Nullification Is Justice’s Jaws of Life


Planning for a show-down, a column of 1,500 Central Americans, largely from Honduras, has been beating a path to the Mexican-American border.

Some report that the column has been halted; others dispute that. Interviewed by Reuters in Mexico, a sojourning mother of seven—what are the chances none is an MS13 gangster?—signaled her intention to proceed to the US, if only to teach President Trump a lesson.

Yes, “Make America Great Again” to you, too, Colindres Ortega.

Organizers and participants in this farce aim, very plainly, to publicly demonstrate that the US doesn’t have borders. Led by anti-American agitators, the procession catalyzed the urgency of action to stop an ongoing invasion. 

Whether it arrives or not, the caravan is a positive bit of theatre. For one thing, the actors are quite correct. The US doesn’t have borders. For another, the caravan vividly exposes the antagonists in this ongoing tragedy: our overlords in DC. All of them.

To narrow the indictment a tad, note the extent to which the Democrats and their news media have avoided mentioning or covering the caravan. At a time when Democrats are fielding populists like Conor Lamb (who won in Pennsylvania) and former rodeo champion Billie Sutton (he hopes to govern South Dakota)—the mess on the border damns them like nothing else.

It’s these villains who’ve agreed to laws that permit anyone—other than white South Africans—to arrive at that border, do their Les Misérables act, claim to face a “credible fear” back home, get a court date, and bolt like so many rabbits, to be seen again only at the voting booth, the welfare office, the DMV and at DACA demonstrations. They’re the malcontents holding up signs that read “America is racist.”

What all the veiled allusions to “catch-and-release loopholes in American immigration law” imply is this: Ostensibly, there’s no way to turn interlopers away once they plonk themselves on the US border, demand a translator and spin some yarn.

So far, President Trump has “signed a proclamation ordering the deployment of the National Guard to the border with Mexico.” This changes nothing. It remains illegal to defend the border by turning these particular trespassers away.

Other than stare these brazen people down, what will the National Guard do? Change diapers, as they did during the 2014 rush on the border?

Flash back more recently to January of 2016, when candidate Trump began alluding to “President Obama’s irresponsible use of executive orders” having paved the way for him, Trump, to also use them freely if he won the presidential race.

“Amen,” I said at that time—provided Trump uses executive power to repeal lots of laws, not make them.

After all, we live under an administrative “Secret State.” Very many, maybe most, of the laws under which Americans labor need repealing. The only laws that should be naturally inviolable are those upholding life, liberty and property, for those are natural rights.

Candidate Trump had gone on to promisingly proclaim that, “The one thing good about executive orders [is that] the new president, if he comes in – boom, first day, first hour, first minute, you can rescind that.”

All of which speaks to a broader truth: There is nothing sacrosanct about every law imposed by an overweening national government and its unelected agencies. “At the federal level alone,” the number of laws totaled 160,000 pages,” in 2012. By broadcaster John Stossel’s estimation, “Government adds 80,000 pages of rules and regulations every year.” (How long is the Constitution?) According to the Heritage Foundation, “Congress continues to criminalize at an average rate of one new crime for every week of every year.”

America has become a nation of thousands-upon-thousands of arbitrary laws; whose effect is to criminalize naturally licit conduct. Rather than uphold individual rights, most positive law (namely statutory, man-made law) regulates or criminalizes the business of life.

Laws passed in violation of the natural rights of the people, and by altogether skirting the will of the people’s representatives, need to be nullified. Like the laws making it illegal to repel unwanted invaders, who intend to wage welfare on their hosts, and sometimes worse.

Executive orders, President Trump has issued galore. But relatively few pertain to stopping the invasion ongoing. Needed are executive orders that sunder laws dictating that invaders-cum-“refugees” are to be processed rather than expelled.

Let the president suspend the scam that is the United States Refugee Act. Subject to review, yada-yada-yada. Let the president untether the US government from the Trojan Horse and shake-down scheme that is the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Again, subject to blah-blah-blah.

In working on behalf of refugees worldwide, private American charities dwarf the US government. Private non-profits do what they do unobtrusively, ethically, with minimum overheads and personnel. They don’t rely on confiscatory taxes! Most importantly, charities disburse aid and empower refugees without entering into agreements and entanglements with supranational bureaucracies, a thing that serves to indenture and endanger Americans, stateside.

In this post-constitutional era, nullification of unjust laws through executive orders is what’s necessary. It’s inevitable that correctives to the corrosive, self-sustaining, intractable actions of the state take the shape of action and reaction, force and counterforce in the service of liberty.

In this unfortunate but inescapable scheme of things, nullification is justice’s Jaws of Life, properly considered a political power tool to pry the people free of bad laws.


Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube

One comment

  1. This is very Statist piece to be appearing on a libertarian website, and it appears to lack any philosphical consistency.

    The ‘United States’ DOES have external borders. The fact that they are not hermetically sealed, or that people trying to cross them, legally or otherwise, are afforded legal rights, doesn’t mean they do not exist.

    Apart from their enormous length however, the main reason that the ‘United States’ external borders are so difficult to seal, is because, what we call the ‘United States’, consists of fifty States (and some territories), all enjoying free movement of people between them.

    It’s like the EU writ large.

    The ‘Unites States’ is not a ‘Nation’. It’s exactly what it says it is. It’s a Federation of ‘States’. Not all of what we call the ‘United States of America’ is even located on, or anywhere near, the continent of America.

    The USA consists of 50 Independent States, The District of Columbia, some internal lands which exist as ‘nations’ in the mind of native Americans, (and are recognised as ‘nations’ in a limited way, in law), and various other distant overseas territories.

    I the case of one entire State of the ‘United States’ you have to travel a long distance through another country to reach it!

    The States have unquestioned sovereignty over their own affairs. The only part of the mainland USA which is actually governed by the President, is the District of Columbia.

    Each of these 50 States however, indirectly elect a United States President, and send representatives to a Congress to do things on on a Federal level which are too difficult to do on a State level. But that does not mean that President is the ‘Government’ of a ‘Nation’. He has certain powers and that’s the end of it.

    The suggestion that the President should use Executive Orders either to repeal laws is an anathema to any person. Not only is it not ‘libertarian’, it’s also anti democratic. The office of the Presidency does not exist to make laws. That’s what they have Congress and the State legislatures for.

    The relationship between the States and the Federal institutions is governed by the Constitution to which all the States subscribed. The Federal institutions are creatures of he States, not the other way around.

    Apart of the Native Americans, all of the people who are currently present in the land administered by these States and the District of Columbia, are relatively recent immigrants. None of their ancestors were there 500 years ago.

    Until 1776, the USA didn’t even exist, and even when it came into existence then, it only did so because a group of immigrants fought a war against another group of immigrants and signed document saying the USA now existed.

    The fact that the States of the Union’s have any significant populations arose from them advertising to the world that they accepted unlimited immigration, and that they welcomed destitute people arriving there.

    Some of the immigrants who settled there even kidnapped large numbers of people from Africa, and forced them to join them. They can hardly complain now that others still want to go there.

    The United States is deeply flawed, recent political construct, and there no guarantee that it will last. The political entities that endure are almost always Nation States which have a number of common features which have, historically turned them into the nations.

    All that the United States has, is a Constitution, a flag, and a currency. But so does the EU.

    This lack of confidence in its’ ‘national’ credibility, is why it’s occupants are so insecure, and obsessed with their flag and anthem. Real ‘nations are not so fussy. England for example, which is the first and the supreme example of a self confident ‘nation’ hardly ever bothers to mention the fact that is.

    And who has the right to determine that ‘the only laws that are ‘inviolable laws, be those upholding life, liberty and property for those are natural rights’. Who says what is and what isn’t a ‘natural right’? This sounds to me like woolly minded selective morality of the first order.

    Why is it a ‘natural right’ to move freely from, New Mexico to Texas, but not from Mexico to Texas or to New Mexico? It’s a particularly comical analogy considering that until very recently, New Mexico wasn’t even a State and Texas was part of Mexico.

    What is, and is not a ‘natural right’ arises only from the era, the culture, and the community, in which the person lives. In any case someone has to enforce these ‘rights’.

    A running sore which challenges not merely the claims to ‘nationhood’ but even the the legitimacy of the United States of America, also lies in the fact that it was, in its’ current form, created consequential to a radical Republican Government elected in one part of it, invading another part and turning what was, quite obviously intended as a Confederation of States, into something closer to an Empire.

    There was nothing in the Constitution to which the Southern States subscribed, which said that they were prohibited from seceding from it. The Southern States who joined the Confederacy, are, therefore still illegally occupied by the United States.

    As for Ilana Mercer’s somewhat star struck view of the beneficence and efficiency of ‘non profit’ charities, I’m afraid she’s well wide of mark. These ‘charities’ and their armies of paid staff, are every bit as bureaucratic and self serving as Governments. In some respects, they are even worse, because they don’t enjoy the same transparency.

    And neither are they exclusively ‘privately funded’. Governments and their Aid proxy agencies, endlessly enlist the assistance of these charities to dish out money that they’ve raised through taxes.

    Private donations attract tax relief which means that tax money which would otherwise have gone to the government remains with the donor, and the charities’ trading activities are often tax exempt, giving them a special advantage over normal businesses.

    Furthermore I wonder whether money conned from the public, by means of moral blackmail, in the form of donations given in response to sob stories and clever marketing, is any better than money taken from them in tax.

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