25 Mar 2013

Right-Wing Revisionism

Politics, Tom Woods 26 Comments

You remember that part in the Declaration of Independence that says “Union Forever!” and that pokes fun at the people whining about government tyranny?

Oh wait, that’s a tweet from a Heritage Foundation lady mocking Tom Woods.

26 Responses to “Right-Wing Revisionism”

  1. Dan says:

    Yeah, that cracked me up. Tom Woods on twitter is pretty fantastic.

  2. Jonathan Finegold says:

    What a small world, I’ve met her years ago (at UCSD, during a YAL seminar on marijuana legalization). But, I don’t get the appeal of practical politics of the late 18th and early 19th century. Our constitutional democracy may have been an improvement over alternatives, but there’s always room for improvement. This is how you can truly tell if someone is conservative: opposition to change (in general, not specific changes — we all disagree on the details, of course).

    • guest says:

      It’s ok to be opposed to change, if what is current is optimal.

      There’s no value in changing for change’s sake.

  3. Cody S says:

    Al Gore is opposed to climate change…


  4. Ken B says:

    #unionforever seems to refer to labor unions and the older tweets are about protesting Scott Walker.

  5. Ken B says:

    For chuckles I read Tom woods on nullification, here http://www.tomwoods.com/blog/cato-chairman-states-cant-nullify-supreme-court-is-our-remedy/. Read the bit about where we can stick it to the man. That’s not nullification! That’s the state declining to enforce the federal gov’s laws for it, which is not the state vitiating those laws.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      De facto nullification.

      • Ken B says:

        Separation of powers actually. But your defacto acknowledges it ain’t de jure as TW implies, and needs for his argument.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          De facto to those who deny de jure is possible.

          De jure to those who know de jure is possible.

    • Richard Moss says:

      That strikes me as a misreading of what Tom Woods was saying. I don’t think he was talking about nullification at all there.

      • Ken B says:

        You’re shittin’ me. It’s all about nullification, it’s even titled that way.

        • Richard Moss says:

          Yep, I saw the title.

          But, Tom never referred to the examples given by the CATO rep as examples of nullification.

          He says the CATO guy said nullification hasn’t worked in the past, and Supreme Court has prevented the federal government from making states enforce federal laws – and listed the examples (that Tom referred to as ‘sticking it to the man’). So, apparently we can rely on the Supreme Court rulings to prevent federal overreach.

          I never read where Tom claimed that these were examples of nullification.

          • Ken B says:

            They are cited as counter evidence to the claim you can’t nullify. That implies its a form of nullification, or else a non sequitur. I can live with either reading.

            • Bob Murphy says:

              Ken B. the only thing more astounding at your failure to parse the argument here, is that you are my biggest critic on charitable reading. If the Cato guy says one can’t nullify, then how could these be examples of nullification? It’s not just Woods, but the Cato guy, who would have to be nutty for your interpretation to work.

              • Ken B says:

                No Bob, TW thinks this refutes the Cato guy. That’s what the whole piece is about.

              • Bob Murphy says:

                So Tom Woods thinks the Cato guy is himself providing evidence of why he (the Cato guy) is wrong?

              • Ken B says:

                Bob, why would TW discuss that point at all in this context? Because he thinks it a point for his side. What point can that be?

                When you do a Kontradictions, aren’t you citing PK against himself?

              • Bob Murphy says:

                ?? Right but Krugman doesn’t have a post titled “Why there are no such things as credit booms” and then I quote from it to say, “Krugman is saying this is an example of a credit boom, but actually it isn’t.”

              • Ken B says:

                He is saying Cato guy doesn’t recognize the case for nullification when he sees it. Cato accepts those limits because the USC does. TW makes the point that its the underlying logic, not court fiat, that really decides the issue. This would be a good point if those really were nullifications.

              • Bob Murphy says:

                I don’t want to spend a long time trying to explain why I think you are reading this wrong. We’re not arguing about the ultimate conclusion, we’re arguing about Tom’s method of getting to it (right?). I just want to go on record saying I think your exasperation with the other poster here (“are you sh*tting me”) is misplaced, since I’m reading Tom the same way he was.

              • Ken B says:

                Well I don’t think states can nullify. I think TW is making a point that is valid Logically but predicted upon a false premise. Ie his logic would be right if those were examples of nullification, and I don’t think they are.

                If you mean TW is just making the general point that the ussc cam get it wrong and precedents may decide law but not truth then I agree with the point but not the reading of TW.

  6. Ken B says:

    “Levy does allow the states something, because the Supreme Court has graciously allowed them these things:

    [Cato guy]
    So on waste disposal and background checks, we may stick it to the man.”

    His argument is that we may stick it to the man generally, right? That is, we may nullify.

    • Richard Moss says:

      Ken B.,

      It sounds like you are saying that to Woods “sticking it the man” = “nullification”.

      I don’t think this is the case. For Woods “sticking it the man” can mean either

      1) the SC overturns federal laws (which Levy called ‘nullify’).
      2) states nullify federal laws (whether the SC rules to overturn them or not).

      Levy says we can count on 1, and here the examples. But, we can’t use 2 to stick it to the man. He says 2 doesn’t not work and it isn’t constitutional.

      Woods says no – it’s constitutional to use 2, and states should be able to nullify laws they deem unconstitutional whether the SC agrees or not. This is what nullification means:


      In my reading of Woods’s entire post, he does not argue 2 is constitutional based on the examples given by Levy. Nor does he argue Levy is contradicting himself by using those examples.

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