Friday, June 3, 2011

A Further View on Centralized Government

Posted by bionic mosquito on 06/03/11 04:56 PM

While we are waiting for Ingo to gather his thoughts, I would like to expand further regarding my comments about Lincoln's War and the loss of the states' voice.

Declaration of Independence

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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 to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Thomas Jefferson makes clear that the people have the right to disband government if the people believe that government is not serving its proper role. Was the South doing something beyond this such that Ingo feels compelled to applaud Lincoln's use of utter devastation? Jefferson makes clear that people are justified to disband the Union, yet Ingo argues that Lincoln was justified to maintain the Union under all circumstances (as he has previously stated). Does Ingo suggest that it is 'just' that a government can compel obedience by such force, even when the people decide that a change in government is in order? What would Jefferson say?

Ninth Amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Tenth Amendment: 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.

The Ninth and Tenth Amendments make clear that Federal powers are limited only to those enumerated, and those not enumerated are retained by the states or the people.

Kentucky Resolution (penned by Jefferson): That the several states composing the United States of America are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by compact, under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes, delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each state to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force; that to this compact each state acceded as a state, and is an integral party, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party; that this government, created by this compact, was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself, since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.

We see from Jefferson's words that the states did not assume a position of unlimited subservience to the federal government, and that acts of the federal government that go beyond the enumerated powers are null and void.

Virginia Resolution (penned by Madison): That the Constitution of the United States, having delegated to Congress a power to punish treason, counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States, piracies, and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations, and no other crimes, whatsoever; and it being true as a general principle, and one of the amendments to the Constitution having also declared, that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, not prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people," therefore the act of Congress, passed on the 14th day of July, 1798, and intitled "An Act in addition to the act intitled An Act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States," as also the act passed by them on the -- day of June, 1798, intitled "An Act to punish frauds committed on the bank of the United States," (and all their other acts which assume to create, define, or punish crimes, other than those so enumerated in the Constitution,) are altogether void, and of no force.

We see from Madison's words that the federal government has authority to punish only a very limited set of crimes, also specifically citing the Tenth Amendment.

Finally, is it likely that those wise men who sat in Philadelphia during that hot summer of 1787 would have supported the document if they knew it came with the right of the Federal government to declare war on their home State if there was some disagreement, or even, in fact, if the State later decided to secede? Would the States have ratified the document if they knew that, to enforce the Union under all circumstances, the Federal government would consider as acceptable the type of devastation that was ultimately unleashed on the South - both the military and civilian devastation?

Of course, the answer to both questions is no. Yet Ingo clings to the notion that Lincoln's actions were justified. It is damnable, and it is irrational to conclude that somehow the 17th Amendment carried more weight in diminishing the voice of the States than Lincoln's war did.

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