Obama and the Second American Revolution
On July 4th we should remember that our revolution was not a conflict to enshrine human liberty. Britain, not America, promulgated the 1628 Petition of Rights. The British Bill of Rights (1689) preceded our Bill of Rights by a century. British books like Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (1776) and John Locke's Two Treatises of Government (1689) helped teach us how ordered liberty should work.
On Independence Day it is independence we celebrate. An arrogant government in London had treated us less as countrymen and more as subjects. The defining event came on January 29, 1774, when the great polymath Benjamin Franklin was ridiculed and humiliated before the Privy Council in London as he tried to reason with lesser men whose physical proximity to power meant more than Franklin's genius and goodwill. Geographical concentration of power kills freedom.
Why has America been the world's champion of freedom? It is not because of theoretical rights (the Soviet Constitution was full of explicit rights). Our freedom exists in part because of a heritage of freedom we brought from England, Holland, and Scotland. But our system of sovereign states has been vital to preserving liberty. Why?
State legislators must heed voters because they are so close to the voters and live not in state capitals but throughout the state. Members of the House of Representatives were supposed to be that popular check on federal abuse of citizens, but House members have about 750,000 constituents. They live in Washington; they build war chests; their staff works overtime to do favors for constituents. The net effect is that those federal politicians closest to the people can largely ignore the folks back home and heed the winds of Washington.
Our federal district is the practical home of almost everyone who is anyone in the federal government. It is dramatically more liberal than any state. While conservatives outnumber liberals in every state of the union, according to Gallup, only 18% of those in Washington are conservatives while 41% of Washingtonians are liberals. Survey USA reveals that in New York City, perhaps the heart of non-governmental liberalism, liberals outnumber conservatives by the relatively modest 25% to 20%. Our national capital is wildly farther to the left than anywhere else in the nation. Why? The left loves power and despises any decentralization of power, to people or to states. The "evolution" of the Constitution has been a two-century erosion of state sovereignty to the benefit of a centralized national bureaucracy.
When states have the sovereign power which the Constitution describes then politicians who tax too much or regulate too much or engage in egregious bigotries, then the marketplace of a federal system strips those states of people, creativity, and hard work. The just concluded census revealed, again, that millions of Americans have voted with their feet.
Our nation has reached a pivotal point. Conservatives are fighting a peaceful, political Second American Revolution. Last November Republicans made huge gains in state governments. Rather than wait passively for the central hives of the left to form and then attack, bold Americans like Scott Walker and Chris Christie have waged a policy war against public employee unions. In state after state, Republicans holding fast to their principles are winning legislative battles and showing big labor to be a gluttonous and gutless foe. The nostalgic cries of big bosses ganging up on impoverished unions rings hollow in the ears of most Americans (ignore manufactured polling data to the contrary). Even worse, the NLRB is fighting to prevent Boeing for locating some production operations in more business-friendly South Carolina instead of Washington State. That is, quite simply, fascism.
Conservatives are also fighting hard for the rights of the unborn. This was always, before Roe v. Wade, an issue of state law and never a constitutional issue. The pro-life laws passed these days show the comedy of treating abortion differently from homicide or rape, which are also issues of state law. Arizona has banned racially based abortion; will the left defend prenatal genocide? Nebraska banned abortion after 20 weeks because of fetal pain; will PETA deny that a fetus tortured to death is, at least, an animal? The busybody left wants gruesome warnings on cigarettes obligatory, so how can it but oppose young women being honestly told about abortions?
Arizona now joined by several other states in passing immigration laws to do the job that the federal government is legally obliged to do. A number of states, including Wisconsin, Texas, Tennessee, Kansas, South Carolina, and Alabama, have enacted new laws requiring voter identification to vote. Democrats oppose these anti-fraud messages for the usual made-up reasons, but Republicans in states are not backing down.
Twenty-nine states are suing the federal government in a challenge to the constitutionality of ObamaCare. It is likely that after the 2011 off-year election and 2012 election that more states may join this litigation.
What if conservatives took the next logical step in this peaceful revolution? What if state legislatures did what the Virginia and Kentucky legislatures did when the Alien & Sedition Acts were passed and declare federal statutes which violated their reading of the Constitution as void? The federal judiciary, a virtual equivalent of the British nobility in 1776, simply granted itself the right to interpret the Constitution. What if a clear majority of these state legislatures passed resolutions which created a power of the states to nullify any federal action which violated the Tenth Amendment?
The question is not academic. The dull and heavy hand of central power is crushing our nation. The political war of independence is for the independence of the vital check of sovereign states. If we lose that battle, then we have lost the war.