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Arguments AGAINST State Nullification -- Feedback Please

Personally, I welcomed Tom Woods' book on nullification as a breath of fresh air. The concept of the states as sovereign entities having actual rights to contain an overarching federal government, is a perspective sorely lacking in contemporary political thought.

But I also acknowledge that there is such a thing as the right idea at the wrong time.

Is pushing for state nullification premature; a STRATEGIC mistake?

Do we have the numbers of people needed to defend a nullifying state against a federal attack?

If not, do we risk another setback to states' rights, setting another terrible precedent?

From the Freedom First Society's March newsletter:

Our objection has nothing to do with
whether states have the right to nullify
federal laws, propose a constitutional
amendment, or even call for a
constitutional convention. The issue
is whether those are the right things
to do. Unfortunately, the arguments
supporting any of those steps rely
on faulty assumptions regarding the
source of our problems.
Of course, the people have made
poor use of their power in allowing
the federal government to ignore
constitutional limits. Why? Because
they are constantly misled and
confused by the Conspiracy, which
dominates the media, the political
parties, and so much of education.
The American people don’t
understand the Conspiracy’s influence
and deceptions, and so they have sat by,
while the Conspiracy has centralized
power in Washington and weakened
the brilliant checks and balances
crafted into our constitutional system.
But a movement focused on state
nullification of federal laws would
leave the Conspiracy’s influence
intact. Even worse, consider:

• State nullification is a revolutionary
step that circumvents the principle
of federalism and sets the stage for a
severe federal reaction. Nullification
advocates either overlook, or do
not know, that the Conspiracy loves
faction and confrontation — and that
a state-nullified law might serve as a
pretext for dispatching federal troops
to enforce the law.
• Force of arms is not the only means
the federal government has to obtain
state compliance. In the past, the
federal government has threatened
to withhold highway, welfare, and
education funds from non-compliant
states. Would a nullifying state be
willing to forego those amenities?
And would the citizens continue to
pay federal taxes that support what
the state rejects? These are serious
complications that could lead to the
breakup of the Union, or despotic, or
violent confrontation. Wouldn’t the
enemy love that?
The states gave up a very important
check on federal power when they
were fooled by the Conspiracy
into ratifying the 17th Amendment
(providing for the direct election
of U.S. senators). Nevertheless, an
informed electorate still has the power
to restore good government through
the House of Representatives.
So let’s use the freedoms we
still enjoy and build that informed
electorate. Then we can return the
source of the bad federal laws —
Congress — to the side of freedom.
There is no easy way — we build
an informed electorate, or we live in a

What do you think?

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For starters, what you are citing references some "conspiracy"

I'll let you in on a little secret - there is no vast conspiracy.

There is a natural tendency in some people to seek power.

Power corrupts.

That is all.

Now, on the to the topic...

The author has a limited and warped view of nullification.

Nullification does not circumvent federalism. It seeks to preserve it. Nullification is about keeping the Feds in their little circle, and the States in theirs. It isn't about no central government at all. It is about maintaining and in many cases restoring balance where the Feds have overstepped their circle. (which is very tiny)

There will be no use of troops unless property is seized, particularly, military installations.

Eventually, as a nullification issue develops out of control due to the Feds refusal to adhere to the limits on their power, there may come a point where a State Legislature rescinds their cession of land to the Feds for this or that purpose. This is entirely Constitutional mind you. But it will still piss off the Feds. In that case, they MAY send in troops. But that is only after everything else has broken down. There are many opportunities to avoid that and the biggest one is that when the Feds overstep, and the States tell them to back off, they comply.

As for the carrot approach with highway funds, etc. That too can be nullified. There is no provisions for most of that stuff in the Constitution. A State that was serious about nullification would have to go "all-in" so to speak. To pick and choose where to allow the Feds to abuse their power won't work. You have to be consistent in upholding principles, or they are not principles at all. This would include so-called income taxes. The Constitution is clear that the Congress cannot tax the people directly without the interposing of apportionment. (meaning the States actually collect and remit the tax) And the 16th does not create a direct un-apportioned tax, it merely makes it clear (it failed that) that a tax on income (as defined in the 1906 CORPORATION TAX ACT) is an excise and thus needs no apportionment. So all a nullifying State needs to do, is demand the Feds adhere to the Supreme Court decisions about the 16th and stick to the definition of "income" that is forever fixed in the amendment. (hint, "income" is not "everything that comes in.") That will be a battle (figuratively) for the ages, but one that needs to be and will be fought eventually.

Finally, we are in the same boat with respect to the House of Representatives as we were in 1913 with the Senate. Districts are too large. There is too much money influence on the seats.

There is NO WAY the people can take back their government with only the House left to them.

There is no way the States can reign in the Feds by relying on the People through the House.

If you think that is going to work, you might as well start praying for full anarchy and collapse, because otherwise, it ain't gonna happen.

We ALREADY live in an Orwellian police state.

THIS is what one looks like.

We have the pretenses of Liberty, and all the function of tyranny.

We just don't have troops on the streets. And that would only spark revolt. The way it is now, people are begging for tyranny and begging others not to fight it - even you are with your post.

Sam: State Power vs. Federal Power

Neither bring Individualism -- one seems more manageable then the other, but it's what lead to Federalism anways.....The fact that states cannot do it without a Grand Decider.

People abdicate thus the State

State Leaders abdicate thuse the Central Gov't

Gov't Barfs up Welfarism and Bites State Leaders

State Leaders Doll out Welfarism and Ask for more Votes

I'm seeing a circular loop error here.

Try this:

People never abdicate (vote-lobby-affiliate) No State

No State Leaders No Abdication = No Central Gov't

We need a gov't so weak and timid if less than 5% of the populace disagree with it it is dismantled and at-best (when it is agreeable) it lasts only one year.

Read my short-hand "ideal" -- follow the links below my post here.

Fallacious Reasoning

Like all "dreamy" philosophers (though I agree with him on many points and love to listen to him - as a lecturer) what Woods is proposing is Bigger Gov't (at the state level) not only is State Nullyfication premature (at this point) but it's based on the 100% failed notion that politics can free the individual.

CFR State = CFR Federal
---No Difference

Voting is Abdication of Self-Rule
---Asking another to make decisions on your behalf

Lobbying is Bribery
---Buying the voting decision of the one you voted for
---Bribery is Aggression

Party Politics is Unionization (in the medium to long run)
---Long-Run "unions" are antithesis to free-markets

I don't see the problem from the state end

Any "attack" upon a state that chooses to nullify federal law based upon our constitution will be fought in the courts. I don't see the "force of arms" you suggest coming into play. There could be the witholding of federal funds that you mention and that would harm states but it would be seen by the public as just what it is...extortion. A lot would depend upon how Congress reacts, and with a Republican controlled House if they truly believe what they have been saying that reduction in funds still won't happen.

On the personal side however, as it would apply to individuals and the federal income tax, I think that there could be major problems. Then it moves into the federal governments place of authority and without assistance from the states individuals could not stand up to that.

In the end though if this issue is going to be decided it isn't going to be easy and it is going to require sacrifice. The states have ignored their rights for so long it's going to take some doing before the federal government once again recognizes it's constitutional duty to respect those rights.

"What I want most from the government is to be left alone." GWT