I have one rule when interpreting how the nation was meant to function. Channel Thomas Jefferson, and all will be well.
The man credited with writing the majority of the Declaration of Independence — who was a strict Constitutionalist, advocator of federalism and one of two men responsible for the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions — was quite simply the man who best understood the path the nation needed in order to ensure its success.
James Madison and Jefferson are two men from our nation’s past whose lessons carry a more profound impact with every passing day.
Throughout the history of our great nation, Congress, the Senate, the Supreme Court and the White House have repeatedly ignored the very clear intent of the Constitution — a three-branched republic with power slightly tilted to Congress.
Before these transgressions began manifesting themselves in the form of increased taxes, growing bureaucracy, etc., Jefferson and Madison wrote the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions declaring the rights of states when the federal government overstepped its limits of jurisprudence – a.k.a. everything done by the federal government in the 20th century – to nullify federal laws.
Imagine the country we would live in today as if the federal government only provided that which the Constitution gives it permission to provide: no drug war, no income tax, no insurmountable deficit, no Patriot Act.
Why do we repeatedly elect people who wipe their feet on the Constitution? It seems we are stuck not between a rock and hard place, but between a manure truck and an organic fertilizer truck.
Liberals believe government is key to a better life — more government equals better living. Conservatives meanwhile believe legislating morality is the correct path for the nation.
As a result, we have two groups of incompetent people arguing over which aspects of free people’s lives their government should control. Hello? The answer to that moronic argument is none.
Complete dismissal of all federal laws would allow states to return to their rightful power in the U.S., but that’s not going to happen.
The officials elected by their states to represent them in Washington won’t take a stand against party politics.
This situation screams for an effort by the states, mid-west and mountain regions on their own if need be, to apply nullification.
Consider total nullification of drug laws to start, allowing the states to decriminalize and tax drugs if they see fit. Let’s be honest: If the federal government wiped out drug laws, Utah – and probably several others – would definitely maintain those laws.
The states have the constitutional right to choose their own paths.
The U.S. is not intended to have centralized power.
Ask a political science professor if we are following the Constitution. If the answer is no, be careful. He or she is either going to say it’s obsolete, or he or she is conservative and should be reported immediately to “the guild.”
If you read the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers and all of the supporting documentation from Jefferson and Madison’s time, you will come to the obvious conclusion these men designed as perfect a political system as one can find in any country on Earth.
Washington’s purpose is very clear: provide a sound military, provide and maintain infrastructure, coin money and (not to today’s extremes) manage foreign relations.
These are the functions to which they are supposed to limit their actions. There are several other functions at which they totally fail — sound immigration policy comes to mind.
Everything else they’ve legislated has violated the Constitution. Everything. The New Deal, TARP, the Great Society, the Patriot Act, the drug war and annually increasing budgets to support these idiotic and wasteful programs, are all violations that can and should be countered through nullification.
What would Jefferson and Madison do?
I, for one, believe they would demand nullification.
Next week: How nullification might play out.
Seth J. Stern is a junior undeclared liberal arts major. His tirade appears Fridays in the Collegian. Send comments, criticism, vilification or scorn to firstname.lastname@example.org.