Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Cloward, Pivens and Nullification

The Cloward and Pivens strategy is to affect change by overwhelming existing systems. Specifically, Cloward and Pivens hoped to bring about a socialist system by encouraging people to swamp the welfare system.

Swamping the system is a favored strategy of the left. In recent history, the left encouraged widespread violation of copyright laws to swamp the system of property rights. They actively encouraged illegal immigration to swamp the legal system. The left hosts topless protests to overturn decency laws and actively encouraged the use of marijuana to swamp narcotic laws.

This method of using civil unrest to affect laws is not new. After the Civil War, the Left did not like Republican Carpetbaggers and reconstruction. They effectively resisted post war reconstruction, then imposed segregation and Jim Crow laws.

If the Left doesn't like a law or any aspect of a law, they confront the challenge by encouraging the masses to break the law.

The Right does not like Obamacare and has been toying with an idea called nullification.

Nullification is a bit more deliberate than Cloward and Pivens. The idea is that if a law is deemed unconstitutional by a state, then states have a right to declare the law null and void.

Despite the inclusion of a deliberative step, nullification creates a system where laws sit on the books, but are not enforced, with the people mired in conflict.

The most infamous use of nullification came when Southern Democrats tried to nullify Civil Rights legislation. The use of nullification by the South led Martin Luther King to include in his "I Have a Dream Speech" the sentence:

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification […];

Nullification is a step above mass unrest. However, Republicans should aim a step higher. To restore local control, states need powers that go beyond civil disobedience. They need a direct ability to wipe unconstitutional laws off the books.

I fear that the current efforts to nullify Obamacare are doomed to failure and will simply lead to greater civil unrest.

Lets face it. The right is not as good at sustaining mass movements. The left controls the media and schools, and the effort to nullify Obamacare will be framed in a negative light.

Rather than trying to use a mass movement to void Obamacare, Republicans would do well to aim higher and create a mechanism that allows states legislatures to directly repeal Unconstitutional Laws.

I suggest that States focus their anger on Obamacare to use modern communication technologies to create a Network of Legislatures that can directly set constraints and repeal unconstitutional laws.

The founders of this nation did not have modern communication technology. They attempted to create a network of legislatures by having the Senate elected by the state legislatures. This system was overturned by the 17th amendment.

The Network of Legs would help correct the imbalance of power created by the 17th amendment.

I happen to be a technophile. The way I would go about creating a network of legislatures would be to have the states call for an online Constitutional Convention. The convention would essentially be a large online conference call (aka GoToMeeting). The legislatures would appoint delegates who login to the convention from the state capitals.

Once established, the states could use the network to set constraints, repeal unfunded mandates or call out unconstitutional law. In other words, the network of legs would allow communication between the states and federal government in a way that gives states the ability to protect their local powers.

Whereas nullification creates conflict and civil disobedience, the network of legs would create a deliberative process that allowed states to affirmatively assert their powers. Creating a network of legislatures would have a longer and more profound effect on our society than the nullification of a single bill.

Nullification is inherently divisive. The antidote to division is deliberation. The Network of Legs would give the states the ability to affirmatively assert local control.

Tweet Button:

No comments: