Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch thinks he’s smart.

He’s a lawyer after all.

He wrote a column about the recent Nullify Now! event in Raleigh. I don’t know how intelligent he is, but he has mastered condescending snark.

“All of the individuals highlighted appear to be more or less housebroken. Despite giving voice to remarkably outlandish ideas that some might even describe in certain circumstances as, well, treasonous, speakers used complete sentences and, in some instances, even displayed hints of media polish.”

He’s right. I am, in fact, housebroken.

But despite his arrogance, he demonstrates he knows nothing about the actual history of nullification. I thought you might enjoy the email response I sent Robert.


Seriously Rob…

If you are going to write a snarky piece about something, you should at least have a slight clue what you are talking about.

You say of the Nullify Now event, “Its purpose: to discuss and promote the idea previously championed by confederate leaders during the 1860’s …”

Guess what? This NEVER happened. Jefferson Davis condemned nullification. The South Carolina Declaration of Causes complained about nullification. Do you know why? Because it was NORTHERN STATES that were nullifying.

Shocking, eh?

It’s true. Google personal liberty laws. Northern states refused to cooperate with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. In some cases, they actively resisted it. There are even documented cases of arresting federal marshals. Their arguments were based on state sovereignty. And they did it to protect the basic rights of black people.

Check out this little section of Vermont’s personal liberty law.

Sec. 3. Whenever any person in this State shall be deprived of liberty, arrested, or detained, on the ground that such person owes service or labor to another person, not an inhabitant of this State, either party may claim a trial by jury; and, in such case, challenges shall be allowed to the defendant agreeably to sections four and five of chapter one hundred and eleven of the compiled statutes.

Guess what else – back in 1842, the Supreme Court said states couldn’t do this. They did it anyway. We call this nullification. The Confederates didn’t like it.

For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. 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. [Emphasis added}

So, I’ll be looking forward to your next posting when you tear apart those treasonous abolitionist for nullifying the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. That would create a lovely opportunity for me to infer that you are a racist.

In fact, it took federal power and the centralized state to establish and maintain the institution of slavery in the U.S. You can read more about that here if you are interested.

Here’s the thing, Robert. I understand that people oppose nullification. That’s fine. We can have that debate. But it really irks me when people like you act so smug and condescending, like you hold some intellectual high ground, while you spout out utter nonsense about the history. I mean, we’re not talking shades of opinion here. You’re not even in the ballpark. So, when you make snide little remarks about us being “housebroken,” you come off looking like an ignorant jerk.

As for the League of the South: everybody seems to want to fixate on their presence at the Nullify Now event. They paid money to set up a table. That is all. They were not involved in the programming. They had no representatives speaking. They just set up a table. The Tenth Amendment Center actually put on the event.  We do not advocate for secession. In fact, we view nullification as a “moderate middle road” between unlimited submission to the federal government and outright rebellion.

And before you get all torqued up about talk of “unlimited submission,” I didn’t come up with the phrase – Thomas Jefferson did. Argue with him about it.

That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral part, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.

So here’s my nickel’s worth of free advice: have a clue before you run your mouth.

Mike Maharrey

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