Where is the Small Government Party?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the issue of the upcoming election.  We are not an actual political organization here at the Tenth Amendment Center, per se’, but one thing I do think about is what has become of our Republic.  We are pursuing the means (nullification) we believe will result in the highest likelihood of a restoration of the Republic, as envisioned by the Founders themselves.  Still, I’d like to weigh in on a subject that I believe gets very little attention.  The two-party system.

Now… I don’t really believe in the two-party system, because I believe that it presents the country with a succession of very bad choices which progressively become worse and worse as time goes on. For those who do believe in a two-party system, however, perhaps some proverbial fat to chew on: What do those two parties have to stand for?  That is, if all the choices society wants a say in are encompassed in those two parties, which one is the small government, and which is for big government?  Which is for morality? And if one is for morality, is the other for immorality?  Do all of the immoral people have a “duty” to vote for the immoral candidate?  How about the candidates in favor of conscription (the Draft)?  And my wife might like to know which candidate represents people who like Carrot Cake!?

I ask these admittedly silly questions to bring to light to the idea of maintaining our freedoms. If we are to prevent government from growing progressively larger and more oppressive, we need to be able to vote for a “small government” candidate. He would presumably come from a small “government” party, so.. which party is that party today?  The majority of people would no doubt say that the Republican party is the “party of small government,” but are they?  If they are to remain the party of small government, don’t they need to put forward actual small government candidates from time to time?! Who here thinks Romney is the candidate of small government? PUT YOUR HANDS DOWN YOU LOOK RIDICULOUS!!!

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Fantasies of Liberty

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.

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Does Heritage Understand the Constitution?

Recently, I came across this piece from Heritage ,which makes many misleading assertions regarding “nullification”. On many issues Heritage is a “good guy.” Sadly this is not one of them. From their commentary, it appears that they cannot, under any circumstances, allow any cracks in the veneer of authority that D.C. has crafted.

I thought I would give a shot at a point by point refutation.

HERITAGE:  “Nullification Is Unconstitutional”  The Nullification Temptation: In order to challenge the federal government’s unconstitutional actions, states are looking for options to reassert their legitimate role in the constitutional structure of federalism. Unfortunately, despite good intentions, some have been tempted to embrace nullification—the claim that an individual state legislature has the authority to veto federal laws.

RESPONSE:  That is not strictly so, I will lay out what we at the Tenth Amendment Center consider to be “nullification”. If it did mean (literally) ” that an individual state legislature has the authority to veto federal laws,”  then I suppose I would agree that nullification was a bad idea and illegal. That is not, however, and never has been, what nullification is. The most assertive version of nullification is a state law that makes enforcement of an unconstitutional federal act illegal within the state, and sets penalties for any official who attempts to do so.  A veto, by comparison, would literally make the law null and void in every state in the union, and even make it cease to exist.  Such a view would be empowering one state to rule the country.  See the difference?

HERITAGE: Supreme Law of the Land: At the center of our system of government is the United States Constitution: All federal and state officers and judges are bound by oath to support it and the laws of the United States made in pursuance thereof. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land—not the Supreme Court, the federal government, or an individual state legislature, for that matter.

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Two-Party Tyranny

Frequently, when I challenge the propriety of requiring mandatory sexual assaults or pornographic pictorial consent to fly the “friendly skies,” I am answered with a non-answer – the TSA is a Republican creation. Similarly, when I  oppose bailouts, I am confronted by the claim that many bailouts happened under Bush. These are just two of countless incidences of people defending the indefensible with the non-defense of, “This is a ‘bi-partisan’ policy.” That is to say, “Our predecessor did this – so it should be OK for us to as well.”

This defense lies along the most vapid of logic! It is as if to say that ‘since my predecessor took it upon himself to steal, murder, cheat and violate the Constitution (and even though I ran my campaign under the premise that this was wrong) I am now in the right to carry on in this way as well!’ Carried to it’s logical conclusion… under THIS logic, there can be no objective behavioral standards placed upon our elected officials! Because the standards would always be  compared to the last set of elected officials. They would constantly be degraded… as the next official pushes the envelope beyond where it was for his predecessor.

The “party-comparison/he-did-it/she-did-it” defense cannot possibly be a real defense! If you just compare yourself to the other party (and not the Constitution), then you only justify your own misbehavior by the misbehavior of your opponent. The fact is, you can find members of both parties that believe in any given policy position, at any given time. You can find both Democrats and Republicans who are pro-gun control, pro-life and/or pro-war…. because both parties obviously have members who may support any given violation of the Constitution. No one party has a monopoly on the Constitution – and you cannot justify unconstitutional actions by the Federal Government on the basis of precedent. In other words, it can not justify your violation(s) of the Constitution to say that a member of the other party also thinks a particular policy to be “Constitutional” or not!

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Did I Miss the Revolution?

The argument against Nullification, with a lot of folks, seems to be that at the end of it all… if the Federal Government wins in their own courts, we (the States/People) must choose to either back down, or attempt secession.

This argument is absurd!
Lets follow the logic:

1. A State legislature determines that a federal action lays outside the scope of Congressional authority. The examples of this are legion, but to name a few: Making it illegal to publish critical statements about the President, making it illegal to trade with foreign nations, initiating a Draft to invade Canada, establishing a National bank, making possession of a specific medicine a crime, infringing upon the right to keep and bear arms by taxation or regulation, making it illegal to enter into certain contracts, making it mandatory that citizens assist in the kidnapping and return of escaped slaves, etc, etc, etc…

The State would then pass some sort of hindering legislation (at the Tenth Amendment Center we call this a Nullification, as Thomas Jefferson called it in the Kentucky Resolution). This legislation could be as mild as a statement disapproving of the federal action in question, or as severe as a bill making it illegal to enforce the abominable usurpation within the State, and calling for severe penalties for Federal and/or State officials attempting to enforce the statute in question. Or anything in between.

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Hamilton on “Necessary and Proper” and “Supremacy”

A couple of the commonly misunderstood parts of the Constitution are the Necessary and Proper clause, and the Supremacy clause. I thought I would publish what Alexander Hamilton wrote on the subjects from the Federalist #33. Remember that these papers where written during the debate over ratification, and widely circulated. They informed the ratifiers to the understanding of the document they where about to sign, and as such they are similar to writing in the borders of a written contract, they are legally relevant, and enforcable.

By way of a general explaination or summation of Hamiltons sentiments I offer this short summary. The Necessary and proper clause is simply declaring that the way the legislature would carry out their enumerated powers would be to pass laws that are incidental to their powers, and the Supremacy clause simply stated the obvious that in powers pursuant to the Constitution the laws of the union would be supreme.  In areas not pursuant to the Constitution however the laws of the states would still be supreme… DUHHH.

Without further hesitation, here is Hamiltons paper on the 2 clauses:

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Arbitrary and Void for Vagueness

We as Americans have become much too accepting of the practice in D.C. of writing laws that are so long and complicated that no citizen could possibly be fully informed of their scope and effect. Surely a prime example of this would be “Obamacare,” however, this practice is older than that. For instance, the Patriot Act was 1500 pages (written before 9/11/2001 by the way) and was passed with no debate. In the last 10 years, 10 laws were >225,000 words in length. I know I for one simply do not have the time to keep up with that level of law making. James Madison famously wrote (in Federalist 62):

“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”

Laws that are this lengthy are by their very nature “arbitrary” and of a tyrannical nature. Consider Senator Conyers’ comments regarding Obamacare. WATCH IT:

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