May 6, Dec. 23: Nullification of Federal Law by the States, or by the Citizens

Hope everyone listens to this discussion. IMO nullification is an excellent response to the situation the citizen find himself in. It is legal and educational. Let's help build this movement.


Odd take on the 2nd amend., Joe.

He is difficult to read, but for more on 2nd amend. see Edwin Vieira at

IMO, it is not about guns, so much, as about gun control, that is, who controls them. We have already lost the most significant controls to the Feds. No more nullification by militia members, ala Whisky Rebellion. Can't have them enforcing the laws of the nation, as required by the const., esp tax law. Better have revenuers, FBI, etc, and send would be militias Guardsmen off to the foreign war du jour, as unauthorized by the const, but now mandated by joint enlistment w/ Supreme Ct blessing. A well regulated militia is necessary for a free state, not guns, which will be around 1 way or another. Regulate=Free? Maybe, but we do not have an effective militia, it is a bad word causing terror, and they are still actively de regulating remanents. Local cops are the closest thing, and they are working hard on that. No one is talking about states training kids w public Ed on how to be responsible with gun as part of civic duty. People would think you are crazy.

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
Odd take on the 2nd amend., Joe.
Yes, considering the Second Amendment passed 12 years before the Louisiana Purchase, and while the noble born Napoleon was still properly considered suspect by the Revolution, much less in a position to negotiate with the American President at the time, not Jefferson.

The Amendment's timing was indeed near to the beginning of the Haitian Slave Revolt, which went on for some while, in fact, into the period of the negotiations for the LP. In any case, Americans were long already well aware of the problem of slave revolts in contemporaneous history as there had been two in New York, one in South Carolina and another in Louisiana (with a second in Louisiana around this time - maybe inspired by the Haitian revolt?).

There was an ongoing debate beginning in 1789 about "the people" fighting governmental tyranny (as described by Anti-Federalists); or the risk of mob rule of "the people" (as described by the Federalists) related to the increasingly violent French Revolution.[78] A widespread fear, during the debates on ratifying the Constitution, was the possibility of a military takeover of the states by the federal government, which could happen if the Congress passed laws prohibiting states from arming citizens,[79] or prohibiting citizens from arming themselves.[63] Though it has been argued that the states lost the power to arm their citizens when the power to arm the militia was transferred from the states to the federal government by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, the individual right to arm was retained and strengthened by the Militia Acts of 1792 and the similar act of 1795.[80][81]

As to the issue of "well regulated militia" the opinion of Joseph Story is interesting:

Joseph Story articulated in his influential Commentaries on the Constitution[132] the orthodox view of the Second Amendment, which he viewed as the amendment's clear meaning:

The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpations and arbitrary power of rulers; and it will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them. And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well-regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burdens, to be rid of all regulations. How it is practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization, it is difficult to see. There is certainly no small danger, that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our National Bill of Rights.[133][134]

Story describes a militia as the "natural defence of a free country," both against foreign foes, domestic revolts and usurpation by rulers. The book regards the militia as a "moral check" against both usurpation and the arbitrary use of power, while expressing distress at the growing indifference of the American people to maintaining such an organized militia, which could lead to the undermining of the protection of the Second Amendment.[134]

The concept of local or even state regulation of who gets to buy a weapon or not seems rather futile. Gun advocates point out that gun laws don't work because such local laws ineffectiveness is rampant. Of course, the answer to this problem is that the very ineffectiveness of these laws is due to the fact that one can merely cross a jurisdictional boundary, make the purchase, and then cross back.

But all this gets to the issue of the topic, namely, how are unorganized people to use rather primitive weapons, like assault rifles, much less hand guns against the high tech weapons of an organized government military? In this sense I think that Joe is correct, and that as well as with wedge issues as abortion that these take our eyes off the ball of what is most important.

Here, most people are metaphorically shooting at a moving Machiavellian target while the black and white checkerboard ground beneath them is also moving. This is why understanding real American history, such as found in Saussy's Rulers of Evil is so important.

Long story short, IMHO it all has to be viewed in the context of the long running globalizing imperative found in our underlying cultural narratives, the Old and New Testaments, at least.

Joe's equally interesting take on the Commerce Clause also touches on the globalizing imperative, as such as Alexander the Great would have understood it, and the Romans of the Pax Romana would have. Most, but not all, so-called 'barbarians' were fairly pleased to be brought under the legal umbrella of first, the Greeks and then the Romans, because of the uniformity of the commerce laws that made trade much easier and less risky.

Napoleon conquered most of Europe and then some, placing uniform laws upon Europe that many were quite happy with, and one can arguably assert that the memory of which formed the impetus for creating the EU. To show where Napoleon's heart was, when the Haitian Slave Revolt happened, the French Revolution's first response was to grant more liberties to (already) free Haitians of color. But when this did not suffice, they granted all slaves their freedom. When Napoleon rose to power, he desired to reimpose slavery on them and also back onto the island of Guadeloupe. And Jefferson was with him in this desire BTW.

From the Latin: commercium trade, trading, from merx 'merchandise'.

Contrary to Joe's bizarre claim, governments such as states don't conduct 'commerce' with each other. This is patently not governments function, and anyone claiming to be a Constitutionalist would agree, unless one was to argue that the framers were all strict Communists. (Well the original Mormons were all communists.) Commerce is trading business generally, and to limit the definition to some tiny restriction that one government entity might have with another one is absurdum ad infinitum.

Of course, with all the general tensions rising in society these days, discussion of needing a revolution is interesting to say the least. And giving what the Catholic Church is up to these days, one might be tempted to ask:

What would Space Jesus say about this? From his Heavenly perspective, he (and Nike / Victory) might soon be saying "I've got the whole world in my hands."

Jerry Russell

Staff member
Joe went in for a planned eye surgery on Wednesday. I wish him a speedy recovery. Because of the disruption, we decided not to do a new show this week. Instead, we ran a repeat of the show from May 6. This was partly a self-interested decision. I couldn't remember what Joe said about the 2nd amendment. So, I didn't know how to respond to the discussion here about Joe's "odd take". In order to run the repeat, I had the necessity / opportunity to listen to the show again.

Joe argued that the 2nd amendment was passed as a response to the Haitian slave rebellion, and in order to facilitate the Louisiana Purchase. The slave owners needed their local armed militias to put down slave rebellions. Chronologically, the 2nd amendment was passed by Congress in 1789, and was fully ratified by 1791. The Haitian slave rebellion also occurred in 1791, and the Louisiana Purchase wasn't complete until 1803. So, the cause & effect relationship can't be exactly as stated by Joe.

But, it's correct that slave control in the South was one of the primary motivations for the 2nd amendment. See:

The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says "State" instead of "Country" (the framers knew the difference -- see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia's vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason and James Madison were totally clear on that... and we all should be too.