No law is complete without an “or else” clause, as I like to call it. This is the last section of any law that spells out the punishment for non-compliance and the enforcement mechanism to carry out the punishment. That is the nature of the law then, isn’t it? To make us do what we wouldn’t normally do. Rather than serve its original purpose, the law, rather than protect our property, is now used primarily to confiscate it. This is beautifully articulated in Bastiat’s masterpiece, “The Law.” You can read it here.
Don’t buy health insurance and you will pay a tax/fine/whatever, a penalty enforced by the IRS and the full force of the federal government, guns and all. Refuse to pay and they will seize your bank accounts, put a lien on your home, you name it. Next comes the warrant for your arrest. Refusal at this point can get you killed. It seems as if there is no escaping this tyranny. That is what the government creature would have us believe. But remember the old saying that the government cannot function or even exist for that matter without the consent of the governed? The reason this is still true is the final check on tyranny, once all others have failed. Hint: all others have failed.
I’m talking about nullilfication, a subject not talked about in schools or by big media. This can assume two forms, a statewide version where individual states (colonies really, but I’ll call them states) ignore federal laws, and jury nullification, a concept I’ll come back to shortly.
States have ignored the national I.D. tyranny from D.C. First one state, then another said they just weren’t going to do this. Local law enforcement was rendered toothless with these declarations. More and more states are ignoring federal drug laws, Oregon, being the latest. Several governors have said they simply won’t comply with Obamacare. This is state nullification and was not a concept unknown to the founders. This is usually an informal, “Nope. We’re not gonna do that,” sort of thing. One legislator in Oklahoma has plans to introduce a bill that formally nullifies the individual mandate. Joining Dr.’s Ron and Rand Paul, Representative Jim Jordan, Ohio, has been open in his encouragement of governors to ignore Obamacare, urging them to reject the mandate on setting up insurance exchanges. Is there more of this to come?
Jury nullification was also no stranger to the founders. Juries simply wouldn’t render guilty verdicts if they thought the law was stupid or unjust. Modern juries are instructed by judges to render their verdict solely based on the facts of the case, never judging the law. Here’s some bad news for the tyrants. More and more juries are judging the law in addition to the facts. Notice how many cases federal prosecutors are losing these days. John Edwards, Roger Clemens and many others. Now there’s this news: the governor of New Hampshire just signed a law that gives defense lawyers the leeway to instruct juries of their duty to judge the law as well as the facts. This is incredibly bad news for the tyrants.
Here are three interesting things to read about nullification. This, by William Grigg, one of my favorite writers, is a posting on Lew Rockwell’s website today. Lysander Spooner, a radical legal theorist of the 19th century is discussed here, as perhaps the most important advocate of the concept of jury nullification. Best selling author Tom Wood’s brilliant book on nullification is also worth looking at.
It is more clear to me than ever that the purpose of our government is to distribute loot to those who patronize our “representatives.” The laws written that confer an advantage on one at the expense of another, or transfer property from one to another, all lose their teeth and legitimacy with the widespread adoption of peaceful resistance in the form of nullification. Government says, “Do it or else.” Nullification says,”Oh yeah? Who’s gonna make me?” If this trend toward nullification becomes popular, this could mean trouble for the Unaffordable Care Act and many other vicious and tyrannical laws.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.