Liberty, Independence and Elena Kagan

One of the greatest achievements of the human race was the Declaration of Independence.  The Declaration stated unequivocally that government is created to protect the natural rights of the individual.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,… (Emphasis added).

These words ignited the American Revolution and the eventual establishment of a new nation of independent states in order for the American people to take their rightful place in society, free individuals pursuing their dreams, their hopes, their values.

That was the promise, the ideology, of the American Revolution—liberty, limited government and free enterprise.

How far we have come from 1776! Today, the prevailing ideology in Washington DC and Trenton and all the other state capitals is statism—the belief that the state should “take from one group in order to give to another. The more it can take the more it can give. It is to the interest of those whom the government wishes to favor that their state become as large as possible.”  (Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government)

In short, too many Americans have embraced what the political elites have been selling to them in election after election for decades, dependence on the state for their basic needs—education, housing, medical care, social security, etc.

Three decades ago, economist, historian and libertarian philosopher Murray Rothbard correctly diagnosed the issues facing America.

The difference between us and the Democrats and Republicans is not that we are so much smarter than they are, but that we are deeply concerned with ideas, with principles, whereas they are simply concerned with getting their places at the public trough. We are interested in principles, they in power; and, gloriously enough, our principle is that their power be dismantled.

Too many libertarians have absorbed the negative and elitist conservative worldview to the effect that our enemy today is the poor, who are robbing the rich; the blacks, who are robbing the whites; or the masses, who are robbing heroes and businessmen. In fact, it is the state that is robbing all classes, rich and poor, black and white, worker and businessman alike; it is the state that is ripping us all off; it is the state that is the common enemy of mankind. And who is the state? It is any group who manages to seize control of the state’s coercive machinery of theft and privilege. Of course these ruling groups have differed in composition through history, from kings and nobles to privileged merchants to Communist parties to the Trilateral Commission.

This brings us to the confirmation hearing of Elena Kagan, who President Obama nominated to replace Justice Stevens on the Supreme Court.  During one of the Q&A sessions, Senator Coburn (R-OK) asked Ms. Kagan if a law requiring American to eat a certain amount of fruits and vegetables per day would be constitutional.  Ms. Kagan reflected for a moment and said it would be a “dumb law.”  But she refused to say whether such a law would be constitutional.  In other words, according to Ms. Kagan, practically any law the federal government or any level of government passes is constitutional because it became a law.  She implied that the Congress and states have to deliberate whether a law is constitutional or not before passing it.  If that’s the case, then the Supreme Court is unnecessary.

If the Court does not strike down blatantly unconstitutional laws, then the Supreme Court should be abolished and states and the people should take matters into their own hands and nullify laws or disobey them.  Tom Woods’ new book, Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century, may be the spark for our generation what another Thomas (Paine) did to ignite the American Revolution with the publication of Common Sense.

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