Anti-Federalism &
A New America
From Doretta Wildes <>
Les Coleman, the Pan Am 103 whistleblower, continues to write while
incarcerated in a Brooklyn federal prison. Below is one of his recent articles.
By Lester K. Coleman
In Bighorn County, Wyoming, federal law enforcement agents no longer roam freely, chasing the "bad guys." A federal court decision requires all federal enforcement and regulatory agents to clear their activities with a Wyoming county sheriff's office first.
How did it happen? Bighorn County Sheriff Dave Mattis and other members of the state's Sheriffs Association sued the BATF and the IRS in federal court. And won. The U.S. District Court ruled that "all federal officials are forbidden to enter a Wyoming county without prior approval of the local sheriff."
"If a sheriff doesn't want the feds in his county, he has the constitutional power and right to keep them out or ask them to leave," explains Mattis. "Or retain them in custody."
The District Court's ruling explains further: "Wyoming is a sovereign state and the duly elected sheriff of a county is the highest law enforcement official within a county and has law enforcement powers exceeding that of any other state or federal official." (2:96 CV 099J)
This case provides evidence that the Tenth Amendment is not yet dead in the United States. It may also be interpreted to mean that political subdivisions of a state are included within the meaning of the amendment. In other words, the powers exercised by a sheriff are an extension of those common law powers that the Tenth Amendment explicitly reserves for the people - if they are not granted to the federal government and specifically prohibited by the states.
Anti-federalism is nothing new. What has changed is how Americans view the federal authorities.
Sheriff Mattis simply said what most of us have known for years: "I am reacting to the actions of federal employees who have attempted to deprive citizens of their privacy, their liberty and their property without regard to constitutional safeguards."
American federalism has become its own worst enemy. From the beginning, in post-revolutionary America, an all-consuming federal government was viewed as an enemy of freedom. The one government system practiced in Great Britain was not to be recreated in the New World; thus, the creation of the Tenth Amendment, to assure that member states, rather than a central authority, retained the power to govern. It was then, and is now, pure logic. Geological and ideological distance between government and the governed makes for escalating differences.
In 1787, the thirteen states united could tolerate a very simplistic umbrella that existed to serve member states, closely tied in physical presence with similar ideological and cultural scaffolding.
By 1860, the nation's make-up no longer afforded such a luxury. The War Between the States was the first jagged tear in the federalist umbrella.
The country had grown diverse while Washington had grown increasingly remote. Too remote to avoid the ravages of a war that came within a year of wiping the United States off map and memory. Post-Civil War America was forged in a different mold, one that was shaped by the occupation of federalist forces. And an attitude that remains instilled in Washington today.
Rather than secede from the Union, modern states-righters are seceding from the voting booth. The last time a majority of registered voters cast their votes in a presidential election can be counted back in decades rather than years. Most Americans have simply stopped voting. This apathy has created a nation of voluntary slaves. By staying home on election day, America has thrown the constitution into the waste basket.
Meantime, like an asp slithering across Cleopatra's carpet, government sucks the life out of democracy and personal liberty.
Americans are not fools. They well know that government now represents no one. The 535 humans sitting in Congress are so distant from those they are supposed to be serving that most of us don't even know our representative's name. The reason is given by simple arithmetic. In the Parliament of the United Kingdom, there are more than 600 members representing a population of 40 million; in other words, one MP for every 60,000 people, on average. The U.S.A., on the other hand, has a "lower house" with 435 Congressmen who claim to represent 280 million people. They cannot and, therefore, do not. So removed are they from the electorate that federalism is beginning to collapse under its own weight of unconstitutional conduct.
We have created a land that we can no longer live in. In this vast mosaic that still claims to be the "United States," federalism should be and must be declared obsolete. The very duplication of federal functions by individual states is cause enough to abolish it.
Case in point are the latest figures on child poverty. Among the individualized nations of the world, only Mexico has more children living in poverty than the United States (by one percentage point). In this country, more than 22 percent of our children are poverty-stricken.
Is this due to the fact that we do not care about our offspring?
Our form of government is choking the very life out of our ability, as a people, to care for ourselves.
Like no other people, we are forced to serve dual sovereigns " a federal sovereign and a state sovereign. There is waste and superfluity in every crack of the system.
The federal sovereign has its own set of laws, passed off by its own legislative branch. It has its own system of courts sitting in duplicate within every sovereign state. Enforcing the federal sovereign's laws are a multitude of enforcement agencies: the FBI, the DEA, the BATF, the IRS, the Secret Service, the EPA, the FDA " alphabet police backed by a federalist department of prosecutors, and with its own network of prisons (108 of them, at last count). Add to the muck each individual state's own multi-tiered government structure with a legislative, administrative and judicial system. In most of them you will, as a taxpayer, be funding another sovereign with a state police force, county sheriffs and local police departments - with prosecutors, courts and another prison network to house law-breakers.
It's little wonder that on a per capita basis today, the United States has more people behind bars than any other nation on the planet.
Serving dual sovereigns is fraught with pitfalls for the average citizen acting under the illusion of democracy. In its purest form, a democratic society should enable individuals to accomplish collectively what they could never accomplish alone. Because this personal collective involvement became impractical on a larger scale, people elected representatives who were entrusted to employ public servants to do the public's work, in the public trust.
When federalism in the United States evolved into a form of totalitarianism " far removed from those it was intended to serve - trust was lost. Today, federal bureaucrats can perpetrate abuse, waste, and outright criminal activity without recrimination, simply because the average citizen can't identify them easily, much less hold them accountable.
"Trust" and "good faith" in the federal sovereign no longer exist in America today. As a trustee of the people, a public servant must be held to a higher ethical standard in carrying out the people's common duties.
This requires the sovereign to perform with a sharpened sense of morality and good faith.
The solution is the abolition of the federal sovereign as we know it. Trust and faith are best preserved when the sovereign is structured to serve small territorial regions, facilitating intimate contact with those served. If the public can put a face on a bureaucrat, abuse of power can be held in check.
The Swedish example comes to mind. There, national government is unitary, except that the sovereign does not rule or attempt to serve from Stockholm. Every town and village is an extension of the government's sole purpose - serving its citizens.
If you require a passport, you go to the town hall. If you need a birth record, deed, driving permit, business license, medical card, a notary, a copy of your school records, you simply head for the town hall.
In the U.S., citizens are required to run around to a multitude of agencies - local, state and federal - to accomplish what Swedes can do in one place.
If a similar system could be structured here, think of the money saved. Maybe enough to revamp our crumbling school system, and better serve the large percentage of impoverished American children.
There is no longer any need for a federal criminal justice system. Except for very few laws pertaining to wartime treason and espionage, the states are more than capable of governing, using existing interstate agreements. Abolition of the federal criminal code would bring an end to duplicate law enforcement agencies, courts, prosecutors and penal institutions, saving billions of dollars. In the 21st century, individual states are certainly more than capable of protecting their citizens from crime. There is no longer a need for a federal level as was a necessary in the early part of the last century. The FBI, as an example, is a creature of the 20th century, and has no place in the 21st.
The federal structure should be confined to serving member states, resolving commerce disputes, protecting national security from external threats, and serving as a figurehead of state through the office of the President.
A sitting Congress is no longer necessary, as it represents no one but monied special interests and the bureaucracy. Each state's legislature is capable of handling the business of its own residents. Selected state legislators could meet annually using the vacated Capitol Building as a forum to address problems common to all, such as maintaining an armed force for national defense.
The cumbersome federal agencies would likewise be of no use. Treasury has a purpose in maintaining a national currency used by all states in commerce. Other federal agency functions would be replaced by agreements among individual states. As an example, the Environmental Protection Agency's role would simply be assumed by the states, all signatory to an agreement regarding the use and preservation of natural resources. The terms of such agreements would be determined by the new Continental Congress of selected state lawmakers meeting annually with no full-time duties; thus, no need for staff or office space.
With the real power once again vested with the people in a very intimate regulatory and political landscape, the Presidency would evolve into a ceremonial office, presiding over diplomatic forums and functions of state, and acting primarily as a spokesperson for the nation. Actual international relations would remain under the Secretary of State chosen by the sitting Continental Congress every four years. Embassies abroad would be maintained under the State Department, staffed by career diplomats.
The CIA would be dismantled as intelligence functions are completely returned to the Pentagon, where they resided until after World War II.
All federal lands, including parks and historic sites, would be under the control of resident states. Where lands cross state borders, interstate agreements would delineate their uses and measures of preservation.
If these proposals were to become reality, the biggest employer in the District of Columbia would be a new monument preservation service. The Departments of Commerce, Education, Transportation, Health and Human Services, Interior, Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, the Office of the President as it currently exists " and every sub-group under them " would be rendered obsolete.
The new federal judiciary would consist only of a Supreme Court whose justices (one from each state) would preside over cases appealed from state high courts, and resolve civil disputes that may arise between states.
As the federal criminal code would be abolished, federal district and appeal courts would serve no purpose, relegated to the history books.
Radical thought?
Actually, no more radical than the ideas put forth by the founders of American government. It is impossible to imagine them passively supporting the current federal monolith. It is possible to imagine them dismantling it.
The time is drawing near for each of us to bring about these changes toward simplicity. It can be done within the present constitutional structure, but not within the two political parties which, like federalism, have become dysfunctional.
The real question is whether we have the collective wisdom and courage to save ourselves by peaceful means; or will we live in quiet desperation until our animal instincts set us upon one another.
These have always been mankind's alternatives. Let it be said that this civilization had the wisdom to dismantle the monster it created, and did so in peace.
©2000 by Lester K. Coleman
Permission to reprint or otherwise distribute this article is granted on the condition that it appears without omissions or amendments, and is not used for profit.
From Beverly <>
Without a doubt, this is the very best idea that has ever been presented. Instead of sitting around wringing our hands and crying in fear about how we are about to become a part of the New World Order, we could be implementing Les Coleman's excellent ideas, presented on
Or, go directly to the article : Thanks Jeff for posting this article.
We need to get this ball rolling quickly. Your radio formats, and hopefully others, could offer the opportunity to put it out in front of the public for feed back; asking for volunteers in each of the states to form organizations to take the necessary steps to take back control of our country, and regain our constitutional rights IN A PEACEFUL WAY!!!
Let's make this a positive, citizen's ground-swell movement to counter all the negative, New World Order take-over attempts. Bravo to Bighorn County, Wyoming Sheriff Dave Mattis. See what one man can do? It CAN be done, if we work together.
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