Nullification: A Powerful Weapon in the Fight for Liberty

We are faced with increasing federal tyranny these days.

Most Americans seem unaware or ambivalent about the federal reach into their lives. Most do not know just how invasive it has become.

Sitting at my desk, I can see printers, pens, lamps, diplomas, books, a clock, my laptop, and little knick-knacks. All of these items are regulated. The federal government has touched the lives of every single American in ways that it never had the authority to do. Everything on my desk has been taxed; some items have been taxed multiple times. The light bulb in the lamp that sheds light on this writing is now no longer made per the government instituted ban on incandescent light bulbs. The Internet that allows me to share this with you is in danger of being regulated by the federal government – the same government is in charge of the health care of millions, Social Security, and many wasted and completely pointless projects. The same government that will be taking in over $3 trillion, that is trillion with a huge T, and will still be spending more than it brought in.

What can be done to stop this leviathan?

There are several options available.

State legislatures can put anti-commandeering amendments on the ballot to be inserted into the state’s constitution or simply pass anti-commandeering legislation. These measures prohibit the state, and its actors, from using state resources to enforce federal acts. This can be extremely effective as demonstrated by northern state refusal to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Without state assistance and resources, slave catchers found it extremely difficult to haul accused fugitives back south into bondage.

What else?

Nullification.

This is such a powerful tool wielded by not only the states but the people of the states as well. The state legislatures can become a shield, or as James Madison put it, interpose between the federal government and the people. Nullification is simply any action that serves to render a federal act null, void, or simply unenforceable within the borders of a state. Nullification can include anti-commandeering actions, or more aggressive measures to block federal enforcement.

Nullification has proven to be extremely effective in the past. The North used this tactic against the embargo of 1807.Both Connecticut and Massachusetts lead the way in fighting federal tyranny. Nullification was used against the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the Real ID act of 2005, and, of late, marijuana laws.

Yet another option is for mass non-compliance. This allows the citizens to take a more active, rather than passive, role in helping to fight federal tyranny. Civil disobedience is a tried-and-true American tradition. This worked during the Stamp Act crisis, the Molasses and American Revenue Act, the Townshend duties, and more recently, the civil rights movement, and mass anger against President Obama trying to bomb Syria.

We may need to call on all of these approaches to push back this tyranny of Washington and take back our liberty that was stolen in the night. We must not ask, but demand that our sacred rights be respected. We must hold fast to our principles, our resolve, and march forward to victory in this cause lest we fall to history as the generation who let liberty falter and that great flame extinguish without a fight.

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