We don’t need no stinkin’ permission to exercise our rights. We need to exercise our rights whether they the government want us to or not.
Ok, so let’s start out with the easy stuff, here… I’m a proud tenther. That means I believe that the federal government is authorized to exercise only those powers that we the people delegated to it in the constitution – and nothing more.
The founders created a system, unique in history, where the most difficult and most divisive issues would be kept close to home in our states and our communities. And, there’s a good reason for such a system – it’s the only kind that can allow people of widely varying political, religious, and economic viewpoints living together in peace. I’m from California. In Florida, you likely don’t want California’s policies. We shouldn’t be required to have Florida’s. Maine should be different from Montana, Texas should be different from South Carolina, and so on. This is the system that best advances freedom.
Unfortunately, though, for a long long time, there’s been very little that the federal government does that actually IS authorized by the constitution.
QUESTION: WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?
– Do we lobby congress or march on DC and ask that federal politicians limit their own power?
– Do we sue them in court and ask federal judges to limit federal power?
– Do we vote the bums out – and hope that the new bums will reject their own power?
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison both warned us that if the federal government ever became the sole and exclusive arbiter of the extent of its own powers – that power would endlessly growâ€¦regardless of elections, separation of powers, courts, or other vaunted parts of our system.
They were right. For over a century, we the people have been suing, and marching, and lobbying, and voting the bums out. But yetâ€¦year in and year out, government continues to grow and your liberty continues to diminish. And, it doesn’t matter who is the president, or what political party controls congress – the growth of power in the federal government never stops.
Power – the problem we face today is about power – and until we address the absolute fact that the federal government has too much power, and going to the federal government to fix problems caused by federal power – things will never change.
John Adams once gave us a warning that “liberty once lost, is lost forever.” He wasn’t necessarily saying that there’s no hope whatsoever. But instead, it was an important lesson. Whenever government tells us they need more power to deal with an “emergency” – and they always have them for both foreign and domestic issues – that same government will never voluntarily give that power back. They’ll never just decide that the newfound power is something they don’t want, and that liberty will never be regained without a long, difficult struggle by the people.
How do we fix this mess? Well, I think I’m in pretty good company if i go with Thomas Jefferson’s advice that “whensoever” the federal government exercises “undelegated powers” … “a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy.”
Reading this, you’ll notice that Jefferson didn’t say that a nullification of the act is a pretty decent remedy. He didn’t say that nullification is just a rightful remedy, or even a good idea to try after voting bums out or going to court. He told us that when the feds exercise powers they’re not supposed to exercise, We’re not supposed to wait for the federal government to correct itself. Jefferson’s advice is that we must resist violations of our rights on a state level – every time it happens.
Around the country, there’s a lot of talk about nullification – but what is it, really? I can think of no better way to define it than how Tenth Amendment Center research analyst Derek Sheriff has done – by describing what it is not:
Nullification is not secession or insurrection, but neither is it unconditional or unlimited submission. Nullification is not something that requires any decision, statement or action from any branch of the federal government. Nullification is not the result of obtaining a favorable court ruling. Nullification is not the petitioning of the federal government to start doing or to stop doing anything. Nullification doesn’t depend on any federal law being repealed. Nullification does not require permission from any person or institution outside of one’s own state.
Nullification is something that’s already happening around the country – and Derek explains the process:
Nullification begins with a decision made in your state legislature to resist a federal law deemed to be unconstitutional. It usually involves a bill, which is passed by both houses and is signed by your governor. In some cases, it might be approved by the voters of your state directly, in a referendum. It may change your state’s statutory law or it might even amend your state constitution. It is a refusal on the part of your state government to cooperate with, or enforce any federal law it deems to be unconstitutional.
At its very core, nullification is any action on a state level that results in some federal law being null and void – and of no effect. It’s about “We the People” exercising our rights whether the politicians or judges in Washington D.C want to give us “permission” to exercise those rights or not. We don’t need no stinkin’ permission.
I recently went to an event called Hemp Con down in my part of the state – Los Angeles. This is a big event at the LA convention center – with loads of vendors and businesses from every angle you can think of in support of the marijuana industry.
There were home security companies to help protect your weed, solar power companies to help you grow your weed, doctors giving out medical marijuana cards to virtually anyone with $80 and an hour of time. There were even delivery services – you can get your marijuana delivered to you 24 hours a dayâ€¦in 30 minutes or less. The pizza companies have nothing on these guys! It was amazing if you think about it from an economic standpoint – this was capitalism, the free market – working its wonders around an industry.
What’s the point?
Virtually every single one of those businesses was either directly violating federal law, or aiding someone else in doing so because marijuana is illegal, according to the feds – but not the constitution – in all situations. And guess what – no ATF or DEA thugs shut the place down. Business functioned, people did what they wanted to in freedom, and that was that.
In fact, in 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that state medical marijuana laws were illegal. At that time there were 10 states that had such laws. Since that court ruling came down, not one single state has repealed their law. And today, there’s even more adding on – there’s now 15 states defying Washington DC on marijuana, and they’re getting away with it.
When enough people say no to unconstitutional laws, regulations, and mandates…and enough states pass laws to back those people up, there’s not much the federal government can do, but slowly and consistently back off. There’s no tanks rolling into Los Angeles to shut down the dispensaries. This is far from perfect, but it can work, and it is working right now.
Whether it’s gun rights, or health freedom, or maybe someone should start rejecting the Department of Education because we’re sick of the federal government controlling our schools…the solution to our problems does not lie with the federal government. It lies in our states, and with ourselves.
THE BIG QUESTION
So here’s the final question – and my big challenge to you today. When it happens some day, and it will, that the federal government tells you that you have to purchase some healthcare plan, and you start thinking about penalties for violating that “law” – ask yourself this…do you have as much courage as the pot smokers?
I sure hope you do. Because we need to exercise our rights whether they give us “permission” to or not!
Latest posts by Michael Boldin (see all)
- Nine Years Ago Today: Anniversary of the Tenth Amendment Center - June 25, 2015
- Nullification News: 13 Bills Move Forward this Week, 3 Signed into Law - April 17, 2015
- Starve the Beast: The Federal Tax Funds Act - April 15, 2015