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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


To Federalize Or Not To Federalize

Choice 'B', please.

The answer to disaster readiness is not to strip state and local government of power and responsibility in favor of giving that power to the federal government. While I think Bush has a lot of really good qualities as President, this is one case in which he and I disagree. That's fine, the thing that scares me is that I agree with the ACLU on this one. Yikes.

Regardless, using the US military as a law enforcement agency officially qualifies as a Bad IdeaTM. While there are sure to be reams of internet-equivalents-of-paper filled with reasons for and against altering the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, let me put forth one you might not see elsewhere.

I think it's fair to say that our Founding Documents were written in such a way as to balance the need for a strong central government while reserving adequate powers to the states and rights to the People. The basic idea here is that while a national government is necessary, it poses the most significant threat to the liberties so many have bled for and so must be constrained by both the respective states and the People. I would doubt the even the most ardent Federalist in the late 18th century would have agreed that the best way to accomplish this goal would be to allow the federal government to decide what the federal government is allowed to do.

Well, that battle was lost within the very first generation of our countrymen when the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Marshall estabilished that the Supreme Court (read: federal government) gets to decide whether or not a law passed by Congress (read: federal government) is in keeping, or incompatible, with the Constitution (read: contract between the States). Although the idea of Judicial Review is so common today as to be nearly unquestioned, it must be admitted that the situation is sort of like letting a landlord have the only (and last) word in deciding when the lease you signed has or has not been violated by his or her own actions. No impartial court to which to bring an appeal. Just the landlord or maybe someone s/he appoints can make the determinations. Sounds pretty fair, huh?

The proposal to automatically federalize large-scale disasters (natural or otherwise) is exactly the same, if not worse. It is a terrible idea because in allowing it to happen, the states and the People give their blessing to the idea that the federal government can do whatever the hell it wants to do.

Now I realize that it's pretty late in the game to be fighting this, but not all is yet lost. We can still (re)assert our Fundamental Rights and tear them back from the federal government. Unfortunately, that would require an informed voting public. More than that, the voting public would need to be willing to assert not just their claim to Fundamental Rights, but also the attendant responsibilities. More than that, they would have to do so in the face of a gargantuan government that, more and more every year, says, "Don't worry. Just sit back, pay your taxes and let us take care of everything for you." They have the money to do it (because it was taken from you and me for all intents and purposes at gunpoint) and they have the will (because elected officials stay elected by buying their seats with the aforementioned stolen currency).

So what's a nation to do? In theory I would like to suggest that each and every one of us vote with the good of your countrymen in mind. In reality I know this is a pipe dream because people are selfish animals. In the end all I can do is vote as I think a hybrid of Jefferson, Washington and Hamilton would. In other words, respectively, vote for the weakest federal government that can still manage to raise enough of an army to defend us from foreign enemies and has just enough mass to maintain international credit.

Outrageously idealistic. Yup. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if someone told me I had to choose to throw out two of the 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights or the ship would sink, I'd choose to go down with the ship as an American.

Where do you stand?


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