Thomas Woods
April 13, 2011

In a discussion whose every syllable one could have predicted in advance, left-nationalist Rachel Maddow covers nullification, and you’ll never guess: it’s an idea only “racists” and “neo-Confederates” (there’s that agitprop term again) would support!

Of course, her viewers are too delicate to have their worldviews confused by any mention of northern nullification of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, or the fact that South Carolina, as it seceded on December 20, 1860, listed northern nullification among its grievances. I thought this was supposed to be a “neo-Confederate” idea! We certainly can’t mention that Ohio’s legislature declared in 1820 that a majority of Americans accepted the principle of state nullification. And so on and so forth. I am beginning to suspect Rachel has not read my book on this subject.

Let’s also leave unmentioned that the worst government policy from the point of view of American minority groups is obviously the federal government’s war on drugs, not anything any state is doing. Would it be all right with you, Rachel, if we nullified this ridiculous policy? Or does federal supremacy always have to trump decency, humanity, indeed every single human value?

Whatever happened to “small is beautiful,” Rachel? Remember that progressive slogan (along with “question authority,” yet another such slogan to bite the dust)? Some 309 million people being infallibly ruled by one city is just the right size? This is the most humane way for human beings to live and interact with each other?

Did the centralized states of the 20th centuries have a particularly good record vis-a-vis their minorities? The total wars that the structure of the modern state made possible led to the unspeakable brutalization of minority populations; we might cite the Turkish treatment of the Armenians, the horrific Russian treatment of minority Polish, German, Jewish, Latvian, and Lithuanian populations in 1915, and countless similar examples. Minorities elsewhere have suffered from discrimination, as with the Chinese minority in Malaysia and other places, or outright expulsion, as with the Asians in Uganda. Most obvious and gruesome is the fate of the Jews in centralized Germany. It was not by coincidence that Hitler opposed states’ rights.

Question: might the Jews have been safer in a Germany that had remained a loose confederation of states? The answer is obvious, yet our stunted spectrum of allowable opinion won’t even permit us to entertain the question. Decentralization is stupid, backward, and inefficient; centralization is smart and progressive. Bill Kristol must be applauding, Rachel.

By the way, some of us would have cheered if the states involved had tried to nullify the order to intern the Japanese in the US during World War II. Would Rachel Maddow, on the other hand, really have told us to shut up and obey our wise leaders, that nullification was a “Confederate” idea? Some “progressive”!

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