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Reflections on History and America

America at the tipping point?

by
David Solway

Bio

July 10, 2013 - 12:05 am

The difference between history’s winners and losers obviously depends on the criteria we adopt to discriminate between success and failure on the level of nation, culture and civilization. For the purposes of this article, I will leave the display of military splendor and the creation of great art out of the equation. Neither military parades in a public square nor architectural wonders constitute a boon for ordinary people, even if they produce a feeling of national pride. Rather, I define success as a function of three complementary factors: the ability to survive intact for extended periods; the achievement of approximate prosperity in a largely impoverished world; and the fostering of a relatively free, confident and vigorous citizenry. (Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarian calculus developed in his A Fragment on Government, based on “the greatest happiness of the greatest number,” plainly does not consort with these observations, since happiness is both an ambiguous concept and a non-measurable “quantity.”)

Naturally, political and social conditions will differ markedly owing to the contingencies and realities of the epoch in question, but these three criteria appear essentially stable. I should also specify that the term “winner” in this context does not designate mere brute power leading to longevity but comes with a moral valence as well, ideally, a quality of mercy, respect for one’s fellow citizens and the sane administration of reasonable laws. President Kennedy was no paragon of virtue and some of his pronouncements are distinctly troubling; yet he clearly recognized the moral component of national success when he wrote, in his Cuban Missile Cris address of October 22, 1962, in refutation of  Thrasymachus’ “might is right” doctrine in Plato’s Republic: “Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right.” It should be noted, too, that the three basic factors I have outlined do not necessarily apply as an indivisible unit; sometimes one, sometimes another, will predominate, but no single one is sufficient in itself.

What I regard as failure reverses the elements involved: an abbreviated sojourn on the historical calendar; the curse of subsistence living or economic destitution; and a repressive sociopolitical system in which individuals are merged into a featureless collective or, for one or another reason, despoiled of the opportunity to realize their innate potentials.

Of the losers, the most prominent contemporary instance is the Soviet Union, whose overhyped “Communist utopia” collapsed after 70 years. Founded on unworkable principles, meretricious theory, false premises and a complete misunderstanding of human nature, the surprise was that it lasted even that long. Another undoubted loser is the Islamic imperium. Of course, Islam as a composite civilization embracing many diverse nations has endured for over 1400 years. It satisfies the criterion of longevity, but its current differential prosperity relies on external sources and is concentrated, for the most part, in the hands of a dynastic or theocratic minority. Nor can its citizens generally be described as vigorous, inventive, well-educated and emancipated. Aside from a brief efflorescence in the medieval era, Islam has given the world little in the way of human thriving, maintaining itself through violence, dogma, slavery and conquest. In his indispensable and encyclopedic Sharia versus Freedom, Andrew Bostom quotes the scholar of religion James Freeman Clarke to the effect that Islam “makes life barren and empty…It makes men tyrants or slaves, women puppets, religion the submission to infinite despotism.” Any nation or institution that makes common cause with Islam or allows its incursion into the body politic or into social and cultural life will eventually go the same route.

Arguably, the greatest winner in history was Rome spanning the period from Republic to Empire, before disintegration set in. The United States of America is not far behind in the winning category, probably the most dynamic nation ever to have appeared on the historical proscenium and the bulwark of Western civilization in the modern world, although its tenure, unlike Rome’s, was comparatively truncated, and many indicators suggest that exhaustion and decrepitude are nigh. The great experiment in republican governance, individual liberty, free market economics, industrial potency and energetic entrepreneurship was doomed by the inexorable forces of human corruption, naked greed, endemic stupidity and the onset of relaxed indifference to the kinetics of continued prosperity, the desideratum of internal unity and the harsh demands of survival in an unforgiving world. Its early decline may be understood as a function of its precipitous success and, in this sense, the current woes afflicting the nation may be considered as entirely predictable and strictly unavoidable. Debt, dependency, unproductivity, preoccupation with untenable theories and fads, internecine conflict, racial politics, affirmative (or infirmative) action, the multicultural salad bowl, intellectual debasement of the general public, a decadent clerisy, incompetent and sybaritic leaders and a climate in which, to cite Victor Davis Hanson, “profits create suspicion; failures earn subsidies” — all were scripted in history’s Domesday Book.

It was only a question of time and time is now foreclosing. Winners infallibly become losers in the chronicle of nations, cultures and civilizations, tracing, as I wrote several years ago in an analysis of the ideas of the philosophers of decline, “the deciduous arc into the mulch of history.” The decline is invariably accelerated by “the inner loss of the civilizing imperative, the erosion of pride in accomplishment, of political integrity, fiscal sobriety and belief in a system of core values, laws and conventions.”

One recalls Alexis de Tocqueville’s well-known and oft-cited passage from Book Four, Chapter VI, of Democracy in America, worth quoting more or less in full:

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp, and fashioned them at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a net-work of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided: men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd…Our contemporaries are constantly excited by two conflicting passions; they want to be led, and they wish to remain free: as they cannot destroy either one or the other of these contrary propensities, they strive to satisfy them both at once…A great many persons at the present day are quite contented with this sort of compromise between administrative despotism and the sovereignty of the people; and they think they have done enough for the protection of individual freedom when they have surrendered it to the power of the nation at large.

Tocqueville’s premonition of what lay in store for America is an expansion of Benjamin Franklin’s famous observation from the Historical Review of Pennsylvania of 1759: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Franklin’s apothegm itself derives from Aristotle’s seminal discussion in Politics: A Treatise on Government, where he stresses the necessity of active and committed citizens if the state is to flourish and remain strong; where such commitment is absent, the state invariably grows weak and decays into anarchy or absolutism. When one examines the social and political conduct of the United States today, one sees both anarchy and absolutism at work: a divided citizenry, giving the impression that America comprises really two — or more — competing nations, with the threat of secession floating in the air and economic chaos in the offing; and an increasingly autocratic political administration governing via executive privilege, the bypassing of Congress, the proliferation of draconian laws and regulations, internal espionage, stygian secrecy, constitutional delinquency, bureaucratic engorgement and the assumption of elitist privilege converging in the person of a “great leader.” The octopal state has its tentacles everywhere and its citizenry is subject to the invasive probing of a panoptic and all-encompassing entity. “1984 is here,” writes Roger Simon, “Someone is watching me, monitoring whatever I do. If I make a mistake, I will pay for it. My future will be bleak.” “And here’s the big problem,” he continues, “it’s hard to see how it’s going to get better.”

History has been kind to America for an ephemeral moment in aeonian time; and America has been good for the world. But not everyone loves a winner. Envy and resentment rather than gratitude have been its international reward. But what is even more damning and far less resistible is the spirit of envy and resentment that emanates from within the republic as it turns against itself — envy directed toward the productive classes; resentment for accomplishment and earned stature. And once an entitlement mentality asserts itself and begins to determine public policy, as Milton Friedman warned, the tipping point relentlessly approaches. When, as it has been said, there are as many people riding the wagon as there are pulling the wagon — the socialist conundrum — the wagon moves ever more slowly before grinding to a halt. This is precisely the condition of America today, where we appear to be witnessing the impending end of republican democracy and the “fundamental transformation” of a flawed but admirable nation into a neo-Marxist caricature of itself.

The only issue that remains is whether a winner that is losing can reclaim its place on the podium. Secession of a vital part from a sickly and imploding whole may go some way to restoration, but only for the part, and even then it is a risky proposition. A noble and determined leader — charisma is not enough and may often be destructive, as we have seen in the U.S. today — emerging unexpectedly on the scene may stave off disaster, at least for a time. For all his foreign policy blunders — withdrawing the marines from Lebanon, arming the Islamists in Afghanistan — such a leader was Ronald Reagan, who in his Farewell Speech pointed out “what it means to be an American,” namely, “a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions,” without which that “rare” and “fragile” thing, freedom, would be lost. A winner who lets freedom slip away becomes a loser before his time.

But the forecast is not encouraging. Reagan’s proud city “strong and true on the granite ridge” is sliding brick by brick and building by building into the environing ocean whose waves he thought it could withstand. Barring a miracle or a propitious awakening, the future has been written. History is claiming its due and history does not play favorites. Indeed, history does not play.

(Thumbnail on PJM homepage based on a modified Shutterstock.com image.)

David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity, and is currently working on a sequel, Living in the Valley of Shmoon. His new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, was released by Mantua Books. His latest book is The Boxthorn Tree, published in December 2012. Visit his Website at www.davidsolway.com and his Facebook page here.

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Top Rated Comments   
We are, on a daily basis, running up a debt that we will not be able to pay back. Our government's primary function right now is the resdistribution of money between citizens. Our economy is stagnant at best with real unemployment north of 10% now being accepted as normal. We have a political class with absolutely no respect for basic civil rights and contempt for even the basic rule of law, a press that cheerleads for the thugs in power and an electorate that doesn't seem to care. That's not "Reaganism" in decline, that's America.

And to answer your specific question about Obamacare and why we're freaking out about it: it's terrible in principle because it's an expansion of government power to extremely dangerous levels. And it's terrible in reality because it does...not....work. Higher premiums for worse coverage is a bad deal any way you look at it. And don't just take my word for it that it doesn't work... ask Obama!

I'd find your daily dimestore analysis of us and what's "really bothering us" a lot less annoying if you at least had some minimal command of the facts at hand.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We have absolutely tipped. The 2012 election results prove it. Obama (as well as most of his Sens and Reps) was, and is, an abject failure by any objective measure, yet he was re-elected with ease. It's an indication of an immoral, decadent and degenerate electorate. Every day brings news of federal government tyranny worse than anything King George III did, yet the public willingly accepts it (or stays willfully ignorant of it - with plenty of sugarcoating from the media) so long as the bennies keep coming.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
One has to give the lefties credit for intuitively understanding the one aspect of the human condition that is universal and using it to fashion the first rung on the ladder of decline, sexuality. The sexual revolution of the '60s and '70s replaced all of our traditional freedoms - political, religious, philosophical - with the freedom to engage in unrestricted sexual activity. From this new "freedom" other "freedoms" emerged. Drug abuse, family breakdown, abortion rights and a plethora of other pathologies were the result of unbridled sexuality, all of which created vast new bureaucracies of left wing helpers to tend to the needs of the millions injured by the new "freedom". Today young people who indulge in these truly unwholesome activities believe they are actually "free" and they are made to believe that conservatives are evil because they want to put some limits on self-destructive behavior. They are not free. They are tools of the state.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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Imagine how much of this would have been stopped if the media had just asked the right questions. One I would ask the president, "Why is it so damn important to you to have so many dependent on the government for their daily bread?"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Regarding secession, the author states, "Secession of a vital part from a sickly and imploding whole may go some way to restoration, but only for the part...."

I would choose to see it somewhat more favorably. Using the possibility of Texas and some other states to "secede", true secession probably would be of benefit only to the seceding states. But, if the so-called "secession" was in the form of a rebellion against the Fed government while remaining within the Union and refusing to meekly go along with the Fed's unconstitutional overreach, the following is possible. The states, hereafter Texas, could reform their government and, to a degree their society, to conform with the Constitution. That would entail deciding what works, i.e. is good for the people, and noting that which is wrong, bad or unworkable. Mostly, this would be a refusal to go along with the Feds with their alphabet departments and agencies and govern the state as the citizens want, not Washington, D. C.

If Texas would do this and be seen as the place to relocate to because of its prosperity, happy citizens and general lack of turmoil, other states might well decide that Texas is on the right path and worth emulating. A possible domino effect could change America back to what is was and was supposed to be as other states compared their lot with that of Texas.

Rather than "secession" as indicating "so-long, you're on your own" to the other states, if the attitude was "we are going to do something we feel is good and necessary and we want you to join us" the result could be very positive.

Frankly, I see no other reasonable alternative in taking America back to when she was good and great. A Texas with a population of people with a solid work ethic and welfare for only those in need as compared to those who merely want, would attract good citizens and shed those who want a free ride. A Texas with a school system that truly educates and does not indoctrinate students into the wonders of Utopia and big government, would raise up good citizens who want to continue on the path of liberty, freedom, and prosperity.

Not only individuals would seek to relocate, businesses who want the yoke of oppressive Fed government regulation eased would choose to relocate. The synergism of people who want to work, together with businesses who seek those who want to work without the deadwood now prevailing, could cause a regeneration of pride in Texas/America that would warm the hearts of true patriots.

As it stands today, the risk of great violence cannot be discounted when the forces of tyranny and oppression drive the freedom loving people into a corner. A "Texas" style rebellion could well prevent any such bloodshed.

Yes, Texas is hot. I lived in Brownsville for a few years but I would relocate there in a heartbeat if I could help reclaim the America I have known, loved ad fought for.


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Very well said! Bravo!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Tipped. Is it coming back? It will take a thorough and/or sudden decline that would produce a counteractive political movement. In this scenario, a true leader with Reagan's abilities and more knowledge than Reagan would lead. And which party would he represent? The Republicans are more and more the party of 'us too' - beneficiaries of big gov't, raking in the salaries and benefits, being fine, mostly, with the overreaching. Sitting fairly quietly for Obama.

So the next thing is multiple states seceding, nearly simultaneously. Can't see it, unless precipitated by some disastrous internal events, inherently internal. Even then, I see no path from violent urban uprisings or accelerated economic decline to that. Even if Texas, for instance, were to leave, it would only take out a healthy state, relatively. The decline would accelerate.

So it will take one or more heroic figures to emerge, an astounding man or woman. Otherwise, just sliding away until things get truly ugly.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
David, if you will permit me...I would like to ride on the sideboard of your essay with a related, albeit, not on all four squares of your essay.

First, we are not at the tipping point. We have tipped. And the fine wine that once was this great nation...is staining the ground beneath us.

Second, we every bit of pride I can muster...my country and my countrymen have been the greatest gift to mankind in history. There is no second place. We have served the greater good in sacrifice, we have been a beacon of how to be great and good at the same time, our Constitution has been a document drafted by a pen from the heavens, and our decency toward our enemies knows no equal.

Third, the greatness of a nation and a society lies in the balancing of community and individual. In balancing the rule of law with the free will of the individual. In allowing the freedom to err, but not the intent to terrorize. In propping up the timid and shy and throttling the bully and tyrant.

In the mirroring of the gift from heaven of man's free will which allows him to sin and feel the pangs of guilt and repent...yet, not allowing the reckless absence of rules, turning into a free for all...anomie...and chaos.

Alas, David...MY generation...the spoiled, arrogant, and misguided Baby Boomers...destroyed all that was great about the Golden Country that was America.

The "Me" Generation, the "do your thing, without consequence or conscience", the aggressively disloyal, the sneering condescendence, the lack of honor and the slap in the face of God...turned paradise into festival of leftist excesses and has left nothing but destruction in its wake.

We have tipped, David...because the pit of snakes that leftism brings to Eden, tempts with promises it does not intend to keep and does not wish to fulfill.

We are in the throes of a death rattle. We are succumbing to tyranny. We cannot find truth and the rules change on the blackboard as if Orwell was alive and penning a sequel in real time. Orwell's dogs are alive and we witness them daily now. Our government can sic one on us at will.

We have tipped. The execrable Baby Boomers have created hell from heaven. Have snatched greatness and replaced it with shame. There are enough good people left to save us yet...but, we are deep in the drowning. We need a hero. And, as I sit here...I see none in sight.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I was born in the middle of the first wave of 'Boomers in 1949, so I'm from the maw of the beast. Sorry, cfb, but the communists were already here. Even in The South many of my K-12 teachers were unabashedly liberal. I started college in the fall of '67 and almost all of my professors were very liberal and many were open communists. This was in Georgia, not CA, MA, or NY. When the Berzerkley Free Speech dissent began in '64, the only 'Boomers who could have even been enrolled in college would have maybe been a few prodigies and some 18 yr. old freshmen born in '46. They might have been singing songs and carrying signs in Berkeley, but in '65 "Ballad of the Green Berets" made it to #1 on the Billboard charts. None of the Chicago 7 were Boomers. Few of the SDS and Weathermen leaders were Boomers.

If you want to find the seed of the rot in this Country, you need to look at the "Greatest Generation" and their idol FDR, who willfully or blindly let open communists run the federal government and infiltrate all facets of American life. One of the first things that fool did was recognize the USSR and allow a country whose avowed intent was the revolutionary overthrow of every non-communist government in the World to establish formal, legal operating bases in the form of an embassy and consulates in the US. US miltary and industrial technology was both willingly turned over to the Soviets and brazenly stolen by and on behalf of the Soviets. American communists under Comintern direction embarked on a campaign to infiltrate American institutions. The NKVD/GRU operatives in the San Francisco consulate found willing helpers in the atomic espionage program in the hallowed halls of Berkeley.

The reality is that if you went to college in the '60s and later you got a healthy dose of leftist indoctrination. If you went straight from college to work for government, in some professions, especially law, in media, or entertainment, you could and probably would keep the same dumba** ideas you heard and had smoking dope in college dorm rooms in the '60s and '70s. If you left school for the world of private sector business you walked into the whirlwind of wage and price controls then raging inflation driven by the increase in oil prices, then the stagflation and misery index world of the mid - to - late '70s and into the '80s. That reality laid a pretty good mugging on most of us. The first election any significant number of 'Boomers could vote in was '68, which Nixon won. The majority of first wave Boomers could vote by '72 and Nixon crushed the leftist darling McGovern. Carter ran as a conservative Southern governor and was never really accepted by the left, see, e.g., Kennedy's run against him in '80. Then Reagan won twice, the second time overwhelmingly, then GHWB. Clinton was the first Boomer President and he typified that child of the '60s that went from school to government. But then GWB was a 'Boomer too. Obama, b. 1961, is barely a 'Boomer and growing up in Indonesia and Hawaii is hardly the "Endless Summer" or "Acid, Incense, and Balloons" upbringing of more typical American 'Boomers.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We have absolutely tipped. The 2012 election results prove it. Obama (as well as most of his Sens and Reps) was, and is, an abject failure by any objective measure, yet he was re-elected with ease. It's an indication of an immoral, decadent and degenerate electorate. Every day brings news of federal government tyranny worse than anything King George III did, yet the public willingly accepts it (or stays willfully ignorant of it - with plenty of sugarcoating from the media) so long as the bennies keep coming.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Si, Verboten;
2012 elections display the widespread government corruption and the explicit collusion between the government and private organizations to command votes and constituencies.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And when our proud city has fully slid into the environing ocean the elites remaining on the remnants of dry land will look down, smile and say "...we've finally succeeded! Look! They're all equal now!"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Students of the history of warfare have found that in every great battle
there is a tipping point, and at that point, the losing side often had the means
to win by a change in tactics, but seldom had the exceptional ability to do so.

The good news is that the USofA probably has the ability to reform and reinvent
itself; The bad news is that this process must wait until the mistakes of TPTB
are made manifest through an economic collapse, with all the suffering that
entails. I really, really want to be wrong about this, but looking at world news...


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm completely in agreement with you. We're going to undergo the equivalent of a national Chapter 11 of the federal Leviathan. Likely piece by piece, likely in an environment of incredible tension and unrest, particularly in the cities, with rising interest rates and prices, but many of the programs that the dependent class has come to know and love will be dismantled and handed back to the states. That will be our revolution.

States that respect freedom, the rule of the law, and the sanctity of contract (let's call those "red states" for shorthand) will continue to prosper relative to those run by redistributionist kleptocracies ("blue states"). Not coincidentally, the blue states will find themselves increasingly dependent upon the red states for food, fuel, and basic manufactured goods, and the terms of trade will tilt to the point where the blue states find the welfare utopia unsustainable. More civil unrest ensues.

Members of Congress from the red states have as their duty the prevention of redistribution from the producers to the parasites, until the parasites come to recognize that smaller government and greater self-reliance lead to prosperity for all. That is a multigenerational correction. However, it is possible. It will be painful getting from here to there, and let us hope that the restructuring is managed by Americans and not by the IMF and foreign creditors. But we will get there.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If Boehner and the House republicans do not unite and stand against this imperious regime (defund obamacare) we should throw them all out in 2014 and elect some more Gowdy-Lee-Cruz-Chaffetz types to do exactly that!

ENOUGH IS DAMN ENOUGH!

Remember BENGHAZI!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
OK, no mention of religion per se, though I guess it appears under the rubric of "civilizing imperative," "active and committed citizens" and "gratitude," all by-products, I assert, of individual and collective ownership of the Judeo-Christian values on which Western democracies are founded.

" ... if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).

The U.S.A. (Canada too, where I'm from) is badly in need of healing which can happen only when there's an admission of guilt, that we've screwed up, and an acceptance that we need to atone for our obsessive narcissism by re-entering into a covenant with one another to "love our neighbours as ourselves."

Obama isn't into loving his neighbour, especially if s/he isn't black and isn't on his side of the aisle. He has brought tribalism and race relations to a new low in the U.S.

We need to acknowledge the role of religion -- or no religion which is increasingly the case in the West, except for excessive Islam -- in creating stable communities. Increasingly, as deluded human beings regard human enterprise as the apex of our abilities and aspirations, leaving God/G_d out of the equation, we are experiencing a fragmentation, an atomizing, of our shared existence.

It's not working.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, and that's why you'll never see it. Stable communities don't NEED the State and don't NEED them to take control. Why else do you think they favor anything that breaks down faith, family and local community?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, you were making some good, though turgid, points until you slipped on the banana peel of hyperbole. Being "transformed into a neo-Marxist caricature of itself" qualifies to the nth degree and at this level it takes away from your argument that things looks pretty shaky right now with Muslim-boy in the WH. Sure, Obama is something of a joke that too many people really don't get. But O alone does not make fundamental transformation happen. It takes a lot more flakes than are currently soiling the US Congress and government in general to do that. Their crap will be cleaned-up in due course. In the meantime, Canadian scolds should temper it just a bit and be prepared to watch in (apparent) disbelief as it unfolds next year and very likely on in 2016.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What part of demographics do you people not understand? The inevitability of America's decline is overwhelming. Stop wringing your hands as we slide ever further into this disastrous decline. Stop waiting for a messiah or a sudden change of mind of those who, in all likelihood, are incapable of even understanding or appreciating what America was. Peacefully succeed--or at the very least--insist on full state's rights in lieu of succession.

If you are aware and acknowledge that we are slipping away, arguably you are more guilty of the loss of western civilization--with all its lessons from the reformation, The Enlightenment, scientific method, freedom of the individual and reason above all else--than those deluded by socialism, totalitarianism and conformity.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
People might take you more seriously if you could spell secede and secession.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Screwed that one up. For as many times as I've written it correctly, I don't know what happened. But from here on out, I'll be more careful and--to return the favor--I'll start checking your own comments for typos.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Don't shoot the messenger. There are two things which can reverse our gradual descent into Marxist Utopia (serfdom for us - utopia for the Marxists):

1) State-sponsored nullification of un-Constitutional laws, regulations and court decisions within their respective borders

2) State-sponsored Constitutional amendment.


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In most cases federal law supersedes state law. And with a federal supreme court wedded to interpreting away the constitution--even with many current Republican appointees--it will only get worse with a Democratic near-lock on the presidency.

As is the nature of the two-party system, Republicans will probably become competitive again but only after they have so compromised their platform that they become nothing what they are today.

What you advocate would, in essence, requires what it is that I have called for: state powers well beyond as they exist today.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes - delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force… that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers…” Thomas Jefferson – 1798 Kentucky Resolution

http://americanhistory.about.com/library/docs/bldockyres.htm

“That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact [U.S. Constitution], to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil." James Madison – 1798 Virginia Resolution

http://www.constitution.org/cons/virg1798.htm
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof… shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” Article 6, U.S. Constitution

The key phrase “which shall be made in pursuance thereof” means that all Federal laws made in pursuance of and in compliance with the Constitution are superior to State laws. Federal laws not made in pursuance of and not in compliance with the Constitution are null and void. Such Federal laws are un-Constitutional and therefore inferior to Constitution-compliant State laws. So, it is apparent from reading the Constitution that Federal Government is in fact supreme over the States in those powers delegated to it by the Constitution and in Federal Laws “which shall be made in pursuance thereof,” but inferior to the States in those powers not delegated to it by the Constitution and in Federal Laws which are not made in pursuance thereof.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What should be and shouldn't be is not in dispute amongst us. The problem is what effectively is.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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