The passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, with its provisions for detention of American citizens and resident aliens, certainly woke up many Americans to some very serious problems we’re facing right now.

Over the last week, we’ve seen people never before interested in the work of the Tenth Amendment Center logging on to our website, quoting us in news stories, and emailing to ask how they can help. These folks span the political spectrum from left to right; Republican, Democrat and independent, and even the generally apathetic.

The idea that your government can kidnap you seems to have lit off a firestorm.

Some scoff at the use of the word “kidnapping,” calling it hyperbole designed to stir up emotions. But what else can you call it?

kidnap: verb (used with object), -napped or -naped, -nap·ping or -nap·ing.
to steal, carry off, or abduct by force or fraud…

When you remove due process from the equation, arrest becomes nothing more than sanctioned kidnapping. Americans know this. We may suffer from frequent bouts of apathy, but we aren’t stupid.

Just yesterday, I received and email from a dear woman in Washington state.

Mr Maharrey;  My husband served his country for over seventeen years, While in the Submarine Service. We as a family paid the price for our rights. How many Veterans now wish they had not wasted the time away from of their families. Yet sacrificed for our freedom.  Only because Congress and Senate have written laws like these and many others. This one tops them all.

Americans understand the draconian nature of these detention provisions. Now, many previously disengaged stand ready to fight.

I say, welcome to the party!

But make no mistake; this can’t end simply by rolling back the detention provisions of the NDAA alone, as important as that is. It took 100 years or more of  federal government power grabs  to bring us to this place.

In August 1974, Pres. Gerald R. Ford told a joint session of Congress, ” A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

Many Americans cheerlead as the federal government take on roles never authorized by the Constitution. During the 1930s, large numbers of Americans praised FDR for his “New Deal.” They lauded Pres. Johnson for his “Great Society.” On the other side of the political spectrum, conservatives praised Pres. George W. Bush for the Patriot Act and clamored for a bigger badder “War on Drugs.” Federal environmental regulations, food regulations, health care acts, TSA gropes – the list goes on and on. Americans sat by quietly as the feds exercised more and more powers not delegated.


Because we thought those were “good” things. The government was trying to solve problems we knew needed solving. As long as we viewed those ends as justified, we ignored the unconstitutional nature of the means.

Surprisingly, it looks like Gerald Ford was right.

Because today, we see in the detention provisions of NDAA the legacy of 100-plus years of federal growth

This is not the federal government our founders envisioned. They created a general government with limited powers, leaving the rest to the states and the people. Read closely the words of James Madison in Federalist 45.

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce; with which the last the power of taxation will for the most part be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State.”

The framers limited the scope of the federal government for a reason. They knew something like NDAA would eventually come down the pike.

At the Tenth Amendment Center, we don’t trust government power at ANY level. We know power corrupts. We know state and local governments do their fair share of nasty things. But we also recognize decentralization checks power. If government power is bad, centralized government power is much worse.

Think of it this way: a cup of bleach is quite caustic. It can quickly burn skin and ruin clothes. Now dump that cup of bleach into two gallons of water. It can still whiten your clothes, and the bleach still retains a bit of a kick, but it can cause much less damage when diluted.

Make no mistake; the Tenth Amendment Center aims to render the detention provisions in the NDAA null and void. But we won’t stop there. Our ultimate mission is to return to a proper balance of power between the states and federal governments, as intended by the founders and expressly stated in the Tenth Amendment. Our agenda is really quite simple: follow the Constitution every issue, every time, no exceptions, no excuses.

Become a member and support the TAC!

If we successfully fight NDAA detention and stop there, we’ve done nothing but mow the grass. We must pull it up by its roots. We must dismantle the unconstitutional system that exists in the U.S. and return to the system intended by those who created it.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “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.”

So for those of you new to all this, thanks for stopping by! Welcome to the party. We hope you’ll stick around for the grand finale.

NOTE: The preceding was recorded at the close of Tenther Radio Episode 34 on February 8, 2012. The show airs live online every Wednesday at 5pm Pacific Time here. Find us on iTunes at this link.

Mike Maharrey

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