Recently the we’ve gotten some criticism due to our collaboration on specific issues with other organizations that don’t share our more general Tenth Amendment principles. Because of these organizations’ activities beyond our joint efforts, some people believe we should refuse to work with them in any way or in any situation.

It could be that people misunderstand our strategy. We don’t collaborate in a general sense, but on very specific issues such as stopping the surveillance state or protection the right to keep and bear arms. The alliances we form are based on reciprocity and mutual benefit, not ideology, or because we share the same overall agenda. When we see eye-to-eye on specific issues, we find it extremely beneficial to forge partnerships and work together on a specific issue. It expands our reach and makes us more effective.

It is similar to our work with state legislators. Certainly they often introduce bills we oppose and vote in ways that we don’t like. But while they’re there, why not put them to good use and have them work in our favor? Does it really matter what their motives are as long as we accomplish our goals and we’re not being manipulated into doing their bidding?

We are never going to see eye-to-eye on everything with any organization we work with. So, how do we determine whether or not to collaborate with one and not another? Shall we invent a litmus test? How do we know that is effective?

It brings to mind a scene from the film The Dark Knight when District Attorney Harvey Dent criticizes Gotham Police detective James Gordon for having officers in his unit who were investigated by Internal Affairs.

Gordon replies, “If I didn’t work with cops you’d investigated while at IA I’d be working alone. I don’t get political points for being an idealist. I do the best I can with what I have.”

We are taking on the largest government in world history; we cannot afford to shun useful alliances for the sake of maintaining some kind of ideological purity. Joining forces in coalitions does not mean we endorse a group in general, or embrace their philosophy. Soldiers who fight in the same army in the same battle don’t have to do so for the same cause. Many battles throughout history have been won or lost based on how well different factions are able to cooperate.

Of course, if those critics believe that we must keep our hands clean of other groups, then they are free to make that happen – just donate a few million dollars to the Tenth Amendment Center, and maybe we will never have to work with anyone else again.

TJ Martinell

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