Last week, several of us from the Tenth Amendment Center headed to Washington D.C. for the world premiere of the full-length documentary, Nullification: The Rightful Remedy at CPAC.
The TAC, along with the Foundation for a Free Society, teamed up to produce the film. Jason Rink, the director of the foundation and a great friend of the Tenth Amendment Center, produced and directed the movie.
Nullification: The Rightful Remedy tells the story of nullification through the words of noted historians and other figures involved in the movement. Much of the movie was filmed at Nullify Now events in Austin, Los Angeles and Kansas City, and it features many well-known Tenthers, including Tom Woods, Kevin Gutzman, Sheriff Richard Mack, TAC executive director Michael Boldin and many others.
We premiered the movie Thursday night at CPAC, and we had a great turnout. In fact, it was by far the largest crowd for any of the films shown in the Citizens United Theater that day, and as far as I know, one of the largest audiences of the entire weekend.
We also hosted a breakout session on Friday titled Obama vs. Jefferson: Centralized power and the Tenth Amendment. Despite the fact that we started while Newt Gingrich was speaking, we packed out the room. Michael Boldin, Jason Rink, Nick Hankoff and I spent about an hour talking to the crowd about nullification and the Tenth Amendment. After that, we fielded some great questions from the audience for another hour. I was really impressed with the audience participation. Those folks were engaged!
We spent the rest of the weekend talking to folks at CPAC, getting out the message of the Tenth Amendment Center. Many folks were enthusiastic about our work, but I was surprised by some of the hostility. I was even more surprised by the number of people who didn’t know the Tenth Amendment. I mean really? At a political event? Get this: I even met a prospective congressional candidate who didn’t know what the Tenth Amendment said.
And this was a convention populated be folks supposedly interested in “smaller government!”
Turns out, in a lot of cases – not so much. Sadly, many of the so-called conservatives marching around CPAC showed little interest in smaller, less intrusive government. They simply want the opportunity to control the levers of the big government we already have.
We also had to deal with a lot of political cheerleading. I couldn’t walk from the exhibition area to my room or to the main ballroom without sign waving Newt, Rick and Mitt fans accosting me. OK, I get it. People passionately support their candidates. But the cult of personality surrounding some of these folks was downright creepy. They are just men. Not saviors.
In fact, Boldin went out on a limb and made a (insert sarcastic tone here) bold prediction during our breakout session Friday night.
“No matter who wins the presidential election, I guarantee you that the federal government will be bigger in 2014 than it is in 2012.”
I would say there exists about a zero percent chance of Boldin’s prognostication not coming to pass.
And that brings us back full circle. We can’t count on Washington D.C. to cure the problem that is Washington D.C. I don’t care who America sends to the White House this fall. I don’t care if Brack Obama stays there. Nothing fundamental will change. Nullification and state interposition stand as the only hope of reeling in this out of control federal government. The TSA boss isn’t going to wake up one morning and suddenly say, “Oh, we’re sorry! We aren’t going to grope your granny anymore.” Congress isn’t going to all of a sudden become the poster-child for fiscal responsibility. The President, whoever that may be, isn’t going to storm out of the Oval Office one afternoon and declare, “I think I’ll just relinquish all of this power I’ve accumulated. And by the way, that whole NDAA detention thing – just kidding!”
Jefferson said, “In questions of power…let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
It’s up to the states to do their duty, grab those chains and apply them to the feds. My weekend in D.C. only reinforced this point.
We have a lot of work to do. Let’s get busy!