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Gulf Crisis Exposes Failures of Centralized Power

Brian Roberts
Campaign For Liberty
July 13, 2010

Obama, the great centralizer, recently stated that he was looking for the right ass to kick. With this now famous statement he hoped to divert public attention from the failures of centralized power and begin to set a public mood against the oil industry and for expanded regulation and taxation. Other recent federal actions and statements make it painfully obvious that the federal government has zero interest in backing any plan to clean up the gulf in a timely manner.

While the crisis demands a federal response to help with stopping the leak and cleaning up the gulf, the ultimate goal of this administration is centralization of power. The following responses to the gulf crisis are effective methods in use today by Obama’s government to further this goal:

  • Present false arguments for centralized power; ignoring the disastrous role regulation played in creating the crisis
  • Attack and blackmail BP, and thus the oil industry as a whole, for a crisis created by faulty regulation that forced bad decisions
  • Further the crisis by refusing to help clean up the disaster and hindering state and private action
  • Leverage the emotional and financial impact on states and individuals to create a misguided street-level demand to pass the climate bill, giving more power to the feds

Yes, the ass Obama wants to kick is state sovereignty and individual freedom; so that his administration can centralize power.

“Centralize of Else!”

Make no mistake the climate bill is about control of the oil industry, individual state economies and your individual freedom with regards to energy use and employment. A year ago, the “science” of global warming was the “crisis” that would be used to require action and passage of a climate bill. Fortunately, the validity of global warming as a “science” was fatally compromised because the prominent scientists of the field were proven to have manipulated the data that formed the foundation of the practice. Hoping to turn the page and centralize, Obama is attempting to redirect righteous anger over the gulf crisis and turn it into something it is not, a climate crisis.

In his Oval office speech regarding the leak, Obama’s stated intention was to pass a climate bill. Apparently, the gulf crisis is just the excuse needed to centralize power by passing a bill that will rage across the economy; killing jobs and bankrupting states. There is undeniable proof of inevitable failure in the results of other countries. Spain, a “green” economy trailblazer, is only one step behind Greece as a bankrupt EU member and the great-sounding “green” economy has cursed the country with only one new “green” job created for every two “real” jobs lost.

Another call for centralization occurred when Obama attempted to ridicule proponents of the Constitution. He taunted:

“Some of the same folks who have been hollering and saying ‘do something’ are the same folks who, just two or three months ago, were suggesting that government needs to stop doing so much,”

The “folks” are right. There is a simple answer here for anyone with even the most basic understanding of the Constitution should understand; first, the federal government has certain enumerated responsibilities that the “folks” have a right to demand attention to; and second, for every other responsibility the “folks” are duty-bound to force the federal government to back off. The feds have usurped the responsibility of taking care of disasters such as the Gulf crisis. Since the Feds are not thrilled with the responsibility but still like taking in cash from states and individuals to fund organizations like FEMA and the EPA, perhaps the problem is the centralization of power itself.

Obama continued:

“Some of the same people who are saying the president needs to show leadership and solve this problem are some of the same folks who, just a few months ago, were saying this guy is trying to engineer a takeover of our society through the federal government that is going to restrict our freedoms.”

Again, the “folks” are right. As in the federal response to the gulf crisis, the greedy desire to centralize power trumps the need to cleanup and repair the gulf. Historically, this trail of power abuse is clear. The Obama government always chooses consolidated power over individual freedom or the actual needs of the people; whether it’s health care, internet, the automotive industry, the financial industry, the economy, and worst of all the foundation of our liberties, the Constitution. A quick review of this list indicates that most industries are directly and negatively affected by “this guy” and his anti-American policies; and respect for our Constitution simply does not exist.

Is our country better off with power centralized in DC? Let’s consider a few of the failures of centralization in the Gulf crisis.

Centralization enables Harmful Legislation

At the heart of this crisis is the collaboration of government and corporate power. In many ways, this collboration resulted in a situation where the means of production were privately owned by BP; but significant aspects of the business were controlled by misguided government regulation.

This problem goes back to legislation signed into law by President Clinton, but passed by a Republican congress. The legislation limited the liabilities of any disaster related to drilling to $75 million while giving the power to determine drill sites to the federal government. For the oil industry, this was an incredible deal as it gave them freedom to drill anywhere knowing that the maximum liability would be limited. It was a great deal for the federal government because they could satisfy environmentalist pressure to keep oil wells far from American shores. It was a horrible deal for “we the people” and states because drilling in deep water significantly increases risk and any resulting damage would ultimately be at taxpayer expense (minus $75 million).

Centralization results in Conflict of Interest

The conflict of interest between states and the federal government is embodied in the battle between Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal and Obama. Initially, the federal government failed to take any action that might limit the damage or clean up the massive amounts of oil pooling in the gulf. As a response to this inaction, Jindal entered a request to protect the coast using booms. These requests were ignored. Recently, state initiated action launched ships configured to extract oil from the water. Rapidly, the Coast Guard demanded that these ships “cease and desist” cleanup efforts based on a drummed up technicality involving life jacket regulation.

Over the course of the crisis, the federal response has shifted from apathy for state needs to outright obstruction of any state attempts to clean up. There are two very real results from an emaciated gulf coast. First, it will drive an emotional response from the public that might be diverted to help with the passage of the climate change bill. Second, the economies of Gulf States will suffer immeasurably.

Knowing this, why would the federal government feel the need to impede cleanup efforts? The only logical conclusion, given the silence from the White House on this matter, is that the President is more interested in selling Climate Change and further centralization power than helping with cleanup. Likely, the damage to state economies represents a “win” for the federal government too, since this region is typically less inclined to choose servitude to a central authority over freedom.

Centralization destroys Constitutional Government

You cannot have a largely federal government and maintain the chains on the government needed to protect liberty and freedom. As government gets larger, freedom and liberty of the individual by necessity shrink. As a more power is centralized, the voice of distant individuals becomes less and less influential until the people themselves have no voice, only forced duties.

The gulf incident includes numerous conflicts with constitutional government, none as clear as the federal government’s outright theft of a private company’s private property without due process of law. The Fifth Amendment specifically states: “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.The Office of the President clearly coerced BP to set aside a $20 billion slush fund for use by the federal government. Now, I am not arguing that BP should be without liabilities; I am not arguing that the force of law should not be used to acquire compensation for victims; I am however, strongly arguing that the Constitutional restraints on executive power be upheld.

Once set, unconstitutional precedents are used over and over, that is why they should always be denied even during crisis, I’d say especially during crisis because the emotional response is too strong. Consider the abuse of this new precedent when disaster strikes on a lesser scale causing property damage. Would it be legal for the President to force the company to set up a $100 million slush fund without due process? Who sets the amount? Would the amount be the same for a windmill or solar panel manufacturer as it would be for an oil company? Would a failure in Texas result in the same penalty as a failure in Illinois?

The answer to these questions would depend entirely on who held executive power. In other words, this becomes a system that is ruled by men, not laws.

Kicking the Ass of States and Individuals

When a government’s motive is consistently at odds with the people’s needs and the government is willing to enact harmful legislation and defy the constitutional limits of power then liberty and freedom of the general population is threatened. The gulf crisis is a strong example of the willingness of centralized government to use fabricated powers and propaganda to destroy lives in the relentless pursuit of power.

It could not be clearer; your ass is the one that Obama seeks to kick. So what can be done?

Decentralization of power is necessary to maintain government that can be forced to maintain a motive more in-line with citizen’s needs. Decentralization based on our Constitution means that power specifically not enumerated by the Constitution must be liberated and placed back in the hands of the state governments and the people. After 100 years of ignoring this division of power, we are faced with a daunting task; but our country cannot continue to be the land of the free without decentralization.

There are many tools that can be used to decentralize; from fighting legislation at the federal level; to using state level governments to nullify laws that states deem unconstitutional; to outright secession. The first option has been an absolute failure for a long period of time. Federal representatives have been unable and unwilling to respect these enumerated power and we have seen the central government grow in massive leaps and bounds.

Instead of looking to Washington DC, we must focus on what our state governments can do. This leaves us with nullification and secession as the choices to maintain freedom. If you are still not convinced that centralization of power is a bad thing, look to your history books; it always fails and it almost always fails very badly.

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