Dueling Twins

States' Rights

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The 'Dueling Twins'

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Enter the 'HALL' of the Dueling JAMES Twins!

The Union is doomed to dissolution, there is no mistaking the signs.
- John C. Calhoun

Counterpoint:

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STATISM the Enemy of States' Rights

The Myth of State Sovereignty
 
James Hall, From the Left

From SARTRE's account one would think that the 10th Amendment was the central document of the Constitution, and that we were still a Confederacy of American States.  But state sovereignty is and always has been a constitutional myth created by anti-federalists, along with the centrality of the Tenth Amendment.  Real sovereignty rests with the people of the United States and is expressed by their constitutional government--the government of the United States of America.

Rather than being central to our Constitution, the 10th Amendment was created three years after the ratification of the Constitution, after a federal government was already in place.  And the 10th has never possessed the power that anti-federalists would give it.  At the Constitutional Convention convened to write the Bill of Rights, the delegates by a 2-1 margin (32-17) rejected adding the word "expressly" to this amendment which might have given it the power anti-federalists crave for it.  This rejection makes it clear that it was up to the people themselves, as expressed by their elected government to decide in what ways the federal government would apportion power to the states.

The resultant amendment is clear: "The powers not [expressly] 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."  Now from where does the delegation of these powers proceed?  As a gift from the states to the federal government?  Clearly not.  The powers are reserved BY THE US CONSTITUTION ITSELF.

And who determines exactly what these powers are and how they are wielded?  Congress wields the power to write laws and apportion funds for their execution, and the judicial branch of the federal government the power to decide on the constitutionality of those laws, including our Bill of Rights.  States do not get the chance to decide which laws or treaties or elections they will obey and which they won't--neither nullification nor secession is part of their limited, constitutionally granted powers.  Anti-federalists who would like to squelch federal powers not "expressly" mentioned in the Constitution were defeated in that attempt before the Tenth Amendment was ever ratified.

Myths like state sovereignty are simply grist for the mill of ideological minorities.  Finding themselves deeply out in cold, they warm themselves by burning the Constitution and would love to declare a sovereign republic out of some flyover piece of land whose politics faintly resembles their own.  But their arguments are no more credible now than they were in 1861.

Or 1775 for that matter.  For the colonies never were independent sovereign states making treaties with foreign powers or exercising self-government.  The Declaration of Independence was made the First Continental Congress and the war prosecuted by a Continental Army.  Most of the original colonies didn't even set up state governments until after the Declaration of Independence, making the national government predate the majority of state governments.

Even the Articles of Confederation, drawn up by a committee of the Second Continental Congress at a time when people strongly feared a central government--their experience with the British creating that fear--never granted more than a limited role to the states.  States could not create their own foreign policy, form their own armies and navies, coin their money, set qualifications for citizenship, or run their own post office.  They could not refuse to join in any war or agree to any treaty that a majority of other states wanted to support, they could not refuse rulings from another state's jurisdiction, and they could not secede from the Confederacy (described by its founders as a "perpetual union") without the approval of all twelve of the other states.

Does anyone--even SARTRE--really consider any state governed by all these restrictions to be a sovereign entity?

And that was under the anti-federalist Articles of Confederation.  The Confederacy proved so ungovernable that it was gone in eight years, replaced by a stronger central government, whose Constitution specifically defines "powers" for the states, but which yields no sovereignty to them.

Besides the sovereign powers accorded to nations that it kept to itself--the armies and navies, the foreign policy, the coinage, etc.--our Constitution gave the federal government the power to tax and to regulate interstate commerce, things lacking under the Articles of Confederation.  It provided an executive branch to run these offices, a legislative branch to make laws and fund executive offices, and a judicial branch to rule on the constitutionality of state and federal laws.

To perform these offices people have been constitutionally elected and appointed.  SARTRE can criticize their performance any way he likes, but as far as the majority of the people of this nation are concerned--and it is in the people that real sovereignty exists--the federal government has performed its responsibilities in a constitutional manner.  Today the federal government's responsibilities ebb and flow as the people require them or put them aside.

The myth of states' rights and state sovereignty is increasingly identified with the defense of minority opinions at odds with the will of the majority.  These bogus "rights" have been cited to defend slavery, white slavery, child labor, and segregation among other things--all positions at odds with the people's will.  While our Constitution gives the minorities defending these positions the right to express their opinions and the right to participate in the marketplace of ideas, it never granted them the right to withdraw in order to flout the people's decisions.

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Final Word:

SARTRE can attempt to redefine government and reshape history all he likes, but it's clear that our founding fathers knew the difference between federalism and anti-federalism and took sides accordingly--one side in favor of a strong national government, the other in fear of it.  Our nation's political climate continues to be shaped by this debate, though the momentum is now with the federalists.

The myth of "state sovereignty," the antifederalists' bedtime story, has nothing to do with actual history. The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution make it plain that we declared our independence from Great Britain as "one people"--a nation, not as a collection of states.  Our Constitution also makes it plain that its origin and legitimacy stem from "we the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union...do ordain and establish this Constitution...."  The 10th Amendment is clearly a grant of powers from the people's constitution.

These statements make plain the Lockean philosophy that motivated our founders, that placed the nation's sovereignty directly in the hands of it's people, not it's states, the people who "established and ordained" the Constitution and its government.  SARTRE would have us believe that the 10th Amendment states that all powers not expressly designated federal accrue to the states--only the founders specifically rejected the word "expressly," leaving the people and their representatives the flexibility to choose a weaker or stronger form of national government as they wish.

Historically Americans have chosen a stronger federal government, one capable of looking after the general welfare of its citizens, of maintaining a standing professional army in their defense, one with the power to intervene against states who oppress the civil rights of their citizens, a nation vigorous enough to withstand the competition from other nation states abroad.  The people are quite capable of deciding if this kind of strong national government suits them--and they have answered with a vigorous "Yes." Anti-federalists like SARTRE can cringe at this choice, but the people, the only legitimate sovereigns in this debate, have spoken.

James Hall, From the Left

Point:

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The State of Rights for the States

The Tenth Amendment has long been ignored, but has never been invalidated. The United States adopted a "Federal" form for government that is based upon shared powers. The STATE was designed to balance and define authorities among different jurisdictions and sovereign entities. The central government was bound to the restrictions of a constitution. The most significant of the "Bill of Rights" amendments is the clear acknowledgment  of the basic authority of States' Rights: "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."

Even the most rabid proponent of the political elites that form the oligarchy that rules from the Beltway, knows; that they are in continuous violation of the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Only the fool would defend the tortured court decisions, the treason of House and Senate legislators, the arrogance of bureaucratic thieves and the ultimate betrayal of Presidents. The egomaniac Lincoln, waged a war of aggression and destroyed the "Federal" symmetry that was so unique and glorious in our founding as a country.

Let's understand the central lesson. A union is not a marriage when you have a battered spouse. Sophistry that argues that the central government is absolute and may rule over independent states by ignoring and omitting clearly defined constitutional restraints, is the most detestable duplicity of any Statist. Nullification as a reserved power of each independent state was recognized as a rightful remedy principle within the 1799 Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions  It held that states have the right to declare null and void any federal law that they deem unconstitutional. The great John C. Calhoun championed the legitimate rights of individual states, and the likes of Henry Clay worked to preserve the rightful balance within the "Federal" framework.

But as we know, the excess and lust for supreme power destroyed the dream of America. Under the constrains of breaking the constitutional system, armed force was inflicted upon the will of the people from independent states, into coerced compliance. This is the record that is factually true. But the original conception of a practical union based upon agreed cooperation, with distinct functions was forsaken for the same old version of a single STATE domination, with a central master. The "People" in the Tenth Amendment are citizens of particular states. Any edit that claims a league of states forfeits their home rule as independent commonwealths, as a condition of joining the federal union denies and repudiates our constitution. The Tenth Amendment cannot be any more clear on this point.

If you rely on the treachery of the courts to sort out this mandate, you fail to understand the nature of a "Federal" union. This unrivaled concept of organization recognized the formation of a Republic that would be radically different from any other government on earth. The separation and defined limits placed on a central authority is the essence of the American Republic.

By denying the primacy of this division, you obliterate any legitimacy for a union. The noted academic Walter Williams, hardly a devout secessionist of the early 19th century says: "The 10th Amendment simply and clearly says if the Constitution does not permit the federal government to do something, then the federal government doesn't have the right to do it. You tell me where in the Constitution is there delegated authority for federal involvement in education, retirement, health, housing, transportation, handouts and other activities representing more than three-quarters of federal spending."

Notions that the general welfare clause justifies cancellation of the Tenth Amendment are pure folly. Just go back to the patriarchal source himself, James Madison: "With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."

States' Rights are integral and essential to restore the genius of the "Federal" system. In an era where self determination is the universal cry that seeks to justify democratic rule, the Washington DC crowd has emerged as the ardent destroyer of the delicate balance that an independent union represented. With the break up of the Soviet empire, independent states have regained their own sovereignty, while the 'Feds' enforce feudal tribute on our own fifty states. Quebec wants separation from the Dominion of Canada. Where is their right for self determination?

The basic principle that must be confronted is that each state IS sovereign, that the union must be limited and with defined functions for independent states and the central government. Efforts to avoid this fundamental question in recognition of individual rule, cannot be dismissed with emotional pleas. Applying national laws dictating civic conduct, when rightful authority has never been conferred to a central comrade committee of oppressive commissars, is pure totalitarian tyranny.

Each state reflects different cultures and regional interests. What works for Idaho may differ from the will of the citizens in Massachusetts. The Federal government never acts as a fair arbitrator, but rules with the personification of a perverse dictator.  Without a constitutional restoration of legitimate States' Rights, we live under the despotism of the true evil empire.

James Hall aka SARTRE

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Rebuttal:

The meaning of America is absent from the consciousness of JH from the Left. States' Rights is an intricate part of our form of government - which is "FEDERALISM". Federalism means: "the distribution of power in an organization (as a government) between a central authority and the constituent units. The independent authority of  the constituent units, emphasized in each of these definitions, distinguishes federalism from systems of government in which subsidiary governments derive power from the national or central government.

Denial of this foundation for our Republic is acknowledged in the words from the 'Satanic Statist'. For him a myth is any restraint that prohibits the absolutism of the central government, even when it is part of the fundamental constitution of the land. Make no mistake about his distorted chronology history - the Tenth Amendment empowers the uniqueness of American "FEDERALISM".

It was the statist John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison (1803) who took the first set to undermined the Federalism design and its relationship to States' Rights. The Supreme Court usurped its restricted authority to declare acts of Congress, and by implication acts of the president, unconstitutional if they exceeded the powers granted by the Constitution. But even more important, the Court became the arbiter of the Constitution, the final authority on what the document meant. Not exactly consistent with Federalism!

James distorts and ignores any section of the founding documents that conflicts with common sense and limited governance. What else needs to be violated? Ever heard of the Eleventh Amendment? What you have from the 'bad seed' is the open admission that his Liberal ideology supplants allegiance to the "FEDERALISM" system. Traveling down this road is not just a slippery slope, it is the abdication of America. The result is tyranny in the abyss of oblivion. Without a Federalism that shares powers and States' Rights that provides legitimacy, the United States reverts into the despotism of imperial totalitarian government. At last, the commissar reveals his ultimate purpose.

States' Rights were despised by the like of 'pledge my loyalty only to the central government' Alexander Hamilton. James Hall is no Hamilton . . . Hamilton had the honor to duel Aaron Burr. But his Statism dogma is the official doctrine of both political parties, accompanied with the ignominy of the depraved.

James Hall - 'The Right'


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"Today, the Federal judiciary asserts the power not only to dissolve state legislatures but to create them and to dissolve all state laws and state judicial decrees, and to punish a state governor by trial without jury ".

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