An Unhappy Summer for Liberty

At the root of the chaos in the Middle East and here at home are governments that respect no limits on their exercise of power. Public officials — who are supposed to be our public servants — routinely behave as if they are our masters. They reject the confines of the Constitution, they don’t believe that our rights are inalienable, and they fail to see the dangerous path down which they are leading us.

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Confession: I Supported Bush’s Wars

I have a confession.no syria

I supported the Bush wars. Actually, his daddy’s wars too. And Clinton’s wars. In fact, I pretty much supported all of the wars.

My worldview has shifted 180 degrees over the last five years.

Since the war drums started pounding out their cadence, driving the march toward Syria, I’ve spoken openly about my opposition to intervention. I even made a photo expressing my anti-war sentiment my Facebook profile pic.

I admit; it feels a little weird. A bit uncomfortable. Kind of like putting on a shoe that doesn’t quite fit. Or maybe putting on a shoe that fits just right after spending most of my life sporting ill-fitting footwear.

Here’s the thing: supporting war isn’t hard. Rage and hate come easily. War is bellicose and powerful. In my warmongering days, I could simply ridicule opponents. Shout them down. Paint them as unpatriotic, unamerican, cowards and trample over them. They were weak. I was strong.

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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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Welcoming You with Open Arms

 We had a really terrific weekend at the Tenth Amendment Center, and it just felt wrong for me to channel negative energy, despite concerns I had that I wanted to address. So instead, I decided to take some of those frustrations and use them to write something I considered more positive – a letter to a friend. Though I do have someone in mind, I also realized that there are other people out there in similar situations, and that you might have a friend you would write a similar letter to. If that is the case, please feel free to pass it along.

Dear Liberty Friend,

I want to say thank you.

Thank you for your hard work. For your family values. For working on behalf of people who don’t know and/or possibly don’t care that their liberty is slipping away day by day. Thank you for being a cheerleader to others of us who sometimes feel like we are just trudging through the muck. It’s nice to know someone’s got your back. Thank you for your friendship – and great conversation over cold beer.

I also want to say I am sorry.

I’m sorry for the jerks you’ve had to deal with, and that they didn’t recognize your value.

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Nullification for Dummies

Reading Steve Benen’s article Nullification must never be on the table, I was left trying to decide: is Steve an idiot or a liar?

What?

Too harsh?

I’ll let you decide.

“Not to put too fine a point on this, but there’s nothing to discuss — state lawmakers can’t pick and choose which federal laws they’ll honor,”  or so says Steve.

Well I guess it’s settled then. “There’s nothing to discuss.” Nullification is a no no!

What — you don’t buy his argument?

Well, neither do I.

When I saw his article, I was drawn to the picture of Abraham Lincoln standing in front of a Union Army tent with the caption “The last time we had a debate over nullification.”

Intrigued I read on. “For context, it’s worth remembering that there was a rather spirited debate in the mid-19th century over whether states could choose to ignore federal laws. The debate was resolved by a little something called the U.S. Civil War — those who argued in support of nullification lost.”

At that point, I alternated between laughter and complete disbelief. How could anyone make such a ridiculous statement? Steve should know those who argued in support of nullification WON!

A history lesson for Steve from the “South Carolina’s Declaration of Causes” — “The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them.”

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