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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Heritage Foundation Questions Supremacy of Robed Federal Goons

If you follow conservative politics, you should be familiar with the Heritage Foundation.

Heritage was probably the most influential Washington D.C. think tank during the Bush Administration. It has long acted as a cheerleader for all kinds of federal power usurpations and rightfully received criticism for proposing legislation that was basically a forbearer for Obamacare. Heritage also frequently criticizes the principles of nullification. The organization often acts as a conservative wolf in sheep’s clothing, advocating for unlimited federal power.

That’s what makes Is the Supreme Court the Final Word? by Rich Tucker, extra surprising. Tucker writes, “Supreme Court decisions are crucial, but they are not the final word. It’s our duty as American citizens to keep pushing back, through all three branches of government, against any proposal that violates the Constitution. That’s the way to make sure our union can endure for another 225 years.”

The article gets even better from there. Tucker argues that pushback “works at the state level as well” listing ballot proposals as a way to circumvent Supreme Court rulings.

It’s unfortunate that he didn’t bring up the Jefferson-Madison-approved rightful remedy of nullification, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. Here we have a conservative think tank actually suggesting that Supreme Court justices are not our overlords, their words are not canon, and that we should fight for constitutional government regardless of what asinine opinions they might offer.

It is this line of thinking the Tenth Amendment Center has pushed since its inception. Still, we should remain skeptical and ask questions about this new tact from Heritage. You have to wonder, why is it opening its mind to the idea of resisting the courts all of a sudden? Why are these folks changing their tune? How come it has taken them so long to come to these conclusions when the answers are clear within the writings of the Founding Fathers?

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