The Anti-Nullifiers


This article by my boy Tom Woods seems to be a good primer on the merits of nullification and answering some common objections. For a more complete list of objections and his responses, see here.

As far as legal arguments go, my question is, “Who cares?” (Please see my article on No Time 4 Bull regarding this.) Since I already take the view that the “social compact” called the U.S. Constitution doesn’t apply to me since I never signed it, I hold that its enumerated powers that are coercive, such as the power to tax, are illegitimate. See Lysander Spooner’s No Treason for more on this. However, we should use the means we have available to us, and if the state governments can be used to nullify federal laws, that is useful in and of itself. I also think it’s useful in the sense that the greater utilization of nullification will increase its acceptance and legitimacy. Hopefully, the devolution of power from the federal government to the states will put a check on Leviathan, as well as further the march of the very radical goal of secession. And once secession of the states from the Union is widely accepted, how long until secession of individuals from the State is accepted and the “gang of robbers” loses legitimacy entirely?

Yeah, I’ll admit that this process of dissolving the State sounds a little farfetched. But if so, then I would like to ask: if the free society is to be achieved, however unlikely, what is the most likely method that it will be brought about?


3 responses »

  1. Thanks for the link to No Treason. It’s message rings true over 150 years later. From the legitimacy to illigitimacy of voting to nationalism to the agent-principal problem, this essay shed a whole new light on old matters.

    To your question, what of reissuing the constitution or any other legal framework to all citizens as a contract to sign or do away with? Could that work this long after it was written?

    Is this the original? I found it pleasant to read, unlike some old texts that read like a puzzle.

    Favorite quotes –
    “A question whether they can make themselves masters or slaves”
    “No one can be said to pledge himself for any longer period than that for which he votes”
    “On what authority does our government practically rest? . . . Upon tacit understanding. . .the “nations are as much myths as our own”

  2. I believe that in a legal framework where multiple sources were allowed to offer multiple constitutions that everyone would be free to take-or-leave that such a legal framework would represent something close to a stateless society. No one will voluntarily enter a contract that is binding in perpetuity for an infinite number of generations that says that one side of the contract will be able to violate it with impunity. I think that the history of the US Constitution and government presents a strong objection that must be addressed to anyone who believes that a paper constitution can limit government.

    And yes, those are Lysander Spooner’s words. offers it as a free audiobook:

    Thanks for reading!

  3. Pingback: A Case Study on Nullification: Marijuana Laws | Anarcho-Buddy!

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