In response to over two thousand hits in the last 2 weeks, it makes sense to provide a general overview of the Project, which can be read and digested very quickly.
What follows, then, is a rough outline and brief synopsis of what The Coolidge Project is, what our goals are, and how to achieve them.
Much more detail on all of these points can be found elsewhere on the site, although handy links are also provided below.
The Coolidge Project rests on a few presumptions, which have proven to be facts, through simple observation.
#1 – The Federal government was designed with three legitimate branches, each acting as check and balance upon the other two. These checks and balances were wisely designed to be aided by (f)ederalism (state checks on Federal overreach), separation of powers (each branch having specific duties only they can carry out), and the non-delegation doctrine (none of those duties can be given to –or taken by– any other branch or entity).
The 16th and 17th amendments, along with Progressive-era “social” programs, effectively dispatched Founding (f)ederalism, replacing it with the “Flavors of Federalism” now taught in PoliSci and ConLaw courses.
The legislative branch, mostly under FDR, essentially killed off the non-delegation doctrine by assigning its law-making powers to a vast and unaccountable bureaucracy. This, in turn, drastically weakened separation of powers.
As a result, all three branches are now brazenly lawless, arrogant, and entrenched. And, to make matters worse, the unaccountable bureaucracy levies fiats, whims, and diktats on the entire populace, to the tune of tens of thousands of pages a year, piled atop all those that were issued in previous years.
The protector of liberty we were supposed to be guaranteed, and now seek, has become an unthinking beast, through the cruel evolutionary process described in detail elsewhere on this site.
Its claws and fangs take no stock of what they shred and devour. Its maw is cavernous. Its appetite is insatiable. This towering Feral Leviathan (no, that’s not a typo) must at least be kneecapped before its head will be on the same level as “We The People”. Only then can we bend its ear.
Washington, D.C., in a word, is broken. And it is beyond repair, from within. The area inside of the 495 beltway started off as a swamp, and has only grown more putrid with age.
#2 – The Founders left plenary powers in the hands of the states, for just such a circumstance. But can the states, at present, actually act as the failsafe check on Federal power they were meant to be?
Our answer to that question is a resounding “No!”
Why? Because, just as the Federal Leviathan has placed individuals under its thumbs, through regulatory hamstringing and redistributive handouts, it has done the same (for much longer and on a much more massive scale) to the states.
State-level environmental agencies, education bureaucracies, budget writers, and agricultural administrations are beholden to the Leviathan, and the enormous amounts of money it throws around.
The facts above led us to question whether the notion of sovereignty, so carefully articulated in the 9th and 10th amendments of the Constitution, is, at last, dead.
If not, it is certainly flagging and struggling for each ragged breath.
Simply put: cut the strings that have made our states mere puppets of the Leviathan.
As always, doing is much harder than saying. State legislatures can vote to refuse this “Federal money”. But they don’t. We’ve seen rare instances where small portions (stimulus funds, etc.) have been turned down, but the ensuing uproar over each merely proves the rule.
Those currently holding state legislative seats (with very few exceptions) are men and women of ambition, who believe their “career path” in public office would be curtailed if they were to actively pursue a return to true federalism.
These people must be replaced with true statesmen, who care not for their own power, prestige, pocketbooks, or standing, but for doing what has become necessary to restoring the checks and balances of federalism.
Such people are rarely found these days. But they can be formed. Education on the true nature of federalism is paramount, both for the voter and the legislator. This is why our first posts on this site were the “(f)ederalism: A Crash Course” series, and we strongly urge you to read all 3 parts.
We firmly believe that, once educated about the beauty and benefits of our system of federalism, citizens will become activists in the fight to restore this Constitutional order.
With an understanding of true federalism, citizens will then be able to readily identify legislators hostile to it and, most importantly, recruit and elect men and women who will be our allies.
The Coolidge Project will seek to help in both of those efforts, by offering suggestions for lines of argument and talking points, relevant questions to pose to sitting legislators, and a rough Candidate’s Pledge for those who are recruited to run.
From here it will take quite a bit of work before we see a simple majority of federalists in the legislature of one state. But, once that majority is achieved (and with an amenable and courageous governor), the fun can begin.
Policy wonks will disagree as to how big a bite should be attempted at first, so don’t expect a bill refusing all “Federal money” to pass immediately. It may come in stages. Bills to turn down high speed rail, highway, or education funding may come first, and separately. Or, some “rogue” state (let’s say, Texas) may decide to completely sever Leviathan’s tentacle with one blow.
Either way, the goal is achieved: freeing states from the tyranny, bribery, and coercion of Federal whims, thus making them more attractive for relocating businesses and entrepreneurs, and more accountable to We, The People. Not accountable in a majoritarian sense, but in a representative and republican sense, as the Framers envisioned.
As the old saying goes: “Money talks.” Once the endless chatter of “Federal money” subsides, our state legislators will once again notice our voices which (while they never stopped being used) had been drowned out for far too long.
If you would like more information about how to help spread the word and get the ball rolling in your state, feel free to email us: CoolidgefederalismProject@gmail.com