A Declaration of Civil Disobedience

I hereby declare to the people of the United States and to the governments thereof that

The ratification of the Constitution of the United States resulted in the establishment a government of the United States (the central government) for the purposes of making, executing, and adjudicating laws. The Constitution and all laws made in accordance with it are the supreme law of the land. However, the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the central government have abused their powers by making, executing, and upholding laws contrary to the Constitution; for example:

A decennial census is authorized in Article I, Section 2, for the purpose of enumerating the population of each State in order to apportion the membership of the House of Representatives among the States, and for no other purpose.

Article I, Section 1, vests all legislative powers in the Congress, but Congress has authorized and allowed unelected, executive-branch regulators to legislate on myriad matters affecting the liberty and property of Americans.

Article I, Section 8, enumerates the specific powers of Congress, which do not include such things as establishing and operating national welfare and health-care programs; intervening in the education of America’s children; regulating interstate commerce beyond ensuring its free flow; regulating intrastate commerce and private, non-commercial transactions; lending money and guaranteeing loans made by quasi-governmental institutions and other third parties; acquiring the stock and debt of business enterprises; establishing a central bank with the power to do more than issue money; requiring the States and their political subdivisions to adopt uniform laws on matters that lie outside the enumerated powers of Congress and beyond the previously agreed powers of the States and their subdivisions;  and coercing the States and the political subdivisions in the operation of illegitimate national programs by providing and threatening to withhold so-called federal money, which is in fact taxpayers’ money.  (The notion that the “general welfare” and/or “necessary and proper” clauses of Article I, Section 8, authorize such activities was refuted definitively in advance of the ratification of the Constitution by James Madison in No. 41 of the Federalist Papers, wherein the leading proponents of the Constitution stated their understanding of the Constitution’s meaning when they made the case for its ratification.)

One of the provisions of Article I, Section 10, prohibits interference by the States in private contracts; moreover, the Constitution nowhere authorizes the central government to interfere in private contracts. Yet, directly and through the States, the central government has allowed, encouraged, and required interference in private contracts pertaining to employment, property, and financial transactions.

Amendment I of the Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.” But Congress has nevertheless abridged the freedom of political speech — our most precious kind — by passing bills that have been signed into law by presidents of the United States and, in the main, upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Amendment IX of the Constitutions provides that its “enumeration . . . of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” But Congress, in concert with various presidents and Supreme Court majorities, has enacted laws that circumscribe one of our time-honored freedoms: the freedom of association.

As outlined above, the central government routinely and massively violates Amendment X, which states that “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.”

Legislative, executive, and judicial acts of the central government have perverted the meaning of Amendments XIII, XIV, and XV — which properly abolished slavery and outlawed racial discrimination by government — to require discrimination on behalf of certain “protected groups” designated by law, to the detriment of groups not thus favored.

These and other abuses of power by the central government are grounds for civil disobedience, at the least, and secession, in the extreme.

With regard to secession, there is a judicial myth — articulated by a majority of the United States Supreme Court in Texas v. White (1868) — that the union of States is perpetual:

The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form and character and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these, the Union was solemnly declared to “be perpetual.” And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained “to form a more perfect Union.” It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?

The Court’s reasoning — if it may be called that — is born of mysticism, not legality. Similar reasoning might have been used — and was used — to proclaim the Colonies inseparable from Great Britain. And yet, some of the people of the Colonies put an end to the union of the Colonies and Great Britain, on the moral principle that no person or people is obliged to remain in an abusive relationship. That moral principle is all the more compelling in the case of the union known as the United States, which — mysticism aside — is nothing more than the creature of the several States and the people thereof.

It was only by the grace of nine States that the Constitution took effect, thereby establishing the central government. Those nine States voluntarily created the central government and, at the same time, voluntarily granted specific, limited powers to it. The people of the States that effected the Constitution were led to understand that the central government would exercise only its specified powers, and then only for the general well-being of the States and their people. Every State subsequently admitted to the union has entered into the same contract with the central government.

But, as outlined above, the central government has breached its trust by exceeding the powers granted to it. In fact, the central government’s abuse of power has been so persistent and egregious that a reasonable remedy on the part of the States — individually or severally — is to declare the union null and void. Each and every State, in other words, has the right to secede from the union and to withdraw from the central government its support and the support of its people.

Three facts militate against secession as a remedy for the central government’s abuse of power. First, many of the States (and political subdivisions thereof), having long subscribed to the unconstitutional acts of the central government and engaged in unconstitutional acts of their own devising, are complicit in the central government’s breach of trust and abuse of power. Second, the States and their people have much to gain by remaining joined in union: mutual defense and the free movement of people, goods, and services among the States. Third, because the central government has acquired overwhelming might, and because that might would no doubt be used to suppress secession, it would be sheer folly to secede — despite the moral and legal rightness of doing so.

The only practical alternative to secession is civil disobedience, which may be practiced by individuals. Accordingly, I do solemnly offer the following declaration of civil disobedience:

I affirm my allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, and hereby pledge to do what I can to preserve, protect, and defend it against all its enemies, foreign and domestic.

The central government of the United States, through prolonged and egregious abuses of its delegated powers, has proved itself an enemy of the Constitution, as have many State and local governments. All such governments — central, State, and local — are enemies of the Constitution, and of the people.

A citizen of the United States owes no allegiance to an enemy, and is bound by conscience to thwart the enemy’s efforts to destroy liberty in the land.

Any citizen may therefore refuse peacefully to comply with the unconstitutional laws, regulations, executive orders, and judicial holdings of government — central, State, or local — at times and places of his choosing.

Done, on this Fourth Day of July, in the Year of Grace 2011.

Related posts:
Secession
A New, New Constitution
Secession Redux
A New Cold War or Secession?
The Real Constitution and Civil Disobedience
The Census of 2010: Bring It On
First Principles
The Constitution: Original Meaning, Corruption, and Restoration
A Conversation with Uncle Sam
The Unconstitutionality of the Individual Mandate
Does the Power to Tax Give Congress Unlimited Power?
Does Congress Have the Power to Regulate Inactivity?
Is the Constitution True?
Is the Constitution True? An Addendum
Re-Forming the United States
The Southern Secession Reconsidered