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17 December 2010

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Sir,

What several states, Texas for instance, are doing is passing nullification resolutions based on fringe readings of the 10th Amendment. They really have no efficacy other than to keep the politics of resentment going and focused on things other than the given state's leadership. Some of the same leaders are also calling for, dropping hints about (again Texas in the person of the governor comes to mind), or trying to pass resolutions laying out when or under what conditions secession is warranted. Much of this is pandering, much of it is astroturfing to keep the base, currently preoccupied with ardent fervor, but little actual knowledge or understanding of the Constituion, perpetually wound up and aggrieved. All the same elites and notables doing the funding and organizing and the same demographics that they're always trying to organize. The only difference is that this time they're using and foregrounding faux constitutional language. The base is being fed a steady diet of some of the most extreme conspiracy theories. Ideas and groups run out of the mainstream decades ago (Buckley's banishment of the Birchers for instance) are now openly peddled on cable news, at part conventions, and being written into state party conventions and Texas textbook standards. In the latter case, as we've discussed here in the past, they've written Thomas Jefferson out of the history books, but a Phillis Schlafly in. The men leading that are all thought leaders in a variety of fringe religious, social, and political movements and now part of Mr. Beck's black robe brigade of religious leaders who will help take back the country. They'll happily continue to separate their flocks from what little wealth they have left and then capitalize on the desperation.

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