It’s Like Whack-a-Mole, But With the Same Mole Each Time

Robert Parry is a left-wing writer who tries to make the Framers of the Constitution into Hillary Clinton, 200 years early. He makes the same arguments again and again. I refute them. He continues to make them. He pretends my answers do not exist. This time, he’s got the whole leftist kit and kaboodle in one…

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Piers Morgan Reduced to Name Calling in Gun Control Debate

In case you haven’t seen this yet, here’s CNN’s Piers Morgan interviewing my friend Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America. Morgan behaves like a child, using the words “stupid” and “idiot” to refer to his guest, and Pratt keeps his cool. Morgan is totally outclassed, though that itself isn’t much of a feat, I…

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Florida Senate President Gaetz Claims He Didn’t Advocate Shooting Nullifiers

Don Gaetz, president of the Florida state senate, recently responded to an attorney’s defense of Thomas Jefferson’s principle of state nullification of unconstitutional laws as follows:

Thank you for your email and for your passionate views.

Like you, I believe Obamacare is unconstitutional and wrong-headed policy. I have consistently voted in the Florida Legislature for legislation that affirms our state’s options, obligations and sovereignty under the United States Constitution. I am working every day to ensure the election of national candidates who will repeal and replace this extraordinarily bad policy.

As to nullification, I tend to favor the approach used by Florida’s first Governor, Andrew Jackson:

It is said that one evening, while he was president, General Jackson was interrupted in his reading in his bedroom by an alarmed military aide who breathlessly reported, “Mr. President, the “nullifiers” are in front of the Executive Mansion with torches and guns. They are screaming that each state has the right to decide for itself which federal laws to follow. They threaten to burn us down if you will not agree with them.”

Without lifting his head from his reading, Andrew Jackson said, “Shoot the first nullifier who touches the Flag. And hang the rest.”

Chaplain, I have sworn an oath on my father’s Bible before Almighty God to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and government of the United States. And that’s exactly what I intend to do. Count me with Andrew Jackson.

Senator Don Gaetz

A number of Floridians were up in arms about Senator Gaetz’s casual endorsement of firing on his own people. (Note that “firing on his own people” is a phrase we are permitted to use only in reference to foreign despots; anyone recommending such a course here is merely defending law and order.) The Southern Poverty Law Center, which is supposed to stay on the alert for cases of political extremism, uttered not a peep at this particular act of extremism. Probably just an oversight.

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Taxation and Forced Labor: What’s the Difference?

I am thinking a lot about taxation in light of all this “fiscal cliff” talk. According to the late Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick in his 1974 book Anarchy, State, and Utopia, ”taking the earnings of n hours of labor” is not different from “forcing the person to work n hours for another’s purpose,” and therefore the taxation of earnings is “on a par with forced labor” and cannot be morally defended.

Get an overview of Nozick’s ideas in this article by Roderick Long.

I covered this a bit in this six-minute video last year:

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Where Do Rights Come From?

A reader writes: “My non-religious Libertarian friends completely disagree with my view that we are endowed with unalienable rights by our Creator. That being said, do you agree with that? (Right to be free, right to live) and if so, how can I defend my position to someone who feels rights can only come from a state?”

If your friends don’t believe in a Creator, then of course they aren’t going to believe that rights are bestowed by a Creator. That gap is unbridgeable as long as one of you is a religious believer and the other is not.

But I don’t understand why your friends think the only remaining option is that rights come from a state. There are other options, too: (1) there is no such thing as rights; and (2) rights exist, but are not divinely bestowed. They would be odd libertarians indeed to think people have no rights until a group of people wearing funny hats declare that they do, especially given that your friends would now need to explain how, if there is no such thing as rights prior to the state, these people get the right to establish a state and start barking out commands in the first place.

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Your Nullification Resource for Four More Years of Obama

State nullification is Thomas Jefferson’s idea, derived from the Richmond Ratification Convention of 1788, that the states must refuse to allow the enforcement of unconstitutional federal laws within their borders.

Here’s an overview of nullification.
Here are answers to common objections.
Here’s how the mainstream media treats nullification.

Here’s my book Nullification, with endorsements from Judge Andrew Napolitano, Walter Williams, and Barry Goldwater Jr.

And here I am explaining the idea at the January 2012 convention of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association:

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Was JFK Assassinated Because He Opposed the Fed?

I run into this claim quite a lot. A lot of the people advancing it are fans of G. Edward Griffin, and this is why I find it so odd that this theory has gained so much traction. Griffin discounts the theory in his excellent book The Creature from Jekyll Island. More on that in a minute.

There seems to be a desire among some end-the-Fed people to believe that we’ve had a few good presidents who have tried to stand up for the people but were tragically stopped by the bankers. Thus we hear this fake quotation, attributed to Woodrow Wilson, quite a bit: “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”

The first two sentences of this quotation are entirely fabricated. The rest come from a book Wilson published in 1913, before the Fed was even created.

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The Electoral College: How to Defend?

Someone on my Facebook page (which I hope you will ‘like’) asked about defending the electoral college: should he make the argument that electors will have more sober and impartial judgment than the fickle masses, etc.?

I wouldn’t. Given that the electors are nearly always party machine people, almost none of them will be independent minded, so the arguments the Framers of the Constitution may have made for this institution no longer apply.

I think the most logical way to defend it is unfortunately unlikely to resonate with the kind of people who oppose it, since those people know little and care less about federalism. But I would say this: the Constitution consistently refers to the United States in the plural, and the key thing that’s supposed to distinguish the U.S. from other countries — remember that idea we keep hearing that the U.S. is supposed to be unique? — is that it is fundamentally a collection of societies. The evidence for this claim is pretty overwhelming, as I show in chapter 4 of Nullification. (Click here for a few of the relevant points.)

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How to Spot Bad Arguments, and Make Good Ones

I first encountered Professor Gerard Casey of University College, Dublin, in 2004, when I was having a debate on economics with some pretty nasty people. Across the water he was giving a public lecture in my defense, but with one caveat: I wasn’t hardcore enough, he said. This is my kind of guy, I thought.…

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