Prior to starting up Libertas, I was serving as director for the Utah Tenth Amendment Center—our state’s chapter in a wonderful, nation-wide organization which encourages states to push back against the unconstitutional encroachments of the national government.
This was and is a significantly important undertaking—one which has been quite successful by anybody’s standards (though more work clearly remains to be done—a lot of it). State legislatures around the country have pushed back on a variety of unjust federal laws, whether it be REAL ID, health care, firearms, sound money, the NDAA, or a host of other issues.
This has been accomplished by encouraging state legislators to sponsor and promote bills that resist the federal government’s overreach, by finding ways to increase awareness about the issue being fought, and by augmenting political pressure to ensure that governors sign such bills and attorneys general stand ready to fight for them in the courts, if necessary.
So I found myself working behind the scenes here in Utah, discussing constitutional violations with a variety of state legislators. Many—most—agreed with the basic premise of the policies and actions I was promoting. As you can see from our legislator indexes, a majority of them (overwhelmingly the Republican ones) have supported these bills.
While this was certainly a welcome trend, I couldn’t help but feel that those with whom I was joining arms were fighting against the very cause I was encouraging. Though they voted for bills that sought to check an overbearing and ever-growing federal government, many of these legislators would likewise vote for bills that increased the size, cost, and intrusiveness of the government here in Utah.
In short, these legislators opposed big government coming from D.C., but supported big government coming from Salt Lake City.
What Utah needs is a legislature, a governor, and an attorney general that want to limit all government, at any and every level. We need leaders who understand individual liberty and do not justify its violation simply because those violating it live in Utah as opposed to Washington. We need those who don’t have big-government beams in their own eyes, so that they can effectively and without hypocrisy work to remove the mote in the eyes of Uncle Sam.
Libertas Institute exists to encourage government officials to oppose the federal government’s unconstitutional edicts, yes, but more importantly to clean house here in Utah. It’s hypocritical to cry foul against tyranny by one group when actively encouraging it by another. We look forward to working with those who recognize the importance of individual liberty across the board, and who want to see all levels of government put back in their rightful place.
We hope you will join us in this important effort!