Would States Secede to Protect Their Citizens? – Tea Party Nation

Would States Secede to Protect Their Citizens? – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

Many, if not most, Americans are unaware that the nation is composed of separate republics with their own constitutions. They are, of course, the individual states.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved respectively, or to the people.” – Tenth Amendment

By tying compliance with federal laws and regulation to receiving funds, the states have been coerced to accept programs that limit freedoms enumerated in the Constitution and the passage of Obamacare is but one example. Some twenty states have refused to set up the mandated insurance exchanges. Obamacare grants the government complete control over the provision of medical care that every American has formerly received from the free market health system that it destroyed. It gives the federal government control over our lives in terms of who lives or dies.

As noted on the website of the Tenth Amendment Center: “The Founding Fathers has good reason to pen the Tenth Amendment.”

“The issue of power – and especially the great potential for a power struggle between the federal and the state governments – was extremely important to the America’s founders. They deeply distrusted government power, and their goal was to prevent the growth of the type of government that the British has exercised over the colonies.”

“Adoption of the Constitution of 1787 was opposed by a number of well-known patriots including Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and others. They passionately argued that the Constitution would eventually lead to a strong, centralized state power which would destroy the individual liberty of the People. Many in this movement were given the poorly-named tag ‘Anti-Federalists.’”

“The Tenth Amendment was added to the Constitution of 1787 largely because of the intellectual influence and personal persistence of the Anti-Federalists and their allies.”

Their worst fears are coming true as the nation heads into 2013. In just four years, the Obama administration, through its profligate borrowing and spending, has brought the nation to the brink of financial collapse and, as we have seen, the refusal of the President to negotiate anything than the current Band-Aid to avoid the “fiscal cliff” for another two months, has brought the nation to a point where the collapse of the U.S. dollar is not just imminent, but likely.

When that occurs the individual states may elect to secede in order to avoid having the federal government nationalize their National Guard units or take control of their state police to enforce whatever measures it might take to control the population. Individual state law enforcement authorities in cities and towns would need similar protection. Reportedly, massive amounts of funding have been directed to them to ensure their cooperation.

It would be a means to protect their citizens insofar as state constitutions grant the same rights as found in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. It would not surprise me to see Texas lead the way. Others would follow.

You know things are bad when historians like Arthur Herman, writing on the January 3 Fox News, says that “Washington’s Republicans and Democrats alike have become the toll collectors on the road to serfdom.” Citing recent riots in Argentina, Herman said that “Argentina reveals who really suffers when those who create a nation’s wealth get mugged by those who spend it—as just happened this week in Washington.”

If the private sector manages to rally this year, it may buy some time before the midterm elections in 2014. A letter to the editor in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune summed up the problem neatly. “Let’s look at what we have learned from this election: Twenty-one of 22 incumbent senators were re-elected, and 353 of 373 incumbent members of the House were re-elected. The American people have re-elected 94 percent of the incumbents who were running for re-election to an institution that has an approval rating of about 9 percent. This indicates, as an electorate, we are a nation of idiots. We’re now stuck with the useless, dysfunctional government that we deserve.”

The U.S. Constitution was written in the wake of the failure of the Articles of Confederation, the first attempt to unite the states for the common good of the growing nation. It is the product of some of the finest minds, the most dedicated advocates of liberty, to gather in one place at one time. It is the oldest, living Constitution in the world. It was adopted on September 17, 1787 and ratified in June of 1788.

On December 17, 1791, the first ten amendments—the Bill of Rights—were ratified. It is a list of immunities from interference by the federal government and the fears of the Founders are now being borne out by a government that is too large, borrows and spends too much money, and has departments such as the Homeland Security that threaten the rights of free speech, travel, and other freedoms. Every U.S. citizen is now subject to government surveillance more typical of a totalitarian government than one that respects and protects their personal security and rights.

This is why the United States could find itself in a rebellion that will rival the causes of the Civil War, itself a state’s rights conflict in addition to the issue of slavery that had hung over the Constitution since its ratification; an effort to “kick the can down the road” the Founders agreed to in order to get it ratified.

It is not beyond the imagination that a deliberately created crisis would prompt individual states to withdraw from the Union to protect themselves and their citizens, otherwise known as “the people.”

© Alan Caruba, 2012


“The Tenth Amendment is a Bunch of Baloney” | Godfather Politics

“The Tenth Amendment is a Bunch of Baloney” | Godfather Politics.

MSNBC’s David Shuster insists the “general welfare” clause in Article 1 of the Constitution “unambiguously authorizes” social welfare spending like “social security, Medicare, veterans’ care, etc.” Yeah, right. This is the same guy who claims “the Tenth Amendment is a bunch of baloney.” You can hear Shuster’s constitutional expertise here. The Tenth Amendment is very clear:

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.

Now here’s the “general welfare” provision in Article I, section 8:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

We are to believe, following Shuster, that the Founders at the direction of the states gave unlimited power to the Federal government when the states were suspicious and reluctant to give even a little authority to a national governing body. In addition to the body of enumerated powers in the body of the Constitution, the states insisted on an added Bill of Rights that included the Tenth Amendment that defined the limited authority of the Federal government. James J. Kilpatrick is correct when he writes, “And so long as the Tenth Amendment remains a part of the Constitution, it is elementary that it must be given full meaning — that the intention of its framers must be acknowledged and respected. Plainly, the intention of the Tenth Amendment was to restrict the Federal government—to hold it within the strict boundaries of the delegated powers.”[1] Shuster is more closely aligned with the government of Hugo Chavez than the United States Constitution.

A careful reader will note that “general welfare” did not mean aid to some at the expense of others, as James Madison was quick to point out in Federalist 41: “But what color can the objection have [that the phrase ‘general welfare’ is not specified by particulars], when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? . . . Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars . . . .”[2]

In the entire list that follows the semicolon, there is nothing that even remotely resembles the social welfare programs promoted by people like Schuster. Following modern-day proponent’s of General Welfare, the national government has unlimited authority to do anything it defines as General Welfare. This is impossible. Madison points out that the phrase is found in the Articles of Confederation, and it has a particular meaning:

Article III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.

You can see by how “general welfare” is used to mean what applies to everyone generally and has nothing to do with wealth redistribution which a national healthcare care program would be. You can find similar uses of “general welfare” in Articles VIII and IX. Madison continues:

Construe either of these articles by the rules which would justify the construction put on the new Constitution, and they vest in the existing Congress a power to legislate in all cases whatsoever. But what would have been thought of that assembly, if, attaching themselves to these general expressions, and disregarding the specifications which ascertain and limit their import, they had exercised an unlimited power of providing for the common defense and general welfare? I appeal to the objectors themselves, whether they would in that case have employed the same reasoning in justification of Congress as they now make use of against the convention. How difficult it is for error to escape its own condemnation!

The modem concept of general welfare is most often defined in terms of wealth redistribution where some members of society (“the rich”) are taxed heavily in order to benefit the “welfare” of others (“the poor”). General welfare, according to the Constitution, means welfare that benefits everybody more or less equally. This can be clearly seen in providing “for the common Defense.” Taxes collected to defend the nation benefit everybody generally. Taxing some people so other people can have decent housing or an education or healthcare is not general welfare; it’s particular welfare.


  1. James Jackson Kilpatrick, The Sovereign States: Notes of a Citizen of Virginia (Chicago: Henry Regnery Com., 1957), 47. []
  2. The Federalist No. 41: General View of the Powers Conferred by The Constitution,  No. 41 (January 19,

Read more: “The Tenth Amendment is a Bunch of Baloney” | Godfather Politics http://godfatherpolitics.com/1023/the-tenth-amendment-is-a-bunch-of-baloney/#ixzz1YWd2tfGw

Pleading the 10th – Tea Party Nation

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Pleading the 10th – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Ron Miller

Note: A version of this article was published in the July 2011 issue of Tea Party Review magazine.

What if the federal government issued an order, and nobody obeyed?

More and more, it’s happening across the country.

The most apparent example is the state pushback on the individual mandate for citizens to purchase health insurance, a cornerstone of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. As of this writing, 27 states, more than half of the Union, are suing the federal government for attempting to force Americans to purchase a product or service against their will.

In addition to suing the government, some states have enacted laws to prevent the implementation of some or all aspects of Obamacare.

Many states, emboldened by Arizona’s tough stance against illegal immigration and frustrated by federal inaction in this area, are passing immigration laws of their own without regard for the federal government’s admonition that they can’t enact such legislation.

Most recently, Indiana passed a law to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Despite the Obama Administration’s threat to cut off the federal contribution to Indiana’s Medicaid program altogether unless the funding is restored, Indiana’s government says it intends to enforce the law. Other states are considering similar bills.

Increasingly, as the Tea Party movement exhorts and educates the people on individual liberty, free markets, and limited constitutional government, and elects men and women who embrace these goals, we are seeing a backlash by the states against heavy-handed dictates from the federal government.

In my opinion, this is an encouraging development, because it brings us back to the spirit and intent of the founders when they wrote our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

America is unique as a nation because it was constructed around an idea, and built from the ground up. Those who settled here were seeking liberty, whether it was the Puritans, Quakers, and Catholics who migrated to New England, Pennsylvania, and Maryland respectively for religious freedom, or the Dutch, Swedes, Germans, Irish, English and other peoples of Europe who claim seeking land to call their own and the right to govern themselves.

Benjamin Franklin noted that private property distinguished the American settlers from their oppressed brethren in Europe, and noted that each who owned the means of their subsistence “has a Vote in public Affairs, lives in a tidy, warm House, has plenty of good Food and Fuel, with whole clothes from Head to Foot, the Manufacture perhaps of his own family.”

As author Walter Lippman wrote, “Private property was the original source of freedom. It still is its main bulwark.”

From these settlements of private property owners grew colonies, which became states and which formed the alliance described in the Declaration of Independence as “these United States of America.”

The Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the American Revolution, declared that Great Britain no longer held claim to the “free sovereign and independent states” that comprised the United States of America. This language made clear that the states were the preexisting and preeminent jurisdiction within the confederation known as the United States of America.

It was the states which granted limited authority to the federal government through the Articles of Confederation, in which it was written, “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.”

It was also the states which authorized the stronger central government established by the Constitution of the United States. They did not, however, consider this more robust federal government to be sovereign over the will of the people and the states.

They placed limits on federal power by enumerating its duties, limiting the authority of taxation to the execution of those duties, and creating a Bill of Rights to ensure that the liberty of individuals and the states were protected.

The Tenth Amendment to the Bill of Rights was thought by some in the Constitutional Convention to be unnecessary, given the Constitution’s enumerated powers, but the states demanded the language nonetheless because of their distrust of the federal government and its potential for suppressing liberty:

I find, from looking into the amendments proposed by the State conventions, that several are particularly anxious that it should be declared in the Constitution, that the powers not therein delegated should be reserved to the several States. Perhaps words which may define this more precisely than the whole of the instrument now does, may be considered as superfluous. I admit they may be deemed unnecessary: but there can be no harm in making such a declaration, if gentlemen will allow that the fact is as stated. I am sure I understand it so, and do therefore propose it. ~ James Madison

Thus the Tenth Amendment was included, and its language was deliberately unambiguous so as to avoid misinterpretation:

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.

Power concentrated in the hands of a few ultimately corrupts, however, and our nation’s history has seen a gradual erosion of state sovereignty and a corresponding increase in federal government control.

Moreover, the concept codified by the 10th Amendment of federalism (or, more accurately, dual federalism), in which the states and the federal government were equal partners in governance, was deeply stained by the institutions of slavery and legal discrimination.

The states of the South wrapped those odious violations of man’s liberty in the banner of “states’ rights,” and the phrase has a negative connotation to this day, especially in the black community. Gary Bledsoe, president of the Texas chapter of the NAACP, speaks of the mindset of most blacks toward calls for greater state sovereignty:

I realize it was the federal government that freed my ancestors. It was the federal government that got rid of Jim Crow. It was the federal government that seeks to protect my right to vote. So these things are really sacrosanct. So that states’ rights thing does have a really negative connotation.

It is admittedly a barrier to greater participation by some groups in the Tea Party movement, which passionately advocates a return to states’ rights, although with uncompromising adherence to protecting the life, liberty and property of each individual citizen.

For that reason alone, I refrain from using that phrase, preferring the term ‘federalism.’ Ken Emanuelson of the Dallas Tea Party stresses the value of using less provocative language to describe our laudatory goals:

I don’t think for a minute that the governor [Texas governor Rick Perry, a leading advocate of federalism] and a lot of people who are using that term have any ill intent. But it is a little tone-deaf and may be a lot tone-deaf. There are terms that maybe aren’t as broadly used, terms like ‘federalism’ and ‘decentralization,’ that mean the same thing. 

So although we must proceed with caution and sensitivity, proceed we must if we are to restore the balance of liberty in our republic. The legislative actions I cited above are but a few either in progress or actually implemented to push back against federal mandates outside of their constitutional prerogatives.

Fourteen states have passed “10th Amendment resolutions” to reassert their sovereignty. Issues as diverse as national identification cards, immigration enforcement, gun owners’ rights, intrastate commerce, environmental regulations and medical marijuana are being addressed as 10th Amendment issues.

At the end of the day, when faced with a federal government that is insistent on pursuing a path to socialism, the states are left with little recourse other than the power to just say no.

A movie quote from the character Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the starship Enterprise, in Star Trek: First Contact, best captures the Tea Party movement’s passion for change:

We’ve made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our space and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no farther!”