Monday, March 29, 2010

The Tenth Amendment

Today is Monday, 29 March 2010.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The Tenth Amendment has long enjoyed popularity in certain toxic circles of the American body politic. It first achieved notoriety in the 1830s, under the guise of “nullification”, the notion that the several states had the right to “nullify”, or violate, any provision of the Federal government which they did not fancy.

Nullification was merely a fan dance for the darling of Southern white supremacist racists, the “peculiar institution” of slavery, which of course wasn’t peculiar at all, given that mass theft, mass rape, and mass murder have been around a very loooong time. The white racists, such as John C. Calhoun of ill repute, believed the states had the power to nullify any curbs on slavery. (Actually, they were pink racists, making them the original pinkos.)

This contention was settled handily by the Civil War.

But notice: the racists weren’t opposed to government – they merely wished to concentrate supreme and final power at the state level, as if each state were a foreign country. They conveniently ignored the concluding four words of the Amendment: “… or to the people”.

If the nullification principle were correct, it would also logically apply to the people, and to each individual person. Thus, murderers would have the power and right to nullify laws prohibiting them from taking lives, and child molesters would have the power and right to nullify law prohibiting them from raping children. Do we really wish to go there?

The contemporary descendants of the nullifiers are those who contend the several states each enjoy the power and right to “opt-out” of the Federal healthcare reform legislation. Like the white racists of yore, the opt-outers are essentially nihilists, rejecting any and all social control of their various evils.

News arrives this morning of two suicide bombings in the Moscow subway system, resulting in the deaths of at least 37. As the great Yogi Berra said, “It’s de ja vu all over again”.

In 1996 and 1997, several bomb explosions in Russia killed many, and were blamed by the Yeltsin dictatorship on Chechen rebels, thus help setting the stage for the Second Russian War Against Chechnya (1999- ), primarily waged by the Putin dictatorship. People tend to forget that evidence at the time strongly suggested that the bombings were the handiwork of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the direct successor to KGB.

A building superintendent (I believe in Moscow) discovered that the basement was full of bombs. When FSB officers removed the bombs, they claimed they were part of a “training exercise”. Happens all the time, da? Or rather, “doh”.

The Putin dictatorship has recently been the target of discontent in Russia, given the economic problems locally engendered by the global financial crisis. It’s hardly a stretch to suspect that these latest bombings may well be an FSB provocation, designed to whip up racist public outrage against “Muslim foreigners”, and setting the stage for renewed persecution of the opposition.

Recall that Stalin, in 1934, engineered the assassination of the Leningrad Party leader, Sergei Kirov, the most popular Bolshevik leader, providing the pretext for the mass murders of The Great Terror, and the consolidation of power.

I’m still working on the promised essay, “What Anarcho-Socialism Means to Me”. I wish it to be as comprehensive as possible, so it’s taking longer than I expected. Stay tuned!

On this date in 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage. They were executed on 19 June 1953.

On this date in 1999, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 10,000 for the first time.


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