Obamacare, Nullification, and Secession

Yesterday, a Florida judge declared several provisions of last year's health care bill unconstitutional.  This is, for all intents and purposes, irrelevant.  Other judges (Democratic appointees) have found the bill constitutional.  The matter will almost surely land in the Supreme Court, where it has no business being.

The Florida judge is, of course, correct.  There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution which gives the federal government the right to control or direct any of the nation's health care system.  The attempt to find such authority in the "interstate commerce clause" is ludicrous.  That phrase and the "general welfare" clause have been stretched to cover all possible contingencies, which means, in effect, there is nothing the federal government cannot do.  This is obviously far, Far, FAR from what the Founding Fathers of this country had in mind when they wrote our Constitution.

What I wish is that some state would try what Thomas Jefferson and James Madison said should happen--nullification.  This doctrine says that when the federal government goes beyond its Constitutional powers and inflicts upon the states some unauthorized legislation, the states--or any state for that matter--has the right to "nullify" that act, declare it unconstitutional, and not enforce it within its borders.  South Carolina did this with the Tariff of 1832; Andrew Jackson threatened to send in federal troops and we almost had a war of federal aggression 30 years before it happened.  A compromise was reached in 1833 and war was averted.  But nullification was a debate in early American history, and no less personages than Jefferson and Madison endorsed it (Madison is known as the "Father of the Constitution."  If anybody ought to know what it meant, it was him).  One wonders what Obama would do if a state today nullified his health care act and refused to enforce it.

The ultimate response a state was to have to unconstitutional acts of the federal government was secession.  This was the Damocles' sword the states held over the national government.  This federal government was created by the states as a tool for certain universal matters, such as war, peace, foreign diplomacy, which could not be handled effectively at the state level; one does not want Maine declaring war on England and dragging the rest of the country into a conflict.  So matters such as these were left in the national government's hands, and clearly stated in the Constitution.  Indeed, every power given to the national government--and there are only about 17--was itemized in the Constitution, and, just in case the point was still unclear, it was manifestly stated in the 10th Amendment that all powers not directly delegated to the federal government by the states belong to the states or the people--not the national government.  Secession was the last resort.  If the federal government absolutely refused to back down from its unconstitutinal laws, a state--or a number of them--could withdraw from the Union and form their own.  This, of course, would limit the authority and income of the national government and was wholly in line with the meaning and intent of the Founders; several of them said so, and even Abraham Lincoln acknowledged the right in 1848.  But when the Southern states exercised that right, Lincoln killed or wounded approximately 1,000,000 Americans--3% of the population, or the equivalent of over 10,000,000 Americans today.  The Europeans chided him for his undemocratic stance--"all the South wants to do is govern itself and you won't let it.  How democratic is that?"  Lincoln eventually used slavery as an excuse for the war, but that didn't wash with even a lot of abolitionists.  Lysander Spooner, a rabid New England abolitionist, severely chastised Lincoln for the war--"you're going to enslave 9 million others in order to free 4 million."  For indeed, if people do not have the right to choose their own government, they are not free.  The South had a slavery problem, no doubt about it.  They needed to be allowed to handle it peacefully, in their own time.  Lincoln didn't permit that and race relations in the United States have suffered ever since.  The North has demogogued the issue since the 1860s and very, very few Americans understand the issues involved in the War for Southern Independence.  If they did, the federal government couldn't get away with 99% of what it does.

My point here is--nullification and secession.  It's not going to happen, of course, too many Americans have succumbed to the false idea that the federal government is to have ultimate authority in all matters.  But if South Carolina seceded again...what would Obama do?  Kill a few millon Americans to force his health care law on us?  I have a sneaking suspicion that if South Carolina, along with several other states seceded, an awful lot of Americans would say, "Let them go.  It isn't worth another civil war."  As for me, I wish the South would secede again.  Let the heathen Yankees have their part of the country and let the Christian South have its.  And then let's see which is the safest, freest, and best governed.  That's a no-brainer.