Restoring Freedom to Ohio: Part 2 of 3
(Part 1: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself)
In 2009, the liberty movement experienced spectacular growth. The tea parties in April and during the summer electrified the imaginations of freedom-loving people everywhere. Organizations like the Ohio Freedom Alliance, the Campaign for Liberty, and the 9-12 Project experienced significant membership growth. Events like these are exciting and inspiring, but inevitably a letdown occurs as people wonder, "Where do we go from here?"
All of us in the movement want a return to Constitutional government, but we are deeply divided on the approach. Some want to focus on Congressional action, to audit and eventually abolish the Federal Reserve Bank, for example. Those who focus on the federal level also want to bring an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, withdrawal from the United Nations, and removal of federal funding for abortions. (This list of the legislation introduced by Rep. Ron Paul in the current Congress, which includes most of the issues of interest to the liberty movement).
Others want to focus on reforming the Republican Party for the 2010 state elections, to furnish candidates who will support appropriate legislation; or to support candidates of the Libertarian and Constitution Parties.
Still others want to focus on the state level by building on the popular success of the state sovereignty resolutions, such as SCR 13, to enact nullification of offensive federal laws and build infrastructure for resisting federal excesses, such as a properly organized militia and a state bank. Some activists want to extensively amend the Ohio Constitution to strengthen its guarantees of liberty.
The liberty movement (myself included) is bursting with ideas, and that is a good thing – but we need to remember that political capital is limited. Our best friends in the Congress and in the General Assembly have to manage their time to ensure that the best and most important pieces of legislation are adopted.
The liberty movement is struggling for solutions. United in fundamental principles, we are divided by our approach. Without a common political political agenda, we won't accomplish anything.
I am not confident that using the 2010 elections to elect members of Congress and the U.S. Senate to enact a top-down reform is an effective strategy. We have tried to reform our country in this way for nearly forty years, and every attempt has failed. To think that top-down reform would work in 2010 where it has failed before is insane, especially if you define it the way Albert Einstein did – trying the same approach over and over again, and expecting a different result.
Another top-down proposal, using Article V of the United States Constitution to set up a Constitutional Convention, has been shown to be more dangerous than helpful to the cause of liberty.
Our state sovereignty resolution, SCR 13, has been a great shot across the bow. It has awakened Ohioans and their legislators to the need to take our power back from the federal government. Given Ohio's historical timidity toward the federal government, the fact that it passed the Republican Senate is no small accomplishment! However, it will die in the House State Government Committee, because the majority Democratic leadership deems it a waste of time.
We need now to take firm action that will protect our liberties from further federal encroachment, and begin rolling back the unconstitutional powers that we carelessly gave the feds. We must therefore concentrate our efforts on the Ohio General Assembly, first to seek adoption of useful legislation; and secondly, to hold all State Representatives and Senators accountable for their votes on this legislation.
The liberty movement must also prepare to raise and support candidates for the Ohio General Assembly who will be outspoken in favor of these reforms. This will take work, and it will take money. Control of the Ohio Senate is within the grasp of the Ohio liberty movement, in part because many Republicans (and one or two Democrats) are already sympathetic to our cause. We can simply endorse those who will support our program – their campaigns are in place. Our efforts then must focus on House and Senate districts where the incumbent will be leaving office (open races), and on those where our critics are in vulnerable districts. It would be wonderful if we could put up candidates for all 33 Senate seats, but we only need to elect 17 of them. It would be even more wonderful to elect 50 Representatives, but such a feat is likely to prove to be well beyond our ability to accomplish. We must use our limited resources wisely. It would be very helpful if the Libertarian and Constitution Parties would coordinate their efforts to conserve resources in support of this goal. We should concentrate on the Senate, and if additional resources become available, we can target a few close House races as well.
Our rights come from God, but neither God nor the feds will give them back to us. We must take them back right here in Ohio, in our cities, in our townships – wherever people gather. In the 2010 campaign, we will have to effectively communicate the advantages of freedom – material and spiritual – to our fellow Ohioans. And if thousands of us unite behind these goals, "they will not be able to do anything with us. If there are tens of thousands of us, then we would not even recognize our country."* Or our state.
For Part 3, to be published New Year's Day, I will suggest a legislative program for 2010.
* From Alexander Solzhenitsyn, "Live Not By Lies," quoted on Monday.