What is States� Rights?
by Mike Crane
"Our Rights are like a cookie. No matter how big
the cookie and how small the bites, eventually you run out of
A very wise man, one for
whom I have great respect, recently issued what seemed to be a
challenge, "Was all y'all's talk about Statesrights just whiskey
talk, or do y'all really believe it?" Then he followed with, "If you
do really believe it, then get liquored up and write an article!"
So this POOR (Plain Ole
Ordinary Redneck) mountain moron got to thinking about that. In my
younger years it has been rumored by some that I got liquored up
once or twice, but I can�t remember a thing about it. Some said that
was the effect of the liquor. Now that I am kind of the opposite of
a youngun, I can�t remember getting liquored up at all. Some say
that isn�t the effect of liquor. Life is like that at times -- what
was isn�t, and what is wasn�t.
Of course, English
majors will just go berserk over that last sentence; but it does
apply to a discussion of States� Rights in the year A.D. 2010, even
if it is some of the poorest English grammar of the year. What was State�s Rights isn�t what it is today. What is States� Rights today
isn�t what it was.
To begin, I will put on my virtually
unused and in brand new condition English grammar hat and point out
that the apostrophe is in the wrong place. It should be State�s, not
States.� And the word Rights should be Powers.
Why States� vs. State�s?
In the founding concept of American liberty, the primary purpose of
government is to guarantee the rights of the people, which are
derived from God. To accomplish this primary function of government,
the power to govern was divided between a person�s State and The
(several) States as a group (or the central government). States� is
the plural possessive. It references The States as a group and is
thus the same as saying Federal Rights. So you could argue that
people today who speak of States� Rights have lost part of the basic
concept before they even get started.
Why Rights vs. Powers?
The second word of the phrase is also misused. Rights are given to
the people by God, not to their State, a group of States, or to a
central government. States do not have rights; they have powers to
govern that have been granted by the sovereign people. That, Ladies
and Gentlemen, is the concept of American liberty. Government at
every level is supposed to execute only those powers for which the
people have granted the authority. Any debate that begins with the
"Rights" of any government at any level has most likely been lost
from the outset. Even if the effort seems to have initial success,
in the end it only winds up chipping away at our God-given Rights.
But for the sake of this
article let�s just leave the above for consideration, thought, and
prayer by the reader. Of those three, prayer should be the most
important, giving thanks for the Rights that have been bestowed upon
us by our Maker and asking forgiveness for being so complacent in
giving His gifts away.
From my perspective it
is easy to identify what States� Rights (or more accurately, State�s
Powers) are not. States� Rights are (is) not a slogan to be used to
stop ObamaCare or Obama Cap and Tax or any other of the Obama
socialist programs coming out of Washington City like a swarm of
katydids. States� Rights are (is) not a slogan to stop the Bush
Patriot Acts or Bush CAFTA and other expensive trade agreements. By
the same token, States� Rights are (is) not a slogan to stop DFACS
(Department of Children and Family Services) from illegal search and
seizures, or some idiot in Atlanta telling me I do not have the
proper permit to raise a duck unless the duck�s great grandmother�s
owner had a proper permit!
Now think about that
last example. When someone says that States� Rights will solve all
of our problems, are they suggesting that it is proper to require a
documented duck�s ancestry of suitable quality for a citizen to feed
the duck and give it a home? Is such nonsense acceptable simply
because it's being perpetrated by an idiot in Atlanta, Montgomery,
Nashville or Columbia instead of an idiot in Washington City? A
silly example, maybe. But once you concede Rights to any government
entity you have lost that Right � most likely forever. Even worse is
that your children and grandchildren will not even know that it is
something that you lost and that they were denied!
Today the debate should
be about how State Powers will be used as a check on Federal Powers
to guarantee our God-given Rights. It should be about how delegated
Powers given to the Federal government will be used to guarantee our
God-given Rights in areas that extend beyond the State in which we
live. Otherwise, all of the rhetoric, all of the campaigning, and
all the elected officials' use of today�s (improper) definition of
States� Rights will only determine how fast we go over the cliff.
American liberty is rapidly approaching the cliff. It's up to you the citizen to change
that direction if it's going to be changed. You have only this
recourse at your disposal. Demand that all levels of government keep
their hands off your God-given Rights unless the people grant them a
Power to do so. Elect only those officials who are willing to abide
by this restriction. Retire any elected official who abuses or
usurps that which God has given you.
Arguing about which
level of government will do a better job abusing your God-given
Rights makes for interesting partisan battles, but it's a formula
for failure year after year, election after election, and decade
after decade -- as we have seen. After all, those who do not learn
from history are doomed to repeat it. In summary: what was State�s
Rights isn�t what it is today. What is States� Rights isn�t what it
was. What your Rights will be is up to you. But this subject is too
long for one article, so...
To be continued.