Thursday, April 16, 2009

An attack on the Constitution

The US Department of Homeland Security recently released a report about "rightwing extremist" domestic terrorist groups in our country. I was rather surprised to read one definition in it:

"Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are...rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority."

I found that particularly interesting, given the tenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

"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."

Why do I care to post this? I hope you recognize just how dangerous the idea expressed in this report is. Effectively, the most powerful law enforcement department in our government is telling law enforcement officers that people who believe in the Constitution are probable terrorists. Why would the DHS find the Constitutional principle of State sovereignty extremist? It is the Constitution that gives the federal government its authority, and it is also the Constitutionthat sets limits on the federal government. Government "by the people" can only work when the power of government is kept close to the people. Unfortunately, some very influential people do NOT like the idea of you keeping the power close to yourselves...They seem to believe it rightfully belongs concentrated in their hands. When the government itself considers people who believe in the principles of the Constitution to be a dangerous threat, can we doubt that the Constitution is "hanging by a thread"?

If my belief in State's rights makes me a potential terrorist, then call me a potential terrorist. I reject the notion that the federal government is superior to the states, and I am proud of the company I stand with in that belief:

Thomas Jefferson: "The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best, that the states are independent as to everything within themselves, and united as to everything respecting foreign nations. Let the general government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the better, the more they are left free to manage for themselves, and our general government may be reduced to a very simple organization, and a very inexpensive one; a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants."

James Madison: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce...The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State."

Ezra Taft Benson: "It is well to remember that the people of the states of this republic created the federal government. The federal government did not create the states." "I believe that each state is sovereign in performing those functions reserved to it by the Constitution, and it is destructive to our federal system and the right of self-government guaranteed under the Constitution for the federal government to regulate or control the states in performing their functions or to engage in performing such functions itself."


  1. That line really upset me. I'm sure some people will try to soften it by saying "well, what they meant by 'rejecting' is abc or xyz... not just saying you support the 10th Amendment". But interpretation is nothing if something is put in print like that - there is always someone who will take it to mean "everyone" who is affiliated with an issue, or mentions it, or blogs it, as opposed to a true extremist who will stop at nothing to destroy others in an attempt to get what they want. Just because someone says Federal gov't should only go to a certain scale or mentions States' rights doesn't REALLY mean they are a (domestic) terrorist - but now this is in print and will be used as a weapon. *sigh*

  2. I signed a petition on calling for the head of Homeland security, who made the comment, to be removed from her job.

    This government is frightening in their effort to control thought and expression differing from their own.

  3. Here is the contemporary account of Joseph Smith's statement that the U.S. Constitution to Hang by a Thread.

  4. If interested, here is Joseph Smith's statement that the U.S. Constitution to Hang by a Thread.