When the Bradley Fighting Vehicle comes rumbling down your street, and the M242 Bushmaster is pointed at your hidey-hole, the battle ends, and you lose. If you’re a “prepper” with 8-foot reinforced concrete walls, or if you’ve got a small arsenal in your gun safe, it doesn’t matter.
Big Brother is coming, and eventually coming for you. But we can do something about it: Repeal the 14th Amendment.
What Erick wrote about secession today (and the followups here and here) certainly pricked some ears. I can tell you that the discussion around the writer’s table here at The Resurgent (we don’t have an actual table, but if we did, it would be loaded with pork rinds, jerky and Bourbon) has been lively today. Can’t say we all agree 100 percent on everything, but that’s the fun–we respect each other and don’t resort to stupid attacks.
My opinion has been pretty clear all along, that the 14th Amendment has almost single-handedly destroyed federalism and made reconciliation between citizens holding diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive concepts of liberty and civil discourse, social responsibility, equality and justice, fairly impossible.
This particular clause is the most troubling:
“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
It has been the source of “penumbras” and “emanations” that have overturned the will of state voters and constituencies by ever-adventurous black-robed individuals who have been given almost unlimited power in the federal judiciary to force states to “get in line.”
I don’t have a problem with the federal government stepping in to protect the natural rights of people who have been deprived or systematically discriminated against in the legal system, but I do have a problem when those decisions are de-facto applied across the nation. It seems that every right the Supreme Court finds in the “equal protection” and “due process” clauses strips a right that is enshrined in our Declaration of Independence: The right to self-determination.
Our federal system was originally set up to allow people with differing values to self-determine their own government, with a small national government to represent them on the world stage, to coordinate commerce, defend national territory, manage federal departments, and adjudicate on matters between states or between citizens and multiple state jurisdictions.
But none of that now applies. State governments are now more or less appendages of the national government, but for certain specific local items–the list of which is becoming shorter day by day. And the 14th Amendment is very much responsible for this federal coup over the states and the 10th Amendment–therefore a coup over the people.
Originally, the 14th Amendment was applied only to specific privileges and immunities granted in its language. The Slaughter-House Cases emasculated the federal government’s ability to use the Enforcement Acts to do away with Jim Crow laws. All of this was the direct result of Reconstruction after the Civil War, where federal troops enforced civil rights of former slaves in the South.
Then, the truly awful decision of Plessy v. Ferguson upheld “separate but equal” facilities in 1896. At that time, we should have done away with the 14th Amendment and replaced it with something more sensible. But we didn’t.
Beginning in the early 20th century, the Court began ruling based on extracted “rights” and “inherent inequality” as standards. It’s not the outcomes of particular cases that are problematic, it’s the use of the 14th Amendment in stripping states of their vested authority to govern and yielding it to the federal government.
Brown v. Board of Education was a correct decision, but a terrible precedent. It was followed by a string of decisions conflating particular personal rights preserved in the Bill of Rights with “equal protection,” striking down obscenity laws (Mapp v. Ohio), guaranteeing legal counsel for non-capital cases (Gideon v. Wainwright), and the Mother of All Privacy Penumbras: Griswold v. Connecticut. That one case opened up Pandora’s Box for Roe v. Wade and 50 million abortions.
And of course, Obergefell v. Hodges is the penultimate result of all this. I say “penultimate” on purpose because I know it’s not the end. Soon we’ll see the entire institution of marriage, the construct of the nuclear family, incest, pedophilia, and even animal rights to legal representation shoved down the widening hole of the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection” clause.
Then we’ll see insurrection, and the very seams of our nation ripping–but with no geographic or real economic lines to split for secession, it will simply be a rebellion to be put down. And the M242 Bushmaster will be pointed at you, because all laws are ultimately enforceable at the end of a gun barrel. The feds will just use bigger guns.
Citizens of the United States deserve to have their God-given, natural rights, upheld. Congress can and should pass federal laws dealing with these rights. But that has morphed into social engineering on a vast scale, by conflating personal rights with the obligations of states to uphold each federally-protected decision in lockstep. Our republic was not designed to survive in that model, and frankly, it won’t.
I would be in favor of a repeal of the 14th Amendment which guarantees and defines what it means to be a U.S. citizen. Precisely and without severely limiting the power of the several states to regulate their own laws and civil society. Citizens should get the Bill of Rights, the right to enter and leave the United States, and travel among the individual states unrestricted, for themselves and their children. And they should obtain the right to be a citizen subject to a state’s laws, with the ability to seek redress through the federal courts.
But the federal courts should adjudicate for individuals or between states, not legislate federal fiat that overturns state law and guts the 10th Amendment. Congress has the power to limit federal lower court jurisdictions, and that should also be done.
Perhaps this is a cause for a convention of states, to undo the damage the well-intentioned but fatally flawed 14th Amendment has done over the past 120 years. Liberals and Democrats are just now seeing the value of federalism, and when they (soon) run out of appeals courts and find themselves at the mercy of 9 black-robed ultimate lawmakers, they may begin to see the utility in rolling back the “equality” a bit to give us some room to work out differences in a more civil fashion.
Because I guarantee you, if we keep giving all that power to the folks who control the biggest guns, eventually that’s what will be pointed at us all.