Last Saturday evening I had the privilege of attending the “Nullify Now!” tour down in Los Angeles. Unfortunately due to some bad traffic and a late departure, I didn’t make it down until the second half of the event after dinner, but all the good speakers were at the end anyways so I didn’t miss out on too much. The location of the event was quite stunning as it was on the 30th floor of the AT&T Center, with spectacular 360 degree views of Los Angeles. I also liked the way they setup the event, with one room for social stuff (music, drinks, and vendor/club tables) and one room for the speakers. This way, you could listen to your favorite speakers without interruption and if you wanted to take a break during a boring speaker you could just walk over to the other room and grab a beer.
Right when I arrived at the event I got my ticket validated at a booth, and sitting right next to the entrance was the man of the night, Tom Woods. I was wearing my “Legalize the Constitution, Ron Paul 2008″ shirt with a long-sleeve shirt draped over my shoulder, and Tom Woods said that at first glance he thought it said “Legalize Prostitution.” I laughed at his remark and said that even though it didn’t, I’d be in favor of it (although I probably wouldn’t have the gall to wear it on a shirt). Due to my late arrival, I wanted to soak in as much as I could so after a quick trip to the social room to check out the scene, I headed over to the room with the speakers.
As luck would have it, one of the people I wanted to see talk, John Dennis, was just about to start his speech as I walked in. He discussed his involvement with the Republican Liberty Caucus of California and how they have revived it from the ashes since 2007, and now they’ve become an influential group. Pretty soon they are going to give federal candidates and politicians a liberty quiz in which they judge the person based on a number of different criteria so voters can find out how liberty oriented a person really is. John also mentioned how important it is for people involved in the liberty movement to run for office because it’s a great opportunity to use the platform to spread the message (this lead to him dropping a hint that he may run again in 2012 against Pelosi).
Up next was Michael Boldin, president of the 10th Amendment Center, who gave a great speech that broke down the basic concepts of freedom and states rights. Michael started the 10th Amendment Center in his garage and now it’s a nationwide network of activists promoting the amendment that often gets ignored by politicians. After Michael’s speech came Scott Horton of AntiWar.com and former foreign policy adviser to the Libertarian presidential candidate in 2004, Michael Badnarik. Scott’s speech was one of the best of the night and he really roused the audience with his passion. He eloquently explained the follies of our interventionist foreign policy and how we’ve played right into the hands of Bin Laden.
The closer of the night was none other than Tom Woods, the historian, author, and Mises Institute adjunct scholar. This man is not only one of the smartest people around, but he’s also very funny and an eloquent speaker. His second most recent book, Nullification, was one of the primaries reasons the Nullify Now tour came to be in the first place and why many people are now talking about the concept of nullification as a practical tool in fighting big government. Nullification was espoused by our Founding Fathers as a means for states to keep in check the federal government when it stepped beyond its limits or enacted something unjust. Basically, if a state feels a federal law is not right or lawful, it’s the state’s duty to not obey it. There are currently many examples of nullification being used by the states such as California’s legalization of medical marijuana (nullifying federal illicit substance laws), Utah’s recent passage of the legalization of gold and silver as legal tender (nullifying federal monetary monopoly laws), and the handful of states outright nullifying Obamacare. Tom also pointed out how nullification is not an extremist idea unlike what Rachael Maddow and other progressives think, and how the mainstream media also tries to frame the debate in their own terms. Basically, if you fall outside of the political spectrum from Hillary Clinton on the left to Mitt Romney on the right, then the mainstream media thinks you are a nutjob with far flung ideas. Woods is fighting to expose this false left right paradigm and I for one am excited to join him in this intellectual debate.