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Walter Williams
Walter E. Williams
10 Feb 2016
Sloppy Language and Thinking

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3 Feb 2016
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26 Jan 2016
Education Insanity

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Distrusting Government


Recent opinion polls demonstrate a deepening distrust of the federal government. That's not an altogether bad thing. Our nation's founders recognized that most human abuses are the result of government. As Thomas Paine said, "government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil." Because of their fear of abuse, the Constitution's framers sought to keep the federal government limited in its power. Their distrust of Congress is seen in the governing rules and language used throughout our Constitution. The Bill of Rights is explicit in that distrust, using language such as Congress shall not abridge, shall not infringe and shall not deny and other shall-nots, such as disparage, violate and deny. If the framers did not believe that Congress would abuse our God-given, or natural, rights, they would not have provided those protections. I've always suggested that if we see anything like the Bill of Rights at our next destination after we die, we'll know that we're in hell. A perceived need for such protection in heaven would be an affront to God. It would be the same as saying we can't trust him.

Other framer protections from government are found in the Constitution's separation of powers, checks and balances, and several anti-majoritarian provisions, such as the Electoral College, the two-thirds vote to override a veto and that two-thirds of state legislatures can call for reconvening the constitutional convention, with the requirement that three-quarters of state legislatures ratify changes to the Constitution.

The heartening news for us is that state legislatures are beginning to awaken to their duty to protect their citizens from unconstitutional acts by the Congress, the White House and a derelict Supreme Court. According to an Associated Press story, about four-fifths of the states now have local laws that reject or ignore federal laws on marijuana use, gun control, health insurance requirements and identification standards for driver's licenses. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback recently signed a measure threatening felony charges against federal agents who enforce certain firearms laws in his state.

Missouri legislators recently enacted the Second Amendment Preservation Act, which in part reads that not only is it the right of the state Legislature to check federal overreaching but that "the Missouri general assembly is duty-bound to watch over and oppose every infraction of those principles which constitute the basis of the Union of the States, because only a faithful observance of those principles can secure the nation's existence and the public happiness." The bill further declares that the Missouri General Assembly is "firmly resolved to support and defend the United States Constitution against every aggression, either foreign or domestic." The legislation awaits Gov.

Jay Nixon's signature or veto.

Both lower houses of the South Carolina and Oklahoma legislatures enacted measures nullifying Obamacare on the grounds that it is an unconstitutional intrusion and violation of the 10th Amendment. You might say, "Williams, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled Obamacare constitutional, and that settles it. Federal law is supreme." It's worth heeding this warning from Thomas Jefferson: "To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions (is) a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy." Jefferson and James Madison, in 1798 and 1799 in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, said, "Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government ... and whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force." In other words, heed the 10th Amendment to our Constitution, which reads, "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." That's the message state legislatures should send to Washington during this year's celebration of our Declaration of Independence.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



5 Comments | Post Comment
Dear Professor Williams:

I was wondering if you would like to share your insight or wisdom on the Martin/Zimmerman 2nd Degree Murder Trial case. My heart and brain are deeply at odds, On the one hand I believe Zimmerman is NOT GUILTY of 2nd Degree Murder based upon the evidence thus far. However, I do NOT believe Zimmerman is INNOCENT per se. He could have avoided this unfortunate incident. Any thoughts? Thank you. Continued blessings and success be to you.--Rick
Comment: #1
Posted by: Rick Martinez
Wed Jul 3, 2013 7:10 AM
Prof Williams writes, "The heartening news for us is that state legislatures are beginning to awaken..."
Is it really heartening that the founding fathers foolishly ushered in a central government cancer? Is it heartening that, after 227 years of this cancer ensnarling and choking individual freedom, the emasculated states are beginning to awaken? No it is not.

Thomas Paine was wrong. Government is no more necessary than the local mafia. The abolishment of mob rule to be replaced by private property rights for everything that moves and doesn't move, voluntary transactions with contracts enforced by for-profit arbitrators are truly all that are necessary to unleash the greatest explosion of freedom and prosperity for all.

Albert Einstein said, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Waking up and dusting off the failed US Constitution and expecting it will work better for the next 227 years is insanity. What would be really heartening is if we all woke up to this.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Martin McCannell
Wed Jul 3, 2013 7:17 AM
Re: Rick Martinez

None of us are innocent. That is why the verdict is "not guilty." Martin/Zimmerman was a horrible tragedy of the variety that occurs when two men do stupid things simultaneously. Like the car crash that occurs when one driver anticipates a green light at the same time that another driver runs a red light. Even though the one who anticipated the green light could have avoided the crash had he been more cautious, it is the one who ran the red light who is guilty. Thus far in the trial, it appears to me that Zimmerman was overzealous (felt he had a green light by his authority), but Martin was the one seeing red.
Comment: #3
Posted by: cathy jones
Wed Jul 3, 2013 12:44 PM
Good analogy. Thanks, Cathy. I guess my personal issue is that I attribute more "blame" on Zimmerman and not enough responsibility on Martin. Neither of the two, perhaps, can be considered "innocents." Thanks again, Cathy.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Rick Martinez
Thu Jul 4, 2013 10:10 AM
Great acknowledgement by Dr. Williams about our "next destination". I believe if we are Christians, that is. There should be no need for a "Bill of Rights" because it would be an affront to God. Why infringe upon our God-given rights if there is no body politic there to abuse them? If there is you are in the wrong place- HELL!
Comment: #5
Posted by: M. Lee Gallion
Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:27 AM
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