One of the more revealing (and depressing) scenes from the 2012 presidential election emerged when a news reporter interviewed Obama supporters at a campaign rally.
Subjects were asked to define capitalism and recite the meaning of the Second Amendment, two very basic questions about the fundamental pillars of our republic.
Most couldn’t answer either question.
A few were asked to merely name the sitting vice president … and they couldn’t even do that!
It’s easy to dismiss this ignorance as a First World problem belonging to a “fat and happy” populace focused on superficial matters.
Yet, our republic was only birthed through profound sacrifice and has been preserved via centuries of fidelity to the beliefs of our Founders. Today, our people have never been more disconnected from those founding principles, and our continued ignorance could well mean the destruction of our system of government and our own freedoms
In 2008, author Rick Shenkman released his book, Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth about the American Voter, a searing indictment of our current crop of low-information voters. In it, he showed that most Americans knew very little about how government operates and who runs it, were willing to accept government policies and actions even when they seemed bad for the country, and were highly susceptible to stereotyping, simplistic solutions, irrational fears and public relations campaigns.
This national ignorance cannot be more obvious than on the topic of “federalism,” a word that describes the basic confederation of 50 individual states, each sovereign within its own borders, brought together under an agreed alliance in which the powers of the federal government are carefully enumerated and limited in the Constitution. At its core, federalism protects the liberty of an individual from arbitrary power.
The Obama administration knows all about our national epidemic of ignorance and has attempted to exploit it by running roughshod over the concept of federalism, whenever it can, by impinging on states’ rights through Obamacare, the National Security Agency spying program and its Dodd-Frank “financial reform” plan.
Fighting Back Against the Federal Goliath
The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads: “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.”
During and after the Great Depression in the 1930s and the New Deal policies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Tenth Amendment, in effect, became meaningless. This anti-states’ rights trend has continued to this day, expanded by actions of the presidents and congresses of both political parties.
However, today there is a national movement to reassert the Tenth Amendment as an existing check on the bloated, ineffective, even tyrannical Big Brother national government under which we suffer today.
Newly-elected U.S. Senator Mike Lee of Utah is a leader in this cause being promoted by the Tenth Amendment Center, as is Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. And legislators in many states have taken up the states’ rights cause.
Montana legislators just passed the first bill in the U.S. that expressly prohibits the government from tracking personal information stored in electronic devices without a probable cause warrant, a response to massive NSA and FBI spying on Americans.
In Oklahoma, Texas and Utah, special committees handle what is now a major category of business: measures to combat the federal government’s influence in the states. Oklahoma’s Attorney General Scott Pruitt has led the challenge against the tax penalty provisions of Obamacare, while also joining a multi-state challenge to the supposed “consumer protection” features of Dodd-Frank, which empowers unelected federal bureaucrats to pick winners and losers, liquidate entire companies and decide which contracts are kept and which are broken, without congressional oversight or proper judicial review.
Even Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown is fighting back against the federal government’s overreach by defying the orders of federal judges to release thousands of criminals from the state’s prison system in order to relieve overcrowding.
The competitive spirit of these officials is inspiring and their actions are certainly not for naught. As Judge Andrew Napolitano of Fox News suggests, state noncompliance with some federal laws can make federal enforcement “nearly impossible.”
A Call to Enlist
The most effective way to fight back against this creeping federal tyranny starts with education. If our “progressive” schools refuse to educate our children properly, parents and grandparents should take it upon themselves to ensure that our future generations learn about and appreciate the concepts enumerated in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Another effective method is through political advocacy. As evidenced by many Tea Party patriots in recent election cycles, organic advocacy, fundraising and organizing can help bring strong voices of liberty to power, as we’ve seen with the elections of U.S. Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Lee. But, we need more voices.
One of my duties as chairman of the Freedom Alliance is to keep all of us alerted to the liberty-destroying actions of government. I routinely report on pending outrages in Washington and attacks on our freedoms that are even larger in scope. I remain vigilant in my efforts to keep my readers informed and keep honest those who have been entrusted with preserving our future. And I will continue to do so in order to protect the foundations of the country that I love.
Won’t you please join me in this fight?
Bob Bauman, J.D.
Chairman, Freedom Alliance