Just Say No
By Shawn Macomber
Amidst economic collapse, Thomas Woods challenged readers in his 2009 book Meltdown, as TAS associate editor W. James Antle, III aptly put it, “to embrace fairly radical notions about the New Deal, the Federal Reserve and the government’s role in the economy.” Now, with a gonzo federal government nudging — someone send Cass Sunstein a quarter — ever-increasing numbers of Americans towards a serious apprehension of centralized power, Woods returns with Nullification, a provocative and enlivening new tome spelling out the historical, constitutional, and moral arguments for states simply rejecting unconstitutional laws the federal government attempts to impose. “I wanted to write a book explaining what nullification is and justifying what it does,” Woods explained to TAS during an interview at the Mises Institute booth shortly before he gave a rousing FreedomFest lecture on the topic, “and also to create a ready resource for people to combat the inevitable smears from the drones and zombies.”
TAS: How did Nullification come about?
Thomas Woods: I’m interested in political decentralization as a way of bridging ideological divides, even if I realize that for most on the left federal supremacy is like their bread and butter.… Still, the Kirkpatrick Sales of the left do exist — people who favor farmers markets and say things like ‘Small is Beautiful’ — and there is a growing number on the right who also feel the political scale has gotten too big. That is what needs to be cultivated on both sides. It can be done. You know, I bet I could find some Vermonters who basically want to let Vermont be Vermont.
TAS: There is a pretty healthy, or at least brash and noisy, home-rule/secessionist movement in Vermont.
TW: Yeah, they’re an example of it. And obviously in Vermont those ideas have nothing to do with racism or slavery.
TAS: It has to do mostly with big box stores and SUVs, far as I can tell.