Thursday, July 17, 2008


Walter Williams has noted a promising development in Oklahoma, but he doesn't go quite far enough:

Oklahomans are trying to recover some of their lost state sovereignty by House Joint Resolution 1089, introduced by State Rep. Charles Key.

The resolution's language, in part, reads: "Whereas, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows: 'The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.'; and Whereas, the Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more; and whereas, the scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states; and Whereas, today, in 2008, the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government. … Now, therefore, be it resolved by the House of Representatives and the Senate of the 2nd session of the 51st Oklahoma Legislature: that the State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States. That this serve as Notice and Demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers."

While the resolution has yet to make it through the state senate, Williams is encouraged:
State efforts, such as Oklahoma's, create a glimmer of hope that one day Americans and their elected representatives will realize that the federal government is the creation of the states. A bit of rebellion by officials in other states will speed that process along.
Dr. Williams is correct, but fails to note the redefinition that is at the heart of the failure to make that realization:

The word "federal" is supposed to refer to the two-tiered governmental structure under which a national government handles foreign affairs and national defense, while the several states handle domestic governance. Somewhere along the line, the word was usurped by the national government itself, and has become part of names such as "Federal Bureau of Investigation", "Federal Reserve", or the bizarrely-entitled "Federal National Mortgage Association" (usually called "Fannie Mae") and "Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation" ("Freddie Mac") that have been in the news lately.

Williams falls prey to this terminology error even as he decries its result (emphasis mine):
One of the more disgusting sights for me to is to watch a president, congressman or federal judge take an oath to uphold and defend the United States Constitution, when in reality they either hold constitutional principles in contempt or they are ignorant of those principles.
They're not "federal judges"; they are employed by the national government of the United States of America. The use of "federal" to mean "national" is depriving the word of its true meaning; advocates of federalism are unable to make our case to an electorate that doesn't even understand what we're talking about. In order to think clearly, we must use well-defined terms. One of the biggest weapons in the leftist arsenal is the redefinition of language. Let's not surrender our language to them.
[Click on the title above, or date stamp below, to see the full post.]


  1. I'd like to make a "redefinition Dictionary" to identify and enumerate words and phrases that have been preempted by the Left in their march to control in any way they can. Unfortunately, however, while I can craft a reasonably coherent sentence, I'm not the type of person who could do a good job at a project like that.

  2. Ummm...

    So it's that redefinition that, 'at the heart of the failure', caused the Bill to die on the Floor?

    Oh - see... I thought it was because someone pulled a 'Pelosi' and didn't allow it to come up for a vote.

    Dunno what I was thinking!

    Of course, you're absolutely right on the co-opting of the language...
    - MuscleDaddy

  3. MD, the "heart of the failure" (of people to realize that the national government is a creation of the states) is that when the Left gets to define the terms, we usually lose without really getting to put up a fight. The average registered voter has no idea what "federal" means, and has been told time and again that "'states' rights' is a code word for 'racism'" (perhaps the ultimate straw man: the theory of government expressed in the DoI does not recognize that any governmental entity has "rights"; people have rights, and the "just powers" of government defend those rights; "racism" itself has simply become "disagreeing with a leftist").

    Consequently, the average legislator doesn't have to worry about any negative consequences of letting a resolution like this wither away. If people understand what's being done, it's much more difficult to "pull a Pelosi".

  4. Exactly right, Monster. I try not to let the moonbats get away with redefining words to fit their desires. I don't let them get away with "fascist" meaning "we don't like you," or "racist" meaning "anything you do that isn't sufficiently socialist enough." And I especially don't let them get away with "blacks can't be racist, only whites can."


We reserve the right to delete comments, but the failure to delete any particular comment should not be interpreted as an endorsement thereof.

In general, we expect comments to be relevant to the story, or to a prior comment that is relevant; and we expect some minimal level of civility. Defining that line is inherently subjective, so try to stay clear of insulting remarks. If you respond to a comment that is later deleted, we may take your response with it. Deleting your comment isn't a personal knock on you, so don't take it as such.

We allow a variety of ways for commenters to identify themselves; those who choose not to do so should take extra care. Absent any prior context in which they may be understood, ironic comments may be misinterpreted. Once you've earned a reputation for contributing to a conversation, we are likely to be more tolerant in those gray areas, as we'll understand where you're coming from.