Kilpatrick’s The Sovereign States

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I mentioned this great book in a previous article on The Greatest Libertarian Books. A buddy just pointed out to me that it’s online! As I wrote in my article:

James J. Kilpatrick, The Sovereign States: Notes of a Citizen of Virginia. The works noted above are all by libertarians or proto-libertarians (e.g., Spooner and Bastiat). Kilpatrick was no libertarian but this work is probably one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read, and reading it would be immensely valuable to all libertarians today, especially those who too readily condone state centralism. See, for example, this brief excerpt on the Kentucky and Virginia Resolves, and the federal judiciary. And consider this passage, describing the Supreme Court’s illegitimate expansion of power under the guise of the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause:

It was an insidious process, conducted with the care of the cat that stalks her prey – now creeping forward, now pausing to sniff the air; now advancing, now lying still as the bird takes alarm; then edging forward again, and so, step by inexorable step, moving to the ultimate seizure. [p. 235]

Sounds a lot like the tactics used by the left over the last several decades, doesn’t it? Kilpatrick may not have been a libertarian, perhaps, but this book is great libertarian ammunition. Would that this were required reading in all law schools, if not all high schools.

10:57 pm on April 7, 2009