Oklahoma Tenth Amendment Resolution Rally remarks by Ryan Underwood on March 21, 2009 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

We have a great opportunity here, but it is only an opportunity. We are moving in the direction of real change, but we have only so far gotten those in power to demonstrate that they are hearing us. They have not yet demonstrated that they are willing to sacrifice the system of plunder and despotism they have accustomed themselves to. We have much work to do if we expect those in power to halt the tyrannical plans that have been laid out for us and our children, and to begin to use their power instead to defend our property and our liberties.

Our state legislature can begin showing their commitment to our rights any day now. They can resolve to never again take a thin dime of federal funding, fresh from the Federal Reserve, and loaded with mandates and abdications of our rights. They can resolve to arrest IRS agents on the spot, for requiring us to reveal our activities to them every April in contradiction to the Fifth Amendment, and for looting us to pay the piper on the Potomac who pipes those rats into our homes. They can demand that Washington abort its failed, illegal, and immoral war on herbs, flowers, and non-pharmaceutical drugs, and its system of food subsidies and regulations for the benefit of big agribusiness that make it impossible for the small family farm to make ends meet.

More urgently, they can tell the FCC that a radio station like Radio Free Oklahoma, who broadcasts the ideas of liberty free for all to hear, is welcome in Oklahoma. They can tell the FCC that a radio station who interferes with no one’s signal, and whose signal cannot even be detected across state lines, can not possibly be any of the FCC’s business, and that if the FCC’s agents persist in their harassment to collect the rent they claim is due — for the privilege of transmitting over the air — that they will be arrested and prosecuted in Oklahoma just like any other criminal who would trespass on Radio Free Oklahoma’s property and harass the owner without legal or moral cause.

Our county sheriffs can be empowered to arrest on the spot federal agents exercising power outside their constitutional authority, just as some county sheriffs in Vermont have been empowered to arrest George Bush on the spot for perpetrating illegal war, illegal surveillance, and illegal detention of American citizens and foreigners alike. As in the Old West, where sheriffs did not enjoy the luxury of tax-funding, individual citizens could be deputized so that they can round up criminal federal agents and haul them off to the county jail. IRS agents, BATF agents, DEA agents, DHS agents, and other alphabet soup agents would all be arrested for operating as part of a criminal conspiracy to plunder and enslave those living in Oklahoma.

But, I have some bad news to report to you. The Republican-controlled legislature and its Democratic cohort does not seem interested in taking the opportunity they have been handed in the last election to cut back the size of government and eliminate taxes. Their idea of promoting family values is enacting new government marriage and family programs. Their idea of addressing the overflowing prisons is to contract the job to private prisons to save seven percent, instead of eliminating imprisonment for non-violent crimes and saving one hundred percent. You still must ask permission to carry your gun openly, because a representative who deceived Gun Owners of America into supporting her stood steadfast against the right of the people to keep and bear arms without getting permission from, and paying rent to, the government. You will still be fingerprinted and put in a government database when you are forced to pay for a license to drive on the roads you have already been taxed two or three times over to pay for. (But, you should be comforted that you may now be given 30 days longer to spend waiting in line for that license.)  We might, if we are lucky, receive a two percent reprieve in the amount by which property taxes will be increased every year.

But your income tax burden will remain unchanged!  But, you say, the Oklahoma media and politicians told me that they have cut taxes like never before this year? Look again. The vast majority of these so-called “tax cuts” are actually tax credits for politically-connected special interests, and the rest are for only those who do what the politicians urge them to do. Their assumption is that the state owns whatever income the federal government doesn’t claim, and that you can only get your money back if you comply with the state’s demands. In reality, these tax credits are extortion. They do not reduce the amount that the state forcibly loans itself from your paycheck, interest-free, year after year. They do not return ownership of the fruits of your labor to you. You are still a mule, working for the state government a month or more out of the same year from which you already donate several months to Washington. You might get a bigger bite of the carrot, but you do not get to choose your carrot.

As if the deceitful politicians weren’t enough, the Oklahoma constitution — conceived as it was during the so-called Progressive era that gave us the income tax, the Federal Reserve, and universal government schooling — is not exactly the most liberty-friendly document. In fact, in contrast to the federal constitution which is a constitution of limited, enumerated powers, the Oklahoma constitution is one of unlimited, plenary power, subject only to certain enumerated exceptions!  The state ballot initiative process has still not been fixed; the people are still entirely dependent on the willingness and desire of politicians to shrink the size and scope of the state government — the same politicans who obstruct reform of the initiative process due to their fear that we might, you know, legalize hemp, get rid of the income tax, or something terrible like that!

This tendency of politicians does not bode well for liberty. I warn you, we must be very careful to remember that the Tenth Amendment is only about states’ rights in the sense of the states’ relationship to each other through the treaty that is the constitution. The Tenth Amendment delegates power to the people as much as it delegates power to the states! We cannot allow ourselves to fall into the trap of becoming slaves to the regime in Oklahoma City in the hopes of someday being freed from the regime in Washington D.C.   We will simply continue on the same course we have been on, of spending our lives serving a multitude of masters, if we do not stop passing the buck today and start taking responsibility for our own liberty as sovereign individuals who wish to live in a free society.

Take a look around you.  Remember these seven words: “I will never make you a slave.” Repeat these seven words in your head as you interact with people in your daily business.  Make a habit of mentally promising people that you will never endeavor to live at their expense.  Promise them that you will never direct armed men to interfere in their peaceful affairs.   Promise them that you will never encourage bureaucrats to decide what is best for their family.  Promise to evaluate them on the morality of their actions, not the legality. I promise you, I will never make any of you a slave.  You know I wish I could set you all free of governmental hobgoblins today, but that is not in my power.   It is only in yours.  My advice is to not get entangled in politically-correct politics, that is, fighting for slogans and dubious causes that do not increase liberty. But do fight when the time is right, run for office when you can assure yourself that you will never cave to pressure to increase the size and scope of government, and, when appropriate, utilize the political causes and slogans of the day, such as the Tenth Amendment Resolution, to the advantage of the freedom that we all desire.

Ultimately, your future freedom depends on you making an effort every day to undo the chains that are in your mind, and to evict the political slogans that you have allowed to creep in and constrain your intellectual processes and free will.  This is an investment in your future. You do not have unlimited time on this earth. I urge you all to use it wisely. Now turn to the person next to you, look them in the eye, and tell them those seven words.

Editor’s note: I (Sandra Crosnoe)  was there and promised those near me then and now I tell you as well, “I will never make you a slave.”  I hope you will tell others and ask all your elected officials who work for you if they will make the same promise.  Maybe even go further with them and insist upon it in writing.  Make mention of a few bills they voted for that give you pause if you have any doubts about the commitment.

Originally Published on: Mar 23, 2009 @ 17:22