March 7, 2011
With the uprisings in Middle-Eastern countries and concerns about the vulnerability of shipping oil to America, there is no better time than now to cut the shackles of America’s dependence on foreign oil. Such dependence has made America weaker and drawn unnecessarily into Middle Eastern territories and cultures for decades, thus provoking resentment toward America amongst the masses of those territories’ inhabitants.
There is a way out of this dilemma, and it isn’t through U.S. government powers, but despite them. And that way is nullification.
Russell Longcore of Dump DC has this article on energy independence and suggests that the way toward energy independence is for states to secede from Washington’s iron fist, and then they would not be burdened by the restrictive aggressions imposed against us by the monstrous federal Leviathan. I’m all for states to secede from the “union” and taking back their independence and sovereignty that has been stolen from them by centralists. In fact, for genuine restoration of our freedom and prosperity, we need to outright abolish the federal government and start America all over with independent states but without a centralized authority with any power. That’s what independence is: not being dependent on any authoritarian parent figure, for that type of system naturally turns into a master-slave relationship. In fact, Tzo elaborates on that today at Strike the Root.
However, it is a daunting task to convince so many millions of Americans that our having a compulsory territorial monopoly regime in Washington has been the biggest agent of America’s destruction, and therefore we must get rid of it. So many people still live in the fantasy that, despite all the federal government’s abuse of their Liberty and theft of their property, the federal government is still worthy of keeping. But while Longcore in the past has suggested that nullification is for sissies, and that secession is the only way, there is a good case to be made for nullification toward America’s energy independence.
Just as with federally-imposed ObamaCare medical mandates, restrictions, regulations and other bureaucratic shenanigans, the states have a right to nullify federally-imposed mandates, restrictions and regulations regarding America’s energy needs. This is a crucial time in which this form of civil disobedience is the moral and practical way for Americans to protect themselves from the tyranny of centralized bureaucrats’ obstructions of our society’s progress.
And yes, nullification is a right that people have. If any law by the federal government is destructive of the rights to life, liberty or property of the people of an individual state, then of course those people have a right to nullify such a law. Our right to make use of natural resources that exist within our own territories is not granted to us by any government, because such a right is given to us by God or nature.
Now, the U.S. Constitution is not perfect, but as long as there exists that centralized regime in Washington with all its tentacles stretching over and around us and strangling our growth and productivity as a society, then we must make use of any protections available.
The Ninth Amendment to the Constitution notes that the Bill of Rights couldn’t possibly enumerate the infinite number of rights that human beings inherently have (such as the right to home-school your children, the right to eat or to not eat vegetables, etc.), and that amendment exists to remind people that the Bill of (ten enumerated) Rights is not to imply that no other rights exist with the people. And the Tenth Amendment notes that 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.”
In his important book on states’ rights, Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century, economic historian Thomas Woods provides well-sourced documentation regarding the Founding Fathers’ views on states’ rights to nullify non-constitutionally delegated powers assumed by the federal government over the states. It is actually the states who have authority over the federal government, with the states having created the federal government as an “agent” to act in certain areas on behalf of the people of the states. As Woods noted, regarding the relationship between the states and the federal government,
Since the peoples of the states are the sovereigns, then when the federal government exercises a power of dubious constitutionality on a matter of great importance, it is they [the states] themselves who are the proper disputants, as they review whether their agent was intended to hold such a power. No other arrangement makes sense. No one asks his agent whether the agent has or should have such-and-such power. In other words, the very nature of sovereignty, and of the American system itself, is such that the sovereigns must retain the power to restrain the agent they themselves created.
Take ObamaCare, for example. A part of ObamaCare that has been examined by the courts (so far), already struck down by judges in at least two states, Virginia and Florida, has been the federal mandate on individuals to buy health insurance. Contrary to the federal government’s edicts, an individual has the right to buy or not buy health insurance.
But there are other aspects of the ObamaCare law that are more intrusive and invasive. The federal government has no moral right or authority to dictate to any individual what kind of medical care to use or what doctor one can see, or dictate to doctors how to conduct their own medical practices. Such dictates are trespasses into individuals’ property rights to contract and association. States have a right – protected by the Tenth Amendment – to nullify any aspect of this entirely intrusive medical care law. And one could argue that individuals have a right – based on property rights and the principle of individual liberty, and protected by the Ninth Amendment – to nullify federal restrictions on their private associations and contracts, including their medical care and their private relationship with their doctors.
The same moral principle must apply to Americans’ energy needs. Our use of energy resources is as vital an aspect of our right to life as is our right to medical independence and freedom. The inhabitants of these American territories have an inherent, God-given right to explore, discover and make use of any natural resources that exist on or underneath such territories. Such a right supersedes the arbitrary dictates of some centralized office in Washington, and is why states must ignore federal energy and environmental regulations and restrictions, and exercise their fundamental rights to drill for oil and gas and build new nuclear power plants. This is one area in which the practice of civil disobedience and nullification is necessary.
Federal energy restrictions have been harmful to Americans’ progress and prosperity. Those restrictions need to be nullified by the states, not only as a matter of states’ rights per se, but also because of the federal government’s destructive usurpation of Americans’ control over their energy resources. Just where in America’s extremely flawed and erroneously contrived Constitution is it a delegated power to the federal government to control Americans’ energy matters? And for those who want to bring up the Constitution’s “general welfare” clause, the federal government has for over 200 years increasingly damaged America’s general welfare, not promoted it. By keeping Americans’ energy matters in bondage and shackles, the federal government has caused America great stagnation and suffering.
Besides the oppressive, restrictive causes for such stagnation and suffering, there has also been the economic cause: the dreaded calculation problem. Economists Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard have shown that central planning just does not work. Central planning doesn’t work in any area of society, not in retirement matters, not in education, not even in national defense, believe it or not. It has clearly not been in America’s interests to depend on central planners in Washington to serve our energy needs, when in reality the bureaucrats have been obstructing America’s access to needed energy resources.
It is most unfortunate that Americans’ growth and prosperity have been held back by environmentalist extremists whose lobbyists seem to have the loyalty of elected representatives even more than do everyday citizens. And this is truly a time for Americans to cut the cord that has so painfully bound them to most repressive foreign societies, cultures and governments. Americans need to cut the shackles of this utterly regressive dependence on centralized bureaucrats’ control over our natural energy resources. Drill for oil and gas, make use of coal, and build nuclear energy plants, and reclaim your freedom, independence, and progress.