May you live in interesting times.
It does seem we are. I've also been doing some interesting reading today.
I've been reading about nullification. Not the concept of Jury Nullification. But the concept and history of State Nullification. A couple of articles, one from Wikipedia and the other from Answers.com, give a good outline of the 1832 Nullification Controversy. But if you're lazy, the upshot is South Carolina, angry over some tariffs imposed by the federal government enacted a law stating that the Federal Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 were unconstitutional and unenforceable inside the state.
It's an interesting concept. And it's been popping up over the blogosphere more and more recently with regards to the manufactured Health Care Crisis and the bill they forced down our collective throat over Christmas.
A few quick articles.
Time to Reconsider Nullification
Health Care Nullification: Things have just gotten underway
Health Care Nullification and Interposition
It's an interesting idea for truly interesting times. Here are a couple of thoughts that occurred to me though. First, historically speaking the Nullification Crisis of 1832 was a very radical move by one of the most extreme states in the union. And it led to the Force Bill authorizing the federal government to use whatever force it deemed necessary to enforce tariffs. Which led to a precedent that states didn't have a right to secede and ultimately to the civil war.
(Yes, that's an extreme oversimplification and I'm glossing over a lot of factors, but I'm not here to talk about the Civil War of 1861 just yet.)
But anyway, since the Nullification Crisis a lot of legislation and an entire war have been fought over state powers and federal powers. Can the concept of State Nullification be argued successfully in the courts anymore? Because ultimately State Nullification is a legislative maneuver and the end of that process is the courts, whether it be state or federal courts.
Second, again historically speaking, this leads to a lot of nasty business like civil wars and other shenanigans. Are we willing to make that commitment? There are any number of people out there that are already banging on that particular drum. But there is sometimes a large chasm between talking the talk and walking the walk. And it's a deadly path to walk indeed. I'm not saying that something like that isn't needed every now and again. I'm just saying you'd better be damn sure about that decision.
Getting away from the history for a bit. We've had calls for marches on D.C., general national strikes, calls for immediate challenges to this Christmas bill in state and federal courts, not to mention the more extreme calls from fringy type peoples. Surprisingly from both the left and the right. How effective any of these will be is up to history to tell. I do think that no single attack will work. Only by effective coordinated efforts on multiple fronts will this administration, that has proven that it wont listen to the people it receives it's power from, be forced to abide by the limits that the founding fathers placed on it with the constitution.
Oh, and in case you didn't know. The rest of that supposed Chinese curse is:
May you come to the attention of those in authority (sometimes
rendered May the government be aware of you)
May you find what you are looking for