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Prof. Gutzman: Jeffersonian Decentralization Now Completely Absent from our System of Government

Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript

Begin Mike Church Show Transcript

Mike: If people are not exposed to books like yours, or shows like this, you and I might as well be speaking this stuff in Greek; right?

Kevin Gutzman: Well, I actually know several people who understand Greek. I think the problem I think the chief problem we have is actually that whats called education in this area is mis-education. Another way of putting that is that there’s such a disjunct between quote/unquote constitutional law in the Constitution that you understand the Constitution better by just reading it than you would if you took a class in constitutional law from, you know, a professor at some elite law school or some elite university. Yeah, essentially whats happened is that studying judicial opinions has been substituted for studying the actual Constitution.


So people have a completely inverted view of it, this principle of federalism that we’ve been talking about; or another way of putting that is the idea of decentralization, which Thomas Jefferson said in 1791 was the underlying principle of the Constitution, has now come to be absent completely from our system. And so you have people like Pete Stark, a congressman from California, laughing at the idea of limits on central authority. And you have the recent Speaker, now Minority Leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi, saying You’ve got to be kidding me when she was asked what in the Constitution empowered Congress to adopt ObamaCare.

Mike: You’re joking; right? Right.

Kevin: Right. There wasn’t anything particularly perverse about Nancy Pelosi in this regard. Her laughing at the idea of federalism or the idea that there was anything that Congress couldn’t do just made her typical of, you know, 95 percent of members of Congress in the last hundred years. They basically have all decided there’s nothing they cant do. And so, you know, they’ll tell you what kind of light bulb you can have or what kind of toilet you can have or who your doctor will be or, you know, whatever they want. What kind of school you’ll have to pay for in Afghanistan.

Mike: Or Libya, now.

Kevin: Honestly, its impossible to parody the situation.

Mike: Right.

Kevin: There are a couple of other provisions in Perry’s constitutional program that we haven’t talked about yet, and those are the last two.

Kevin Gutzman Interview – NSA, IRS, And American Apathy

Mike: Yeah.

Kevin: Which actually those go against the principle we’ve been talking about. So number six says The federal Constitution should define marriage as between one man and one woman in all 50 states. So here we have the Republican Party and the aspiring nominee from Texas saying, here’s an area in which I would like to see a national mandate. This is an area that’s always been reserved entirely to state governments, but I want to mandate what states will do in this area. Now, for me to complain about this is not to say that I favor gay marriage or, you know, whatever.

Mike: Travis in Massachusetts, well start with you. Travis, you’re on the Mike Church Show with Professor Kevin Gutzman.

Travis: Dr. Gutzman, big fan. Big fan of both of yours, thank you.

Kevin: Thank you.

Mike: Well, whats up, Travis?

Travis: I own one of those 50,000 copies of your book, and I’m also a lawyer, so I want to thank you for undoing the damage that my constitutional law class did.

Kevin: Ah, but now you have to you still have to go into court and pretend that the constitutional law class had the history right. So good luck to you.

Travis: I’m a corporate lawyer now, so I have separate issues.

Mike: That’s better.

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Travis: Okay. My question is this: I agree with you almost a hundred percent. But on the abortion constitutional amendment issue, I’m not sure I do because I don’t view abortion as a political issue. I view it, personally I view it as a form of genocide, really. And I think that a constitutional amendment, what that would do is, if we just do what you’re saying, which I think sounds good except in my state and in several others you would still have abortions because it would be a state political issue. And the genocide would continue in states like mine. Whereas with a federal constitutional amendment, that would end. And not only that, but I don’t it seems to me like you’re saying amending the Constitution is unconstitutional, but its really not. I mean, its a process our Founding Fathers gave us; correct?

Kevin: No, I didn’t say anything like that at all. I didn’t say that it was unconstitutional to amend the Constitution, nor would I. My point is that the chief problem we have here is that the people in the central government have decided that they don’t like the federal principle, that is, they don’t like the idea of local self-determination by having an election. In other words, they just don’t really like the Constitution. So since they have power, they’re going to use it, which is what James Madison predicted in Federalist 51. Since we have power, were going to use it. We have the army. Were going to make these mandates. And, you know, you’re saying, well, okay, I generally like that principle except in my one isolated case. This is definitely going to be isolated.

But the problem has been, of course, that every instance that the federal government considers any question always turns out to be, well, this is just one isolated case. And over time what that has meant is that the principle is completely vanished. And so you’re saying, well, I would only isolate it here. But, you know, people end up saying, well, when it comes to capital punishment; well, when it comes to civil rights; well, when it comes to discrimination in the workplace; well, you know…. And people are going to say, yeah, that’s important. These are all important. Lets mandate everything centrally. Lets have no reservation of any power to people to decide these questions locally. And so you end up with a national system. You’re not more likely to win these questions on a national level than you are on a local level. And in the end we don’t have a constitutional government at all.

Travis: No, yeah, I agree with that. I guess my feeling is that and I see your point that, you know, its kind of a slippery slope once you start saying, well, on this issue I want, I would like a constitutional amendment. But I guess my belief is that ending abortion is its almost a bigger issue than that. And that you cant end it in all states by leaving it to the state political process. And on top of that it doesn’t seem to me to be wrong to say lets use the process of amending the constitution because its a perfectly legitimate process, as long as you can…

republican-shirt-ifyouhavetoaskMike: Well, hes not saying that Travis, hes not saying what hes saying is that you can say that it is a legitimate process. And then you’re going to keep finding more and more things, and the list will be never-ending of other legitimate processes. Its not that the stated goal is not laudable, to use a little Latin there. It is that the stated goal continues expanding the power of the central authority. Look. If there was more Republican virtue spread around in the states and the localities, you really think that there would be all these states out there that would have these mandated taxpayer funded and financed abortion procedures?

You know, they can get away with this, ladies and gentlemen, simply by saying that its Medicaid, or its to protect the life of the mother, and its covered by Planned Parenthood, and this and that and the other. That’s because the funding mechanism is invisible. What if you had a late-term abortion tax? How many people in Massachusetts would vote for a late-term abortion tax so that the State of Massachusetts government could continue the subsidy?

And I think when you look at it from that point of view,
then you see Kevin’s point of view, and that I think that the issue then becomes that you probably wouldn’t find abortion in very many places.

End Mike Church Show Transcript


About Dr. Kevin Gutzman

Kevin R. C. Gutzman’s first book was the New York Times best-seller The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution, an account of American constitutional history from the pre-Revolutionary days to the present. This work is unique in joining the fruits of the latest scholarship, a very readable presentation, and a distinctly Jeffersonian point of view. His second book, Virginias American Revolution: From Dominion to Republic, 1776-1840, explores the issue what the Revolutionaries made of the Revolution in Thomas Jefferson’s home state. Most recently, he joined with New York Times best-selling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr., in authoring Who Killed the Constitution? The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to Barack Obama.

Professor Gutzman has edited new editions of John Taylor of Caroline’s Tyranny Unmasked and New Views of the Constitution of the United States, and his essay Lincoln as Jeffersonian: The Colonization Chimera appeared in editor Brian Dircks collection Lincoln Emancipated: The President and the Politics of Race.

Kevin’s writing has appeared in The Journal of American History, The Journal of Southern History, The Journal of the Early Republic , The Review of Politics, The American Conservative, National Review, Modern Age, Human Events, The University Bookman, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, World Net Daily, Military History, The Charleston Post and Courier, The Journal of the Historical Society,,, and many, many other publications. He has also written essays in 21 historical encyclopedias.

Gutzman has appeared on well over 100 radio programs, including syndicated shows such as The Michael Medved Show, the Janet Parshall Show, the Curtis Sliwa Show, and multiple programs on Air America, on Sirius Satellite Radio’s Mike Church Show (including as guest host), as well as on C-SPAN 2’s “BookTV,” CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” and Fox News’s “The Glenn Beck Program.” He has also been interviewed by reporters from the AP, the Washington Times, the Philadelphia Enquirer, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.

Kevin Gutzman has served as technical adviser to two documentary CD’s and one feature film project. In addition, he was a featured expert in the documentary film John Marshall: Citizen, Statesman, Jurist.”

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About the author

Host of the Mike Church Show on The Veritas Radio Network's CRUSADE Channel & Founder of the Veritas Radio Network. Formerly, of Sirius/XM's Patriot channel 125. The show began in March of 2003 exclusively on Sirius and remains "the longest running radio talk show in satellite radio history".

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1 Response
  1. Mike I learn each and everytime I listen to you and also Dr. Gutzman, the bth of you make it simple to understand, just wanted to say thanks to all of your efforts and I hope you and Reagan are having a great time in Scotland. Take care Patriot.

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