The Tenth Amendment Center is reporting that the federal government has basically capitulated to the nullification efforts of Washington and Colorado concerning the use and sale of marijuana. The link is well worth reading, and I’d like to add a few comments of my own.
Nullification works because it employs “corporate resistance” rather than “individual resistance.” Against the might of a large, modern state, an individual’s power is hopeless. But when resistance occurs corporately by people who share a common vision of liberty, even a small political order can succeed against a relatively larger one. Such resistance is often most effective when it is non-violent.
Of course, your community’s idea of liberty might not entail legalization of cannabis. Maybe it entails the right of law-abiding citizens to purchase firearms free of taxes that support gun-grabbing career bureaucrats living 3000 miles away in a city with more than twice the crime your town experiences. Maybe it involves something else altogether. The key thing to remember is a community’s right to self-determination, even if others have fundamental disagreements about a certain way of life.
I’m far from the first person to advocate drug use, but there are worse things than peacefully altering one’s mind. If we are not willing to acknowledge the right of self-government in Washington and Colorado, how can we expect them to acknowledge the same right for Idaho or Boise?
Self-government is not achieved merely by a “right” to vote. A right, after all, is an abstract thing; voting, like the special interest money that actually controls American political life, is a concrete thing. Self-government is rooted in the concrete actions and experiences of individuals and communities, independent of talk about rights. The American Founders declared they had certain inalienable rights, but they could not achieve self-government except through the finite act of withdrawing from the authority of the British Empire.
A complete break was necessary in 1776, but it is arguably not (in most cases) necessary for any state or community today. What is necessary is for the people of the states to remove themselves from the “authority” of the federal government to act unconstitutionally; this they can do by nullifying unconstitutional laws within their own borders. Washington and Colorado have done this with regard to marijuana laws, and it would be great to see Idaho do it on any number of D.C.’s unconstitutional acts.