the-fourth-branch

Every four years, during the presidential election, we are told that this is the most important election ever. We are made to feel like the very existence of our nation hangs in the balance.

Usually these elections have the highest voter turnout, followed by the elections for Congress, and the elections that focus solely on state representatives and local issues have the lowest turnout. This really isn’t a surprise, because most of the media that we receive is national media, and so the reporting will focus on the elections that effect the nation as a whole. One of the downsides to this reality is that it has helped reinforce the idea that the greatest power and authority lies in Washington D.C.

For this presidential election there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth. Neither Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton seem to be popular candidates. I know that many conservatives are wondering what they will do. In good conscience they can’t vote for Trump, because they believe he doesn’t hold their principles. On the other hand, they can’t vote for a third party, because then Hillary will get elected and she will appoint progressive judges to the Supreme Court.

What are we to do?

I want to suggest, it doesn’t matter who you vote for for president. If you are interested in liberty the way forward is not found in electing the right people to national office or having conservative judges on the Supreme Court. Liberty will never be restored from the top down. The Federal Government will not let go of the power it has stolen from the people.

There is hope, it is a slim hope, and it will take years for it succeed. This hope begins by remembering this truth: the Federal Government was created by the States.

The Federal Government did not come and divide up the different territories into states and then established their local governments. No, the original 13 States created the Federal Government. We forget that the States have the ability to reign in the out of control Leviathan that is the United States Government.

The United States Constitution begins with these words: We the people of the United States…

The Federal Government exists at the consent of the States. It was the States, the men who represented the people of those states, who created the Constitution. The Constitution is clear about what powers and authority the Federal Government was to have. Through years, as the Federal Government has slowly but surely exceeded its authority, we have come to not even question it. Any time an objection is made, we are given precedent after precedent to show us the Federal Government is within its authority.

Precedent is not the same thing as legal. Just because the Federal Government has over stepped its bounds in the past, doesn’t make its use of power legal. This is why the “checks and balances” we were taught about in Jr. High are insufficient in securing liberty for us. Our Founders knew this, and made sure that there was another way to keep the Federal Government in check: Amendment X.

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.

In school we were taught that there are three branches of the federal government: legislative, executive, and judicial. I would suggest to you that there are four branches of the federal government, and that fourth branch is the States. It is the duty of our States not to comply with federal laws and regulations that exceed the authority the Federal Government was granted.

I am not sure of all the reasons why the States have not been more active to standing up against the Federal Government and its abuse of power. My guess is that part of the reason lays at the feet of President Lincoln. Though Lincoln is seen as hero, by both people on the right and the left, he crushed the idea of state sovereignty. The Civil War was not primarily fought over slavery, but over the rights of States to ignore Federal decrees.

If the government truly exists by the consent of the governed, then the Southern States were totally in their right to leave the Union and start a new government. The Union was not intended to be this monolithic nation, but a cooperation of free states. Lincoln’s war to preserve the Union killed that idea.

The good news is that there are glimpses of States resisting Federal authority. One of the ways we see this resistance is in legalizing marijuana. Another way is through lighter gun restrictions. What this tells us is that the most important elections are the elections for state and local office. The States, and even County Sheriffs, have the ability to resist the Federal Government. They can declare that their State will not corporate, will not support, and will not enforce unconstitutional laws and regulations.

Liberty can be restored, but it requires state and local governments having the courage to stand up against the tyranny of the Federal Government. The most important election you will vote in this year is not for president, but for your local representatives. Give them the voice to stand for liberty.

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