Let Me Be Clear: I Support Nullification & A Convention of States


Yesterday, as part of our ongoing Constitution of States debate at Freedom Outpost, an article written by Pieder Beeli titled, “A Counter Argument against a Convention of States” attempted to take me to task for my alleged criticisms of another author, Publius Huldah, and my support of an Article 5 “Convention of States.” Unfortunately, for the author, Mr. Beeli, his article was doomed from its inception.

You see, my article titled, “Conventions of States: A Gift from our Founders, A Line in the Sand” —which Beeli references multiple times in his writing—was a response to a completely different anonymous author’s criticisms of a “Convention of States,” not the writings of Publius Huldah, a writer Beeli attempts to defend.

I have to say, I did not find much “counter argument” in Pieder Beeli’s piece. I did find suggestions that my support of a “Convention of States,” is “based on fear of the federal government,” and somehow when I wrote of potential ramifications of using nullification as a legislative weapon against Washington, I, according to Beeli, confused “armed confrontation” with “reprisals.” I am not sure how that false position relates to a counter argument to a “Convention of States,” but I wish to address Mr. Beeli’s opinions.

To put it plainly, if I was fearful of the Federal Government, I would be writing anonymously from a dark basement with a tin foil hat on my head. Clearly, that is not the case. Moreover, regarding reprisals, I would offer the historical precedent of the Nullification Crisis of 1832 for Beeli’s consideration.

In the early 19th Century—during an economic downturn—an American crisis developed in response to a federal statute commonly called “the Tariff of Abominations.” In response to this federal law an 1832 South Carolina State convention passed the “Ordinance of Nullification” declaring these disputed federal tariffs (from 1828 and 1832) unconstitutional, therefore null and void and unenforceable in South Carolina. Anticipating federal reprisals, South Carolina made military preparations.

In response to South Carolina’s nullification, the 22nd US Congress passed a 1833 law titled “An Act further to provide for the collection of duties on imports,” 4 Stat 632 and a “Force Bill” authorizing President Andrew Jackson to use military force against South Carolina to collect the disputed, and yes, nullified tariffs.

An armada of Navy vessels was dispatched to the South Carolina coast and with the real threat of armed federal incursion on the horizon; South Carolina eventually backed down and accepted an unpopular modest reduction in nullified tariffs to avoid bloodshed.

This would probably be a good time to repeat, “I applaud and support nullification and if pursued there will be REPRISALS.”

Today’s reprisals for states nullification may not include “armed confrontation” and more than likely will be economic in nature (i.e. withholding of federal funds for social services, roads and transportation projects, etc) nevertheless, there will be reprisals for individual states seeking to nullify existing federal statutes.

Successful nullification, much like a Convention of States, will require a majority of states to stand together in support of nullification efforts. If not, economically weaker states (acting independently) will cave to federal reprisals rendering “nullification” ineffective.

Mr. Beeli’s article referred to a quote from a Patrick Henry speech and claimed my article was “missing the spirit of Henry’s ‘give me liberty or give me death'” quote. I did not quite understand Beeli’s inclusion of a “Baghdad” reference, much in the same way Thomas Jefferson did not fully understand Henry’s speech to the 1775 Virginia Convention where Henry’s words would be memorialized. To quote Jefferson about his impression of Henry’s speech, “I have asked myself, when he [Henry] ceased, ‘What the devil has he said?’ and could never answer the inquiry.”

I believe Mr. Beeli was attempting to call into question my personal courage and commitment to efforts to rein in our Federal government by use of force. Given my general opinion that current calls for insurrection will lead to enormous death, betrayal, surrender and failure, Beeli does (somehow) make a point.

My opinion stems from decades of Americans failure to engage in our elections. Does Mr. Beeli believe that apathetic Americans will stay the course in an armed conflict with their government? Is that his contention?

If so, it is short-cited to suggest, even remotely, that American citizens should march to Washington (as if it were Baghdad) to participate in armed conflict with our government.

Given America’s current indifference and division, are we to assume they we are prepared to risk our lives to restore liberty in America? After all, most would not give up their ESPN in peaceful protest to support Phil Robertson’s free speech. Thinking Americans would fire upon their own government (and military) before armed provocation is boyish. Patriots would not make it through a neighboring state before being arrested and jailed while their families where rounded up and placed in NDAA authorized indefinite detention facilities. It is not the right time for talk of war with your government, Mr. Beeli. We have other options to pursue. Save you courage.

Mixed in with other confusing anecdotes, was Beeli’s reference to repeal of the 16th amendment and his disdain for and calls for repeal of Roe v. Wade. Mr. Beeli seems to be confusing repeal of a questionable Constitutional amendment (the 16th was never ratified) with a repeal of a Supreme Court decision. Roe v. Wade decriminalized abortion based on court interpretations of rights to “privacy” under the “due process clause” of the 14th amendment.

I am rabidly pro-life. Surely, Mr. Beeli is not suggesting we repeal the 14th amendment to heal the wounds caused by a controversial 1973 Supreme Court ruling. Moreover, it would appear that Mr. Beeli may be calling for re-writing the US Constitution, something he falsely accuses advocates of a Convention of States of supporting.

Nullification cannot repeal an existing Constitutional amendment. That requires an act of Congress or an article 5 Convention of States (COS).

Beeli goes on to defend Publius Huldah (for attacks I did not level in the article he references) claiming my suggestions to anonymous writers launching criticisms of a COS to come out of the shadows is a “red hearing. ” Really? I suppose Mr. Beeli does not consider the scholarly works of his anonymous writers born of “fear of our federal government,” only those unscholarly works written by un-anonymous me. Furthermore, I was informed by Mr. Beeli himself that he had not read my respectful rebuttal of Huldah’s criticisms of a Convention of States.

Lost in Beeli’s “counter argument” which decries government corruption, President Obama’s Oreo-like behavior and references to anti-civil rights protagonist Bull Connor, is Beeli’s one and only counter argument to a Convention of States; federal government corruption.

I suppose readers are left to assume that we should not pursue an Article 5 Convention of States, once again, because it might be hijacked. Unfortunately, that position is more propaganda being sold to America by those preferring to pursue nullification, which I support. To suggest that the federal legislature has any control (beyond scheduling a date for and the scope of amendments to be proposed by independently selected state delegations at a Convention of States) is a falsehood.

In closing, it appears Mr. Beeli, has met an immovable object, me. Given his mastery of physics, this may prove to be a perplexing problem.

To anyone who would suggest my writing—which supports both a Convention of States and nullification—is proof of my cowardice, I would ask them one favor: when you start your war, please shoot over my head as you are running away. I would prefer to avoid a shot in the back by one of my fellow patriots while I run toward the fight.

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4 Stat 632 andrew jackson convention of states john demayo Nullification Nullification Crisis of 1832 Ordinance of Nullification Patrick Henry pieder beeli publius huldah the Tariff of Abominations thomas jefferson