I attended a seminar today called Nullify Now. There were a lot of great speakers. The last two and most notable speakers were Jack Hunter (the Southern Avenger) and Tom Woods. They are both relatively young and very accomplished.
One thing that stood out to me was their incredible ability to speak, along with some of the other speakers. Like so many things in life, I think the ability to speak in front of a crowd is a combination of natural talent, training, and practicing. It helps that both Hunter and Woods are brilliant and well-versed in what they speak about.
There were many different issues discussed, but the main theme of the day was state nullification. The tenth amendment (part of the Bill of Rights) states that those powers not specifically delegated to the federal government in the Constitution are to be left to the states or the people. Instead of relying on the Supreme Court and other courts which are a part of the federal government (why would they rule against themselves?), state nullification consists of the states telling the federal government that their law is unconstitutional and thus null and void. This could be for anything from Obamacare to medical marijuana.
There was a significant crowd there and it was made up of mostly libertarians and conservatives with libertarian leanings. While there were certainly some radical libertarians in the crowd, I would say overall that the speakers tended to be more radical than many in their audience. However, most of them were still well received.
One of the things that Tom Woods brought up was about preaching to the choir. He noted that preaching to the choir is important. There were a lot of people in that room that needed to hear the message. If we can get all of the people who call themselves libertarians or claim to have libertarian leanings to actually educate themselves enough to be highly principled libertarians, then the government would be at least half the size as it is now. These are all people who talk to friends and families about politics. They tend to be on the right track, but they don’t have the complete package and they don’t always have the most principled answers.
While there was a lot of pessimism in the room (one-world government, collapse of the dollar, etc.), I have reason to be optimistic. Just the fact that there were well over 100 people attending an all-day seminar on a Saturday about state nullification is enough to be optimistic.
While I think America would be many times better off if the federal government followed the Constitution, I am not one who goes around boasting about the Constitution. I am more of an Articles of Confederation guy, but that is a topic for another day. With that said, I like the idea of state nullification. I like decentralization. We need to use different tactics to gain liberty and reduce government, and state nullification is one of those methods.
If you ever get the chance to see Tom Woods or Jack Hunter speak, don’t miss it.