by Michael Boldin
Tom Woods’ new book, Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century, is not just another reading assignment on the evils and failures of the current administration (like so many political books have been in recent years and decades). Instead, itâ€™s the centerpiece of a mass movement â€“ a new strategy to deal with those evils and failures of federal administrations â€“ past, present, and future.
Prominent founders like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison warned us that if the federal government were ever to become the sole and exclusive arbiter of the extent of its own powers, those powers would always grow, regardless of separations of power, protests, lawsuits, elections, or any other vaunted part of the American system.
Put another way, this would be like having your exâ€™s mother as the final judge on the structure of your divorce settlement. (Thanks to Andrew Nappi for this perspective)
But, sadly enough, this is just what Americans have been doing for a long, long time. When the federal government violates the Constitutional limits on its power (which it has been doing in big ways for nearly a century), we the people have been going to the federal government to fix problems created by the federal government.
We the People march on D.C. to protest in the hope that federal politicians will change their minds and limit their own power. We the People go to federal courts with lawsuits in the hope that federal judges will limit the power of the federal government. We the People “vote the bums out” nearly every election cycle in the hope that new federal politicians will reject federal powers handed to them on a silver platter.
Seriously, folks, does this sound like an effective solution?
Clearly not, because no matter how many emails or calls we make, and no matter how many marches we hold in DC, federal power continues to grow. No matter how many lawsuits are filed, and no matter how many bums are voted out, federal power continues to grow â€“ and it doesnâ€™t matter what political party is in power, what black-robed deity is nominated to the Supreme Court, or what personality occupies the White House.
Woods makes the case that there actually is another option â€“ one that the powers that be (and their government-run schools) donâ€™t want you to know about. Nullification â€“ the act of rendering unconstitutional laws null and void, or inoperative, on a state level â€“ is, as Thomas Jefferson put it, the â€œrightful remedyâ€ in response to acts of undelegated power by the federal government, and Woods lays it all out in brilliant fashion.
In Nullification, Woods not only goes through the historical and Constitutional case for nullification, but also many of the modern day applications of the principle. He shows us how this isnâ€™t just a good idea, itâ€™s already a movement â€“ and itâ€™s ready to hit the mainstream.
For example, in the past 2 years, multiple states have passed laws making national health care mandates illegal, eight others have passed laws nullifying some federal gun laws and regulations, and others are working to ban federal cap-and-trade regulations. And this is just the beginning. Dozens of states across the country are considering laws to ban a myriad of unconstitutional federal “laws” (which aren’t really laws at all) and people are starting to catch on that the states can stop D.C.!
Over the last 10+ years, 14 states have actively defied unconstitutional federal laws on marijuana. And, starting in 2007, more than 2 dozen states started passing laws and resolutions banning the Real ID act. Today, while that law still sits on the books and has never been challenged in court, itâ€™s virtually null and void in most of the country. There havenâ€™t been any tanks rolling into states like California to shut down marijuana dispensaries, and funding hasnâ€™t been taken away from states like Missouri for refusing to comply with the Real ID Act. So whatever your point of view on these particular issues may be, thereâ€™s an important lesson to be learnedâ€¦
Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century is not just another great book from a great author â€“ itâ€™s one for the generations and should become the guidebook for the future of liberty in this country.
In conjunction with the release of the book, the Tenth Amendment Center and WeRefuse.com have set up a multi-state speaking tour, NullifyNow. Tom Woods will be the keynote speaker at a number of locations and other top thinkers and activists will be on hand as well.
Already signed on to support this tour on a national level are prominent groups and organizations such as Campaign for Liberty, JBS.org, The New American and Young Americans for Liberty. The goal? To educate and activate people in support of this essential principle of nullification.
The bottom line is pretty straightforward â€“ if we continue doing the same things weâ€™ve been doing all along, we know what’s going to happen. The march to tyranny isn’t stopping. Woods’ Nullification gives us the blueprint, and NullifyNow brings us together to make it happen.
Michael Boldin [send him email] is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center
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