State Rights?

As I have mentioned before, the United States was designed to be a general protectorate for the several sovereign States.  This is rarely, if ever, taught in public schools and is oftentimes disregarded as a ridiculous notion.  However, a careful reading of the Founding documents reveals the defined relationships as generally being between State and central authority rather than between the people and the central government.  The intent was to allow the various States to compete amongst themselves for residents through the adoption of freedoms and protections each State perceived as beneficial.  Primarily as a direct result of the officially named Civil War, but more accurately described as the Second Revolutionary War, States’ rights have been gradually and continually eroded.

Two actions have done more to eliminate State power than any others: the Fourteenth and the Seventeenth Amendments.  “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” – Amendment XIV.  “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof” – Amendment XVII.

While there are many arguably good things resulting from the Fourteenth Amendment, the original purpose of the Constitution was to restrict the central government from intruding upon the powers reserved to the States or to the people (Tenth Amendment).  With the incorporation clause of the Fourteenth Amendment the States lost a key power to create such legislation as their residents demanded which the central government was, at that time, unable to enact.  Ultimately the 14th is not an insurmountable obstacle to the ability of States to protect themselves from Federal usurpation but it was the first big blow.

The Seventeenth Amendment was a case of the States shooting themselves in their own foot.  Prior to this amendment Senators were chosen by the State legislatures.  This allowed the lower house, which was elected by the people, to represent the people at large while the upper house would represent State interests.  By enacting the 17th Amendment the States no longer had representation of their interests at the Federal level.  This essentially pitted the interests of the Federal government against those of the States.  Many will insist this was a good turn of events.  However, the States are more adept at answering the needs of citizens due to their closer proximity.  As we have seen with programs enacted at the Federal level, a one-size fits all mentality does not work with a country as large and diverse as ours.  The resulting fraud, waste and abuse is abhorrent.

There has been recent talk of an amendment designed to eliminate the Electoral College.  This would result in a direct democracy which has never lasted very long in the entire history of human civilization.  The Founders were clearly well-founded to detest direct democracy which is why they chose a republican form of government with the Constitution.  This would be one of the worst possible changes to make to our Constitution, eventually leading us to some form of totalitarian state.

In sum, the use of nullification at both the jury and State executive levels is the most likely avenue available to the people to turn the tide on our Leviathan federal government becoming more and more tyrannical.

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