Lead Your People to Freedom, Not to Pharaoh: Responding to Michael
Farris’s Attacks on Ron Paul
by Jerri Lynn Ward, J.D.
by Jerri Lynn Ward, J.D.: Using
'The Arm of Flesh': The Fallacy of Attacking Ron Paul on Abortion
the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve them with rigour.
And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage in mortar, and
in brick and in all manner of service in the field: all their service,
wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.
~ Exodus 1: 13-14
great famine in the time of Jacob and his son Joseph, the Hebrews
migrated to Egypt and placed themselves under the protection of
the Pharaoh whom Joseph served. Because of the Pharaoh’s love and
respect for his able servant, Joseph, he honored the Hebrews by
assigning them the fertile pastures of Goshen and appointing them
shepherds of his herds. They were still beholden to the Pharaoh’s
rule and the requirements of the work-levy placed on all people
ruled by him, but they were offered some measure of autonomy through
the discretion of the Pharaoh and, as a result, the Hebrews prospered
and multiplied under the highly centralized, but benevolent (at
that point) rule of the Egyptians.
dictators, benevolent or not, pass into history. A new dictator
rose to power in Egypt. This Pharaoh turned his power against the
Hebrews in a deadly and determined effort to reduce their numbers,
wealth and freedom through murder and the use of the work-levy.
The land of Goshen was placed under the centralized tyranny of a
king who fancied himself to be a god, against whom no higher authority
existed. Then Moses appeared upon the scene. Through him, God destroyed
the power of Pharaoh and liberated His people, leading them out
of Egypt toward the Promised Land.
of our country has some parallels. First, pilgrims migrated to America
and were allowed to set up almost autonomous colonial governments
under which the colonists thrived. Second, the Glorious Revolution
of 1688 transferred power from the King who was almost indulgent
in his approach to the colonies – to a Parliament that then began
an almost century long confrontation with the colonies because of
its attempts to usurp the authority of the colonial assemblies.
The colonist, jealous
of the localism they had always enjoyed, fought back and won.
Later, they confirmed their commitment to localism by the federalism
of the Constitution.
a system of civil government that disperses authority and settles
it upon the units closest to the people requires great responsibility
from the people. If they are to preserve their liberty, they must
be vigilant in observing and pushing back the would-be local and
state tyrants who seek to usurp the God-given authority of individuals,
families, churches and communities. This requires effort and risk.
Unfortunately, history is replete with those who lack the fortitude
to do this and, instead, seek refuge in tyrants to provide security.
hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that
our wives and our children should be a prey? Were it not better
for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us
make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. Number 14:3-4
liberated by God from Egypt, are a case in point. While migrating
to the Promised Land the people continually voiced a desire to turn
around and return to Egypt. Rather than trusting in God and the
liberty He offered, coupled with the responsibility expected of
them, they voiced hostility to freedom and a preference for the
comfort of enslavement to a power which presumed to be the final
arbiter of their fate. As a result, the people were condemned to
wander through the wilderness until the skeptics died off and Joshua
assumed the authority to lead them into the Promised Land.
This is a story
which has – in the last century – come to America. Americans, instead
of directly exercising their individual responsibilities at the
local level, have increasingly sought the power of the strongest
most centralized power available to achieve their ends: the federal
government. In the process, they have placed their Constitutional
birthright in peril by ignoring and destroying the very localism
which brought freedom and prosperity to this land. They have, in
the words of Gary North, sought "salvation through federal
But it is not
just to Congress they have looked for salvation; they have looked
to the federal courts. The most pernicious tool being used by the
enemies of localism and liberty is a profoundly wrong interpretation
and expansion of the reach of the 14th Amendment. Regrettably,
as I discussed
here, it has, in recent times, also been wielded by those who
purport to protect the individual and the family, because of a misguided
trust that the federal Pharaoh as embodied in the federal courts,
president and Congress can somehow be forced to tow the correct
line through case law and the ballot box.
A cogent example
of this is the written
attack on Ron Paul by Michael Farris, chairman of the Home School
Legal Defense Association, which he posted on his Facebook page:
Paul is an enemy of the legal principles that the homeschooling
movement has used successfully to defend our freedom to teach our
own children. He recently said that he does not believe that the
14th Amendment trumps the 10th Amendment.
In his original
and follow-up posts, Farris engages in technical legal analysis
involving the reasoning and pronouncements of jurists who have managed
to eke out a few cases favorable to families. I understand that
a lawyer, to avoid a malpractice claim and out of pragmatism, will
utilize such methods in zealous advocacy for his client.
But, the emphasis
that Farris puts on the success he has had in arguing the 14th
Amendment and the incorporation doctrine – as well as the vociferousness
with which he attacks Ron Paul for condemning the method – reminds
me of the movie The
Bridge on the River Kwai where British Colonel Nicholson first
resists building a bridge for the enemy Japanese, but once forced
to cooperate, becomes so invested in it that he loses sight of the
actual reality that the bridge was going to be used as an expedient
for killing Allied troops. This is an example of the
Doctrine of Sunken Costs which causes people to continue the
pursuit of unwise policies to the ultimate detriment of their own
In this case
Farris has invested a lot of effort appealing to a body of law which
is built upon a foundation of sand. As I wrote in Using
the Arm of Flesh, Raoul Berger established that the 14th
Amendment was not written to incorporate the federal Bill of Rights
and, thereby to destroy the 10th Amendment, but for the
very limited purpose of obliterating Dred v. Scott and to incorporate
and provide constitutional authority for the 1866 Civil Rights Act.
In his book, Federalism:
The Founders’ Design, Berger wrote this about the 14th
the reader will vainly search in the legislative history of the
Amendment for evidence that surrender of the State’s police power
over internal affairs under the rubric of "commerce" or
any other rubric putting contracts, ownership of property and access
to the courts to one side was contemplated by the framers. To the
contrary, as Justice Field declared on behalf of the Court in 1885,
"Neither the (Fourteenth) amendment – -nor any other amendment,
was designed to interfere with the power of the State, sometimes
termed its police power, to prescribe regulations, to promote health,…education…good
order of the people."
Like all things
built upon a foundation of sand, this body of law is subject to
the radical shifting of its foundation and the ultimate toppling
of all decisions favorable to homeschoolers . The future peril is
amply demonstrated in the response
to Farris written by constitutional
scholar and author, Kevin
Gutzman as he details the tragic outcomes which have already
occurred in other arenas brought about by the misuse of the 14th
Given all this,
the attack on Ron Paul for his principled desire to inform the people
of the proper role of the federal government and to lead our country
back to its constitutional roots – wherein the federal judiciary
and government is put firmly back into its proper role – hearkens
back to Dathan’s attempted interference with the efforts of Moses
to lead his people away from enslavement to the Pharaoh. It will,
ultimately come back to bite us, just as submitting to the presumed
sovereignty of Pharaoh, and forgetting that of God, did to the Hebrews.
important question for proponents of homeschooling is: shall we
continue to build upon the unstable foundation of a body of law
which is firmly in the control of a federal judiciary which has
treated the Constitution as a malleable document subject to the
whims of those on the bench at the time? Shall we return time and
time again to Pharaoh out of the wrong-headed fear that we can’t
prevail at the local and state levels, thus allowing the provisions
of our state constitutions and our ability to self govern to atrophy?
Shall we reach the point warned
of by a former president of Stanford, Gerhard Casper, when he
said: "The American concept of the legitimacy of government
is closely tied to the Constitution [the "secular equivalent
of the Bible"]? Its limitless manipulation may endanger the
very legitimacy that has been the greatest accomplishment of American
shall we use our energy and resources to assume the responsibilities
of our liberties by challenging the pharaohs on the local and state
level who presume to usurp the authority of parents and families
by passing, strengthening and arbitrarily enforcing compulsory education
laws and curfews, backed up by the might of the state judiciary
and child welfare agencies that can’t conceive of a world where
parents hold the ultimate responsibility and authority for the educating
and rearing of their children. (Nothing in the case law about the
14th Amendment adequately protects against the growth
of such regulation.) Shall we continue to permit school districts
– and the special interests that financially benefit from them –
to de-capitalize and financially weaken families through crushing
taxation used to pay for bloated school budgets and out-of-control
debt financed by bonds?
The state and
local levels are where the effort must be expended for homeschoolers
to thrive and multiply. This
is where the showdown must happen.
Paul understands this and that is why he is a champion
of homeschooling. He is a proponent of preserving the constitutional
approach of dispersing authority to the individual, family, city,
county and state.
has proven this by introducing legislation to alleviate the federal
tax burden on homeschooling parents who do not use the government
schools for which they are forced to pay and to ensure that the
federal government does not discriminate against homeschoolers in
its policies. These are approaches that can be constitutionally
accomplished by Congress without impeding on state or local authority.
Paul wishes to return power and authority to parents and the states
in accordance with the 9th and 10th Amendments,
so that we may more effectively attack the presuppositions and usurpations
of parental authority committed by the local and state institutions
holding our children in thrall, without feeling the need of being
held captive to the years of litigation in federal courts necessary
to possibly eke out one or two good federal court decisions.
the Hebrews, who desired to return to Pharaoh because of exaggerated
remembrance of the "cucumbers,
melons, onions and leeks of Egypt", while forgetting the
murder of their sons and the application of the whip, homeschoolers
and their legal representatives have too long sought the protection
of modern-day Pharaoh at the federal level. They have insisted upon
using tools that will ultimately strengthen Pharaoh when he turns
against us. It is time to focus on the other weapons in our arsenal
and, especially, upon the Providence of the One Who created the
family and commanded parents to educate their children.
I say to Michael Farris, dispense with your Dathan-like attacks
upon Ron Paul. Instead, serve as a modern-day Joshua who leads his
people away from Pharaoh and into the Promised Land. Your people
have much work to do in the Land of Canaan.
Ward [send her mail] is
an attorney practicing in Austin, Texas. She is a member to the
Travis County Republican Executive Committee and an elected official
in Travis County. She is the President of the Travis County Chapter
of Texas Right to Life and was named Texas Right to Life’s Pro-Life
Attorney of the Year in 2006.
© 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
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