The idea of nullification is making its way ever deeper into the political discourse of Americans. One of the latest examples of this phenomenon is Curtis Coleman’s campaign for Governor of Arkansas. (See the section entitled ‘Regaining the Intended Balance of Power’ at his web site.)
But despite such encouraging developments, there is also the downside of the current situation: Most state and local officials don’t intend to follow through with their promises to check unlawful exercises of power by the national government, for they are of the same heart and mind as those who run the latter: lusting after the possession and use of power, as much as they can lay hands on.
So rather than seek the protection of these untrustworthy guardians alone, it is time we looked closer to home for deliverance.
In Anglo-Saxon England, there was an institution known as the folcgemot. Among other duties, this regular gathering of locals protected individuals of the village from unjust demands of the rulers of their day: The king’s representative was disputed with face-to-face by these sturdy peasants (Stenton, Frank. Anglo-Saxon
. 3rd ed. England New York: UP, 2001, pgs. 297-9). Oxford
And so it ought to be again in our day. Instead of placing our hope in corrupt legislators, judges, mayors, etc., let’s bring back into practice this forgotten form of nullification - neighborhood nullification.
There is a great sense of dissatisfaction with modern suburban living because there are no longer any common tasks that bring us together, resulting in isolation and loneliness. (See for example John Cuddeback’s essay of 28 Feb. 2013 at the Front Porch Republic web site, ‘Exurban Dream? What Exurbs and Suburbs Have in Common’.) Neighborhood nullification offers us a wonderful opportunity to throw aside this isolation and join together in the common work of defending the old order of decentralized government.
But we shouldn’t be under any illusions. This is a path that could grow perilous very quickly. Initially it will be easy and perhaps thrilling: This is when the defiance of this or that federal ‘law’ is announced, along with the reasons for it, with the signatures of the subdivision/neighborhood residents affixed.
What comes afterward is only for the brave of heart. When the federal agents bring someone to poverty for not complying with their rules (through fines, forfeiture, etc.), we must be willing and able to help him and his family until they get back on their feet. Should these jackboots come to arrest someone, we must be willing to stand between them and their prey. And so on.
There is no need for violence; that would play right into the hands of our liberty-hating adversaries. But, as was said above, for courage and stout hearts there will be a great need.
But we must not be discouraged. Sauron and Saruman disregarded the hobbits, thinking them too weak and insignificant to thwart their grand designs. The elite of D.C. no doubt see today’s neighborhoods the same way - small, disorganized, powerless. Well then, let the Halflings of the shires from
Maine to Wyoming to show them that we are just as dauntless as our cousins from Middle-earth! It is time to turn off the television, put away the smartphone, and stand side by side with our neighbors in defense of the precious inheritance passed down to us by our forefathers, before the last of it is snatched away by the faceless insect hordes of the federal government. Hawai’i
With apologies to the
, concordia res parvae crescunt. Tenth Amendment Center
For those who nevertheless wish to work with official local government bodies, here are some model bills you can present to your town council, mayor, sheriff, etc. dealing with indefinite detention, guns, and more.