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Posts Tagged ‘federalism’

Many people (including dictionaries) seem to think that federalism refers to a strong centralized government. They will actually look at me as if I had just told them that 9/11 was an inside job when I explain that federalism refers to decentralized government.

I think the confusion comes from the terminology used. Gary Galles explains:

Federalism refers to the system of decentralized government. This group [Antifederalists] defended states rights — the very essence of federalism — against the Federalists, who would have been more accurately described as Nationalists.

Hitler understood federalism, which is why he was against it:

Hitler praises Otto von Bismarck for proving “the greatness of his statesmanship” by gradually diminishing the sovereignty of the German states and centralizing governmental power in Germany. This was a most welcome development, Hitler wrote, since the power of the central state in Germany was supposedly threatened by “the struggle between federalism and centralization so shrewdly propagated by the Jews in 1919-20-21 and afterward . . .” (p. 565). Federalism is “a league of sovereign states which ban together of their own free will, on the strength of their sovereignty” to cede some (but not all) of their sovereignty to form “the common federation” (p. 566). Hitler was violently opposed to such a system.

Anti-federalists support federalism – states rights; decentralized power; Jefferson; libertarian

Federalists support Totalitarianism – centralized power; Lincoln; Hitler; statist; fascist; nationalist

Confused?

More on the advantages of federalism here.

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Part of House Joint Resolution 1089, introduced by State Rep. Charles Key:

Whereas, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows: ‘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.'; and Whereas, the Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more; and whereas, the scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states; and Whereas, today, in 2008, the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government. … Now, therefore, be it resolved by the House of Representatives and the Senate of the 2nd session of the 51st Oklahoma Legislature: that the State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States. That this serve as Notice and Demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.

The resolution passed 92 to 3 in the House, but the Senate killed it.

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wyflag.gifHere’s one the mainstream media isn’t going to tell you: County sheriffs in Wyoming are demanding that federal agents actually abide by the Constitution, or face arrest. Even better, a U.S. District Court agreed according to the Keene Free Press:

The court decision was the result of a suit against both the BATF and the IRS by Mattis and other members of the Wyoming Sheriff’s Association. The suit in the Wyoming federal court district sought restoration of the protections enshrined in the United States Constitution and the Wyoming Constitution.

Guess what? The District Court ruled in favor of the sheriffs. In fact, they stated, Wyoming is a sovereign state and the duly elected sheriff of a county is the highest law enforcement official within a county and has law enforcement powers exceeding that of any other state or federal official.” Go back and re-read this quote.

The court confirms and asserts that “the duly elected sheriff of a county is the highest law enforcement official within a county and has law enforcement powers EXCEEDING that of any other state OR federal official.” And you thought the 10th Amendment was dead and buried — not in Wyoming, not yet.

Bighorn County Sheriff Dave Mattis comments:

“If a sheriff doesn’t want the Feds in his county he has the constitutional right and power to keep them out, or ask them to leave, or retain them in custody.”

“I am reacting in response to the actions of federal employees who have attempted to deprive citizens of my county of their privacy, their liberty, and their property without regard to constitutional safeguards. I hope that more sheriffs all across America will join us in protecting their citizens from the illegal activities of the IRS, EPA, BATF, FBI, or any other federal agency that is operating outside the confines of constitutional law. Employees of the IRS and the EPA are no longer welcome in Bighorn County unless they intend to operate in conformance to constitutional law.”

The implications are huge:

But it gets even better. Since the judge stated that the sheriff “has law enforcement powers EXCEEDING that of any other state OR federal official,” the Wyoming sheriffs are flexing their muscles. They are demanding access to all BATF files. Why? So as to verify that the agency is not violating provisions of Wyoming law that prohibits the registration of firearms or the keeping of a registry of firearm owners. This would be wrong.

The sheriffs are also demanding that federal agencies immediately cease the seizure of private property and the impoundment of private bank accounts without regard to due process in Wyoming state courts.

This case is not just some amusing mountain melodrama. This is a BIG deal. This case is yet further evidence that the 10th Amendment is not yet totally dead, or in a complete decay in the United States. It is also significant in that it can, may, and hopefully will be interpreted to mean that “political subdivisions of a State are included within the meaning of the amendment, or that the powers exercised by a sheriff are an extension of those common law powers which the 10th Amendment explicitly reserves to the People, if they are not granted to the federal government or specifically prohibited to the States.”

It appears to me that one office where the Libertarian Party should focus it’s limited resources is County Sheriff. The change that could be made is nothing to laugh at. Meanwhile, there are still a bunch of nuts wasting valuable resources supporting those that seek offices that will never be won.

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