There’s another GOP Debate this week, number twenty or so, I’ve lost count. If it’s anything like the previous debates, Gingrich will attack Romney, and Santorum will attack Paul, and Paul will attack Gingrich. And all of them will attack President Barack Obama. Then the media will rehash it all, putting their respective spin on it.
But I want you to imagine for a moment these headlines the following morning:
-Gingrich Arrested for “Food Stamp President” Remarks!
-Congressman Paul faces Jail, Fines for criticism of Obamacare!
-Obama Gets Last Laugh: Jon Stewart indicted for Seditious Libel!
TAKING IT FOR GRANTED
We take it for granted that during the Presidential Primaries, whoever is in office will be the target of serious criticism by the opposition. There will be negative ads exposing the flawed policies or moral failures of the Commander in Chief. There will be spirited debates between the Republicans and the Democrats over their differences, however slight, on foreign policy, the economy, and the role of government.
We take it for granted that the mainstream media will be free to report on the activities and actions of US Senators, Congressmen, and the President. We take it for granted that, as is often the case, when the mainstream media fails to report on the real issues of the day, we can rely on the alternative media to expose the blatant hypocrisy, fraud, and waste that is regularly perpetrated by those who hold elected office.
But what if criticizing the President were Illegal? What if speaking, printing, or publishing a negative opinion about your Congressman was a federal offense? What if, in the United States, it wasn’t just illegal for the average citizen to do this, but also every radio host, every newspaper columnist, every television news anchor, and every candidate for public office. What if it were a federal crime to criticize the government?
What would we do about it?
This isn’t a fictional tale of what could happen in some dystopian future America from the mind of Phillip K. Dick or George Orwell.
It already happened. It happened 214 years ago, during the administration of President John Adams. The year was 1798, when Congress passed and President Adams signed The Sedition Act into law. Just 7 years after the ratification of the Bill of Rights, that document which included as it’s First Amendment to the Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The ink was barely dry on the Constitution when the Adams Administration passed this hateful piece of legislation which made it a crime to publicly or privately say anything that might bring the federal government into ill repute.
We can imagine the debates that might have occurred on the House floor. A handful of legislators in the Jeffersonian tradition warning how this law could be used to silence dissent, shred the Constitution, and eventually prevent free and fair elections from ever taking place again. How can you possibly have fair elections if you can’t criticize the incumbents?
We can imagine President Adams, upon signing it into law, perhaps saying that while he was uncomfortable with portions of the Act, and it was by no means a perfect piece of legislation, it was necessary for the safety and security of our young nation. He may have even assured the citizens that it would never be used against them, not in any way that abridged their Constitutional right to free speech.
BIG POWER = BAD NEWS
But Thomas Jefferson and James Madison knew what would happen. Jefferson wasn’t surprised when Congressman Matthew Lyon from Vermont was imprisoned for criticizing President Adams’ foreign policy. Madison wasn’t surprised when newspaper editors were jailed and printing presses seized.
Jefferson and Madison both knew that whenever the Federal Government–whenever Congress, and the President, and even the Supreme Court–when they conspired together to expand government power at the expense of the liberty of the people, something would have to be done.
They knew that something would have to be done, and that it was up to the States to do it. That’s why, in 1798, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison wrote the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. Jefferson said that “whenever the General government assumes undelgated powers, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy.” Madison said that when the federal government steps beyond its constitutional authority, the States are “duty bound” to resist.
The Sedition Act eventually expired on March 3, 1801. But it’s legacy lives on.
FAST FORWARD TO TODAY
In 2001 President George W. Bush signed into law what Judge Andrew Napolitano calls “the most hateful piece of legislation since the Alien and Sedition Acts”–The USA PATRIOT Act, which granted federal agents the power to write their own search warrants.
We have the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA, which is a direct attack on our 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Now, we have NDAA, a bill that gives legal authority to the President to kidnap and perpetually imprison American citizens without due process of law.
But don’t worry. President Obama signed it with “reservations.” You see, it’s not a perfect piece of legislation, but it’s necessary for the safety and security of our nation. And you can be assured that it won’t be used against American citizens. It will only be used against the bad guys.
WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?
Here’s what we’re doing about it.
On February 9th-11th, the Foundation for a Free Society and the Tenth Amendment Center are taking the message of Nullification to CPAC in Washington D.C.
On Thursday, Feburary 9th at 5:30 pm we will be screening the World Premiere of our feature-length documentary Nullification: The Rightful Remedy.
On Friday February 10th, we’ll be holding two special sessions at CPAC – the first at 4:30 – is a more in depth set of speeches and educational information about the 10th Amendment and nullification. The second, at 5:30 – is a dedicated Q/A session for the film – you’ll be able to watch the movie Thursday night, think up some questions and interact directly with a number of people involved in the documentary directly the very next day..
In this film, Kevin Gutzman discusses the Constitutional basis for Nullification, Tom Woods explains the significance of the Resolutions of 1798, Mike Maharrey demolishes the myth that the Tenthers just want to bring back slavery, and Michael Boldin gives examples of how nullification is being used all over the country, right now, to stop the encroachment of federal power. This film also features Stewart Rhodes, Sheriff Richard Mack, Charles Goyette, Debra Medina, Jim Babka, any many others.
This film has the power to educate thousands of citizens and legislators about the 10th Amendment and Nullification, and take this movement to the next level. I want to thank everyone who contributed financially to make this film possible. Advance copies of the DVD will begin to ship in less than 4 weeks.
If possible, we need you to come and support us at CPAC on February 9th, and join us for the World Premiere. We need you to order a copy of the DVD for yourself, and consider ordering one for your State Representative or Senator. Most of all, we need you to spread the word online. Go to NullificationMovie.com to pre-order your copy of the DVD today.
Together, we can spread the word that the states CAN and MUST stop DC.