There is no better way to celebrate “Constitution Day” than by learning how to enforce the document it claims to celebrate.
The Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787, and every year that date passes by with hardly a sound. Sure, now that it’s considered a day of “federal observance” you’ll find government schools around the country including it in their lesson plans. But these discussions generally focus on “Constitution Trivia” instead of what’s really important. While it may be good to educate our young on how many years a Senator serves, or how Supreme Court justices are appointed, it’s not enough. Seriously lacking in the public discourse is the actual purpose of the Constitution - its underlying principles.
When the Constitution was being considered for ratification, there was strong opposition from famous American figures that included George Mason and Patrick Henry. One major reason for this was a fear of too much power. The founding generation spent their lives toiling under a tyranny – a government without limits. But, when the Constitution was written, it was done to codify in law that the powers of government would be limited to those which had been delegated to it – and nothing more.
The entire system was created under the principle of popular sovereignty – that ‘We the People of the Several States’ created the government, and all powers not delegated to it, were retained.
But that’s not something you’re likely to hear from politicians in Washington DC, political pundits, schools, or just about anywhere else. It’s generally not in their interest, either. If politicians and their backers were promoting such ideas as originalism and limited government, they’d never be able to convince you that they have the power to tell you what kind of health care plan you’ll be getting, how big your toilet can be, what kind of plants you’re allowed to grow, whether or not you’ll be able to defend your family, whom you can buy and sell from, and even when you must send your children to die for them.
MORE OF THE SAME
Throughout history, even kings and queens have often failed to survive such acts of hubris; but, in “free” America, the major parties that produce all the presidents continue to receive approval through tens of millions of votes. And where has that gotten people?
Well, let’s take a look at some major issues.
If you were opposed to war in the Bush administration, you’ve still got wars and threats of more wars under Obama.
If you were opposed to national health care under Clinton, you got a massive expansion of government health care under George Bush, which laid the groundwork for an even bigger expansion under Obama.
If you didn’t like the federal government passing the Patriot Act without even reading it, you’re still getting the same failure to read today.
On the other hand, if you liked the Bush surveillance programs, you’ve gotta love the ones that Obama has given you!
No matter what side of the political aisle you sit on, the federal government is not your friend. It’s not a friend to the Constitution, and it’s certainly no friend to your liberty. For years and years, people have yelled “vote the bums out!” “Call Congress now!” “March on DC!” But, in the long run, little to none of this actually works.
If you oppose this national health care plan, they’ll give you that one. If you oppose today’s spying program, they’ll create a different one tomorrow. If you oppose one war, you’ll get another one.
Decade in and decade out, the government keeps growing, and your liberty keeps shrinking. And it doesn’t matter if the person in charge is named Obama, or Bush, or Reagan, or Clinton.
The bottom line? Looking to the federal government - whether it’s though elections, or protests, or lawsuits, or rallies - is a failed strategy.- So how about trying something new?
A DIFFERENT PATH: NULLIFICATION
Over the years, wise men and women warned us that the Constitution would never enforce itself. I believe it’s time for people to recognize this as fact, and bring that enforcement closer to home.
Fortunately, this is already starting to happen. All that’s needed is you to help take it to the next level.
In recent years, more than two-dozen states have defied federal laws banning the production, sale and consumption of marijuana. Three states have banned enforcement of some federal gun laws. Three states now allow the farming of industrial hemp, contrary to what the federal government permits. And a number of states have taken steps to block the effects of NSA spying or the Affordable Care Act.
In Jeffersonian-speak, this all falls under the banner of “nullification.” This happens when a state takes any set of actions that results in a federal law being rendered null and void, or simply unenforceable within that state. In other words, not a law – in practice – as far as that state is concerned.
Whether you’re on the left, or on the right, or even somewhere in the middle, the path to freedom, the path to your own political goals lies not in Washington D.C. Instead, it lies in Madison, and Jefferson (City) – and other state capitols around the country.
This Constitution Day, take a new pledge. Ignore and nullify the federal government. Going to the federal government to fix problems created by the federal government is as futile as it is dangerous.