Bashing Some Zombies

I wrote this article the other day in response to a zombie attack from Media Matters, the left-wing commissar-enforcer hypochondriac site.

It applies equally to another commissar, Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress, who likes to quote 15-year-old statements against me that obviously have nothing to do with my work or what I believe.  Fifteen years ago I was still by and large pro-war, pro-drug war, and much else.  Millhiser describes me as — get this — a “pro-Confederate activist.”  I must be the world’s laziest such activist.  I am not “pro” any government at all.  That probably makes me more radical than the guy thinks I am.

If what I’m saying is so obviously stupid and easily refuted, you’d think they’d just go ahead and refute it, instead of digging up old stuff they obviously know — if they have any journalistic competence at all — has nothing to do with my political philosophy.  Instead, all we get is a throwaway line about nullification being an “unconstitutional theory.”  Perhaps Millhiser will forgive us for wanting more by way of proof than his ex cathedra pronouncements.  Poor Millhiser is a law school graduate, though, so of course he knows none of the relevant history. As a J.D. Ph.D. once told me, one should never confuse legal training with an education.

Millie, babe, when California decriminalizes marijuana, are you going to cheer when the feds throw these kids into government cages?  What other position can a nationalist take?  So this guy’s the narc, but I’m the bad guy.  What a world.

But since Millhiser used only one zombie word — “Confederate” — we give him higher marks than Alan Pyke of Media Matters, who used both “slavery” and “Confederate.” Pyke says nullification is “the legal doctrine used by slave states to defend the practice [i.e., slavery]”!  When I called him on this, he sheepishly replied that the nullification crisis of 1832-33, while ostensibly about tariffs, was really about slavery.  (Of course, everything southerners ever said or did must have been “really” about slavery — that’s part of our unbiased historical hermeneutic.)  The trouble is, every northern and southern protectionist and free trader at the time was talking about tariffs and their economic effects.  No one said a word about slavery.

But the southern states might someday have used nullification to defend slavery, Pyke seems to say.  Well, Iraq might someday have developed the galaxy-destroying MegaSuperBomb, too.

Now remember that nullification was used against the fugitive-slave laws, particularly in Wisconsin.  So nullification was actually used in practice against slavery, but was at most a tool the South might have used at some unspecified point in the future to protect slavery.  Pyke thinks these two facts sum up to: nullification is the legal doctrine the southern states used to defend slavery.

All I can say, folks, is stock up on zombie repellent.  They’re everywhere.

Share this post:Digg thisShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on Twitter
  • Frederic Chandler

    There are only two places I have ever read the word ‘hermeneutic’ here, and in a lyric by the poet Green Gartside. That puts you up there with the greats, IMHO. I hope these despicable organs publish your refutations, or that you publish them as comments. It’s important that each time these smears are made, a nearby and clear rebuttal is to hand. Keep up the good work; you are making a big impact.

  • John C. Randolph

    Let’s remember that Jefferson Davis denounced nullification in his farewell address to the US Senate.


  • Jim Shimer

    Nullification is the only weapon the States have against the tyrant Fed. The concept needs to be disinterred, cleaned up, and restored to it’s place as the legitimate tool it was meant to be; the primary check on unrestrained Federal power.
    I am a Jeffersonian and a Confederate sympathizer who knows why the War of Northern Agression was fought. I’m having modest success purging the dis-information my friends have about the subject. They can’t get their heads around the fact that Lincoln is a war criminal and States are Sovereign, not vassals.

  • John

    Personally, I find Media Matters to be the lowest of the low. Heck, their mission statement is to smear, attack and destroy anyone who has any connection to conservative or libertarian thought.

    And what a surprise that George Soros recently gave them a load of money to help fund their hate campaign…

  • Randall Kerley

    Dr. Tom I have grow to really appreciate your writings, you make me go to the dictionary to look-up words,(hermeneutics) wow it makes me focus on the article and understand it better, please keep up the great work. You are always spot on and it is driving the statists,progressives,fabians CRAZY!!!!

  • Jason Southwell

    Hmmm… hermeneutics. learn something new every day.

  • FURB

    Wow. Tom, you are constantly challenging my vocabulary. Maybe your big words scare the zombies. I don’t know much about history, but at least I take your views into consideration, and don’t make silly arguments which have little to do with your assertions. If I wanted to challenge your assertions, I’d have to spend years researching subjects, and write my own book to refute yours. I doubt Zombies want to put that much effort forth.

  • Bob Roddis

    I have been an Austrian since 1973, before I started law school in 1977. I would always throw in the face of these zombies the US Supreme Court case of ABLEMAN V. BOOTH, 62 U. S. 506 (1858). There, the US Supreme Court announced that the Fugitive Slave Law was constitutional and that the Wisconsin Supreme Court had no say in the matter. See:

    “Sherman M. Booth was charged before Winfield Smith, a commissioner duly appointed by the District Court of the United States for the district of Wisconsin, with having, on the 11th day of March, 1854, aided and abetted, at Milwaukee, in the said district, the escape of a fugitive slave from the deputy marshal, who had him in custody under a warrant issued by the district judge of the United States for that district, under the act of Congress of September 18, 1850.”


    Mr. Booth “stated in his petition that his imprisonment was illegal because the fugitive slave law was unconstitutional, that the [Federal ] District Court had no jurisdiction to try or punish him for the matter charged against him, and that the proceedings and sentence of that court were absolute nullities in law”.

    A single justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a writ of habeas corpus and upon the hearing the justice decided that Booth’s detention was illegal, and ordered the marshal to discharge him and set him at liberty, which was accordingly done. The case was then argued before the Wisconsin Supreme Court and, on the 19th of July, it pronounced its judgment, affirming the decision of the associate justice discharging Booth from imprisonment, with costs against Ableman, the marshal.

    The marshall appealed to the US Supreme Court which reversed, holding:

    “And as regards the decision of the [Federal] District Court, it had exclusive and final jurisdiction by the laws of the United States, and neither the regularity of its proceedings nor the validity of its sentence could be called in question in any other court, either of a State or the United States, by habeas corpus or any other process.
    But although we think it unnecessary to discuss these questions, yet, as they have been decided by the State court, and are before us on the record, and we are not willing to be misunderstood, it is proper to say that, in the judgment of this court, the act of Congress commonly called the fugitive slave law is, in all of its provisions, fully authorized by the Constitution of the United States, that the commissioner had lawful authority to issue the warrant and commit the party, and that his proceedings were regular and conformable to law. We have already stated the opinion and judgment of the court as to the exclusive jurisdiction of the District Court and the appellate powers which this court is authorized and required to exercise.


    The judgment of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin must therefore be reversed in each of the cases now before the court.”

    Obviously, our nullification opponents must be in favor of fugitive slave laws, right?

  • AngelaTC

    I got here late. From the original article: “it’s almost as if there’s some Mad Libs template for the arguments…”

    Mad Libs? Awesome….

  • Ray Roberts

    Tom, you’ve taken a lot of smears over the years from both the commissars on the left and the right and I admit it has given me a lot of laughs watching you smite these foes with their pretension of knowledge. Keep up the good work.

    Also consider yourself fortunate that they hate your books because the books they like typically end up being displayed at a dollar store.

  • Rick Fisk

    Hey Tom,

    How do you reconcile being anti-State and and pro-State (state legislative nullification) at the same time?

    The real power of nullification lies within the individual, not the state. In fact your examples of legislative nullification were in response to individual efforts to nullify (within the jury system). State legislatures acted some time AFTER the people refused to convict prohibitionists and those who aided slaves in escaping to freedom rather than before.

  • Tom Woods

    Rick, I’m not pro-state; I’m pro-resisting the federal government, and if the state can help protect individuals who do so, then it’s the first time they’ve done anything worthwhile.

  • Rick Fisk

    So it’s a bit like wishing for a million dollars. It would be nice, but it isn’t going to happen. The Feds learned sometime after prohibition and the 17th amendment, that all they need to do is supply the states with money it stole from those who live within the state and the ‘Sovereign state’ will lay down all legitimacy and principle to get at that money. Money it couldn’t extract itself from its citizens, it will gladly use to militarize its local police, steal children from families and throw non-violent drug offenders into ‘privatized’ prison systems.

  • Rick Fisk

    I have the utmost respect for you Tom. Please don’t take my comments otherwise.

  • Mike Wilbourn

    I have to say that Rick is correct. Franklin had faith that the Common Sense and values of the Productive “Middling” were the strength of the Nation. As one that stands in the core of said group and earned his wings on the tail end of a shovel, I understand why I for one am responsible to just say no and am looking for 5,000,000 more just like me.

    The Political and Dependent Classes have no desire nor reason to leave the trough. One knows no better, the other simply enjoys the view.


    Hmmm…having studied the Bible, I’ve been aware of the word “hermeneutic” for some time. Amazing the number of respondents who haven’t. IMHO, for what it’s worth, one is not truly educated without such study.

  • Karl Nance

    So, I arrive here from this link:

    and I find that I am the first comment in the over three years since it was posted.

    My conclusion? Tom Woods is an important thinker that many people are paying attention to.