State resistance to rogue post-constitutional federal government: the last best hope
You’ve read me make this argument several times now, but let me repeat it yet again: the way to reestablish first principles is, quite simply, by reestablishing fidelity to the Constitution; and the way to reestablish fidelity to the Constitution is both to follow it as it was written and to acknowledge its clear intentions, both on the macro and micro levels: the Constitution provides the framework for levels of government, providing the federal government with certain clearly defined enumerated powers, with the rest being left to the states and the we the people, all while creating a system of checks and balances and messy adversarial battles with an implied judicial review — that latter of which can only function as intended should the judiciary adopt as its interpretive methodology any cast of originalism/intentionalism that seeks, in those instances where the Constitution itself is not abundantly clear, to determine what was in fact meant by those who wrote and then passed legislation, weighing it against the corporate intent, that is, the common understanding of what the Constitution proposed by those who agreed to ratify it (which, for instance, would de-problematize the 2nd Amendment), in order to determine a law’s Constitutionality.
To this end, I’ve suggested that states — particularly those states with strong conservative governors and majority GOP state legislatures or assemblies — begin resisting federal and bureaucratic laws and mandates that fall outside the clear purview of the central government as laid out in the Constitution itself. That is, resist those laws and mandates that the federal government has no facial authority to issue or impose — regardless of what some robed philosopher kings bent on creating new law sui generis attempt to foist upon the owners of the government, we the people, either out of some commitment to “social justice,” some clever application of unrelated precedent, or some re-writing of the law in order to maintain a veneer of political impartiality (and yes, CJ Roberts, I’m looking at your pompous ass).
The Supremacy Clause, the Commerce Clause, the General Welfare Clause — all of these have been gradually expanded over time by poor or politically expedient (and hermeneutically incoherent) court decisions to give the federal government power and reach that a plain reading of the Constitution prohibits. Which suggests that the bridge between an outsized federal government with nearly all-encompassing legislative and regulatory powers and the original intent of the Constitution itself, has been paved with bad law upheld by bad courts, including those “conservative” courts that like to defer to prior court decisions rather than basing their rulings on the original text and intent of the Constitution itself. Else, how to explain the clear and obvious distance we’ve traveled legally from the system of government so carefully considered and laid out by the founders and framers for the express purpose of preventing government tyranny and promoting individual sovereignty and liberty — along with the promotion of state and local power over distant federal power — to manage the affairs of a diverse national populace?
Sadly, many states — and here, recall the Colorado Democrat who recently chafed at the very idea Republican legislators would pen legislation citing Constitutional and natural law in order to justify resisting federal tyranny, the argument being that for a state to defy a federal law, however unconstitutional on its face, is unconscionable, failing as it does to recognize the “supremacy” of the federal government — either lack the political will and courage, have forsaken their local duties for the promise of the “free” federal money meant explicitly to buy them off, or else are run by statists whose first commitment is to the federal government at the expense of their own state’s Constitutional power, and so refuse to stand on principle and in support of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
But this reality, that many so-called conservative governors succumb to the siren call of federal largess (and we’ve seen six so far cave on ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, at the expense of their own constituencies, who down the road will be unduly burdened by the costs they’ll be required to bear), is not a reason to suggest that the strategy of state resistance is a losing one.
Instead, it’s an argument for creating litmus tests for future gubernatorial candidates, mayoral candidates, and local municipal officials — and a clarion call for defeating incumbents who would trade away their state sovereignty, at the expense of the citizenry who elected them to power, for federal money and the release of pressure that comes from the media once they’ve surrendered principle and succumbed to the leftist paradigm.
This, along with a full-throated campaign against the legacy media, the aim of which should be to circumvent the propaganda arm of statist government and reach low-information voters to let them know how their liberties are being systematically usurped, is what the long-term strategy of the TEA Party needs to look like: states will follow the Constitution, and if that means defying a federal government or a judiciary that will not, then resist we much.
To that end, here’s Mark Levin last evening, discussing what he himself has called his own “radicalization” — and finally reaching the point where he actively advises states to resist federal overreach and to fight those federal officials acting in the Constitutional breech.
It’s powerful stuff when you listen to it — and I suspect my own writings on the subject haven’t been able to give it the vitality Levin does here. But the fact remains: the legion of willing Hobbits is growing. And it is down this path — not the path outlined by the phony “Conservative Victory Project” and go-along statist Republicans hoping to marginalize constitutionalists and redefine themselves as the real conservatives, while normalizing Marxism and relegating actual conservatism to fringe extremism — that we must in greater numbers be willing to go.
Either we’re serious about fixing the last best hope for freedom or we’re not. Our options are limited. But such is the case when the government becomes professionalized and begins to concern itself with its own interests rather than the interests of the people. When virtue is removed from government — when elected and appointed officials grant themselves the power to work in concert to circumvent the Constitution when it fits their needs, then to hide behind it when they require its protections — then the rule of law is selectively enforced and, consequently, in invalidated.
Obama is operating demonstrably outside of his Constitutional authority (cf., with regards to the Appointments Clause). Regulatory agencies have become a shadow legislature unanswerable to the people, with politicized bureaucratic appointees laying claim to civil service protections. And the Federal Reserve is actively devaluing the currency and manipulating interest rates in order to stave off an inevitable collapse.
Meanwhile, the national GOP has determined that the way forward is to adopt the left’s pandering and vote buying schemes — to adjust its rhetoric in order to “re-brand” itself as compassionately profligate at the very time it should be willing and able to stand up and tell the truth to the American people.
This is why I’ve said for years now that we have a de facto one party country, the rest being but Kabuki theater to keep the non-ruling class rubes who still believe they have a say in the trajectory of government riled up and committed to donating to a supposedly adversarial system. In truth, however, the GOP establishment is looking to defeat the Democrats only so that it can control the levers of power and influence and revenue — not to reestablish Constitutional government and individual or state sovereignty.
Which is why it works hardest to attack and delegitimate conservatives / classical liberals / libertarians while poring money into “moderates” and those messaging outlets that serve their agenda.
As I noted yesterday, we need to stop listening to those whose counsel has been so egregious, not grow their influence by offering them conference speaking roles, where they mouth conservative bromides only to return to their venues and attack principled conservatives as “purists” and “True Believers” before yet again advocating for a pragmatism that has over time created a party rooted in nothing but the desire to win elections and assume power.
They stand for nothing but their own self-interests. And they must be defeated and relegated to the very fringes they are working so hard to relegate us to.
To do less is to guarantee our own demise. It is, as I’ve said for years, no more than losing more slowly — willingly deluding ourselves and hoping that somehow the problems fix themselves. The politicians and many in the political chattering classes don’t think this way: they either see the end coming, and are busy feathering their own nests before the collapse; or else they are but useful idiots playing party cheerleader in exchange for coinage, influence, and name recognition.
This insight, once adopted, will set you free.