Glaring Paradoxes: Let Us Be United in Unconstitutional Federal Government Laws & Operations!

nullI just finished reading a critical but seemingly irrational argument by one of the so-called constitutional experts against the concept of Nullification. I am neither an expert when it comes to constitutional law nor do I profess to be one. That said, when I sit and read analyses made for nullification by constitutional experts such as Professor Tom Woods, and then read other analyses made against nullification by experts such as Ian Millhiser, I am left with my own judgment and common sense, and my own decision-making process to judge validity.

For the sake of the length of this commentary here are the general points made by Professor Tom Woods on Nullification [All Emphasis Mine]:

State nullification is the idea that the states can and must refuse to enforce unconstitutional federal laws.

Says Thomas Jefferson, among other distinguished Americans. His draft of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 first introduced the word “nullification” into American political life, and follow-up resolutions in 1799 employed Jefferson’s formulation that “nullification…is the rightful remedy” when the federal government reaches beyond its constitutional powers. In the Virginia Resolutions of 1798, James Madison said the states were “duty bound to resist” when the federal government violated the Constitution.

I strongly urge you to read the well-written summarized points made by Professor Woods here.

Now, let’s proceed to the argument made against the notion of and constitutional validity of nullification by other analysts and legal experts [All Emphasis Mine]:

Despite Paul’s insistence that nullification is proper and constitutional, Article 6 of the Constitution clearly states that Acts of Congress “shall be the supreme law of the land…anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” That’s why one of our founding fathers, James Madison, argued that nullification would “speedily put an end to the Union itself” by allowing federal laws to be freely ignored by states.

ThinkProgress legal expert Ian Millhiser noted that nullification isn’t just blatantly unconstitutional, it’s “nothing less than a plan to remove the word ‘United’ from the United States of America.

Again, to read more on points made by Millhiser Click Here.

Professor Woods’ points for nullification include the applicability of the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause used by Millhiser and the like:

Doesn’t Nullification Violate the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause? Thomas Jefferson knew about the Supremacy Clause, it’s safe to assume. The Supremacy Clause applies to constitutional laws, not unconstitutional ones.

I am going to put it this way for those of us outside the elitist legal circle: What happens when the Federal Government - all three branches (Supreme Court included), conspire to violate the Constitution? What happens when the Federal Government nullifies the Constitution? Because when it gets down to it that’s what the Federal Government has been doing: Unconstitutional Wiretapping of All American Citizens by the NSA, The Unconstitutional and Extrajudicial Killing of Americans, The Unconstitutional Invocation of State Secrets Privilege and Related Gag Orders, The Unconstitutional NDAA, The Unconstitutional Search & Seizure by the TSA …The list goes on, and with it the NULLIFICATION of the First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and several other amendments. Basically, we are talking about suspension and nullification of our nation’s Constitution. Aren’t we?

Ironically, this same circle of experts who have been opposing and attacking the concept and exercise of nullification happen to be those outspoken and crying out  against the federal government’s unconstitutionalities in the area of civil liberties. Now, ain’t that a glaring paradox?

In some ways I nullified the Executive Branch’s unconstitutional laws and rules when I blew the whistle on the government’s unconstitutional and criminal activities. I was guided by our rights and obligations under the Constitution. Those rights and obligations fully contradicted the ones demanded and imposed by the Federal Government. My oath of citizenship obligated me to protect and defend the Constitution.

All Americans are bound by the same obligation: to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies-foreign and domestic. Thus, when the Federal Government is engaged in acts and operations violating our constitutional laws and rights, when the Federal Government is engaged in unconstitutional acts, when the Federal Government passes and enforces unconstitutional laws-rules-orders, not only the states but all US citizens are duty-bound to resist. For the states, one constitutional way to resist is Nullification.

Think about it: A state can resist and stop NSA’s illegal domestic wiretapping within its territory; a state can put an end to the illegal search and seizure practices by the TSA at its airports; a state can forbid extrajudicial killing and government assassination within its borders … Yes; the states can do all that. They can-constitutionally. Now, who wouldn’t want to live in a state like that? How glaring a paradox is it that those critics of nullification would rather be ‘United’ in an Unconstitutional Federal Government of the United States of America, than ‘United’ with states seeking to preserve constitutional rights?

# # # #

Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor of Boiling Frogs Post and the author of the Memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy” Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.

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  1. The question of what we can do about the situation we are in is exactly the right one to ask. Lots of people are asking it these days, and so far the answers I’ve seen are inadequate.

    I understand the nullification idea, but frankly I prefer secession. There is no way we can continue a “United” States that is large enough to fancy itself an imperial power. We need states to simply leave – throw the federal government and its offices and military bases out of their states and setup new governments that will focus on the needs of their citizens instead of vain fantasies of world conquest.

  2. I agree Sibil, but on the ground those on the left cry against Nullification becuase of fears of losing laws they like but can’t find in the constitution. And it’s association with the civil war and slavery. Those on the right cry against nullification becuase of a misplaced law and order stance and as you mentioned misreading “supreme law of the land”.
    I’ve debated against on both side on forums. The right’s response, from even cops and soldiers is usually. “I/we don’t have the right to decide whats constitutional law is. That’s why we have the supreme court! What make you smarter than the supreme court?!” the left reeealy has an issue with fears of going back to slave days or no womens rights. “Nullification is nigh on secession and secession means the civil war and the civil war means slavery, “Jim Crow” and “RACISM”. Soo that’s what nullification is REALLY all about.”

    That’s the dark side. But i think more and more people are starting to get it.
    IMO Nullification is the sledge hammer the people should use more and more at this point. And it’s already started. And it’s an easier sell than secession.

    But frankly i haven’t completely given up on grass roots action.
    I know Sibel has , but her experience has been all negative. But coming from the christian right i’ve seen SOME movement when enough people BEECH.

    The other thing that convinces me that there’s still power in the vote and mass complaints is the amount of money and dirty tricks they use to keep others OUT. if it was ALL fixed and useless they would not work so hard to keep us out and quiet it seems to me.

  3. jschoneboom says:

    Well, as Augustine said, and MLK Jr. repeated, an unjust law is no law at all. Best thing to do is resist, refuse, rebel!

    The nitpicker in me allows for the probability that once we get past the clearcut types of cases you mention, there will be gray areas where the question is, who gets to decide what’s just or unjust, Constitutional or unConstitutional, and what if we’re not sure ourselves? But you won’t find me arguing against the idea that if states would take it upon themselves to reject blatant federal treachery it would be a potentially powerful way for us to reclaim democracy.

    Now all we have to do is convince the states…I’d like to start with New York, where they insist they can search anybody’s backpack on the subway. Supposedly anti-terrorist, it has so far mainly resulted in minor drug busts and many rightfully irritated citizens.

    What states are the best candidates to stand up for liberty? Vermont? OREGON?

  4. flogchopsuey says:

    The capitalists will sell you the rope to hang them. So take it and hang them. Before they use it to hang you. “I pledge allegance …..” to what? Seriously, to WHAT? Maybe to something as yet unnamed that deeply binds you to all other life on this planet. Hopefully not to the corporate headquarters of the most powerful corporations on the planet. It is not your constitution, it is theirs. Who do you think you are working for if you work for the government?

  5. The Federalist system is fraught with problems. You can clearly get into situations where states want one law and the feds another. It’s going to continually run into conflicts.

    One solution is to abandon the Federalist system (likely never fly) and become a single nation with local laws limited to regulations not basic rights… like speed limits…

    Succession is an alternative. If a state votes to remove itself from the *United States*.. so be it. Self determination is fine. In the end lots of small states may be the most rational system absent the aggregation of power in a central government. Who knows what sort of rights each state’s laws will protect???

    The third alternative is the have a constitutional convention and write a document for the current age and circumstances. It might not be a bad idea to have one every X number of years by law as the world evolves. At the time of the constitutional convention, any state can opt out (by a super majority of its citizens voting for succession).

    One would think that some laws take precedence over other such as the basic human rights (eg 4th Amendment. Unfortunately this is not what is happening when the national security state fashions laws to serve the interest of control, order, security (their claim)… and essentially *nullifies* principles such as those enumerated in the Bill of Rights. This SHOULD be impossible… having a law override a basic right.

    The people need to speak and act.. and not let their rights be taken from them. It certainly appears that this has gotten out of hand and not been addressed. And having 9 people decide for 300,000,000 in crucial issues is not just.

  6. SanderO: Good food for thought. I like it when people start thinking out of the box- exploring alternatives, challenging conformity and mass hypnosis.

  7. Sibel,

    I find the constant reference to the statements of the *founding fathers* perplexing… first of all no women… half the population were involved in crafting the principles of the nation…

    And second of course the world was incredibly different… no telephones, smart phones, satellites, air planes, power grids, electric or internal combustion engines, copy machines, automobiles, no nukes, or missiles, no internet, no long span bridges…and more… So much or what is the actual glue that binds us into a rather large society of supposedly common interests.

    Sure there are concepts which are ageless… and they are mentioned in the founding documents… rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of *happiness*. These three words essentially establish that every individual is *sovereign* and has to be respected as such. But society is the contract where my freedom is limited when it abridges YOUR freedom… that is respect of the rights of others.

    It’s really not that difficult to establish the unalienable rights… we were supposed to have those… and no law can abridge of override these. Among those are things like habeus corpus, the 4th amendment and so forth, the right to a speedy trial, trial by your peers…

    It IS unconstitutional to enact laws which over ride the basic inalienable rights. FULL STOP END OF STORY. Nine men can’t decide it’s not… interpret or spin to grant powers which do not exist or are counter to the inalienable rights. Legislatures cannot pass laws either which are counter to these rights. POTUS is an executive of the existing laws.. he doesn’t make them or interpret them but enforces them. If someone, including the POTUS does not want to execute a law the law needs to be evaluated as to whether it violates the constitution.

    Challenges by Bradley Manning should have been heard years ago. Instead he has been clearly mistreated and effectively punished and mistreated and not had his day in court for the crime of what amounts to treason.

    Execution without trial is unlawful… End of story. Extraordinary rendition is unconstitutional… The USA has no legal right to do ANYTHING to foreign nationals not inside the USA… who are not charged with a crime. If they are…other nations must apprehend and perhaps extradite to USA for trial. You can’t kidnap and lock someone up and torture them for years. The CIA is violating the constitution with impunity. It must be disbanded. The CIA thinks it can operate OUTSIDE the law. It cannot.

  8. flogchopsuey says:

    1787 was the second constitution, the one “we” have now amended 27 times. If the first constitution need to be fundamentally rethought, not just amended, in just a decade, how long do you think the signatories thought the second constitution would stand before a third?

    Remember the Declaration: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands”.

    Sometimes its not the people that dissolve the political bands. Corporations have been acting within the political context as “super people” since the time of the Civil War. Can you imagine a corporation that would vote for reducing its power under any circumstances? Community is not in the interest of the corporations in their blind headlong quest of extraction. We have been pledging our allegiance to a farce for well over a century.

    Ms Edmonds asked who her people were. In the age of “super people” lets get real about what the issues are. I am all for out of the box thinking. That also means out of the box perception: What is really going on here? How far is a new constitutional convention overdue? And in 2013, the age of the global village, the age of the internet, what would “We the People” mean? Perhaps the Green Revolution in Iran was as relevant to this question as any particular community in any of the so called 50 states. China has more say over what happens in Washington DC than a million second class “US citizens”. Who are first class citizens today? Don’t look at the passport. Check the private jet, such as the Bin Laden family on 9/12/2001.

  9. dutchbradt says:

    Sibel, your blowing the whistle was, in a sense, an act of nullification as you say. On the other hand, your decision to abide by the gag orders the courts have handed you is in a sense a ratification of the States Secrets Privilege – which I have no doubt you consider to be unconstitutional abridgment of your First Amendment rights. You would certainly face jail time if you violate the gag orders. You have decided, probably wisely, not to do so.

    The question of Nullification is a purely theoretical exercise that cannot result in anything useful. It really doesn’t matter whether Nullification is constitutional or not, any attempt to invoke it risks jail for somebody or some other form of official violence from the federal government.

    Suppose for example New York State decided that TSA molestation of air travelers would no longer be allowed at airports in New York. Who would enforce this ban, and how? Would armed state escorts be provided to allow passengers to by-pass the security gates? Would the TSA officers be banned from the airport and arrested if they tried to show up for work? Would armed federal agents show up to protect the TSA officers from State law enforcement? Would the FAA simply refuse airlines permission to fly into or out of New York airports? Would the airlines refuse to comply with the FAA and provide service to New Yorkers anyway?

    It would not take long for such a scenario to escalate out of control. Whenever conflicting rights collide, or when individual rights collide with government authority, it’s just a matter of who backs down first before violence of some sort begins. The overwhelming power of the federal government generally means that they won’t be the ones backing down.

  10. Good Comment Dutch!

    The Federal laws as the example you have given weave into the states rights because of the ICC – interstate commerce clause… which sort of trumps the states rights.

    It’s abundantly clear that states rights collide with federalism. And apparently no state is willing to assert its rights and violate the supremacy of the ICC. Your example of the air traffic system is perfect.

    The way forward is to have a new constitution and abolish the states… non ICC because there are no STATES any longer with jurisdiction over anything by penny ante stuff. A doctor in NYC can practice medicine in LA because the laws governing medicine are national laws. FIXED.

    The TSA thing is clearly over the top as far as searches and seizures (our 4th amendment)… There needs to be *probably cause* and a warrant issued to do such an invasive search. This has gone way way way way too far.

    Same applies to warrant-less searches (wiretaps). Verbotem.. no exceptions… warrant required with probable cause (FISA was supposed to deal with this… but it was side stepped… and they got away with it).

    No one has been able to LEGALLY challenge the erosion/abuse of the inalienable rights because the courts are packed with corporatists who simply INTERPRET the law to suit the elite / powerful (corporate) agenda. These judges are among the elite and think like them.

    Even when you have a judge like Sotomayor… there are 8 others who can over rule her every time and so one voice of reason is rendered to silence.

    Supremes should have 2 year term limits
    All elected officials should be limited to max of 6 years in government

    We’ve allowed the system to legally tend toward corruption… because of the underlying greed and self interest of people and their class identification. Our system moves AWAY from freedom and rights toward fascism and control by those (upper class) who have the power in this system. No other possible outcome.

    Money talks!

  11. The Constitution was a radical document in its day, in spite of the fact that it was written by white men with property, for white men of property and African Americans, Native Americans and women were never intended to reap the benefits of the rights enumerated by the first Congress.

    It is long past time to rewrite it, but that ship may have already sailed. Can you imagine a scenario in which our largely corrupt ALEC-influenced state legislatures would vote for a new Constitutional Convention? If they did, can you imagine the number of lobbyists who would descend on its meeting place and bribe, threaten and cajole the delegates? If you somehow stipulate that the first 2 unlikely scenarios occur, you would encounter a convention full of delegates wedded to one or another political view as though it were a religion and with no ability to have a cogent and rational discussion of the issues at hand.

    I favor secession as the solution, knowing that some states like Vermont and perhaps Oregon will establish progressive governments that care for their citizens using taxpayer funds and work to preserve their environment, while others like Texas will implement every Tea Party idea from privatizing schools, to outlawing abortion, to complete removal of gun regulations. So be it. Let each go their own way and we will see which set of ideas succeed.

  12. I sense that Sibel WANTED to talk but know that the legal battle would be extremely expensive… millions of dollars (isn’t THAT absurd in itself?)… and not knowing if she could get the money to fight, and stay out of jail to defend herself (look at Bradley Manning) she apparently made the calculus that talking would be a bad outcome.

    The state apparatus will crush anyone who speaks truth to power. It’s that simple.

  13. flogchopsuey says:

    If the calculus has that much to do with truth, let’s focus on that. It’s great to have 25 mind blowing headlines a day from BFP, but we are still navigating among basic assumptions that are lies, still defining who “we the people” are and are not. When you have to have a microscope to read between the lines, you are years away from critical mass. I recommend SanderO’s “The state apparatus will crush anyone who speaks truth to power” as a good beginning point. If we could have just 5 or 10 statements of that level of clarity, we could start getting somewhere.

  14. I would tend to agree with cdithaca and that regions will organize around different social and religious values… and so we’d become stans! USistans.. and we could move to where we felt comfortable. Get rid of the supper powers.

    And hopefully the stans would enact laws controlling and regulating the corps.

  15. flogchopsuey says:

    In that case, we could expect to see changes at the periphery of empire before we see it in the US. The US will not tolerate succession any more than it did in 1850 unless it is on the brink of collapse (ie the armory is empty). In which case, a good place to look would be the non-aligned nations movement. I would like to see this group represent the outrage against the US blockade of Iran for example. Or perhaps to represent a cutting edge approach to curtailing the power of corporations.

  16. dutchbradt says:

    If you think corporations have too much power now, wait until small and un-wealthy polities like the Democratic Republic of Vermont try to go it alone out there. General Electric’s annual revenues exceed the entire New York State budget! Who, other than the federal government is capable of telling Jeff Immelt NO?

    If the states go their own way, do they each take with them their share of the national debt? What about the national assets like the military, or the national labs, or NASA? Who gets the nukes?

    Secession is a non-starter.

  17. @dutchbradt: It had and has nothing to do with unconstitutional gag orders. As SanderO pointed out: the lack of public support. As almost all my WBs would point out: In the end people neither want to hear or care about it. That is the sad fact.

    As for some other general points: I made a personal choice to live in OR. Of course some states would end up worse (subjective speaking), and no one can force you/me to live in that particular state. This whole notion of uniformity is as police state as it can get. If the majority in Georgia vote for having religion part of their schools: it is their right to have it- it is nobody’s God da.. business to dictate them otherwise. Similarly, if CT majority decides to have gay marriage, then that is what they should have- no body’s damn business. What the hell is this entitlement thinking process that certain subjective values should be forced upon every single state?! That goes for everything: Gun control or not, abortion or not, death penalty or not…

    Enough of this ridiculous nany state, central big authority, one value fits all … nonsense.

    Ticked off or not, let me tell you what: my next ‘Glaring Paradox’ is going to set some of you on fire (negatively, that is). Frankly, I couldn’t care less (not running for office here). You want some 100% uniformed Liberal Democrat Junk- get the h… out of here this site, and don’t come back. You want 100% garbage Right-Wing hypocricy, please do the same, get out; get out now. There are 359872264 websites to serve dim-witted narrow-minded entitled-attitude reflecting garbage websites operating out there- go join them. Hope it is understood.

    On the other hand, if you want to have intelligent discussion, are willing to step out of the box and truly look at multiple angles, are ready to expand, then, I love having you here as members of our irate minority. As the title says: from broader perspective there seems to be glaring paradoxes-and the denial of this reality won’t get rid of the glare.

  18. One problem as I see it is that to inform the public… in a democracy where they do or can vote on the issues requires a media and some sort of institutionalization ie big *government*. It may not be as big as the federal government, but to inform people perhaps up until recently when everyone has internet and a smart phone required parties… and such.. and that begets corruption and nepotism.

    The internet itself, a wonderful tool for connecting people can be turned off like a light switch.

    We also know that digital voting can be tinkered with rather easily. But the net can be used to instantly pass on information to millions. We don’t need representatives… we can cast our own votes! Why not? And how about having laws constantly being polled for approval by the people… I would imagine that wars would not last long.. the TSA would disappear in a New York minute… probably along with the tax code and the FBI…

    If the people did the apportionment of spending… we’d see our tax dollars going to very different things.

    Direct democracy! Get rid of the middle man!

  19. Glaring Paradoxes – great band name.

    As for calling out the “nanny state”. I am always wary when people start attacking the “nanny”, as if (s)he were our enemy and not the effing slave owners. Does that go for slavery, BTW? Slavery or not?

    Hurry! The nanny’s coming! Run! Aaaaah!

  20. dutchbradt says:

    Outside the box is one thing, but outside reality is quite another. Without large corporations and big government there could be no internet. The infrastructure for the world wide web and the regulations that keeps it open (so far) require large scale resources that only corporations and governments can provide. This website could not exist without big government and big corporations.

    Like it or not we cannot all go our own way and associate only with those who are like-minded with ourselves. Democratic government, even when it works, requires that a minority of the people will be unhappy with the choices made by the majority. The maintenance of peace within a mass society requires that we compromise and conciliate as much as possible, but in the end accept the decision of the majority.

    Breaking up the country into smaller sub-units doesn’t fix the problem – we will still have to get along with the other sub-units. Compromise and majority rule will still be necessary unless something worse takes its place.

  21. You think it was a bunch of nannies that knocked down the towers? The nannies wrote the Patriot Act and NDAA?

    Let me tell you what kind of people I think it was:

    Anarcho-Capitalists, who live outside a state and outside the law. Slave traders.

  22. For the good of their motorcycle club. Don’t worry, I’m sure it’s a voluntary one.

  23. Xicha: Let’s CR that name for a band- I am all for it; cool political band:-) Also, I agree with the usage of ‘Nanny’ with this criminal terrorist shadow government-government combo. Let’s not use it anymore!

  24. And the government cheese that I’ve eaten sure didn’t make me think of the word “nanny”. It sounds so pampered.

    I’ve got a theory that needs data: How many anarcho-libertarian-whatever-ending people have actually ever needed assistance? How many own property? What percentage? Just a theory, but I think you will find their population to be mostly white property owners. Maybe I’m wrong. I wonder why I get that feeling though?

  25. Thanks, I’ll drop it…

  26. The internet is perhaps the most democratic invention since moveable type. The problem is that a printing press could be a mom and pop operation or a mega publisher. Not so with the internet. It’s like a telecom infrastructure… huge capital outlays… this means corporations and top down pyramids of power.

    How can the internet exist and be maintained without a huge centralized power in control? It’s democracy on a leash… Now get back in the crate and shut up!

    But if the internet is truly free… it is extremely empowering to every man and women.

  27. @dutchbradt: I would say that Sibel has broken the gag orders. She has done it under oath in fact. And in her book. There may be some specific details that she has not released, because they might get an individual hurt for instance, but people should understand that Sibel has “spilled the beans” and we should not consider her as holding on to some secret truth that would change the game for us.

    At least that’s how I perceive the situation with Sibel. And that’s why she has risked so much already.

  28. flogchopsuey says:

    I am not surprised with glaring paradox. To have hope in the face of difficult odds one learns to live with and thrive on paradox. One also becomes acutely aware of little details, like the face of an accountant, glazed over at the prospect of approaching the truth and doing something about it. This man is probably left or right. It is people like this who will be critical to the world moving forward. Are not each of us a bit glazed in the eye about approaching the truth and doing something about it? We must shoot for capturing the imagination of a key demographic. Our ways of speaking will adapt along the way, as will our ways of living. It is called growing pains.

  29. @Xicha: That is one of the most illogical/irrational arguments I’ve heard in a long time. Let me turn it around for you:

    How many percent of those working in civil liberties area happen to be Ivy-League White Rich People? Does that make their activism or work questionable?

    Another first-hand experience I have: How many percent of those most outspoken and active proponents of mandatory busing of minority kids to white/more affluent area public schools happen to have their own kids tucked away nicely in Lillie-White Private Schools? What does this make them; hypocrites? Or anything at all?

    I’ve known several libertarian-minded people (pay attention: not the party but the mind set) who work their off, juggling multiple jobs/work to survive and help their family survive-live a better life. That is called solid work ethic, and lack of disgusting entitlement-mentality. At the same time, I worked (my job as court appointed specialist to abused children/women) and have seen so many cases where perfectly healthy and capable people refused to work, and expected hand-outs- spent their welfare on ‘Air Jordan’ shoes and dope (not meals to survive or programs to further their abilities).

    All that said: I am a proponent of society assisting those truly in need (battered women, abused and neglected children, etc.) I am not only a proponent in words (like many), but in action-whether volunteering my time in orphanages, foster cares, soup houses, or contributing financially as much as I am capable of. HOWEVER, I am 100% against entitlement mentality misplaced + I am 100% against waste-fraud-crime ridden big government creating an ineffective mess in the name of welfare. I am for local programs: where efficiency matters; where hands-on approach matters to identify and provide best course of action for those truly in need. I am for social responsibility- not forced by a criminal government, but people’s own conscience.

    Finally: When it comes to talking about 300 years ago and certain aspects of Thomas Jefferson’s status/practices- I find it not very relevant. For example, let’s take JFK- in his personal life and practices was he a true dirty disgusting bastard? Did he come from a mafia/criminal/uber rich family? Was he mentally sick in certain areas? Okay, does that take a away a few other qualities/moves that were positive? Or his brother’s? I find the drafting of US Constitution and when it happened truly revolutionary-amazing-phenomenal; name one nation that has had anything that would come even close in the last 300 years? All right, enough said. Let’s go back to being a bit more rational.

  30. @Sibel:

    I am failing to see how you justified calling my argument irrational and illogical.

    If you think the percentage of those working for civil liberties being rich and white is anywhere close to the percentage of anarcho-libertarians being white property owners, then you and I must be on different planets and data needs to be referenced to set the record straight. I just thought that it didn’t take that much imagination when thinking of the marches in the south or the march on Washington – look in your mental image of those pictures – how many faces are rich whites? Just because some rich whites worked for civil rights does not make that percentage anywhere close.

    Do you think the majority of those who worked for civil rights were rich whites? I was supposing that the majority of anarcho-libertarians were white property owners. Unless you think the majority of those working for civil rights were rich whites then you aren’t “turning it around” on me.

    It is unfortunate that your experience with young poor people who waste money on drugs and shoes has so altered your perception of the real population of those on public assistance. Many work more than 40 hours per week and fall below the poverty level (such as my mother and teen brothers – the whole time we received it).

    What you so deridingly call “entitlement” (real meaning = pampered/nannied), I call infrastructure.

    Again, I would ask what the percentage of people with your view of entitlement have actually ever needed public assistance. And I’m all for being rational.

    And I didn’t say that white property owners didn’t work hard, did I? No, I didn’t. But you have colored your opinion of those on public assistance as people who don’t, by choosing the example you chose for your argument.

    (Here is a more irrational observation:
    Have you ever thought you could differentiate the perspective from which a native English speaker comes by the accent they use when they say “poor” – is it the vowel sound matching “door”, or is the vowel sound more like “stew”? I have seen quite a pattern with this, but it is probably irrational.)

  31. I would like to think of myself as libertarian minded. What I’m talking about is the people who are against any kind of state.

    And, as you can probably guess, I have felt judged for being poor from an early age, so my apologies for being a little defensive on that topic.

  32. That’s the thing (the percentage I have first-hand met/seen/heard): who talks about those programs on NPR? Who runs/represents/funds those NGO’s in DC area? Who writes the books? Guess what: a large majority white/high-income/high-education who own their houses. My response: so what? And that’s exactly my response to your comments re: libertarian being mostly white-property owners. So what? Of course I know how the MSM/NGOs/academia have been trying to paint and categorize/generalize all libertarians: skin-head white evangelical racist property owners … This is why I am ultra sensitive when it comes to that kind of ignorant labeling meant to marginalize a very rational core activist group …

    This is no different than the same people characterizing whistleblowers as: neurotic (anal), kook, faulth-finders … Or, 9/11 activists as those who tend to be: paranoid, conspiracy theorist …

    As for experiences: Yes I have. I have experienced drastic ups, downs, and in between. I have worke with those who have experienced major downs as well. I have known huge numbers of first-generation immigrants who came here, faced incredible dire situations, and worked very hard to overcome …


    As I said: As a society we must help those in need. I consider it an obligation. To do this effectively it has to be done by local level, hands-on approach. A corrupt and criminal federal gov is not the answer: look around you and you’ll see that it is not. Local governments/bodies/organizations and people.

  33. The problem with stereotyping and labeling groups is that there IS an element of truth to stereotypes… But it’s like an average of these numbers 1, 2, 9… it’s 6 but not one of the members of that set is a 6… and all are pretty far removed from 6.

    I can hardly tell what YOU mean by libertarian… what YOUR experience is with the word and the group from what MY experience is with people and so forth who identify as libertarian. Same problem for *gun owners*. These short hand catch all labels are dangerous… but they are also useful.

    The VAST VAST majority of poor who receive government services are not welfare queens driving BMWs and wearing Air Jordans and stoned all day. Those of the ones that the haters of public welfare like Ronald Reagan will identify as defining the class. That is dishonest, disgraceful and has earned Reagan a place in hell if it exists… and anyone who worked for the man. He was a elitist condescending person who felt entitled. No one is entitled.

    Since the term libertarian has been used in this discussion… I would like to know what it means to those who use it… And I would be OK with presenting my take on the term…based on my experience.

  34. A few points on what is meant by libertarian-leaning view:

    Decentralized Government- A very small federal government.

    Here is the thing: everyone at this site agrees that our federal government is criminal, corrupt, and completely unaccountable; it is waste/fraud/abuse-ridden. Now, while we debate and discuss the need to get rid of, replace this criminal/corrupt/abusive entity, which happens to be gigantic, some of us, simultaneously, wants this same corrupt/criminal/abuse federal government remain in charge of trillions of dollars of tax money- have complete discretion of our tax money. Some of us want this same corrupt/criminal/government be in charge of people’s well-being/health/education. That is ILLOGICAL. That is insane.

    It is like Gandhi and his movement aiming for kicking out the Brits, and simultaneously ask the Brits to remain in charge of their money/health/education.

    You give the federal government discretion to ‘BailOut’ those in need. What does a criminal/corrupt federal government do? It goes and bails out the criminal/corrupt. After all, you give them the power and discretion, you are giving them that power, and this governing body being corrupt/criminal will use this power accordingly. The people never play a role in determining how that power/money/discretion is used or implemented.

    Same with billions of dollars this same criminal/corrupt/wasteful/unaccountable government uses for so-called welfare. So much of it is gone via waste, abuse, incompetence. So much is reallocated to criminal/corrupt causes. Think no bid contracts. Think the incestuous partnership between the disgusting Mega Insurance Companies and the Federal Government for the current ObamaCare. This is what we get for asking the corrupt/criminal to manage and take charge of our welfare/health/education.

    I see the current goal/objective (for me and those who think alike): to CHANGE/REPLACE the current criminal/fraudulent/abusive/corrupt Federal Government. Others, while on one hand want the same, on the other hand, simultaneously, is demanding more money/power/departments/expansion for this same corrupt/criminal/abusive government.

    Of course it is our societal responsibility/obligation to look out for the welfare of those truly in need: disabled/battered/poverty … but it is an absolute idiotic nonsense to look at this criminal entity as the one to be placed in charge of these needed services.

    Sooooo, I remain busy and determined to first get rid of the beast, replace it by smaller representative bodies that could be truly characterized as of the people by the people for the people, and with it, have what is needed for societal welfare. Those who want to work within this criminal/corrupt system, those who believe this beast is the one to be in charge, those who want this same massive beast to take care of those in need, better go elsewhere and sing that tune. I won’t be singing idiotic tunes like that here.

    Last word/comment on this pos- back to the fight.

  35. I got into this conversation when you used, in your libertarian argument against big government, the term “nanny state” to represent what libertarians are against.

    I would like to reconcile the fact that many poor people on public assistance are very interested in liberty and, as you know, probably suffer from the lack of liberty just as much or more than any other population.

    I’m trying to point out that it is not just the white-property-owner type of “libertarian” who has something to say about liberty. And those who callously deride everyone on public assistance, hopefully unwittingly, when you use the term “nanny state”, do not have the market cornered on liberty.

    That’s not the kind of libertarian mindedness I have. I am trying to broaden libertarianism. Any time you say “so what if this political group is mostly white property owners?”, you might want to double check just how the group is defined.

    I agree with your point about having more power in the hands of local government and am totally against corruption. I also think the WPA was a good program and did wonders for the country as a whole. And there are some things which can be defined at the national level, such as civil rights. Yes, we should find the best way to do things.

  36. arealjeffersonian says:

    This is a very interesting discussion & I would like to join in if I may. As my nickname suggests I am a lifelong Jefferson admirer/follower and agree with him adamantly on his view that a government governs best that governs least. I believe this would make him a libertarian as I define the term. As to Xicha’s comment re those who are against any state – those would be anarchists, not libertarians – again as I define the term. To be more specific, my view of a libertarian is one who holds that society works best when individuals take the major responsibility for their and their families well being – that government should be restricted to those few areas of absolute necessity. To quote Jefferson again “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.” – [including your freedom]. And that is where we appear to be today – with an enormous out of control government that is taking away everything we have. So to what I believe Sibel is getting at – if we allow this government to continue on, wanting it to do those things such as welfare for all, we are only permitting it to grow bigger & bigger & buying in to our own destruction.

  37. Thanks for the comment, arealjeffersonian. And thanks for the term definitions; I probably screwed those terms up. I think I’ll bow out of the conversation before anyone thinks I’m being more defensive than honest.

    Maybe I have some sickness that comes from my background, but I don’t think that providing welfare is the enemy of liberty. (And Sibel said as much – wanting to do it locally with more corruption controls.) I’d say it’s those other, not-providing-welfare, non-infrastructure activities that involve mass murder and slavery that are the enemy of liberty.

    Think about the most evil of the evil shadow government actors. What political philosophy do you think they have for themselves? I’m sure it’s not the kill-them-with-wellfare kind.

    Sorry for the disruption off the main topic.

  38. Oh, and it looks like I missed Sibel’s last comment, before I commented again. Yes, back to work it is. And I’ll need to decide if you’re calling me idiotic and I need to go elsewhere or just WTF that was meant to be. As I said before, my main issue was with the nanny. And I thought you said enough about that last night. Back to work. Yes.

  39. I’m not an idiot – figured it out. And I don’t like being called an idiot because I had a complaint and disagreement with you, as well as not being ready to dissolve the federal government. Hit me like a ton of bricks. You really don’t want me here because I haven’t evolved to that realization yet. Too bad for me; I really loved this place. But you’ve drawn your line in the sand and I’m not going to weigh you down or be called an idiot. Thanks for the memories.

  40. Who and what I call idiotic? Here is a shortened list:

    Those who came to my podcast program 3 years ago, called Obama the worst, called their action of voting for him ‘being conned’, then turned around and campaigned for him last fall. Idiotic.

    Those who want to ‘occupy’ and ‘change’ the beast, yet go around and asking this same beast for more ‘things’ and are willing to give the beast more and make it even a bigger beast.

    Those who love for more whistleblowers to come out, but don’t even lift a finger to support their whistleblowing battles.

    Those who criticize our nation’s hegemonic pursuits/imperial wars and its forcing rules/values on other nations, yet, believe in our conditional foreign ‘Aid’and so-called democratizing other nations.

    That was not for you per se, Xicha, but for all those above. It is a name-calling I feel comfortable with. Calling our status ‘police state’ is name calling as well, and I have no problem with that-will keep calling it what it is.

  41. arealjeffersonian says:

    Xicha, while I’m not a proponent of the welfare system as it exists today, there are certainly those such as yourself [and myself] who have and whose families have benefited from it. No shame in that, and such experiences color all our views. However, that does not change my view that the long term negatives outweigh the positives, and that as Sibel suggests, such programs should be the province of local government – to those who can observe closely the need of each individual.

    To Sandero: my own anecdotal experience tells me that in contradiction to your belief, the majority of welfare recipients may very well be those who should not have the need. And just an observation on human nature – there are those, many in fact, who do & will decide that it isn’t fair for them to have to work, while their neighbor or friend doesn’t & just draws a welfare check. Why should I work when he doesn’t? That belief in and of itself tears at society. So as much as you would like to believe that the program primarily benefits the needy, my experience tells me otherwise.

  42. YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am for the government to be as big as it needs to be to provide the services that the people want from their government. The government IS the people… at least that is what was intended. That’s been fouled up by special interests who essentially made the operations of the government THEIRS… to serve their needs.

    Big needn’t be corrupt, but it sure makes it easier for bureaucracies to be fat and lazy and corrupt. But of you have mechanisms to purge the ranks REGULARLY this certainly would help. NO CAREERS IN GOVERNMENT. ZERO… No LONG CAREERS IN MILITARY or POLICE… or JUSTICE… No fat salaries either and absolutely unlawful to have the revolving door.

    There are some efforts that require enormous resources… designing, building and maintaining the internet backbone, the air traffic control system… the interstate highways, tunnels and bridges. The alternative is to have huge private corporations run this. And then there’s no accountability and monopolies are only good for the monopolies.

    Small is fine and local government makes sense… because locales are different. FL is different from ME… different concerns. But you can’t have local aviation administration… that would be a nightmare… Or laws for medicine and drugs and the professions and law… How can you have a hundred or a thousand sets of regs and laws in these matters?

    I find many libertarians often sounding selfish… uninterested in others except their immediate family or maybe friends. They don’t want to pay for things of no use to them… big surprise… no one does. I don’t want to pay for the military…

    Our system is broken. But do we need to get rid of the one nation concept… or root out all the corruption and change the system to keep it out? Can that even be done?

  43. Jefferson,
    My wife has worked for 20 yrs for a major hospital in NYC in helping indigent people get medicaid. She’s seen thousands of people way more than you have or Sibel has or Ronald Reagan has. She’s seen every scam and trick in the book. She is an extremely compassion and caring person and sees lots of poverty, pain and suffering every day. I don’t know how she does it, but she does. She tries to help people and tries very hard to not let anyone put one over on the *system*… free load.
    You have no idea, I would imagine how much poverty and need for basic human needs are out there… housing, health care, education, nutrition, clothing. These people want to work, earn money and be able to pay for what they need. Capitalism is not creating enough jobs and likes unemployment to keep wages low… and profits high… and the suffering goes on for countless millions.

    Human nature.. greed.. laziness.. want something for nothing… same for rich and poor.

  44. The United States has made some of the same mistakes in their domestic policy as in their foreign policy toward the disadvantaged. Our foreign aid often creates dependency because it is designed to advance the objectives of US business and financial elites rather than build up the local economy. Clearly in a largely agricultural nation in the third world, the last thing they should do is open their markets to cheap foreign foodstuffs or encourage consumerism in their population. That is the road to dependency and the “aid” we sent usually goes directly back in the pockets of US banks and corporations with a few percent raked off by the local elites.

    The same is true of our attempts at welfare for the poor. When we started back in the LBJ era, we threw money at the problem – a lot of which went into the pockets of corrupt community leaders – and while some beneficial programs were started, a lot of the efforts didn’t build up the ability of poor communities to be self-sufficient. After the Vietnam War sucked all the resources away, we blamed the poor (welfare queens in their Cadillacs) for the problem and set about to reform welfare so that it’s chief function today is to force people to work for low pay. While that satisfies the needs of our retail and health care industries, it leaves poor people in a cycle of poverty and their living standards continue to drop.

    Ultimately I don’t believe we can solve our domestic problems until we give up imperialism. We simply cannot afford to build up our domestic economy while spending $1 Trillion a year spreading death and chaos around the world. We cannot address poverty, we cannot address our health care crisis, we cannot address the impact of climate change or peak oil or our broken infrastructure and education system while we cling to the idea that we must maintain our “superpower” control over the whole world.

    The first act of any government that wants real change is to dismantle the military/national security state, including the operational branch of the CIA, the Homeland Security storm troopers, and our 800+ overseas military bases. That of course, is completely impossible in our current political system which is owned by the military-industrial complex and Wall Street. The last President who tried got himself shot for his trouble.

  45. CDisthaca… Excellent and well stated… concise.

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