Girolamo Savonarola was a friar during the Italian Renaissance who enthusiastically preached against the evil he saw in his day. He pointed out the humanistic themes commonly found in the Renaissance, and the immorality to be found everywhere. He is known for urging the people to burn their luxurious and pagan possessions in the “Bonfire of Vanities”, and he even convinced Renaissance painters to burn their painting depicting scenes from pagan mythology. His preaching moved people, many times to change. His fight for the return of the Scriptures and cultural morality was stopped when Pope Alexander VI declared him excommunicated, and demanded that he be turned over to him. However, the Florentine populace, in whose city Savonarola was in, insisted on taking care of him themselves, and tried and burned Savonarola at the stake.
What is Nullification? A good introduction to this concept is done by Tom Woods in the below video.
Alright, was is Nullification? If someone tells me to do something, and someone in higher authority tells me to do something else, that higher authority has just nullified the previous authorities command. The U.S. Government operates the same way, though this power that the State’s wield has not been used since the War Between the States.
Let me explain. The United States was formed by delegates representing the “several states” and given a limited set of powers, and these powers were enumerated (written out) by these said delegates at the Constitutional Convention after the Revolutionary War. When the Central Government does something, the States are supposed to look into that action and ensure that it is constitutional. If it isn’t, they have a duty to nullify, or ignore and refuse to comply, with the demand of the Central State.
Thus, if the said Central State violates the rights of the States, those States are duty bound to resist the Central State and put it back in its place. An example of this was when President John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions were written in response by the States of Virginia and Kentucky, nullifying the Acts, which were unconstitutional.
As the Federal, or Central, Government continues to infringe and take away the power of the States, these States are now turning to nullification to protect themselves, as they were always meant to do. The view of the Founders was that whatever wasn’t written in the U.S. Constitution would be unconstitutional for them to do, and since the States gave the Central Government the powers it did, it must enforce them, and ensure that the said Central Government does not overstep the limits placed on it.
Lets say that I had just spent 26 months in the woods and had just returned to my mother’s house to write a book about my experience. What should I include in my autobiography, assuming that its about my life a mile and a half from town?
First, lets cut out all the details about little events that had no effect on my life in the woods, such as an ant war nearby your hut. Instead, try to find details that most readers will be interested in, like how you got food to eat in winter, etc;
Second, letting the reader know about your philosophy is ok. It enables the reader to learn more about you, and what perspective you are writing the book from. Are you vegan? Do you think hunting is ok? Be sure that if you mention something, continue to make it a theme in the book, and be sure to choose themes your readers would be interested in.
So, cut out the small talk, and focus on what your book is about and what your readers would be interested in. Also, give the reader hints about your perspective and view of life when describing yourself.
Marsupials are a group of mammals that give birth to small, partially developed young that crawl into a pouch on their mothers belly to complete the rest of their growth before they venture out of this pouch and fend for themselves. But, why do marsupials have pouches? What advantage does this give them?
We’re going to refer to the kangaroo as our primary example. The partially developed joey (baby kangaroo) leaves its mothers womb and crawls into the pouch, to finish growing into something more like a mature kangaroo. Why does the kangaroo do this? Here is a theory that I developed to solve this puzzling “kangaroo question”.
- Ok, so we have this mommy kangaroo, hopping through the semi-desert called Australia. She is already expending energy just through its pregnancy. She has a lot of predators, who would be happy to gobble her up in a heartbeat. She must be fast and have lots of energy, which she has to constantly forage to get enough of. Imagine that she had to stop foraging for her food, and had to try to hide and stop somewhere to give birth to a joey? She would still be knocked out by this birth, and would be immediately vulnerable to predators. Her chances of survival are thus greatly increased by not having to stop moving, foraging, and looking out for hungry predators by having an easy birth with a small joey, which then grows to maturity outside its mothers body in the relative safety of the pouch.
So, to boil down the question and my proposed answer; first, why would the mother kangaroo (or any marsupial) not give birth to fully developed offspring? The proposed answer is as follows; if the female kangaroo had to stop and hide to give birth, first of all she’d be using a ton of energy to give birth, and then she’d be weak and tired for a few days. She’d be easy prey, and so she has an easy birth by having the joey leave her body when it is still small, and travel into the pouch where it can finish developing. By doing this, it never has to truly give birth like most other mammals.
In Size of a Political Body: Does it Matter? we discussed how the only way to have true representation is to cut the size of government. However, one of the big reasons for centralization and large governments is that it can “make us safer.” But can it?
Lets take Germany, for instance. Before Hitler took power, Germany was divided into a bunch of states. When Hitler took over, one of the first things he did was centralize, and with this machine, he laid waste to Europe. The population under this political machine didn’t fare any better than did those of other countries. Secret arrests, and lack of food and supplies were frequent.
However, people continue to believe that bigger means safer. However, Switzerland has held its own for hundreds of years, and repulsed armies from much larger countries and inflicted heavy casualties upon them in so doing, leaving the European nations in fear of the citizen army of the Swiss. We can find examples even further back. For instance, the small city states of Greece, united by a common enemy and a common origin and a sense of brotherhood, repulsed the million man army of Persia. King Leonidas of the city state of Sparta with 300 men held the pass of Thermopylae (“hot springs”) and inflicted great damage upon the Persian army. The army of the city state of Athens defeated the entire Persian army at Marathon, forever leaving Greece free from the domination of Persia.
Though those are not nearly all the possible examples, we can see that small states can defend themselves with tremendous success. And, we can also see the lack of safety in large states. When Athens grew too large, it began to seek to dominate all the other Grecian cities. When King Philip and his son Alexander the Great conquered Greece, they immediately began military campaigns against Persia, who, because of its size and the fact that it had attempted to conquer Greece making it a target of interest for the triumphant Greeks. Did the the military conquests and defeats of the Persians in any way add to the safety of the Persian populace? In no way. When Russia became too big, it got taken over by the communists and used against the people for years. When Germany and Japan became too big, they formed the Axis alliance and began to take over the world.
So, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean safer. You may be safer from foreign enemies, but not so much with domestic enemies. And, there is no reason for a group of city states to not be united under a common people group and resist the advances of foreign foes. Giving up freedom for security only means you lose both. Its time to choose freedom over security, so that in the end, you may have both.
When the Founding Fathers of this country (United States) attended the Constitutional Convention, they were each representing 30,000 American citizens. Compare that with todays Congress, each Congressman now representing 722,000 people as of 2014. When does representation become more of a joke than a reality?
Lets say that there is an election for the U.S. Congress. There are two people running in the Republican Primary, and their names are Joe Bloe and Bob the Builder. I go and look over the candidates and see what their record is (is it consistent with what they’re saying?) and what they happen to be claiming about themselves. After having found out that Joe Bloe is a Christian homeschooling dad who, after having been a Constitutional lawyer for the past 25 years, decided to serve his districts interests and that of freedom and run for Congress, I then look over the data for Bob the Builder. Bob the Builder claims to have hands on experience with the people in the district, due to his construction company, and claims he can run the government like a business (there are many reasons to why this approach doesn’t work) and fix it. He also doesn’t seem to be interested in restoring the country to its original Christian and moral foundations, but he still has big money behind him. Joe Bloe doesn’t seem to be getting all those big money donations that are likely to influence him when in office, but is receiving nearly all his money from his supporters. I decide to support Joe Bloe.
Election day shows up, and I eagerly vote for Joe Bloe, only to find out the next day that all the ads and fancy speeches given by Bob the Builder with all his big money backing won the day. Assuming he wins the final election against his Democrat opponent, am I going to be fairly represented by Bob the Builder? I think not.
There will always be unfair representation by any government, no matter how big or small it happens to be. But, are We the People more fairly represented by a smaller government or a bigger one? The answer is clear. Lets say the United States government decided to increase the amount of Congressmen and ensure that each Congressman is representing 30,000 people. We would have 10,500 Congressmen. The chance of my Congressmen, even if he supported my opinions and values, of having any influence in a Congress of that size, would be small, so small, in fact, that it wouldn’t even be worth mentioning. It would be just like the democracy that the city-state of Athens boasted, with its select body of thousands of citizens voting on the behalf of all of Athens, with its hundreds of thousands of people, free and slave.
The only way that we can be fairly represented by our governments is if those governments are very, very small, and the people are willing to break those governments into even smaller ones as the population continues to grow, or vice versa. “Taxation without Representation” was once the cry of the Americans of the Revolutionary War… but our country has come to that dilemma again. This time, there isn’t a New World to flee to. We must solve this problem, and that means, limited government, and if possible, the smaller the better.
There are two theories that continue to influence American political thought; the Compact and the Nationalist Theories. Lets start with the Compact Theory.
The Compact Theory was the theory held by the founding fathers. The State’s came before the central government and even created and authorized the central government. These distinctions are vital, as we will soon see. First, the State’s have rights that go above those of the central government; this means that if the central government tries to impose something on the State’s, those State’s affected can fight back, and hold their own against the central state. Second, they have the right to leave the union, since they created and authorized the union; this would mean that the Southern States had every right to leave the Union in 1861. The refusal of the Northern States to allow them to do this would necessarily be treasonous to the entire idea of the Union.
However, under the Nationalist Theory, the Northern States would have every right to summon troops and attack the South and force them into unconditional surrender and back into the arms of the Union. Why shouldn’t they? The Federal, or Central, government has supreme authority over the States, and is supported not by a Republic representing the States, but by the populace. This means that if the Central government oversteps the bounds given it by the people, all they can do is attempt to vote out the offending politicians in the next election. They cannot ask their respective States to intervene; they can only wait and hope that they win the next election.
So, we see that the whether we hold to the Compact or to the Nationalist Theories is vital when coming to how we view the political sphere. The Compact Theory in supporting the States that founded the Union takes the total opposite and opposing view over the Nationalist Theory in its support of a strong, central state with unlimited powers over the States and We the People.