Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How to Identify Legal Plunder

But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply.
See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them,
and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if
the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing
what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil
itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it
invites reprisals. If such a law—which may be an isolated case—
is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and
develop into a system.

The person who profits from this law will complain bitterly,
defending his acquired rights. He will claim that the state is
obligated to protect and encourage his particular industry; that
this procedure enriches the state because the protected industry
is thus able to spend more and to pay higher wages to the poor

Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. The
acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The presentday
delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of
everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of
organizing it.

Frederic Bastiat, The Law

The Purpose of the Law

When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor. It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.

Frederic Bastiat, The Law

The Law Perverted

The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law becom the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!

If this is true, it is a serious fact, and moral duty requires me to call the attention of my fellow-citizens to it.

Frederic Bastiat, The Law

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lukewarm (Truths About the Middle) by the Honorable Ed Emery

The following is from Representative Ed Emery, and, as usual, he nails it:

I am sure we will be talking about the 2010 election for decades, but one phenomenon being misunderstood is the diminishing of “the middle” in both major parties. The electorate began to pay attention when they saw freedom - the core of American exceptionalism - being replaced by the failed model of czarism. This quickened attentiveness, inspired thought, and provoked citizen-action (not something big-government liberals welcome).

The 2010 election was not so much about party or even policy as it was about character. The voter was looking for someone he/she could trust, someone who would tell them the truth about Washington, D.C. and about America. The Tea Party embodied that sentiment, and career politicians were its antithesis. American voters questioned the country’s direction, and determined to do something about it; this may have been the first election the bulk of average Americans have taken seriously in decades.

There will be a different look to Congress and to the Missouri legislature in 2011. Candidates who won may be working for meaningful reform as their top priority instead looking first to their next position, election, or fundraiser. However, the statesman must be willing to swim upstream because the indoctrination of “majority” will have already begun both in Jeff City and in DC. They may be told that their priorities are first to win re-election in 2012, second to get other party members elected to ensure the majority, and finally, in the process appease their constituency. Newest members will be addressed as “Honorable” and be treated by special interests as kings and queens – intoxicating.

The good news is that more real people are paying attention, so the next election may become even more significant than 2010 because the next election will prove if voters were just angry or were actually awakened. Will we monitor those we elected, encourage their statesmanship, and be willing to vote them out if we discover we were wrong about their character and that they do not deserve out trust. Primary elections may again become instruments of reform if voters take their responsibility seriously. We can never again forget or neglect that in America we get the government we choose (elect).

I reject the notion that “moderates” lost because people weren’t thinking. Moderates lost because voters woke up to the truth that lukewarm does not protect personal liberties; it compromises them. Lukewarm protects the status quo, not constituents and the Constitution. Even the Bible confirms that lukewarm is nauseating. Notice that successful candidates are more reflective of party platforms after the 2010 election. The democrats are more liberal and the republicans more conservative because that is what the platforms say and the voters chose. Losing the middle is not the tragedy the news media claims, on the contrary it signals that voters largely rejected compromise-above-character or politics-above-principle. Voters want to trust their elected officials not serve them.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Sacrament of Nullification

“The conservatives took control of the House of Representatives, now what?” Whether you believe the statement to be true or not, this is the question that is consuming everyone with an interest in politics. What will the President do? Will he change direction? Will he moderate? What will Congress do? Will the Republicans compromise? These are all questions that the political pundits and private citizens are asking. All eyes are on Washington, D.C. to see what shift will occur as a result of the electoral sea change was produced on November 2.

The next step does not belong to the federal government in Washington, D.C. The next step belongs to the states. In a previous article “Nullification v. Revolution,” I suggested that the Declaration of Independence was the model and guide for the states in responding to the federal tyrant if it did not change its course. Now it appears that there is a possibility that there may be a change in course due to the election of November 2.

However, the change appears to be only in seed form. While there was a vast change in the makeup of the House of Representatives, those who orchestrated the reign of tyranny from the White House and U.S. Senate for the past two years are still ensconced on their thrones. The states also should remember that simply being controlled by Republican does not mean that the House will move the federal government to be faithful to its covenant obligations found in the U.S. Constitution. Lest we forget, the Republicans had much more control during the period from 1994 to 2004 and the Republicans failed to change the course of the federal tyrant. In fact, they fostered it.

If the Declaration of Independence is the model and guide on how the states should respond to tyranny, the U.S. Constitution is the guide on how the states should live together. The word “federal” in the phrase “federal government,” is defined in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary as “Pertaining to a league or contract; derived from an agreement or covenant between parties, particularly between nations.” This is a significant and glorious meaning that most of our politicians have lost with their loss of the status of statesmen. A covenant has to do with a compact or trust between separate entities. The covenant of the states is the U.S. Constitution.

The key to understanding the U.S. Constitution at this point in our covenantal history is the Tenth Amendment. The Tenth Amendment is the only provision that attempts to set forth the manner in which the Constitution is to be interpreted. It clearly states that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The federal government is a government of limited powers. The U.S. Constitution must be read with this understanding in mind.

The federal government has clearly lost its way in constraining itself within the limits of the delegation of authority granted by the states. It taxes and spends money on frivolous projects. It places our children in debt for the sake of benefits to particular individuals. It fails to secure our boarders, one of its primary functions. There is little evidence that it can begin to do so unless an outside force is exerted on it. That source is the very entities that established it in the first place: the states.

If one studies ancient near east covenants, one finds that covenants incorporated a covenantal sign and seal. The sign was often a ritual meal. For the ancient Hebrew nation, there were at least three such covenants with covenantal signs: the rainbow, circumcision and the Sabbath. When exercised or recognized, these covenantal signs (we now call them sacraments) brought the covenant members long life and health, for they impressed a remembrance of the covenantal relationship on the people and encouraged them to be faithful to the covenant.

It is high time that the states adopt a sacrament in their covenantal lives with the federal government, a symbol to encourage the federal government to remain faithful to its covenantal obligation, and that sacrament is found in the Tenth Amendment. The states must remind the federal government of the limits of its authority. It can only do so by nullifying those laws which they find beyond the enumerated powers delegated to it.

Ed Lazarus has decried the use of nullification:
But nullification is a deeply pernicious idea. It strikes at the core of the constitutional bargain that was struck after the Revolution when the Articles of Confederation failed – the working principle that we are all in this together and that the purpose of the federal government, a government in which every state is represented, is to calibrate the shared sacrifices that all of us will have to bear to preserve the country's economic vitality and help it prosper.
See This is no way to describe the healthy relationship created by the U.S. Constitution: “to calibrate the shared sacrifices” that the federal tyrant will impose from on high, the sacrifices of liberty that burdening taxes impose on the citizens of these great fifty states and their children. A healthy relationship includes a give and take and a healthy rebuke from time to time and a consistent reminder to be faithful to the relationship.

In 2009, in addition to the Missouri Healthcare Freedom Act, the Missouri Legislature debated a resolution to instruct the Missouri Congressional delegation to vote against the cap and trade bill. One of the opposing arguments was that such debate was a waste of time. The resolution would not be worth the paper that it was written on. Should anyone be able to make such a statement about a communication made in a healthy relationship? The very argument emphasizes that the relationship the states created among themselves is terribly sick and must be cured.

There are good signs of change from the electorate of a healthy shift in their perception of the federal government. The states must now foster and support that change. New patriots in Congress will need that support to make the change due to tyrannical advisories and due to their own human weaknesses.

Change is in the offing, but we are still very sick as a nation. There is a cure to this national tyranny. The national relationship of the states, the national covenant, must be resurrected and respected. The cure is found in the development of a strong relationship among the states as expressed in the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The states must exercise that relationship by the consistent and faithful act of nullification.