Life under the largest government in history should tell us that if we want to build a real “land of the free” – there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be nullified into oblivion.
The hardest part was narrowing it down to what we see as the top-4 to nullify to set us on a true path to liberty.
None of these, of course, will be quick or easy, but as John Dickinson told us in 1767, “small things grow great by concord.” Clearly, the “Penman of the Revolution” was right, and small things did grow great in the years to come.
Years later, Thomas Jefferson gave us a reminder of this important maxim, writing that “the ground of liberty is to be gained by inches” because it takes time to convince people “to do even what is for their own good.”
That’s why we work hard every single day to follow Jefferson’s advice – “we must be contented to secure what we can get from time to time, and eternally press forward for what is yet to get.”
With that, here are the top-4 programs – and views – that need to be nullified to build a strong foundation for liberty.
- The Central Bank.
The Federal Reserve is the engine that drives the biggest, most powerful government in the history of the world.
As Mike Maharrey notes, Monetary policy run through the Fed enables much of the U.S. government’s excessive borrowing and spending. If the federal government had to rely on tax receipts and borrowing that it could actually repay to fund all of its unconstitutional wars, foreign aid and domestic spending, it would be dead in the water.
The ability to raise revenue through taxation and free-market borrowing would naturally limit the government. But with the Fed backstopping the borrowing by monetizing the debt, there are virtually no limits on its spending.
- Unlimited Federal Supremacy.
Sure, we can point to distorted views of the supremacy clause, claiming federal law “is always supreme” over conflicting state laws, rather than only when in “pursuance of” the Constitution. That certainly is a big problem, but what we’re talking about here goes much deeper.
The prevailing view is that when people think the federal government has violated the constitution, they ask the federal government if the federal government thinks the federal government violated the constitution – and generally abide by whatever the federal government decides.
This isn’t much different than what the Revolutionaries fought a long bloody war against the British to get away from – unlimited, centralized power “in all cases whatsoever.”
In Dec. 1776, Thomas Paine wrote The Crisis, which started out with the famous line of “These are the times that try men’s souls.” But, he went on to describe what they were fighting against – unlimited power:
“Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared, that she has a right ( (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER,” and if being bound in that manner is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious, for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.”
It’s important to note that merely having the ability to choose new people every few years to wield all that power is a complete betrayal of the principles of the Revolution. That’s why Thomas Jefferson later wrote, “an elective despotism was not the government we fought for.”
Allowing the government to determine how much power the government has guarantees that power will grow and grow and grow – no matter which team is in charge.
Thomas Jefferson understood this well, writing in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798:
“the Government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the constitution, the measure of its powers”
- All attacks on our natural right of self defense.
Mercy Otis Warren hammered home the view of the founders and old revolutionaries that the right of self defense is a natural right, not a gift from government:
“Self defense is a primary law of nature, which no subsequent law of society can abolish.”
Government can only get away with restrictions – and abolishing – if the people let them do it.
So, rather than waiting on government to give the people permission to do what they already had a right to do by the nature of their birth – it’s up to the people to learn how to exercise their rights – whether the government likes it, or not.
- A Faction-first mentality.
It’s hard not to notice how virtually anything and everything has turned political – and partisan as well. That leaves a lot of people questioning how things turned this direction.
But we shouldn’t be surprised – and should know that it’ll only get worse. The founders, old revolutionaries – and the people they learned from – all understood that the larger and more consolidated the government, the more that people would divide into factions and make things even worse.
Thomas Gordon, one of the authors of the early-18th century Cato’s Letters discussed this in his 1744 Works of Sallust:
“It is with Measures as with Men; they are praised, or condemned, not because they are Right or Wrong, Beneficial or Hurtful, but because they come from this Party, or the other.
Evil is turned into Good, and Good into Evil: Truth passes for Falsehood; Falsehood is dressed up in the Guise of Truth: The best Actions are decried as the worst, if they arise from one Quarter; the worst Actions adored as the best, if from the other.”
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
In his farewell address, George Washington warned that this kind of mentality would lead us to tyranny:
“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”
Unfortunately, the people didn’t listen.
But wait, there’s more!
“But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.”
As Gordon noted, this kind of faction or party-first mentality “is terrible and discouraging, a huge Obstruction to all Virtue, to Truth, and Morality.”
Noah Webster may have summed it up best:
“Nothing is more dangerous to the cause of truth and liberty than a party-spirit.”
We can’t say we weren’t warned. But that doesn’t mean we can’t turn things around.
Ultimately, it’s up to the people to protect and defend their own constitution and their own liberty – whether the government wants them to, or not.
It won’t be quick and it won’t be easy, but as Thomas Paine told us, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”
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