Based on Thomas Jefferson’s idea that, “…that every time Congress exercises powers not delegated to it — every time — it must be resisted on a state level. Thus, when states pass laws to reject unconstitutional federal “laws” — this is not rebellion — it’s duty,” TAC, WeRefuse and other grassroots organizations are spreading the Jeffersonian word about nullification.
The Austin event followed stops in Phoenix and Cincinnati, and is headed next for Los Angeles. Austin sponsors included Texans for Accountable Government (TAG) and the local branches of the Campaign for Liberty, the Libertarian Party of Texas, and Oath Keepers, with a full slate of speakers addressing a crowd of about 300 Texans.
In answering the question of what to do about federal overreach and the unconstitutional laws to which states are being asked to submit, the day’s speakers yielded these notable quotes:
1. ”The choice is to do nothing, or to stand and use the Tenth Amendment.” Steve Baysinger, South Texas TAC
2. “All healing, physical or societal, is a spiritual thing. Stop asking for permission where none is required, and start doing what is right.” Robert Scott Bell, Radio Host
3. “Don’t wait to be called into action – it won’t happen. Be the leaders you’re waiting for.” Bryce Shonka, Deputy Director of the TAC
4. “If democracy is defined as two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner, liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote.” Adrian Murray
5. “Find the right thing and do it. There’s a whole spectrum of things the founders expected us to do, and it’s much more than just being a good voter.” Stewart Rhodes, Oath Keepers Founder
6. “Reality is that a de facto government is run by those who show up, so show up!” David Simpson, Texas State Representative
and so on.
Of special interest to many attendees were comments made by former Texas gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina, John Birch Society CEO Art Thompson (bottom photo, above) and Texas Representative David Simpson.
Medina is also the founder of We Texans, a grassroots organization advancing private property, personal liberty and state sovereignty, and is a favorite at Texas events. She warned against the threat to state sovereignty posed by the popular use of Public Private Partnerships (PPP), exposed in Texas during the debacle over the Trans Texas Corridor, and used throughout the nation, but which destroy personal liberty and state solvency.
Texas Representative David Simpson has made his own splash in the Texas Legislature, and in this year’s session, he has made bold moves to restrain the atrocities forced on Texas travelers by the TSA. Simpson filed anti-TSA bills that made it through much of the legislative process, and he is a strong proponent of state sovereignty. He noted the Biblical precedents for nullification, as well as pointing out segments of the national and state constitutions declaring that states are duty-bound to resist centralized government and unlawful legislation.
Mr. Thompson’s remarks gave pause and drew applause as he reviewed the history of the JBS and its endurance of smears in the 1960s that modern movements are just beginning to experience. With the wisdom of maturity brought to the table by the JBS, which has been in the contemporary battle for liberty longer than any other temporal organization, he noted that no nullification program has ever existed without a hidden agenda, except the Nullify Now! program, and only because it is from the people. But he stressed the need for strong organization, sometimes difficult among individualists. And even more importantly, the importance of not listening to false solutions when the siren songs of big-name endorsements, sponsorships and personalities come along. He urged listeners to ask the right questions; where will this particular path lead in the end? is this the right solution? are these leaders the right ones? He added that it is important to establish good relationships, and to protect the image of the organization and the message, remembering that we don’t fight ideas, but people.
Keynote speakers were former attorney Kevin Gutzman, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution, and Thomas Woods (top photo, above), author of nine books, speaking about his Nullification: How to Resist Tyranny in the 21st Century. Woods remarks, outlined in his books, reinforced the documented ideas of the Founders about nullification and interposition, and reminded attendees that just because we’ve become used to government support in every area of our lives, doesn’t mean that we can’t live without. In fact, he noted, we are better off in every way without it. He closed with saying, “It is beneath the dignity of free people to go on believing we can’t survive without government.”
Texas is often regarded as the harbinger of things to come in other states. If the response to Nullification Now! becomes as deeply rooted in other states as it appears to have done in Austin on Saturday, then the nullification movement will become a force to be reckoned with.
The intrusion of centralized government into Americans’ private lives has certainly reached the point where many of those Americans have said “Enough.” To paraphrase Jefferson, the states must have the power to say no. And as one speaker observed about the John Birch Society on Saturday, it’s example of commitment to saying no is consistent, standing up to federal overreach on every issue, every time, no exceptions, no excuses.