In an earlier column, I suggested that liberty-loving Americans begin to think about secession. That column brought in the greatest amount of reader response this year. Virtually all of it was supportive. Since then, I've discovered there are people actually studying the matter. One is the Utah-based Committee of 50 States, chaired by former Utah Gov. J. Bracken Lee and directed by Professor Joseph Stumph.

Their proposal is less radical than secession. They're trying to get 38 state legislatures, three-fourths of the states, to pass what they call "The Ultimate Resolution," which kicks in when the federal debt reaches $6 trillion. If "The Ultimate Resolution" went into effect, it would dissolve the entire federal apparatus. The president, members of Congress and the Senate, and the federal judiciary would be summarily fired."Would that be constitutional?" you say. You bet it is, and here's the reasoning. At the time of our first constitutional convention, in 1787, the 13 original states had status as sovereign, free and independent nations. They created the federal government, delegating it certain limited powers. In other words, the federal government is an agent, created by the states, who are the principals.

Those in Washington have it backward. They act as if states are a creature of the federal government. "The Ultimate Resolution" anticipates Washington's appetite for control. In case Congress by treaty, or the president by executive order, declares a "national emergency" or otherwise attempts to suspend, abolish or in some other manner eliminate the Constitution and Bill of Rights, "The Ultimate Resolution" presents a significant barrier. It contains a provision whereby any attempt to abolish, suspend or eliminate our Constitution would automatically cause the states to take back all delegated powers and the federal government to cease to exist.

Of course, if 38 state legislatures cannot be convinced to adopt "The Ultimate Resolution," secession would be the next step. You say, "Williams, secession is not right; plus, it's unlawful." History lesson: Texas seceded from Mexico, and U.S. annexation precipitated the U.S.-Mexico War of 1846. Panama seceded from Colombia with our help. While Abraham Lincoln was telling 11 Southern states they couldn't secede, he assisted and approved of West Virginia seceding from Virginia in direct violation of Article IV, Section 3 of our Constitution that says, " new State shall be formed or erected with the jurisdiction of any other State . . . without the consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned."

Moral justification for secession is found in our Declaration of Independence. It says governments are created to protect our unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. "Whenever a government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it."