A WHIFF OF SECESSION & NULLIFICATION
By Alan Caruba
That a Tea Party movement sprang to life in the midst of the protests against Obamacare and then was instrumental in transferring political power in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2010 election cannot be dismissed. People — lots of them — are increasingly wary of the central government, particularly one that has burdened them with more debt in the last three years than in the entire prior history of the American nation.
In October, 2011, Pelican Publishing Company will publish Rethinking the American Union for the Twenty-First Century, in which a number of scholars, edited by Donald W. Livingston, Professor of Philosophy at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, examine the implications of secession, possibly by regional groupings of states, from the present Federal Union, or Federation.
Professor Livingston is a political philosopher and scholar, the author of two books on the British philosopher David Hume and may well be one of a handful of people who have given serious thought to the question of whether the present American Union has either outlived its usefulness or, worse, become a sinkhole of power aggregating to the U.S. central government, giving it total control over the fifty states.
The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly states that “The powers not delegated to the United States [i.e., the central government] by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
That is true, but I doubt there is a single governor of any of the fifty states who cannot enumerate the ways the central government has wrested power from them while imposing costs. When Arizona finds itself the object of a federal legal suit to prevent it from trying to control its border with Mexico, you know there’s a problem.
In an article, “Decentralization for Freedom,” by Professor Livingston, he raises some issues that are increasingly troubling to a growing number of Americans. He addresses the measures states can take “to protect their citizens from usurpations by the central government.” Among these are the passing of resolutions. “A continuous flood of resolutions from the states about the constitutionality of this or that issue (and widely publicized) would serve to educate the public.”
Thereafter, Professor Livingston recommends a resort to the Tenth Amendment by state legislators and governors in order to recover usurped authority. We are beginning to see another measure, the refusal to accept federal funding, due to its inevitable consequence, centralized control of education by the U.S. national government.
Resistance to Obamacare is based on the question of whether the national government can require individual citizens to purchase something they do not want. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a measure to repeal the objectionable item in the federal legislation, but the House-passed measure is stalled in the Democratic Party-controlled Senate. Reverse the situation and you have the central government telling Americans what they cannot buy, as in the case of the 100 watt incandescent light bulb in use since the days of Thomas Edison.
“Genuine federalism in America can be recovered only by political action in the name of the state’s own authority and not by U.S. Supreme Court legalism,” says Professor Livingston.
“To all of this, it is often said that state interposition, nullification, and succession were eliminated as policy options by the Civil War. Brute force, however, cannot settle moral and constitutional questions.” While Lincoln did “save the Union,” he did so at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives and the destruction of the American South.
Clearly, the central government has grown so large, so unwieldy, so wasteful, and so unresponsive to the problems and costs it has imposed that people are beginning to wonder why 435 Representatives in the U.S. House and 100 in the U.S. Senate should control the lives, the economy, and the education of more than 300 million people in fifty semi-autonomous states.
The President of the U.S.A. virtually makes law with “executive orders” and a bare majority of the nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court exercises final authority in determing the federal constitutionality of federal, state, and local laws. Congress is so divided by raw partisanship that it is barely functioning.
“The only remedy,” says Professor Livingston, “is territorial division of the Union through secession into a number of different and independent political units.”
“The current central government of the United States hates inequality, but it also fears the people,” says Professor Livingston, noting that “There is no law an American state can pass that cannot be overturned by the arrogant social engineers of the U.S. Supreme Court who, in the last fifty years, have played with the inherited moral traditions and federative policy of the American people like a quack with a hapless patient.”
“Constitutionally, this means that the states must reassert their autonomy under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments and recall those powers they have allowed to slip out of their hands to the central government.”
This is not a call for anarchy. It is the realization that the modern Presidency has aggregated to itself powers it does not have or, in the case of Libya, is ignoring the War Powers Act that limits its ability to engage the American nation in conflicts Congress does not ultimately authorize.
It is the realization that every United Nations treaty the United States of America signs deprives it of its rights as a sovereign nation-state.
It is a call for consideration that regional groups of states with common interests might provide better government within such groups, leaving to the central government the responsibility to protect the nation via a common military, conduct foreign affairs and return to the gold standard, which would protect the value of a common currency.
When one-in-five Americans give credence to the right of secession, it is clear that the problems being experienced in all fifty states -- the massive, centralized regulation of nearly all activities within those states, including the imposition of a centralized “core” curriculum to be taught in all schools -- is arousing a rediscovered sense of liberty among Americans.
What steps must be taken to retain that liberty and even to restructure the Union are as yet undetermined, but they are increasingly entering the public debate.
There is no debate that something is terribly wrong when a president is elected whose eligibility and legitimacy is in serious question, while the courts do nothing to address this critical constitutional issue and the Congress does nothing while sending bills for the President's signature.
© Alan Caruba, 2011
The Constitution of the United States of America
The American Constitutional System:
Principal Characteristics -- Federalism
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
LINKS TO PARTICULAR ISSUES & SUBJECT MATTER CATEGORIES
TREATED IN THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, U.S.A.:
American Government 2 * American Government 3 * American Government 4
American Government 5 * American Politics * Anglosphere * Arabs
Arms Control & WMD * Aztlan Separatists * Big Government
Black Africa * Bureaucracy * Canada * China * Civil Liberties * Communism
Congress, U.S. * Conservative Groups * Conservative vs. Liberal
Constitutional Law * Counterterrorism * Criminal Justice * Disloyalty * Economy
Education * Elections, U.S. * Eminent Domain * Energy & Environment
English-Speaking World * Ethnicity & Race * Europe * Europe: Jews
Family Values * Far East * Fiscal Policy, U.S. * Foreign Aid, U.S. * Foreign Policy, U.S.
France * Germany * Hispanic Separatism * Hispanic Treason * Human Health * Immigration * Infrastructure, U.S. * Intelligence, U.S. * Iran * Iraq * Islamic North Africa
Islamic Threat * Islamism * Israeli vs. Arabs * Jews & Anti-Semitism
Jihad & Jihadism * Jihad Manifesto I * Jihad Manifesto II * Judges, U.S. Federal
Judicial Appointments * Judiciary, American * Latin America * Latino Separatism
Latino Treason * Lebanon * Leftists/Liberals * Legal Issues
Local Government, U.S. * Marriage & Family * Media Political Bias
Middle East: Arabs * Middle East: Iran * Middle East: Iraq * Middle East: Israel
Middle East: Lebanon * Middle East: Syria * Middle East: Tunisia
Middle East: Turkey * Militant Islam * Military Defense * Military Justice
Military Weaponry * Modern Welfare State * Morality & Decency
National Identity * National Security * Natural Resources * News Media Bias
North Africa * Patriot Act, USA * Patriotism * Political Culture * Political Ideologies
Political Parties * Political Philosophy * Politics, American * Presidency, U.S.
Private Property * Property Rights * Public Assistance * Radical Islam
Religion & America * Rogue States & WMD * Russia * Science & Ethics
Sedition & Treason * Senate, U.S. * Social Welfare Policy * South Africa
State Government, U.S. * Subsaharan Africa * Subversion * Syria * Terrorism 1
Terrorism 2 * Treason & Sedition * Tunisia * Turkey * Ukraine
UnAmerican Activity * UN & Its Agencies * USA Patriot Act * U.S. Foreign Aid
U.S. Infrastructure * U.S. Intelligence * U.S. Senate * War & Peace
Welfare Policy * WMD & Arms Control
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
POLITICAL EDUCATION, CONSERVATIVE ANALYSIS
POLITICS, SOCIETY, & THE SOVEREIGN STATE
Website of Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor