws the Constitutional Line for context.

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Why We Need a Constitution

Cross Posted from the Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center.

Bear with me. We need some background before I get to my point.

In the article, “On Violence, Government, and Self-Deception”, I offered three possible philosophical stances on violence. Those were,

1.) Pacifism: No violence under any circumstances; 2.) Non-Aggression: Defensive violence is allowed, aggressive violence is not; 3.) The end justifies the means. Aggressive use of violence is allowed, “for the right reasons”.

I also noted that,

In order to develop a personal philosophy about government, one of the first requirements is to come to an understanding of one’s beliefs about violence. When is it OK to use violence and when is it not? This understanding is necessary because at it’s core, all of government is violence.

At the time, I described my own personal philosophy towards violence as “non-aggression”. My understanding of that phrase is similar to how it is stated by Tom Woods, here, “nobody should initiate aggression against anybody else“. Alternatively, wikipedia describes it, thusly, “In contrast to nonviolence, the non-aggression principle does not preclude violence used in self-defense or defense of others“.

Of course, taken to its conclusion, strict adherence to the non-aggression principle requires elimination of the state because taxation is a form of aggression. Knowing that, I have been aware of the contradiction between my actions and my beliefs when I promote state level legislation and adherence to the US Constitution at the same time as believing in the principle of non-aggression. I don’t like it when there is inconsistency between my beliefs and actions, so the attempt to resolve this conflict has been a frequent area of thought for me during the last few years.

Eventually, I came up with this simple thought experiment:

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Rekindling the American Revolution

If we want to reclaim American freedom, there are no shortcuts.  There is no petition to Washington that will solve our problems.  There is no champion to win the White House and set us free.  The path to American freedom begins in our own states, our own communities, our own homes, and our own minds.

For as long as the people of this country are willing to tolerate tyranny, tyranny will continue to thrive.

In this letter to H. Niles, John Adams tells us the true foundation of American freedom.

“…But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people;…

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Montgomery County, PA Endorses Nullification

Cross-posted from the Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center.

On Tuesday of this week, the Norristown Patch announced that same sex couples can now marry in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  The Patch went on to elaborate that the Montgomery County Register of Wills, Bruce Hanes, had “worked closely with the Register of Wills solicitor Michael Clarke and Montgomery County Solicitor Raymond McGarry to study ‘every aspect of the law,’” subsequent to a request for a marriage license from a same sex couple.  That couple evidently bowed out, but Hanes went public with the county’s position – saying, “I cannot ethically defend the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s version of DOMA as I believe it to be wholly unconstitutional”.

From the Patch,

According to Hanes, he took the oath of office 19 months ago to uphold the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions, and cited Article 1, Section 1, of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which provides for the rights of men, among which is “pursuing their own happiness”

So what Hanes was saying was that he believed there was a conflict between the state law and the state Constitution and when the law conflicts with the Constitution, the Constitution takes precedence.  In other words, Hanes was prepared to nullify the state DOMA law because he believed that it conflicted with the state Constitution.

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Must Read: Hayek’s Why the Worst Get on Top

Cross-posted from the Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center.

If you can only ever read one thing by Hayek, may I suggest: “Why the Worst Get on Top“, chapter 10 from “The Road To Serfdom“?  I can’t say it better than he did, so I’ll just give you some highlights to whet your appetite.

“…We must here return for a moment to the position which precedes the suppression of democratic processes and the creation of a totalitarian regime.  In this stage it is the general demand for quick and determined central government action that is the dominating element in the situation, dissatisfaction with the slow and cumbersome course of democratic processes which make action for action’s sake the goal….

… If the ‘community’ or the state are prior to the individual, if they have ends of their own independent of and superior to those of the individuals, only those individuals who work for the same ends can be regarded as members of the community. …

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Language Should Be For Communication, Not Control

The people we elect and the ones who they appoint cannot be allowed to redefine the meanings of the very words that are intended to limit their power. If they are, then language becomes their tool for controlling us. If they have this tool, they will use it. There is only one answer. The language of the Constitution means what it meant when it was ratified. Any attempt to alter the meaning of the language of the Constitution is, fundamentally, a power grab which must be rejected. If the government really believes it needs a new power, the Congress can submit a Constitutional amendment to the states for ratification. There is no other Constitutionally valid method for the federal government to increase its power and the states and the people must learn to insist that the Constitution be followed – to the letter.

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