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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

The End of Diversity

"Patriotism, not nationalism, should inspire the citizen. The ethnic nationalist who wants a linguistically and culturally uniform nation is akin to the racist who is intolerant toward those who look (and behave) differently. The patriot is a 'diversitarian'; he is pleased, indeed proud of the variety within the borders of his country; he looks for loyalty from all citizens. And he looks up and down, not left and right." - Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

The same author also wrote elsewhere - and I paraphrase - that a traditional Christian order fosters religious unity and cultural diversity, while modern societies demand cultural uniformity and religious diversity. This is a picture in which we can understand culture as something which, although inseparable from religion, is not at all reduced to religion, incorporating myriad customs and folkways rooted in the encounters and experiences of diverse people and places. (And let's make no mistake about the cultural uniformity being imposed on America today, despite all the Orwellian "diversity" talk. Even the "religious diversity" of modern society is nothing but a useful fiction, a sham, which can only end in the suppression of all religion.)

The United States, with its federalist version of subsidiarity built into the Constitution, might have been a workable approximation of Kuehnelt-Leddihn's vision. With a broadly Christian moral consensus and a limited role for the state, civic life could be conducted reasonably well without infringing too much on regional and local customs. Unfortunately, slavery and the Mormon question pushed the limits of this consensus almost to the point of breaking. In retrospect we can see how these two issues fatally undermined what was already a fragile unity, leading indirectly to our present woes.

One can be forgiven for thinking the horses have left the barn and they aren't coming back. The 14th amendment, the "commerce clause", an irreducible mountain of jurisprudence and legislation, nearly a century of compulsory public education, the transportation revolution ("mechanical Jacobins", Kirk famously called the automobile), the reckless expansion of the franchise, the mass media, etc. - all have conspired to create what is arguably the first truly "mass culture" the world has ever known. Politically, it's impossible to imagine how the damage might be undone. The stakes are higher than ever. Political modernity demands that uniformity must be total in all but the most superficial things. The liberal alliance with Islam is not for the sake of diversity but is merely tactical, foolishly contracted in order to subdue old pockets of domestic resistance. Neo-conservatives long ago ceded the language of diversity to the multiculturalists; if they talk of culture at all, they only talk of marginally improving the mass, totalitarian culture that engulfs everyone. I suppose that's better than nothing, but it's still a surrender.

Is there a way out of the abyss short of some nightmarish calamity? Possibly, but it will require thinking, as the corporate trainers like to say, "outside of the box".

Comments (120)

Don't know if there is a way out, but for some of us to avoid the worst of the consequences, educating our children is a must. Otherwise they'll be absorbed into the uni-culture with all that that entails of illiteracy, mindless conformity, and lack of contact with greater minds and writers of the past.

In connection with which, and I hope on track for the thread, I present this link:

http://www.hslda.org/courtreport/V26N6/V26N601.asp

Apparently the latest cry of the totalitarians attacking home schooling is that we don't (cough cough) "value diversity" enough, that we are succeeding in teaching our children not to "value diversity," and that our children should be forced to conform in this regard.

Just read the article, Lydia. Shocking but very sobering. Can't wait to see Al make apologies for the proposals it cited.

I agree with you about the importance of educating our children, of course. But I haven't given up altogether on larger solutions - not yet, anyway.

Can't wait to see Al make apologies for the proposals it cited.
Isn't it odd how everyone is certain that he will? Why, it's almost as though he has doctinaire leftist mouse hiding in his pocket!

Sometimes diversity is valuable. It must be a good thing to hear many different arguments for many different points of view, to survey as much evidence as possible before coming to a decision about the most important things in life.

Alex, I am sorry about your existential crisis and hope you get some help. But please don't post on my thread until you do. Thank you.

The liberal alliance with Islam is not for the sake of diversity but is merely tactical, foolishly contracted in order to subdue old pockets of domestic resistance.

Just to be absolutely clear, that pocket of resistance they wish to crush is a Christian one, where any vestige of society's creedal and moral debt to it is to be found.

Hi Jeff (if I may):

I'm curious about what you call the "reckless expansion of the franchise." Do certain persons now have the ability to vote who should not? Is the contention about the restrictions (or lack thereof) on voting or the speed at which the restrictions disappeared?

Thanks for your time.

Best,
RC

"Can't wait to see Al make apologies for the proposals it cited."

Kinder, kinder, how little you understand. Perhaps this will make clear the role of constitutional discipline that I have batted to Paul recently.

Lydia has brought us a moral issue. is Child abuse morally wrong? i would say yes. Is it abusive to raise a child in a socially conservative, traditional religious milieu? Arguably yes, as the authors cited in the speech have so clearly laid out. Of course, let us deal harshly with those evil home schoolers.

The problem is that the writers while making valid points on the morality of fundamentalist religious indoctrination (I would assume that all religious flavors would be included) and the potential downside for our nation of that indoctrination, choke on the sweet air of freedom when they prescribe cures that would be worse than the illness.

To start with they don't seem to have described real harms as opposed to hypothetical harms that have yet to mature. We are also dealing with beliefs, the right to which is absolute as is the right to pass on those beliefs to ones offspring.

Outsourced to Justice McReynolds in Meyer,

"...The problem for our determination is whether the statute, as construed and applied, unreasonably infringes the liberty guaranteed to the plaintiff in error by the Fourteenth Amendment. "No State shall . . . deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."

(As you all follow this along recall that the author of this post seems to have problems with that very same 14th Amendment but I digress.)

"While this Court has not attempted to define with exactness the liberty thus guaranteed, the term has received much consideration and some of the included things have been definitely stated. Without doubt, it denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint, but also the right of the individual to contract, to engage in any of the common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally to enjoy those privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men."

As we have a Constitution, he points out,

"...The established doctrine is that this liberty may not be interfered [p400] with, under the guise of protecting the public interest, by legislative action which is arbitrary or without reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the State to effect. Determination by the legislature of what constitutes proper exercise of police power is not final or conclusive, but is subject to supervision by the courts."

The writers, in their desire to do good, way overreach.

"...That the State may do much, go very far, indeed, in order to improve the quality of its citizens, physically, mentally and morally, is clear; but the individual has certain fundamental rights which must be respected. The protection of the Constitution extends to all, to those who speak other languages as well as to those born with English on the tongue. Perhaps it would be highly advantageous if all had ready understanding of our ordinary speech, but this cannot be coerced by methods which conflict with the Constitution -- a desirable end cannot be promoted by prohibited means."

"...The desire of the legislature to foster a homogeneous people with American ideals prepared readily to understand current discussions of civic matters is easy to appreciate. Unfortunate experiences during the late war and aversion toward every characteristic of truculent adversaries were certainly enough to quicken that aspiration. But the means adopted, we think, exceed the limitations upon the power of the State and conflict with rights assured to plaintiff in error. The interference is plain enough, and no adequate reason therefor in time of peace and domestic tranquility has been shown."

And segueing over to Pierce v. Society of Sisters, he writes,

"...The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations."

So, do i agree with the review writers? In part yes, fundamentalist religion is a snare and a delusion and so raising innocent children is a terrible thing. Still, I value freedom far more than I fear the effects of raising a few children to have dubious values, values that they may well reject as they mature. Parents screw their kids up in all sorts of ways that aren't amenable to being cured by legislation. Sometimes we just have to muddle through.

With a broadly Christian moral consensus and a limited role for the state, civic life could be conducted reasonably well without infringing too much on regional and local customs. Unfortunately, slavery and the Mormon question pushed the limits of this consensus almost to the point of breaking. In retrospect we can see how these two issues fatally undermined what was already a fragile unity ... The 14th amendment ...

Both the Left and the Libertarian Right are enamored of a Southern partisan narrative of American history, which I don't share. I disagree based on the merits of what actually happened during the CW. I am onboard with all the cultural issues you mention Jeff, but I have an alternative account of how we arrived here that I think is far more plausible. And if it isn't too harsh to say it, I don't think people who haven't taken the time to learn the history of their own nation are the ones that should be telling us how to reform it.

I'm proud of what the Union army did, how they fought the war (it wasn't "total war"), and what the Republicans tried to do in Reconstruction, which though flawed as all such efforts must be was a noble effort and did more good than is acknowledged and laid the groundwork for the civil rights movement. I think it was Frederick Douglass who said he thanked God for the postwar laws even though they were ignored in the South, because they "can't be ignored forever". Moreover, it didn't have to be as flawed as it was but for vicious racial politics by those who successfully installed 80 years of Jim Crow, the champions of whose rhetoric you've borrowed.

If you want to find out how JFK learned the hard way that his account of the Radical Republicans and Reconstruction in "Profiles in Courage" were all wrong when he was president during the Civil Rights clashes, and how he came to recant them, read "Fiery Cross" by Wyn Craig Wade. He was shocked by the actions of the Southern state administrations and immediately devoured a wider source of history books (C. Van Woodward and others) than previously and came to repudiate the view of which he had been one of the major propagators. Why? He was confronted by reality that the Southerners were the radicals (rather than the "Radical Republicans") by their very actions. All the more shocking that this was an unavoidable conclusion even 100 years after the war. But it is instructive that the pull of the Southern partisan view is such that by the 50
s even an upper-class eastern blue-blood bought it hook, line, and sinker.

Why do Libertarians repeat this error in insisting on an "original sin" narrative that is at variance with good historical scholarship? It just alienates people like me who I doubt it is an exaggeration to say share probably ALL your cultural views. There are many on the left that share this narrative because it can be made to fit their politics too. Do you really think the country went formally corrupt so long ago? Really? I'm wiling to have that debate on the merits if the blog shepherds will allow it. But it reminds me of those who say the church went corrupt in the 3rd century, and has similar purpose I think. It's a type of nihilism.

"The United States, with its federalist version of subsidiarity built into the Constitution, might have been a workable approximation of Kuehnelt-Leddihn's vision."

I knew Erik vK-L.
He was an intellectually aggressive, old-style Roman Catholic, and a monarchist (and a very great man). While he respected this country, the US is not very close to his paradigm.


Mark,
The church went corrupt before the third century.

Jeff writes: "One can be forgiven for thinking the horses have left the barn and they aren't coming back".

To change the metaphor, who ever heard of anyone shoving a genie back inside the bottle after it's escaped?

The only way out for the individual, short of some sort of social catastrophe ("nightmarish calamity"), is to become an internal immigrant. And I don't mean just moving house.

I'm curious about what you call the "reckless expansion of the franchise." Do certain persons now have the ability to vote who should not?

Yes. The reason the right to vote was limited to land-owners in the past was that the right to vote was considered a political act that required a measure of independence and thought to do responsibly. It was believed that those with some measure of real wealth had the character (from being able to get rich in many cases), the independence (not having to rely on the public treasury for employment) and time (from not having to work 6 days a week, all day long, living hand-to-mouth) to educate themselves and act responsibly.

Contrary to popular opinion, it had nothing to do with some sort of desire to rape and pillage the common man's liberty and property. It was actually done out of the belief that the common man did not have the time and freedom from daily life to really make the decisions that would protect his own interests.

If you look at what the public now suffers at the hands of civil government (from police brutality, to blatant public corruption), one can only conclude that the expansion of the right to vote has done nothing for the common man's actual liberty and security. Personally, I regard universal democracy as the true "opiate of the masses" because it gives every Tom, Dick and Harry the illusion that he's the master of his own fate.

People living in demonstrably less democratic societies know better. They also tend to judge the government based on what it actually does for and to them, rather than based on naive dogma like "we, the people, are the real government." Voting does nothing in this respect. Indeed, the history of Jim Crow is an indictment of mass democracy (toothless at best, a dangerous illusion that "legitimized" Jim Crow at worst). It was a combination of private moral changes and federal power that stopped it. If you find that hard to believe, just look at how the schools were desegregated. The US Army played a more prominent role than the ballot box!

Power demands uniformity, fairness is the lie that covers for it. There is only one tolerable faith in the ranks of the statist, the State itself, though alliance may be made with with like minded destructive thugs of various persuasions, islam being the current approved flavor in America's sewers.
The most efficacious aspect of collectivist lust, politically speaking, is the encouragement and inspiration it provides to the unbalanced, ignorant, and frustrated. The last typified by the king who wished humanity had but one throat he could get his hands around.
This aspect allows for the self deception, of which self praise and infatuation are uppermost, necessary to briefly gaze at themselves in the mirror absent the horror of recognition.
They may even think they are good people. Don't laugh.
A way out? There's no bomb shelter for this, King Demos has been overfed, the Beast may be slowed, I doubt it will be stopped. Do what you can and cling to your books and remember the Remnant.

"Indeed, the history of Jim Crow is an indictment of mass democracy (toothless at best, a dangerous illusion that "legitimized" Jim Crow at worst)."

Mike, Jim Crow denied the vote to a whole segment of the population; it was the opposite of democracy. Let us also not forget that racism was present in the south in all strata of white society. Poor whites followed, they didn't lead. Recall these words from Alexander Stephens, about as "top" as one could get.

"Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails."

Had we had the serious pruning after the rebellion that I have advocated along with a multi-generational presence of Federal troops, we would have had real democracy and no Jim Crow.

You are correct, of course, about the necessity of Federal action. The problem with property qualifications for voting is that any class, given the ability to benefit itself at the expense of the common good will do just that. After all, money drives our politics and who just got the largest tax cut and who pays for it?

The church went corrupt before the third century.

Michael, why bother to post such a vacuous statement? Let me guess. The 2nd century? Or was it even earlier, say ... before the last Gospel was written?

Going back to the original post, I have to say that I'm not sure to what extent the distinction between culture and religion can be maintained. For example, if a person converts from Islam to Christianity, this is going to mean a huge cultural change. Even on the "harmless" side, he will presumably not consider himself bound to wear a beard and refrain from eating pork anymore. On the more serious side, he will presumably abandon honor killings and justification for them. These are all both cultural and religious. Many religions make very large cultural claims, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on what the cultural demands are. But I'm not sure we can really have religious similarity without a large amount of cultural similarity as well.

Power demands uniformity, fairness is the lie that covers for it. There is only one tolerable faith in the ranks of the statist, the State itself, though alliance may be made with with like minded destructive thugs of various persuasions, islam being the current approved flavor in America's sewers.

I'm going to save myself some time and post the last few paragraphs of Gilbert Meilaender's review of the book "Theorizing Citizenship", which as usual gets the questions right.

----------
The suggestion that universal community uproots all claims of particular attachment is the philosophical equivalent of the theological argument that grace does not perfect but destroys nature. Taken alone, however, that theological argument has never been satisfactory....

But the tradition of liberal democracy can also be criticized from the opposite direction—as suppressing difference and particularity. That approach is taken by Iris Marion Young, who seeks to defend what she calls “a concept of differentiated citizenship.” Liberal democracy, with its push toward universality, treats individuals generically and creates homogeneous citizens. There can be no doubt that Young is at least partly correct in this claim, though this tendency has not resulted only, as she seems to suggest, from pernicious attempts to suppress differences and exclude those who are different. It is also, in large measure, the result of an attempt to be fair and just, to treat all alike.

Such justice does not satisfy Young, however. By identifying what is generically human with the public realm and identifying our particular characteristics with the private, our polity “makes homogeneity a requirement of public participation.” She argues, therefore, that the participants represented in public deliberation should be not simply individuals but groups. Oppressed or disadvantaged groups—including in the United States today “women, blacks, Native Americans, Chicanos, Puerto Ricans and other Spanish-speaking Americans, Asian Americans, gay men, lesbians, working-class people, poor people, old people, and mentally and physically disabled people”—should have specific group representation in public life. Citizens who are members of “privileged groups” already have de facto representation and are, in fact, more equal than others under the homogenizing pressure of liberal democracy. For members of oppressed or disadvantaged groups the ideal of full-fledged citizenship is far from reality. A principle of group representation is needed if they are to be fully included in public life. That principle must include even “the institutionalized right to veto policy proposals that directly affect them.”

… with this theory Young makes common cause with John Calhoun's advocacy of concurrent majorities, an irony that indicates how deep is the crisis in our understanding of citizenship. When Carens pressed universality too far, it became difficult to explain what it might mean to belong to a civic community. Likewise, when Young attacks from the other side—the side of particularity—and presses it too far, it becomes difficult to find any common life that we might all one day hope to share. We are caught in what Habermas succinctly describes as “the conflict between the universalistic principles of constitutional democracies on the one hand and the particularistic claims of communities to preserve the integrity of their habitual ways of life on the other.”

None of the essayists in this volume seeks to “theorize citizenship” in religious terms. One wonders, however, whether that might not be helpful. The desire to belong—to get inside—is very deeply rooted in us. We want to be fully ourselves, fully particular, yet united with others in a good no one need fear to share, a common good in which one need not fear to have colleagues. Desiring that so intensely, we too readily create idols. The tradition of civic republicanism in the hands of one who intensely desires to belong—Rousseau, for instance—becomes such an idol, because it depicts a community that demands the whole of our allegiance and offers in return human fulfillment defined as a kind of self-mastery. Liberal democracy is, by contrast, chastened. It offers less—only a kind of generic justice. If that is not everything we desire, as Iris Marion Young rightly sees, it is still a considerable achievement.

To ask more of politics, to ask it to overcome the barriers that divide us, join the Many into One, and unify life, is to ask that politics be redemptive. That it cannot be. Liberal democracy, accepting reluctantly the gap between public and private, attaches a kind of eschatological reservation to our desire to belong. Since we have here no continuing city, we ought not ask for more."
---------------

Dear Mr. Culbreath, our brother, Chilton Williamson Jr, has addressed The National Question many times. This one was particularly impressive to me.

http://www.vdare.com/williamson/city_of_pilgrims.htm

Because so many of our countrymen have been taught to think that America is an idea or a propositional country, there seems to be no way to return to the America I was born into in 1948 - which was a Christian Nation that was 90% white.

Many seem to think that a Somali or a Bushmen can be just as good an American as a Catholic born in Vermont and for this Catholic born in Vermont that is an absurdity so bizarre and manifestly insane that it can only be laughed at.

Now, there seems to be an increasing number, albeit a still small minority, who think that a white racial identity movement is the answer to our problems but it was the actions of the White Male Christians who ruined America in the first place, so, how's that gonna work-out?

I hope America is doomed to realise my dream.

My dream is that America will split-up into Regional Republics or Regional Confederations of States.

In the meantime, I prepare for The Parousia, read The Bible, go to Mass and receive the Sacraments - especially Confession and Communion.

Oh, I also have been reading the Meccania to Atlantis Series at The Brussels Journal which is smashing...

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/3612

Had we had the serious pruning after the rebellion that I have advocated along with a multi-generational presence of Federal troops, we would have had real democracy and no Jim Crow.

I completely agree Al. In fact, that was the judgment of US Grant after he was president. Though he was a champion of Black rights before it was popular (see how Frederick Douglass never wavered in support of him), and he largely broke the back of the KKK with federal troops, he knew it wasn't enough but he also knew there were limits to public support of federal action four years after the war. The greatest calamity that happened was the Johnson presidency, which had thrown most of it away by the time Grant was president.

Had troops really occupied the South, Southerners wouldn't have hated the Yanks any more than they already did, and they wouldn't have gotten the idea that they could gain what they wanted in seceding by local violence and intimidation, jury nullification, and eventually other forms of nullification of federal laws. History shows that a small contingent of union troops in an area was all it took to give the impression that the law would be enforced and made citizens think their rights would be respected. Just the garrisoning of troops was enough to demonstrate to citizens the will to enforce the law. The KKK made war not just on Blacks, but on Republicans generally. The hated scalliwags.

The narrative that the Feds humiliated the South such that they had to react by forming the KKK (whether in its 1st incarnation or 2nd later on) is a total fiction, unless by humiliate you mean allow Blacks to have the same rights --which was exactly what "humiliate" meant to Southerners. The hated "carpetbaggers" of the southern partisan narrative were mostly idealistic Northern school teachers who came to educate the former slaves. When it became apparent that violence against them would not be punished, they were driven out along with other Republicans who refused to either abstain from voting or vote Democratic.

>> St. Augustine – one of the most influential Fathers of the Church--held a view much closer to that of us present-day anti-globalist, anti-immigration reactionaries than to the universalist dream that all too many Christians have been persuaded is integral to their faith?

>> If, this Christmas, you hear from your pastor or bishop that the spirit of brotherly love demands abolishing our borders and welcoming the entire population of Congo into the state of Maryland, remind him that one Very High Up authority--though not visibly present among us--could tell him differently.

Well Mr. Williamson is just a bundle of Christmas joy, now isn't he? This was a Christmas meditation? Wow.

I'll let you know next time I hear a pastor advocating any thing he mentions. I've lived in five different states and spent some time in Fundamentalist churches in the Bible belt, and I've never heard any of what he claims is being preached. He should be meeting with Obama's old Chicago pastor --they have a lot in common.

>> As I wrote in The Immigration Mystique, “The Western nations, degenerate as they have become, continue to represent systems of relative order in a world that succumbs a little more each day to radical disorder. Can the salvation of man arise from chaos?”

Why does he think that salvation arises from the political order? But to pick the nit, yeah last time I checked salvation can arise from chaos.

A Bushman or a Somali who became a Catholic or for that matter even an ardent evangelical would be a very different type of person from an animist Bushman or a Muslim Somali, wouldn't he? In fact, he would be _culturally_ very different. This is one reason why

a) religious agreement can help with living together

because

b) religious agreement really is strongly related to cultural issues.

RC, you wrote:

I'm curious about what you call the "reckless expansion of the franchise." Do certain persons now have the ability to vote who should not? Is the contention about the restrictions (or lack thereof) on voting or the speed at which the restrictions disappeared?

The 19th, 23rd and 26th amendments were colossal mistakes, in my view, as was Davis v. Schnell in 1949. I'm not in favor of a property-holding requirement. You might enjoy reading this discussion from a while back: http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2010/02/democracy.html#comment-98993

If you look at what the public now suffers at the hands of civil government (from police brutality, to blatant public corruption), one can only conclude that the expansion of the right to vote has done nothing for the common man's actual liberty and security.

One can only conclude? Who has ever argued that the right to vote rules out government overreach? The right to vote is a good thing, will it rule out excessive government? Of course not, but neither does it lead to it. I find it distressing that so many here don't have the sensibilities of the Founders, expressed by Franklin I think that we have "A Republic madam, if you can keep it." Good political orders are fragile things, and engaging in fantasies about revoking rights and returning to some previous state isn't really helpful.

People living in demonstrably less democratic societies know better. They also tend to judge the government based on what it actually does for and to them, rather than based on naive dogma like "we, the people, are the real government." Voting does nothing in this respect.

Mike, can you give some examples of these "demonstrably less democratic societies" whose citizens "know better" than I do?

Al, you wrote:

So, do i agree with the review writers? In part yes, fundamentalist religion is a snare and a delusion and so raising innocent children is a terrible thing. Still, I value freedom far more than I fear the effects of raising a few children to have dubious values, values that they may well reject as they mature. Parents screw their kids up in all sorts of ways that aren't amenable to being cured by legislation. Sometimes we just have to muddle through.

I am touched. All the same, no offense, but I think I'll have another attorney handle my own case when the time comes.

The rulings you cited could go either way, it seems to me. Laws which, yesterday, would have been found not to have "reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the State to effect" - let's say a law to allow same-sex marriage, were it ever proposed - would today be upheld as fully constitutional.

Mark, you wrote:

Both the Left and the Libertarian Right are enamored of a Southern partisan narrative of American history, which I don't share ... Why do Libertarians repeat this error in insisting on an "original sin" narrative that is at variance with good historical scholarship?

You're going to have to ask Libertarians about that. I'm neither a libertarian nor an apologist for slavery. As for the "Southern partisan narrative", I'm not married to that either, except to note some of the evils issuing from the whole question of slavery, the CW and the Southern experience. It is undeniable that slavery and the CW ultimately resulted in the consolidation of federal power over the states. Even today the image of slavery and Southern oppression of blacks (real or imagined) is used to justify all kinds of mischief.

Alex, you wrote:

The only way out for the individual, short of some sort of social catastrophe ("nightmarish calamity"), is to become an internal immigrant. And I don't mean just moving house.

Would you elaborate, please?

Is there a way out of the abyss short of some nightmarish calamity?

The best way out (i.e., the way promising the least bloodshed) is, I think, for a clique of US generals to appoint and then support a capable leader who can rule without the constraints of re-election, future private sector career, or the entitlements (perceived or promised) of others. It will, of course, require some calamity to trigger this event, but not probably a nightmarish one. The real nightmare will come if it doesn't happen.

"Michael, why bother to post such a vacuous statement? Let me guess. The 2nd century? Or was it even earlier, say ... before the last Gospel was written?"


Mark
I wrote it in response your post, and I wrote it simply because it is true.
Perhaps you are in the habit of calling true statements vacuous. I am not.

You might enjoy reading this discussion from a while back:

1. Voters should pass a rigorous examination in English demonstrating a grasp of American history and institutions, emphasizing knowledge of the Constitution and its original context.

Jeff, judging by the self-serving grasp of U. S. history demonstrated in the original post, I'm not sure how well you'd fare on a history test. I'm sorry if that sounds snarky --I just don't know how else to say it. But the fact is that many on the Libertarian Right (and as evidenced by this thread) have a brutally snarky political correctness all their own whereby the most egregious expressions are permissible when it comes to impugning the motives and actions of those many think performed their patriotic duties well even to the extreme limits of self-sacrifice, whose arguments and reasons for their actions most here have not taken the time to learn, let alone judge on their merits. Of course, I'm only too happy to argue on purely philosophical grounds as well, as Meilaender did in the quotes I pasted. But surely some reasons must be given for how the 14th amendment (or the 19th or any other) was a catastrophe, and how it led to what you disapprove of now.

Maybe I'm the only one here who is an avid reader of U. S. history, but for all the nation's flaws I just can't stomach the nihilism on this matter by this crowd. My ancestors left children at home to fight a war incensed that the South "was about to destroy the best government there ever was", as a soldier from my home state put it. That there would rise a whole multitude of educated people that would adopt the Southern partisan view would be quite a shock. BTW I was taught this too, but I have done my own research and found to be quite false, and have my own account of how the narrative came to be. But surely some account must be given for what made millions of people so wrong if that were true. I have in front of me the book "The Origins of Southern Radicalism" that I plan to start in the next few days. Where is the Southern (or Libertarian) book on how and where the North went so misguided as to contest secession that can stand factual scrutiny? I'd like to read it but I haven't found it yet.

Mark, I don't quite understand why you continue to attribute this "Southern partisan narrative" to Jeff Culbreath. It baffles me. I think I know the "narrative" you're talking about, and I have problems with it, too, but Jeff gave a very balanced and fair answer to you, it seems to me. He said,

As for the "Southern partisan narrative", I'm not married to that either, except to note some of the evils issuing from the whole question of slavery, the CW and the Southern experience. It is undeniable that slavery and the CW ultimately resulted in the consolidation of federal power over the states. Even today the image of slavery and Southern oppression of blacks (real or imagined) is used to justify all kinds of mischief.

Jeff, way upthread you said,

I agree with you about the importance of educating our children, of course. But I haven't given up altogether on larger solutions - not yet, anyway.

Would you be willing to give examples of possible larger solution? This isn't intended as a trick question of any kind. Perhaps I'm too quick to despair, but nothing is coming to mind.

I wrote it in response your post, and I wrote it simply because it is true.

Michael, I'm asking when it went corrupt, and how. Wouldn't you like to discuss your view on the matter?

It is undeniable that slavery and the CW ultimately resulted in the consolidation of federal power over the states.

Undeniable? Well then describe this "consolidation of federal power over the states". What rights were taken away by the war, or what practices were no longer possible that were before that didn't depend on slavery, which no one here wants to defend.

Even today the image of slavery and Southern oppression of blacks (real or imagined) is used to justify all kinds of mischief.

How did the war lead to racial politics? I don't see an argument here.

Mark, I don't quite understand why you continue to attribute this "Southern partisan narrative" to Jeff Culbreath. It baffles me. I think I know the "narrative" you're talking about, and I have problems with it, too, but Jeff gave a very balanced and fair answer to you, it seems to me.

Lydia, to be balanced and fair, you need content. For example:

"evils issuing from ... slavery" - what evils is being referred to?

"the Southern experience" - what was it, and who caused it?

"power over the states" - what new power?

"image of slavery and Southern oppression of blacks (real or imagined) is used to justify all kinds of mischief" - what does this have to do with the war? If the South have abolished slavery on its own and there had been no war then we wouldn't have race politics? Really? Did the war cause Jim Crow? Yeah, but as a stand-in for slavery so how does that argument work?

Jeff, judging by the self-serving grasp of U. S. history demonstrated in the original post, I'm not sure how well you'd fare on a history test. I'm sorry if that sounds snarky --I just don't know how else to say it.

Mark, just a little advice from a seasoned online debater: if you want a person to read and consider your argument, save the gratuitous insults for the end of your comment. But it's really too late for this thread. If you read your history as sloppily as you read things around here, then I don't know why anybody should give a fig about your breathless "corrections".

"Mark, I don't quite understand why you continue to attribute this "Southern partisan narrative" to Jeff Culbreath. It baffles me.

Perhaps things like this is why,

"The 19th, 23rd and 26th amendments were colossal mistakes, in my view, as was Davis v. Schnell in 1949.

81 F.Supp. 872 (1949)
DAVIS et al.
v.
SCHNELL et al.

"We further find from the evidence that prior to the filing of this suit said Board of Registrars required Negro applicants for registration as electors in Mobile County to attempt to explain at least some article of the United States Constitution, while no such requirement was exacted of white applicants. We also find that the plaintiffs Davis and Cook were refused registration as electors because of their race or color."

Jeff apparently supports an Alabama law that was specifically designed to keep Negros from voting.

Question for Jeff, did you read the decision prior to opposing it? If you read it, on what basis do you oppose it?

Would you be willing to give examples of possible larger solution? This isn't intended as a trick question of any kind. Perhaps I'm too quick to despair, but nothing is coming to mind.

I don't have any bright ideas: my hope is that, somehow, a larger solution exists and that ideas toward that end will be explored. A solution that saves the Republic as we know it seems highly remote. Vermont Crank and Steve Nicoloso are "thinking outside the box" on this. It's dangerous ground, to be sure.

Question for Jeff, did you read the decision prior to opposing it?

No, although I have read the selection you quoted. But the case is cited as outlawing literacy tests for voting carte blanche. Is that incorrect?

Steve Nicoloso's idea, unless I'm radically misunderstanding it, is crazy, and I hereby distance myself from it. In fact, I was already thinking of doing so just because of the way that "silence gives consent" is so often interpreted on the Internet for combox comments. A military coup installing a dictator who doesn't need to be re-elected, i.e., presumably a dictator for life? I call that thinking outside of something a lot more important than a box.

Concerning the 14th amendment, I'll say this much: In foresight, I might have predicted that the privileges and immunities clause would be the problem clause, giving to the federal judiciary unbounded and illegitimate power to strike down all manner of perfectly legitimate state laws, etc., and thus eroding any vestige of checks and balances of power between the federal and the state governments. As it turns out, by what seems to me something of a judicial historical accident, it's the "substantive due process" thing that has been invented, read into the "life, liberty, or property," portion of the amendment, and used for this purpose.

Mark, you should expect that any social conservative who has been breathing and politically aware of the history of judicial rulings will cite Roe v. Wade and several others (e.g., Casey, Lawrence) as examples of power grabs by the federal judiciary using the 14th amendment. I'm no good at writing alternative histories. I would not care to predict what would have happened had there been no Civil War and no 14th amendment, but at least the federal judiciary wouldn't have had that particular slate on which to write its own arrogant legislative ideas for the entire country.

Mark, just a little advice from a seasoned online debater: if you want a person to read and consider your argument, save the gratuitous insults for the end of your comment. But it's really too late for this thread. If you read your history as sloppily as you read things around here, then I don't know why anybody should give a fig about your breathless "corrections".

Sorry Jeff, but as I tried to say, it was not intended as an insult. If you can't take my honest expression of how I came to make the statement at face value then there isn't much I can say. You seem completely unafraid of slandering your own nation, of which I am a proud citizen, without giving reasons. I know you don't intend to insult, but it is nonetheless. It isn't anything I can't handle, but I'm just registering the complaint. If you think your views aren't controversial among those that share your social outlook (as I do) then you're mistaken. Nothing you believe requires that this narrative about the war be true. Not one bit. As is happens, my considered judgement is that it isn't on the merits.

A truth-seeking seasoned online debater wouldn't avoid difficult questions, whether insulting or not. I've forgone many an insult to continue a discussion, and most I think were not even intended. We can make idols of a nation we'd like to have that doesn't exist, and we can make idols of fruitful discussions where no feathers get ruffled. But they often do. I know what I know about the CW I think mostly because someone made me very angry ten years ago in Atlanta (though I just changed the subject). But rather than stay angry I went to the library and started reading, because though I thought he was wrong I didn't know enough to know for sure.

You wanted to history test for citizens (beyond the one already given), and you've advocated a certain view. I've merely put the two together and asked what is the answer to the question "What rights did the South lose as a result of the CW"? I'm sorry I offended you, but I think it is a fair question.

"You seem completely unafraid of slandering your own nation, of which I am a proud citizen, without giving reasons. I know you don't intend to insult, but it is nonetheless."

Slander? Explain. Sounds like you're exaggerating here.

Jeff, you now have learned that you can't trust the source you used. A good rule is to always read the case and always read the law. Trust no one, suspect everyone. Here is the link, read it and understand how far off your source was.

http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=14654593743547549689&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

Literacy tests are dealt with under the Voting Rights Act 42 U.S.C. 1971 (a)

"(2) No person acting under color of law shall— "

"(C) employ any literacy test as a qualification for voting in any election unless
(i) such test is administered to each individual and is conducted wholly in writing, and
(ii) a certified copy of the test and of the answers given by the individual is furnished to him within twenty-five days of the submission of his request made within the period of time during which records and papers are required to be retained and preserved pursuant to title III of the Civil Rights Act of 1960 [42 U.S.C. 1974 et seq.]: Provided, however, That the Attorney General may enter into agreements with appropriate State or local authorities that preparation, conduct, and maintenance of such tests in accordance with the provisions of applicable State or local law, including such special provisions as are necessary in the preparation, conduct, and maintenance of such tests for persons who are blind or otherwise physically handicapped, meet the purposes of this subparagraph and constitute compliance therewith."

That's the basics. Louisiana v. United States and Mississippi v. United States are relevant. The problem with literacy tests is the discretion it gives individual registrars. The potential for abuse is just too great and any fair review of the historical record demonstrates beyond any doubt that abuses were rampant.

"Had we had the serious pruning after the rebellion that I have advocated along with a multi-generational presence of Federal troops, we would have had real democracy and no Jim Crow."

Radical utopian fantasy at its finest.

The 14th amendment, the "commerce clause", an irreducible mountain of jurisprudence and legislation, nearly a century of compulsory public education, the transportation revolution ("mechanical Jacobins", Kirk famously called the automobile), the reckless expansion of the franchise, the mass media, etc. - all have conspired to create what is arguably the first truly "mass culture" the world has ever known.

Mass culture grew out of a radically new mentality that sees in technology the means to completely master Nature and feed an insatiable appetite for acquisition and power. It is only logical that a centralized and omnipotent State would be needed to marshal all the energies needed to oversee the endless project.

Only an orthodox Christian mentality can confront and transform this world-view, and for a hopeful treatment of the topic I highly recommend Romano Guardini's book below;

http://www.amazon.com/Letters-Lake-Como-Explorations-Ressourcement/dp/0802801080

A Bushman or a Somali who became a Catholic or for that matter even an ardent evangelical would be a very different type of person from an animist Bushman or a Muslim Somali, wouldn't he? In fact, he would be _culturally_ very different

Dear Lydia. That's a true observation but I tend to think that a Somali or a Bushman who converted in his homeland would be both culturally and physically different because he'd be dead.

Such deaths would be the Blood of Martyrs that are the Seeds of The Church (Tertullian), and, hopefully result in a higher culture than existed prior to the conversions and martyrdoms but there is no way to guarantee such a thing might happen in those countries. It might be that converts would have to be, essentially, living secretly or in Catacombs per omnia saecula saeculorum.

As for the idea of the putative total depravity and existential evil of The South, I think is was the tyrant Lincoln who killed America and Liberty and I like to remind people that the then Pope, Blessed Pope Pius IX,was in cordial correspondence with Jefferson Davis and sent him a hand-made Crown of Thorns.

And, as Gary Potter has pointed-out, when Richmond fell, the wife of US Grant went there to be with him; and she arrived with one of the three slaves she owned whereas the Great Robert E Lee had freed his slaves prior to the War.

Lincoln had no intention of ending slavery...

http://www.ushistory.org/documents/lincoln1.htm

and the idea that was his great goal is the lie propagated by the Northern Jacobins to justify a cruel and UnJust War and that lie was fabricated after the fact but the fact is what the North did to prevent Southern Independence was cruel and unjust and the North piled-up punitive vindictiveness upon evil upon irrationality upon wanton destructiveness and death all over the defeated South and to this day the lies are endlessly repeated.

What The North did was evil. Period.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHcxTvBYjmM

Jeff, you now have learned that you can't trust the source you used. A good rule is to always read the case and always read the law. Trust no one, suspect everyone.

Al, this is why I like having you around, despite everything. You shame me out of being lazy. I owe the court an apology, retract my ill-informed opposition, and express my belief that Davis v. Schnell was essentially correct. Looking back, I can't blame the source either: I read too much into it.

Mark, you should expect that any social conservative who has been breathing and politically aware of the history of judicial rulings will cite Roe v. Wade and several others (e.g., Casey, Lawrence) as examples of power grabs by the federal judiciary using the 14th amendment. I'm no good at writing alternative histories. I would not care to predict what would have happened had there been no Civil War and no 14th amendment, but at least the federal judiciary wouldn't have had that particular slate on which to write its own arrogant legislative ideas for the entire country.

So what do you say about power grabs by the federal judiciary based on the 1st amendment? Would it have been better if that was never written? The principle that nothing can be judged by its abuse it germane. Any social conservative who has been breathing and politically aware of the history of judicial rulings has generally thought they invented the right out of whole cloth too --and they're right.

And what about Southern agitation for the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, Congressional Gag Rules of Slavery, and denial of the U. S. Postal Service from transporting anti-slavery literature? All of these were gross and flagrant violations of state sovereignty *and* individual rights by Southerners that went on for decades. States rights didn't mean squat to them when it didn't support slavery. I don't even need to say which fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution were gleefully trampled on by Southerners in these acts. The first of which was so bitterly opposed by the North that riots ensued. Note that they all enacted before the Civil War.

If the views expressed here I've disputed owe nothing to the Southern Partisan narrative, why are these egregious overreaches of federal power that were entirely agitated for and enabled by the Southern block overlooked? So you see why I say there is a "narrative"? Is it so shocking to think that the overreaches by federal power didn't begin at, during, or after the CW? There are tensions that have always been present, and the war over the proper reaches of government goes back and forth as it ever has.

So though we share the same social outlook, I think that the diagnosis of the cause is important and on that we differ, and in this case it's not a small thing. Diagnosing the cause correctly is important to a remedy, but beyond that it is a total turnoff by many groups as well. People here are always citing racial politics one way or another. I hate it at least as much as anyone here, but if you think impugning a just war is going do any good for your cause I think you're going to be disappointed. And I think we need to be careful before accepting 100 year-old slanders of our nation.

Slander? Explain. Sounds like you're exaggerating here.

pb: I may be guilty of exaggerating. I had in mind the murky references to "the Southern experience" and such that supports the view of Northern culpability in causing the war. As opposed to say ... seizing federal property and firing on Fort Sumpter.

The problem with literacy tests is the discretion it gives individual registrars.

What's the problem if the test is administered to all qualified applicants equally, without regard to race, and " ... a certified copy of the test and of the answers given by the individual is furnished to him within twenty-five days of the submission of his request ..."?

"Had we had the serious pruning after the rebellion that I have advocated along with a multi-generational presence of Federal troops, we would have had real democracy and no Jim Crow."

Radical utopian fantasy at its finest.

What other attempts to enforce the law to you think are radically utopianism. Not many I'd guess. I think Al is right. Simply garrisoning even small groups of federal troops in a capital made the KKK run like scared rats. And they were necessary to support the freedman's bureau, which was an organization that faced resistance otherwise.

Lincoln had no intention of ending slavery...

Partly true. Yet his election clearly pointed to its demise, which can be seen clearly by the Deep South seceding after his election and before he took office. Here's a quote:

You think slavery is right and ought to be extended; while we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted. That I suppose is the rub. It certainly is the only substantial difference between us. --Abraham Lincoln to Alexander Stevens of Georgia.
and the idea that was his great goal is the lie propagated by the Northern Jacobins to justify a cruel and UnJust War

Straw man. He made clear the war was caused by secession, and reasonable people know this. He disputed the right of the South to secede. The lie is that the South seceded for reasons other than slavery. The war war was all about slavery from the Southern side, not the Northern. They wanted slavery to die a slow and peaceful death.

punitive vindictiveness upon evil upon irrationality upon wanton destructiveness and death all over the defeated South and to this day the lies are endlessly repeated.

The South started a war it had little ability to pay for, and it borrowed from its citizens and never paid it back. This and sending all its farmers to fight in a war was what devastated the South. They did it to themselves. Union armies destroyed property to be sure, but the whole South? That is a massive territory and no. And then there were the Southern roadside bombs and murder of POWs by the South. These terrorist tactics were shocking to the Union armies and not reciprocated, except for one instance of retaliation for the murders.

Read unbiased accounts of Sherman's march and it is interesting. On tours Southerners will tell you how Sherman destroyed everything in this and that path, and then proceed to point out fine examples of antebellum architecture. :)

Mark and Jeff, it cannot be doubted that the South was culturally and institutionally committed to a very great evil, and did many other evils in support of that. The story they tell about the war and its aftermath tries to minimize the evil by playing up other aspects of the conflict.

Jeff and Mark, it is also difficult to deny that the North, and Lincoln particularly, did a number of things that were unconstitutional to obstruct the secession, starting with hijacking the Maryland legislature, but not ending there. It is without a doubt that doing unconstitutional things to "protect the constitution" is a damaging way to go about business.

Deplorably, the war led to a stream of politics that made it easier to concentrate state power into federal hands, (though some of that had been happening before the war) not least springing out of Lincoln's theory of a federal right to use troops to suppress secession, an act fairly directly contrary to the reservation of powers clause.

It is painful for both Southern sympathizers, and Northern Lincoln idolizers to hear, but BOTH sides did wrong. But that does not mean that they did equal wrongs.

Had we had the serious pruning after the rebellion that I have advocated along with a multi-generational presence of Federal troops, we would have had real democracy and no Jim Crow.

I know what you mean by pruning. You mean the extermination of all white men who took up arms against the Union. You've advocated the liquidation of the entire Confederate Army from the generals to the buck privates.

Lincoln and Johnson didn't countenance such an idea because they actually wanted the South to reintegrate. To say nothing of the fact that a lot of European leaders were very sympathetic to the South and might have declared war on the Union if the Union did what you advocate. In 1865, the Union would have collapsed in months if the full might of either France or Britain went up against it.

Mike, can you give some examples of these "demonstrably less democratic societies" whose citizens "know better" than I do?

Take your pick of the average Warsaw Pact state. A great many of their citizens were far more acutely aware of the shortcomings of how their governments "served" them than many Americans are about theirs. A lot Chinese are the same way.

What other attempts to enforce the law to you think are radically utopianism. Not many I'd guess. I think Al is right.

You must be new around here. Al's idea of "pruning," as he has publicly stated, involved the wholesale liquidation of quite a few Southerners.

I apologize for misquoting al. Seems he advocated merely executing most of the Confederate civil government and the military office corps. Seems he was compassionate enough to exclude the enlisted men...

Deplorably, the war led to a stream of politics that made it easier to concentrate state power into federal hands, (though some of that had been happening before the war) not least springing out of Lincoln's theory of a federal right to use troops to suppress secession, an act fairly directly contrary to the reservation of powers clause.

That's right, Tony. The fact is inarguable. Mark seems to think that saying as much amounts to slander against the one holy, catholic and apostolic USofA. It's true that I have sympathies with the antebellum South, its heritage and culture. Slavery did not define the South. But I'm not a doctrinaire Southern partisan by any stretch. My post actually blamed slavery itself - and not the bloody war against secession - for placing too great a burden on the American moral consensus. So I think Mark just needs to step back, take a deep breath, and argue with the right people. Personally, I have no intention of debating the Civil War in this thread.

Take your pick of the average Warsaw Pact state. A great many of their citizens were far more acutely aware of the shortcomings of how their governments "served" them than many Americans are about theirs. A lot Chinese are the same way.

Wouldn't we expect the Warsaw Pact states to be more acutely aware of the shortcomings of their governments than Americans are of theirs, if their government had more shortcomings? I seriously doubt that you can make any case for the comparative political astuteness of these citizens, nor the dullness of political dullness of ours, which is what I thought was the point. Its a pretty silly argument to start with. Maybe some statistics about how college students can't locate Hawaii might help, but we'd need some Polish polling data on the location of say Świebodzin with which to compare.

You must be new around here. Al's idea of "pruning," as he has publicly stated, involved the wholesale liquidation of quite a few Southerners.

I apologize for misquoting al. Seems he advocated merely executing most of the Confederate civil government and the military office corps. Seems he was compassionate enough to exclude the enlisted men...

Well Al's way off on executing officers. Mike is right --no one countenanced that. I've never heard anyone say such a thing should be done. But he's right that stationing troops there longer would have kept them from nullification of federal laws, and kept thousands of blacks from being lynched in the most gruesome and repulsive fashion.

Deplorably, the war led to a stream of politics that made it easier to concentrate state power into federal hands, (though some of that had been happening before the war) not least springing out of Lincoln's theory of a federal right to use troops to suppress secession, an act fairly directly contrary to the reservation of powers clause.

Wars are extra-legal and extra-constutional by definition. The South, or anyone, has a natural right to change the ruling order if they think they can challenge the authorities, and the South tried it and I'd respect them for it if it were really over independence or something other than slavery. But it wasn't., and there is no constitutional way of seceding, and the North had no obligation to let them ignore federal law as written in the Constitution. A Constitution that doesn't guarantee the rights of its citizens isn't worth the paper it is written on, and a government that doesn't defend its citizens constitutional rights with enforcement it isn't worthy of respect.

States only become states in virtue of joining the federal union. Before that they were territories. They become states after meeting certain clearly defined requirements. What were the requirements to dissolve it? None were ever written and we're supposed to believe the Founders believed the Constiution contained the "right" but not in any specific place anyone can point to.

That's right, Tony. The fact is inarguable.

The "right" of secession is quite arguable I can assure you. Professor Rahe's, of whom I only learned of two weeks ago, expresses my view on the philosophical aspects entirely.

http://ricochet.com/main-feed/The-Secession-of-South-Carolina

Mark seems to think that saying as much amounts to slander against the one holy, catholic and apostolic USofA.
You know I used to grasp what a tawdry, ignoble, and corrupt nation this is when I was in high school and college. I bought much of what I'm arguing against, because it is in the air we breathe. But then I got out and through some accidents became interested to learn on my own and I discovered something else. Now I guess I look foolish in believing this country did the right thing when it counted, as if I believed in Santa Claus. Well, I'd rather be naive than cynical. I've done that and it isn't a picnic.
But I'm not a doctrinaire Southern partisan by any stretch. My post actually blamed slavery itself - and not the bloody war against secession - for placing too great a burden on the American moral consensus. So I think Mark just needs to step back, take a deep breath, and argue with the right people. Personally, I have no intention of debating the Civil War in this thread.

I never said you were a Southern Partisan, let alone docrtinaire. I only said you were borrowing some arguments. These are serious and pertinent issues. I think they should be debated and I don't shrink from it. On the one hand you say it is "inarguable", and on the other that you won't argue it. The former seems like an argument that it is self-evident.

Jeff, think of the administrative nightmare and costs of a fairly administered test. I'm as concerned as any over the problems that come with uninformed voters. I'm just not sure how we deal with it.

Also research has shown that even highly informed people, once in the thrall of an ideology, are reluctant to change their minds even in the face of indisputable evidence (recall one of the threads in Paul's last post where a commenter simply refused to admit misreading an article).

The fact that all of us are fairly literate and yet disagree on some really basic stuff would lead me to wonder what the point of a literacy test would be (would Lydia want me to grade her on her understanding of the Commerce Clause or, for that matter, for her to grade me on the 14th?).

A current events test might work as polls consistently show regular Fox viewers would flunk such a test.

"It's true that I have sympathies with the antebellum South, its heritage and culture. Slavery did not define the South."

Yes it did. There may have been other elements but slavery was, in the end, what the South was about. I'm glad you read the decision; have you read the Confederate Constitution and the reasons for secession written by four of the southern states at the time they seceded? I posted an excerpt from Alexander Stephens' Cornerstone Speech, you should read the whole thing.

Here is a paragraph or so from the Texas resolution,

"We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable."

"That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states."

All four may be accessed here and the Confederate Constitution in a following post.

http://balkin.blogspot.com/2010/04/commemorating-confederate-history-month.html

Those who value basic freedoms should ponder the lack of freedom of expression and education in the slave states. The 14th Amendment and the incorporation Doctrine make such state limitations on individual liberty impossible today. \

Thanks for the correction Mike T. While the necessity for the long term presence of Federal troops is obvious and beyond debate (IMHO), I do go back and forth on my other proposal. At most we are talking about the cabinet, legislature, and general officer corps which wasn't all that many. The notion that any European nations would have gone to war over the fate of a handful of traitors thousands of miles away is ridiculous. Seeing conservatives suddenly concerned over European public opinion is even more ridiculous.

Let us be clear here. These trairors sent over 600,000 men to their deaths in order to preserve the right of a handful of large land owners to own millions of other human beings. I am not inclined to mercy for such people.

Magnanimity is nice, I guess, but perhaps the generous terms of the surrender aided the spread of the "lost cause" mythology. If it would have been more effective I'd settle for ten or twenty years on a rock pile but what can't be denied is that what was done wasn't enough as the decades of terror and lynching as well as the sentimental nonsense still current testify.


The "right" of secession is quite arguable I can assure you.

Mark, as one who slips into careless reading often enough myself, I can't be too hard on you - but thus far you have demonstrated an appalling indifference to what your interlocutors are actually saying. You probably still think I'm a libertarian.

What I said was "inarguable" was Tony's statement that "the war led to a stream of politics that made it easier to concentrate state power into federal hands". That's inarguable, not the right of secession. That's the idea that is pertinent to the topic at hand. I said nothing in this post, and have nothing to say in this thread, about a "right of secession", or about the rightness or wrongness of the Civil War, or about Jim Crow laws, or about the KKK. etc.. As far as this post is concerned these topics are tangential at best. I mentioned slavery only because, in my opinion, it is one issue that accelerated the trajectory of centralization.

But if you want to argue these issues with other commenters, go right ahead. I'm pretty lenient when it comes to threadjacking. I would just ask that you listen harder and make fewer assumptions. And maybe also consider addressing the topic of the post. I'd be interested in your ideas.

Mark, as one who slips into careless reading often enough myself, I can't be too hard on you - but thus far you have demonstrated an appalling indifference to what your interlocutors are actually saying. You probably still think I'm a libertarian.

What I said was "inarguable" was Tony's statement that "the war led to a stream of politics that made it easier to concentrate state power into federal hands". That's inarguable, not the right of secession.

Jeff, I do get that. I can be a careless reader, but I don't think I'm guilty this time.

For one, I've already challenged what it has been said is inarguable. I've challenged the audience to come up with what it is about the CW that undermined states freedom or rights not having to do with slavery or citizens constitutional rights. So on the charitable view of this current wording that the war "made it easier to concentrate power" (a squishy statement if ever there was), it is reasonable to ask how the power it supposedly grabbed as a result of the war was used to the detriment of the South, or any other region after the war. If all you are arguing for is the superiority of a weak union, a weak central government, then that's fine. But I don't see how you can say that if the union and national government strengthens in comparison to the Founding, then it follows that rights must have been taken away by this fact alone, and no examples need be offered.

Secondly, I got that you are trying to making a very modest statement, but here's the problem I see and why I thought I was justified in treating as if it were a distinction without a difference. If you concede that there was no right of secession that the North was constitutionally bound to respect, and that the North had obligations to enforce federal laws (for sake of argument at least), then I suppose this means the North was justified in opposing the war that began with the firing on Fort Sumpter. I would take this to mean that Lincoln fulfilled his duties as commander in chief, and if he hadn't done so he would have been derelict of his duties. If you conceded that were true, and you were fine with conceding that the South might well be responsible for the war, for the sake of argument at least, then I think without the imputation of guilt there is little force in the argument at all. Without implied guilt what does it amount to? It's like saying "if my dog hadn't run in front of my daughter when she was doing her chores, she wouldn't have fell and broke her arm, and I wouldn't be out 500 bucks". It is a pointless lament that argues for nothing (unless you think your daughter shouldn't be doing her chores or the dog shouldn't do what they do), and I don't think you took yourself to be arguing for nothing in your post.

I'm totally onboard with the idea that the federal government is overstepping its bounds, and I'm totally onboard with Reagan's view and sentiments that the government is the problem. I just disagree that it all went bad during the war or its runup, and it matters.

And yes, I get that you're not a Libertarian. Well there are those that use certain arguments, and there are others that don't. I should have stuck with how I started and said "he that borroweth the arguments that coincide roughy with the view that the nation went corrupt during the Civil War, sometimes used by Libertarians, sometimes by those on the left of center for their self-loathing ways, and sometimes by persons of all or none of those categories that wish to reinvent the political order in various ways not necessarily keeping with the Founders vision as a guide --otherwise known as reinventing the wheel."

But he's right that stationing troops there longer would have kept them from nullification of federal laws, and kept thousands of blacks from being lynched in the most gruesome and repulsive fashion.

The only way this could have happened is if the Posse Comitatus Act were never enacted by Congress. I think those lynchings were a lesser evil than a society where the military would play a more substantial role in civil life.

**That is to say that the only way the troops could have actually done anything substantial for those victims of lynching is if the PCA were never enacted. Their presence alone would be insufficient if federal law did not give them the autonomy to carry out arrests.

I've challenged the audience to come up with what it is about the CW that undermined states freedom or rights not having to do with slavery or citizens constitutional rights.

The mainstream, expansive view of the 14th amendment has put virtually all state jurisprudence under the ultimate review of the federal courts. The result of this is, among many things, that the states have lost the authority to impose punishments they feel are in line with the Constitution and even to discipline their own employees. For example, it was the US Supreme Court, not most state governments, that created most of the immunity and expansive police power (like the ability to arrest you without explicit statutory authority). Likewise, the Supreme Court has done quite a few things like strip Louisiana of the power to impose the death penalty on child rapists.

Secondly, I got that you are trying to making a very modest statement, but here's the problem I see and why I thought I was justified in treating as if it were a distinction without a difference. If you concede that there was no right of secession that the North was constitutionally bound to respect, and that the North had obligations to enforce federal laws (for sake of argument at least), then I suppose this means the North was justified in opposing the war that began with the firing on Fort Sumpter.

The Constitution doesn't give the federal government the power to enforce its laws in the face of a state that wants to leave the Union altogether. There is a marked difference between peaceful secession (which every state other than South Carolina did) and insurrection.

I find it ironic that the federal government will allow states to be broken apart without the approval of their government, but won't allow states to peacefully secede. Virginia is looking at a third major loss of territory in the future as Northern Virginia may secede from the Commonwealth irrespective of Richmond's claim to it.

Mark,
I'll not hijack the thread. I mention only these few books in response to your question:
T. Torrance, The Doctrine of Grace in the Apostolic Fathers
H.O.J. Brown, Heresies
W Bauer, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity
Best,
MB

Mark, with respect, I think that you really have come into this thread with a surfeit of stridency and a shortage of knowledge.

Your knowledge of US history seems sound, but your knowledge of this website and its main writers and regular commenters seems s bit deficient. For instance, I myself believe the Southern dedication to states rights was exposed as transparently fraudulent by the reaction to the situation in Kansas, when the old Douglas doctrine of popular sovereignty was abandoned the moment a popular sovereign opposed slavery. I also believe it is simply preposterous to imagine that Lincoln, as Chief Executive of the US, could have calmly let the Confederacy just walk away with the Lower Mississippi. Moreover, unlike some others here, I have little complaint with how Lincoln handled Southern sympathizers in the North; again, he cannot be expected to accept sedition with equanimity.

All that said, I also think it preposterous to expect the common Virginia citizen to view the approach of a hostile invaded army with equanimity. It is no great feat of imagination to understand that even if he had grave qualms about the idea of secession, the approach of said army would force his hand -- would, in other words, oblige him to take up arms to repel an invader. The loyalty of Americans in those days was deeply bound up with their home state. This was not confined exclusively to the South. Would you link all state patriotisms inextricably with secession, rebellion, slavery and Jim Crow? If not, I think Jeff Culbreath is quite right to urge you to calm down a bit, because the trend of your comments suggests that anyone who breathes a word of admiration for Southern statesman, soldiers, generals, etc., is actually channeling the fire-eaters. Perhaps we should remove Shelby Foote's American Iliad from our libraries?

But I have noticed in my own reading (which has included plenty of Lincoln hagiographers; I am a big fan of The Claremont Review of Books) that most of the great men of the South -- Lee, Stonewall and Longstreet to begin with -- disliked slavery, fought not to defend it but to defend their country (which is how they thought of their state), and (the two who survived) accepted the decision at Appomattox and would have no truck with the Southern rejectionists. Longstreet made himself hated here in Georgia by even going as far as joining the GOP.

Al, with whom you pronounced complete agreement on his "serious pruning" idea, originally appeared at this website pining for a wholesale slaughter of the Confederate officer corps. In other words his "pruning" is a Katyn Massacre at Appomattox: instead of the remarkable image of Grant and Lee, honorable at the end of the terrible trial, which has moved Americans, North and South, for generations, we would have a vengeful Grant signing hundreds of execution orders like some petty Jacobin tyrant. Now Al says he "goes back and forth" on this idea, which is an improvement, I suppose. But I'll be damned is someone going to come around here an tell me I'm borrowing Southern partisan "narratives" for refusing to embrace that madness.

Finally, it is simply a fact of constitutional history that arguments later picked up by Southern partisans concerning Nullification, Interposition and ultimately Secession, were originally formulated in different contexts; and thus we can legitimately think about and discuss them without be accused of wanting to bring back Jim Crow. There is some irony, for instance, in the fact that the roots of Nullification were laid by Jefferson and Madison in the course of their opposition to the repression of Jacobin sedition.

I for one believe the repression of serious sedition (and the French Revolutionaries were nothing if not serious) is the legitimate business of government, though it must be undertaken with great care. I've argued for a new sedition law to confront the current threat facing us, which has earned various insinuations of warmongering and bigotry from (as we have seen) the very pacific-minded Al.

Personally, I have no intention of debating the Civil War in this thread.

Dear Mr. Culbreath. Agreed.

But, I can't resist a few parting shots.

Right off the top of my head I can identify two POTUS whose political philosophy explicitly recognised the right of secession; Jefferson and John Quincy Adams ("Jubilee of the Constitution: speech)and it must be assumed that all other POTUS implicitly recognised the right of America's secession from, say, England.

Like all POTUS Lincoln lied when he thought it would be politically useful and thus The Emancipation Proclamation which was a useful gambit for him but which he wrote about to Salmon Chase, Sec Treasury, confessing the Proclamation had no legal justification but was useful for his military action.

I could go on and on and on but those few shots are enough for this thread which does not have the War for Southern Independence as its focus

In the quotes Jeff cited at the beginning of his post, there is a lack of a felt need for a common language. This makes no sense to me. Communication is a prerequisite for a mass culture, but not all common language needs are pathological. Science could not function without a common language. Science may be a mass culture, but it is not a pathological culture insofar as, ideally, it is governed by reason.

There is nothing inherently wrong with a mass culture. Heck, the best example of a mass culture is Heaven. Mass cultures as well as diversity both become pathological when they refuse to be subjected to right reason. It is the pathologies of emotion, expediency, and ego that make the modern mass culture so disordered.

The Chicken

All that said, I also think it preposterous to expect the common Virginia citizen to view the approach of a hostile invaded army with equanimity. It is no great feat of imagination to understand that even if he had grave qualms about the idea of secession, the approach of said army would force his hand -- would, in other words, oblige him to take up arms to repel an invader. The loyalty of Americans in those days was deeply bound up with their home state.

It'll be interesting to see how the federal government responds if one of the states that are nullifying federal gun laws that apply to intrastate gun ownership, such as Tennessee, actually arrests and prosecutes a BATF agent. If federal troops march on Nashville, we'll truly find ourselves in interesting times with respect to the fate of the Union.

It'll be interesting to see how the federal government responds if one of the states that are nullifying federal gun laws that apply to intrastate gun ownership, such as Tennessee, actually arrests and prosecutes a BATF agent.

They could cancel all federal contracts and relocate all federal troops and equipment. Which would poke a hole in Tennessee's budget the size of Texas. As it would with a majority of Republican strongholds.
http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/266.html

The 14th amendment, the "commerce clause", an irreducible mountain of jurisprudence and legislation, nearly a century of compulsory public education, the transportation revolution ("mechanical Jacobins", Kirk famously called the automobile), the reckless expansion of the franchise, the mass media, etc. - all have conspired to create what is arguably the first truly "mass culture" the world has ever known.

I'd hate for someone to be grateful that we have made a public effort for literacy and basic skills, if not always wisdom, and transport around the globe in hours instead of months, a marketplace that encompasses the world, or information about almost anything at the touch of a computer key.

What's wrong Step2, don't you understand that if we all lived in small, autonomous communities, each at least several days ox-cart journey from the others, all would be well?

Steve Nicoloso's idea, unless I'm radically misunderstanding it, is crazy, and I hereby distance myself from it. In fact, I was already thinking of doing so just because of the way that "silence gives consent" is so often interpreted on the Internet for combox comments. A military coup installing a dictator who doesn't need to be re-elected, i.e., presumably a dictator for life? I call that thinking outside of something a lot more important than a box.

Lydia,

Jeff asked whether there is a way out of the abyss short of some nightmarish calamity: I gave my honest opnion. The problem is democracy, simpliciter. There will be no restoration of sanity until the Revolution (and by that I mean all of them, taken as a single piece) is undone. The longer we wait for the Reaction, the more nightmarish the solution will become. We are past the point of half-measures; when you're on the wrong track, you have to go back to place where you got on. And that place was not 1950's suburbia.

"Jeff asked whether there is a way out of the abyss short of some nightmarish calamity:"

Maybe a Scandinavian kind of social democracy would lead to more happiness then a military dictatorship. Just suggesting.

How does one equate England in 1688 and America in 1776 with Russia in 1917 and China in 1948?

The "place where we got on" the wrong track was rejecting a military dictatorship? Wouldn't Washington, Madison, Franklin, et. al. be surprised to hear that: "Okay, gentlemen, the problem here is that you are trying to create a republic instead of a military dictatorship. What's the matter with you?"

How does one equate England in 1688 and America in 1776 with Russia in 1917 and China in 1948?

Well, by reflecting on the men and people who made those revolutions, their similarities and differences, their successes and failures; and then also considering the comparable similarities and differences, success and failures, of those who lost in the given historical struggles.

And, if I can be mischievous in light of your oft-repeated trope of simply paying no attention to my most substantive replies to your accusations, you've left out a big revolution in your litany -- the American one in 1860, which ended in the defeat of the revolutionaries, whose defeat I am glad of, but whose great men I cannot cease to admire.

Understanding the losing side of history is a great and wise discipline that modern liberals will never acknowledge. Why is it beyond the pale to recognize the ideals and aspirations of the losers in the English Reformation struggle? Can I not point out that the religious fervor of the 16th century quickly degenerated into sheer plunder and brutal enclosure, and that for several generations it was still an open question whether the plunderers' property would be accept a legal, and that maybe plunder should not be recognized as the basis of a legality?

Or again, maybe not every non-Communist needed to be butchered by Lenin. Or again, maybe the Patriots were rather too enthusiastic in their antipathy toward Loyalists.

Or must be declare that all history show us that success is progress?

Mark, with respect, I think that you really have come into this thread with a surfeit of stridency and a shortage of knowledge.

Paul, are you saying I'm full of it? Just kidding. Seriously, I'm delighted that you joined the debate. It is always nice to see someone that share your views so completely. Where you suppose we disagree you are simply mistaken as I'll easily show. But first, here is the summary of the debate as I see it, which is different than I think you suppose.

Summary of main point:

My whole point was that if it is true that the CW caused the loss of rights of states or localities after the war that has led to the intrusive federal government actions we hate now, then it is a fair question to ask what rights it is that were lost. Additionally, more than one person has said or implied that a weaker claim is "undeniable" --namely, that there was increased federal power over the states, and I'm only asking if that is true then how was this increased federal power used over the states. Therein lie the ruffled feathers. I simply asked for examples that would show the truth of this view. I have my own account for how we arrived at this state of federal overreach and the nature of it, a fairly common view I think, and it doesn't involve the CW as a cause. I can easily cite examples having to do with the tax policies, certain federal institutions and such. I am not asking for anything of the sort I could not give. I think it a reasonable question to ask, and that is the cause of the fireworks, and I think you've missed that. I was pressing Jeff and others with details of CW politics, but only to undermine a weaker thesis that I think amounts to a stealth argument for the same thing, all the while asserting that it is "inarguable".

For those that think the war was unjustified or illegal, and that also believe it resulted in or led to the destruction of state or local rights or other privileges leading in some non-trivial way (more wealth from interstate or international trade or greater voluntary post-war political cohesion would be trivial ways) to what I think is the onerous legal and regulatory environment we have today, the challenge is to grant for the sake of argument that the war was justified and then say what rights or privileges were lost. For those that think the political ideologies that are hostile to our cultural and religious views in the air nowadays spring from the CW, my approach wouldn't be that much different. Small states can be as despotic as large or federal ones. What I'm asking is if there is any substance to the claims, or if the argument is merely a sentimental one of an idealized past, or that we should have stayed a loose collection of states. If the latter, I don't have a problem if just baldly stated --certainly not about questions of governmental philosophy-- I simply object to unstated approaches, especially when others pile on with claims of federal illegality and malfeasance, as they always do.

The deeper subtext, which I probably brought up first, is whether or not the CW was a fundamental subversion of the Constitution and the nation the Founders envisioned, so far as it is reasonable to know. I say no. I say the problems we have today are age-old struggles that is every generation's burden, and that the nation is, and always was, one generation from extinction as the nation of the character it was. Moreover, whatever the increasing modern challenges, there are few problems if any that modernizing smaller states or weaker central governments would not also face as we can see in other nations abroad. Anyway, I have a problem with what I haves called "original sin" narratives, whether the idea that the nation was founded on racism, or the idea that the nation was corrupted irretrievably during or by the CW. I think they do similar things for the different groups. Both unhelpful and damaging.


End of summary of main point
-----------------------

For those few still interested in the CW issues that surround this issue, here are the details, and not all in order since I want to get the strongest misunderstandings out of the way first.

Al, with whom you pronounced complete agreement on his "serious pruning" idea, originally appeared at this website pining for a wholesale slaughter of the Confederate officer corps.

My "complete agreement" was for what he stated in the thread as far as I knew. I assumed "pruning" meant jailing murderers after a jury trial, which was not done after federal troops left and a was of violence and murder followed. How was I supposed to know it meant execution of the officers? I didn't know that an entirely different meaning had been given at a different time that meant execution of anyone, and as soon as it was pointed out I said I disagreed. I said I've never heard anyone argue for this before, in those days or now. You can't say I should have known the prevously stated meaning of "pruning", and disputed that meaning immediately when it was pointed out.

I stand by my agreement with Al that a long-term presence of federal troops and its effect from actual evidence we have of the short-term presence --no Jim Crow and far less bitterness in the end. All it took, as the actual cases show, was federal troops garrisoned in the general area give the impression that the law was going to be observed. If also gave blacks and whites that did suffer violence a place of refuge and a means of seeking justice, and when that was removed there was no relief from violence and death if for blacks or whites that didn't submit to what was mob rule. The leaders of these mobs should have been "pruned" into jail, and the violence would have ceased, and did cease when this was done.

Now Al says he "goes back and forth" on this idea, which is an improvement, I suppose. But I'll be damned is someone going to come around here an tell me I'm borrowing Southern partisan "narratives" for refusing to embrace that madness.

As I've already said, this is totally baseless. You're taking my ignorance of what "pruning" meant from a past date and insinuating that I meant that those who didn't support execution of officers adopted the "narrative". The is so absurd it should have been a clue that you were missing something. If you doubt it search the page for the word "prune" and see where I disagreed when I learned of it's previous meaning.

I myself believe the Southern dedication to states rights was exposed as transparently fraudulent by the reaction to the situation in Kansas, when the old Douglas doctrine of popular sovereignty was abandoned the moment a popular sovereign opposed slavery. I also believe it is simply preposterous to imagine that Lincoln, as Chief Executive of the US, could have calmly let the Confederacy just walk away with the Lower Mississippi. Moreover, unlike some others here, I have little complaint with how Lincoln handled Southern sympathizers in the North; again, he cannot be expected to accept sedition with equanimity.

I agree. And if there weren't enough evidence that the states rights issue was transparently fraudulent, we have the secession commissioners words themselves that need no interpretation to plainly see that for the Southerners slavery was the only issue worth going to war over. The other issues, economic and such, were no different from intra-state grievances. For example, the west Virginians against the tidewater region of Virginia, or eastern Tennessee against west, or for that matter the modern northern California to southern California issues. Something like "They are collecting our money and we don't get enough in return for it" because they are the elites." As it ever was and ever will be.

All that said, I also think it preposterous to expect the common Virginia citizen to view the approach of a hostile invaded army with equanimity. It is no great feat of imagination to understand that even if he had grave qualms about the idea of secession, the approach of said army would force his hand -- would, in other words, oblige him to take up arms to repel an invader. The loyalty of Americans in those days was deeply bound up with their home state. This was not confined exclusively to the South. Would you link all state patriotisms inextricably with secession, rebellion, slavery and Jim Crow? If not, I think Jeff Culbreath is quite right to urge you to calm down a bit, because the trend of your comments suggests that anyone who breathes a word of admiration for Southern statesman, soldiers, generals, etc., is actually channeling the fire-eaters. Perhaps we should remove Shelby Foote's American Iliad from our libraries?

It is preposterous to think that --that's why I don't think that, and never said that or meant to imply it. Keep in mind that I was disagreeing with people that slavery had little or nothing to do with the war. Southerners did see themselves as fighting for their country, and that is a noble thing, whatever the decisions by the elites that led to it. I never said, nor do I think, that the average Southern soldier saw himself as fighting for slavery.

The loyalty of Americans in those days was deeply bound up with their home state. This was not confined exclusively to the South. Would you link all state patriotisms inextricably with secession, rebellion, slavery and Jim Crow?

Of course not. I read individual accounts of the soldiers themselves. None of this is surprising to me. Full agreement. I never meant to imply otherwise. I'd only add that the universal concerns shouldn't be discounted either, since there is no shortage of Northern soldier letters to mothers and wives where they state the task as defeating "the slave power". There are local issues, and their are universal issues in most wars, if not all. The relative strength of the two is always a matter of speculation. The recent Hollywood view is that universal issues count for nothing, which is plainly false.

But look, I'm quite aware that those who opposed slavery in the Northern states did not necessarily like black folk. It is a fact that many that opposed slavery weren't just ambivalent, but actually hated blacks. In other words, many Northern racists opposed slavery as a political institution for economic and social reasons.

If you think I blame slavery on Southerners, you are mistaken. Yankee ancestors bear the guilt as much, as I think Lincoln made clear. It flourished in the South by God's providence of the climate, geography, and such --not due to anything in the Southern character. I do not have any disrespect for Southerners, then or now. I don't respect RE Lee, as you'll see, but that is another matter.

But I have noticed in my own reading (which has included plenty of Lincoln hagiographers; I am a big fan of The Claremont Review of Books) that most of the great men of the South -- Lee, Stonewall and Longstreet to begin with -- disliked slavery, fought not to defend it but to defend their country (which is how they thought of their state), and (the two who survived) accepted the decision at Appomattox and would have no truck with the Southern rejectionists. Longstreet made himself hated here in Georgia by even going as far as joining the GOP.

I agree with you on Jackson and Longstreet. Longstreet's case is instructive of Southern post-war politics. He was a good man, Lee's right-hand man, and a loyal Southerner that was one of the best battlefield commanders on either side. But at the end of the war he saw that the Republican party more closely aligned with his views, and the South hated him ever since and scapegoated the loss of the war on him without any merit. His widow and several family members were psychologically ruined in attempts to refute the false and vindictive narrative. Southern partisans refused any attempts to make him a statue, North or South until 1998 at Gettysburg --Yankee territory.

But I disagree completely with you on Lee --it is a myth that he disliked slavery, and he was a Southern rejectionist. The supposed evidence always offered that he disliked slavery is a letter to his wife, but if you read the entire letter it doesn't mean at all what his defenders say. And the fact that this one out of context phrase is always offered as evidence of Lee's dislike of slavery shows plain enough that there simply wasn't any real evidence he disliked slavery.

Lee was a Christian, and admirable in a certain way, but the Lee of legend is not the real Lee. Longstreet and other officers had to convince him that Grant was the type of man that would humiliate him before he agreed to surrender. Astonishing pride while his men were dying. From General Order #9 on the day of surrender to his last days corresponding with his like-minded buddies in the Southern Historical Society, he was a full-fledged participant creator of the myth of the Lost Cause (though he didn't scapegoat Longstreet --that came after Lee's death). Historians not conforming to the party line could expect not to have their books published, and they quickly fell into line.

I could be wrong about this, but I think I recall it said that Grant begged him after surrender to make a statement about reconciliation, but he refused. He was a total racist and treated his slaves unusually brutally by standards of the day, and even fought in court to retain some of them after he was supposed to free them by law according to his contract of inheritance. His letters are a matter of public record and not in dispute. Just imagine if Lee associated with blacks after the war, went to a Black church, or repudiated the KKK. He did nothing. Zip, zero, nada. Not one thing to advance reconciliation when he was the one man most able to do it, as everyone well knew. How different it could have been.

Not to beat my loathing of Lee to death, but he had four daughters and he forbid them all to marry, and they never did. He encouraged his son to marry. It was a soft, creepy, domineering "daddy's little girl" idea that is just wrong. If there were a self-absorption hall of fame, he'd be in it.

-Couldn't put his soldier's well-being over his own pride --strike 1
-Vindictive sore loser who didn't give a whit about reconciliation -- strike 2
-Creepy domineering father --strike 3

Finally, it is simply a fact of constitutional history that arguments later picked up by Southern partisans concerning Nullification, Interposition and ultimately Secession, were originally formulated in different contexts; and thus we can legitimately think about and discuss them without be accused of wanting to bring back Jim Crow. There is some irony, for instance, in the fact that the roots of Nullification were laid by Jefferson and Madison in the course of their opposition to the repression of Jacobin sedition.

Please, I have never accused anyone here, indeed anyone anywhere, of a desire to bring back Jim Crow. There are many ironies in the CW; indeed many ironies in civic life because of the complexities of supplying unity for a nation. Here is the Meilaender qoute again: "press universality too far … it becomes difficult to explain what it might mean to belong to a civic community … press particularity too far and it becomes difficult to find any common life that we might all one day hope to share".

That underlies my summary point above. Pointing out ironies is no evidence that the country went bad during or because of the CW. I could point out many ironies myself, but those who think that is ipso facto evidence that the country went corrupt during or because of the CW are mistaken, and I'm still waiting on the argument for that, and I'm not persuaded by facile claims it is simply "inarguable".

I for one believe the repression of serious sedition (and the French Revolutionaries were nothing if not serious) is the legitimate business of government, though it must be undertaken with great care. I've argued for a new sedition law to confront the current threat facing us, which has earned various insinuations of warmongering and bigotry from (as we have seen) the very pacific-minded Al.

I agree completely. Warm and fuzzes all around. :)

They could cancel all federal contracts and relocate all federal troops and equipment. Which would poke a hole in Tennessee's budget the size of Texas. As it would with a majority of Republican strongholds. http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/266.html

step2: Exactly. Appealing as are the "we wuz robbed" type of theories, we the citizens have done this to ourselves by our inaction and short-sightedness. I'm hoping that we can wake people up enough that they'll realize the cost to what they've acquiesced to and we'll start to claw it back. The federal power over us is almost entirely financial. Since the federal response is always going to be "ok, if that's what you want, but here's the net loss to you" then it is going to take some political hardball and bluff-calling. If the states are serious they could get massive changes, but their citizens would have to be on board or it won't ever work. The future is in our hands more than we wish to admit.

I'd hate for someone to be grateful that we have made a public effort for literacy and basic skills, if not always wisdom, and transport around the globe in hours instead of months, a marketplace that encompasses the world, or information about almost anything at the touch of a computer key.

Well there would be less time around the faculty lounge for the folks complaining about the difficiencies of modern life, while pretending not to enjoy its benefits. I say that as one to try mightily to immerse myself in the past and what we've lost (it is much and we've always lost something when gaining something) as time and "progress" marches on --perhaps the farthest thing from a progressive as possible -- but I just have problems with ignoring the benefits while enjoying them and complaining. And I think for those few so inclined, with the benefits we have in God's grace that we can recreate what we've lost in another way oftentimes, if even in lesser ways.

Some might get a kick out of this Stephen Davies lecture at about the 42:30 point lasting for a couple of minutes. He may be a bit overoptimistic, but he's unquestionably right that how we see the past often tells us more about ourselves than the past. This phenomenon isn't new though. Until I grasped this psychological issues Davies also mentions much of American History written after the turn of the century was entirely baffling to me.

What's wrong Step2, don't you understand that if we all lived in small, autonomous communities, each at least several days ox-cart journey from the others, all would be well?

That's funny. I needed a laugh.

They could cancel all federal contracts and relocate all federal troops and equipment. Which would poke a hole in Tennessee's budget the size of Texas. As it would with a majority of Republican strongholds.

They could try. I think the Republicans, who are soon going to be a majority in the House (where such decisions would be made), wouldn't touch that with a 1000 foot pole. It would be political suicide for them to punish Tennessee for that.

"It's true that I have sympathies with the antebellum South, its heritage and culture. Slavery did not define the South."

Yes it did. There may have been other elements but slavery was, in the end, what the South was about.

Is this what you need to believe in order to justify your politics? Or is it just that politics is everything and everything is politics in Al's world? Yes, let's talk about smart people stuck "in the thrall of an ideology". What a sad, dismal way to live.

Mark, I think we're gonna have to wait on another Civil War thread to hash all this out. We've had them before and we'll have them again, the American Civil War being one of the most extraordinary military confrontations in the history of mankind, which will surely attract the interest of serious men until Our Lord returns.

I do hope you see that my responses to you were also intended to smack Al around a bit. Of course you could not know that you were agreeing with a lunatic radical whose bloodlust resembles the nothing so much as the Southern fire-eaters; but most of the rest of us here remember it well, and (speaking for myself) it is just the sort of evidence of lunacy that we hold against modern Leftism.

My own heritage is Western. Cellas were the first Italians in Denver, Colorado; and that was after the Civil War. I married into the South and love the South, but I have no antiquity in Southern narratives. I judge Lincoln among the greatest of all modern statesman; that rare genius of both philosophy and statesmanship.

Still, imagine that the balance of population were reversed, and the corruption of slavery had forced the North to secede. Is it not clear that such a secession would be justified? In other words, is it not clear that a constitutional governing majority committed to slavery might justifiably be answered with a claim of absolute sovereignty in the states? Put another way, if population dynamics had established a situation where the only way out of a slave power republic was secession, then by God secession would have been justified. It is not just, fundamentally, to bail out on a polity committed to wickedness?

Maybe not, but it is a worthwhile question.

And then there is also this, which I have pressed Al with several times now:

The United States still endorses in law whole classes of human beings being treated as property. Our abortion regime really does resemble the slave power, and I'd like to ask you what your stridency against one particular regime of human beings being treated as property means for what we have today.

I do hope you see that my responses to you were also intended to smack Al around a bit. Of course you could not know that you were agreeing with a lunatic radical whose bloodlust resembles the nothing so much as the Southern fire-eaters; but most of the rest of us here remember it well, and (speaking for myself) it is just the sort of evidence of lunacy that we hold against modern Leftism.

Oh I understand. I shouldn't have sounded aggrieved. Sorry about that. But though I disagree with Al on that point, I don't know that he's a lunatic radical with bloodlust just for thinking it. In point of fact, trying leaders of a rebellion in a military tribunal is qualitatively different than rounding up people and shooting innocent people in the Katyn forest, as one person here opined. In some cultures and places the death penalty for treason that was exactly what would have happened, and in some not doing it would have spawned more of the same bloody violence, but not in the context of the American Civil War. It would have been a travesty, and counterproductive too. But because of what I said, I'd need to hear more on Al's reasoning before using such strong terms for his view.

You have to admit, it can be a bit jarring to learn the view of many Southerners about war as some sporing event. There is something shocking about fighting a war of such mass casualties (though not high by Napoleonic standards of the day) and expecting to get treated with kid gloves. Grant enraged Pemberton with his "unconditional surrender", since the latter expected the days long negotiations about surrender terms that the Southern honor culture demanded. Likewise, when Lincoln started confiscating property of rebels after it became apparent the war wasn't going to be fast, he replied to a Southern Unionist howls about it by saying their secession neighbors "cannot experiment for ten years trying to destroy the government and if they fail still come back into the Union unhurt." You could say that was hyperbole, but in a lot of ways it was true. I think some actuallly expected the North could be persuaded (fooled?) into protecting their property even while trying to destroy the government.

Still, imagine that the balance of population were reversed, and the corruption of slavery had forced the North to secede. Is it not clear that such a secession would be justified? In other words, is it not clear that a constitutional governing majority committed to slavery might justifiably be answered with a claim of absolute sovereignty in the states? Put another way, if population dynamics had established a situation where the only way out of a slave power republic was secession, then by God secession would have been justified. It is not just, fundamentally, to bail out on a polity committed to wickedness?

My view is a lot more nuanced that you probably think. Though I don't think they were morally justified for the real reasons they had, I've never questioned the natural right of revolution. So I don't dispute their attempt to exert their sovereignty. My only complaint is that one has to accept the consequences of defeat. I only dispute what I think is a fairly obvious fact that secession isn't a legal right and could never be, which I only do because some are constantly asserting a legal right in order to better score a grievance.

It comes down to the means and will to use force. Threat of violence is inherent in all social systems, from the family on up. If a person or nation doesn't believe in what it stands for enough to defend its principles (or defend those that can't do so) they aren't worthy of respect. We all implicitly know this, but we forget in a time when we can call 911 and the police will visit severe violence and even death on those that would do us harm; ditto for our military for foreign threats. I am amused at the naive of people nowadays who act as though laws are self-enforcing, perhaps because our civic forces are so strong. Remember that Juneteenth celebrates the abolition of slavery in Texas, and this freedom arrived not when the politicians or lawyers decided so, but the day the Union army arrived and made it so.

For those that think that admitting that there is no legal right inherent in the Constitution to secede somehow encourages or allows for federal dominance, I say that is misguided. The proper response to federal overreach on issues having to do with disputes over state *sovereignty*, is not to go get the Constitutional lawyers because … well, its a dispute and what higher power is there to settle disputes over sovereignty? None. There's no one left to appeal to. The correct response to the feds on issues of sovereignty is to say "oh yeah, well just you try and make me". That is what happened in the CW, and I don't dispute the natural right Southern attempt to assert their sovereignty, if fact I admire them for it. But the federal government with a core of *citizen volunteers* freely chose to put down the rebellion and that was that. I think it was a proud moment in US history, unlike many here. If the war had truly been over any other issue the South would have won the war (though they wouldn't have seceded over any other issue). Though it didn't begin over slavery *from the Northern perspective* (it was all about that from the Southern perspective) it eventually became about slavery to the North in the eventual death struggle and that was the end of it.

This fact spawned generations of complaints of insincerity about the slavery issue on Lincoln's part. Unfair. Wiser heads in the South always knew that if it came to war slavery was toast. The North didn't want a war over slavery, but in the end if they had to go to the extreme measures to raise a large and powerful army to wage a struggle to the death, what reasonable person thinks that while they are marching around they aren't going to end the institution they hated anyway and caused the whole mess in the first place? Of course they would. Any rational statesmen would. Cranky Vermonter will tell us this is evidence that Lincoln didn't give a rat's behind about the morality of slavery, but that is demonstrably false and there is nothing insincere about hoping slavery would die a natural death, and when it didn't and metastasized and became expansionist, they took advantage of the first real opportunity to end it, which the South handed to them as their cooler heads well knew.

And then there is also this, which I have pressed Al with several times now:

The United States still endorses in law whole classes of human beings being treated as property. Our abortion regime really does resemble the slave power, and I'd like to ask you what your stridency against one particular regime of human beings being treated as property means for what we have today.

Well "moral equivalency" arguments work when there is a true moral equivalency. Peter Singer, in a debate with Nigel Cameron, once said something like this to defend … I don't even remember … probably killing encephalitic infants: "Well our society calls people that have beating hearts and who are breathing dead quite often, and I think it is a fiction in order to farm their organs". You know what? I think he was right for once, and that was a valid moral equivalency.

So I don't know what kind of answer you're looking for. I think Al has a point. I may incur the wrath of Lydia, but I do think that there are quite a few parallels between abortion and slavery, many of which are legal and legislative. I'm not the first to make this observation, and the more I learn about the CW the more I think so. Morally, it always comes down to excluding the humanity of groups of persons. I will never forget when I listened to a presentation of a "radical" anti-abortion group a few years ago. So many sophisticated Christians rag on them and are embarrassed by them but I was stunned at how deep were their thoughts and how well-developed their ideas. I thank God for them now. They actually have a plan and are following it, and I've actually come to think it has a good chance of working. The abolitionists were hated by North and South, but ask anyone if they'd have opposed abolitionists if they were alive then. We're all abolitionists now. I haven't answered your question, but then I'm not sure what it was.

The full quote is better ..

This government cannot much longer play a game in which it stakes all, and its enemies stake nothing. Those enemies must understand that they cannot experiment for ten years trying to destroy the government, and if they fail still come back into the Union unhurt.

Letter to August Belmont

My question (again half for Al's benefit, but he appears to have returned to the California bush) concerns how we who recognize the full rights of man are to treat those who have made our law exclude a whole class of humankind even from the legal protection of life? In the antebellum South, the murder of a black man was at least a question of unjust destruction of property; in the modern West, the unborn have not even that meager security. The unborn may be executed with impunity.

Al defends this regime, even as he is quick to the lecture the rest of us for being too complacent of Southern irredentism. He says that sometimes we have to accept political compromise with those who do not share our moral views. Of course, he also proposes mass execution for those who did not share the rest of the nation's moral views on slavery. If you take a look at the thread under my post "Can We Impose Morality?" you will see from Al a considerable amount of resistance to the idea that morality should inform legislation. I think he has a very large inconsistency to answer for under that head.

I've never questioned the natural right of revolution. So I don't dispute their attempt to exert their sovereignty. My only complaint is that one has to accept the consequences of defeat.

I agree with that.

Al defends this regime, even as he is quick to the lecture the rest of us for being too complacent of Southern irredentism. He says that sometimes we have to accept political compromise with those who do not share our moral views.

I think part of it comes down, at least unconsciously, to motivation. Feminists have been trying for years to resurrect the Myth of White Female Virtue that got quite a few black men murdered by slutty and/or dishonest women. They do it now in the name of "ensuring justice for rape victims" and have stripped the racial tones from it. Likewise, it's perfectly fine to make a buck reducing black children to disposable property. So long as you discard them rather than sell them. Just make sure you say your "hail woman's rights, full of liberation, Marx is with thee" while you power up the vacuum in preparation for the Sacrament of Infanticide.

Dear Mark. I think in your passion you make certain statements that are questionable. I have isolated a few of them.

States only become states in virtue of joining the federal union.

Declaration of Independence … We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.


Wars are extra-legal and extra-constutional by definition

Article I section 8 "…To declare War…."

I'm proud of what the Union army did, how they fought the war

"It has pleased God, in that Providence which is so inscrutable to men, to visit our beautiful city with the most cruel fate which can ever befall States of cities. He has permitted an invading army to penetrate our country almost without impediment; to rob and ravage our dwellings, and to commit three-fifths of our city to flames."

(Hells Bells, man. The Union soldiers even destroyed the Ursuline Convent)

Sack and destruction of the city of Columbia, S.C.

http://books.google.com/books?id=TT0VAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Sack+and+destruction+of+the+city+of+Columbia,+S.C&source=bl&ots=WdXI08hvpN&sig=PQQn_hxTj99kjFGumIc-NSJrm3I&hl=en&ei=TpAcTfvqL8OC8gbi56yTCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false


Maybe on some other thread we can have a more exhaustive exchange but, for now, I had to respond to some of your assertions. Once my lingering severe cold leaves me (I actually missed Mass for the first time in two score years) I'll be ready for battle :)

How does one equate England in 1688 and America in 1776 with Russia in 1917 and China in 1948?

Revolutions may be more or less bloody, and more or less justified, but they never cease to be revolutions. America was blessed to have as velvety a revolution as it did; and, indeed, it speaks to the character of the men who led it, as well as the people who supported it. But the flip side is that never before (or since) has a revolution been undertaken for such light and transient causes. Massachusetts firebrands rebelled against what was then the most liberal government and constitution the world had ever known: Because it wasn't liberal enough!

Whiggism is a poison, having occasional and temporary salutary effects I'll grant, but one that is ultimately deadly: Sometimes it takes 230 years; sometimes it works much more quickly.

A military dictatorship in the US would, first of all, be led by the best and brightest (top graduates of US Military, Naval, and Air Force Academies, all of which are still very selective last time I checked). Secondly, it would only be temporary while the Empire could be peacefully and equitably dissolved... into, yes, republics, none with the power or political will to rule the world.

Does anyone really think that the process of a national plebiscite, by way of the Electoral College), in America as she is today constituted, is a superior means of selecting a ruler than simply throwing a random dart at pictures of West Point's top 10% of graduates? Could you get a Hitler? Of course we could, but that seems extremely unlikely. It is much more probable that we'll elect a Hitler by the former method; and the longer we go in this experiment, the more likely that scenario will become.

"It has pleased God, in that Providence which is so inscrutable to men, to visit our beautiful city with the most cruel fate which can ever befall States of cities. He has permitted an invading army to penetrate our country almost without impediment; to rob and ravage our dwellings, and to commit three-fifths of our city to flames."

And when Jubal Early ordered McCausland to burn Chambersburg, below is a similar account. Early never regretted his decision to burn Chambersburg, and when McCausland died in 1927 at age ninety obituaries in Northern newspapers still referred to him as the "Hun of Chambersburg." War is Hell.

The rebels late in the war were executing Union POWs. Shameful and detestable. They also used roadside bombs, which was shocking to Union soldiers at the time because such bombs might easily be triggered by civilians. But you could argue that this was the work of one commander, as it probably was. In the North there was a chain of accountabilty that there simply wasn't in the South. I seriously doubt that most Southern generals approved of these two things. But the Southern partisan view that Sherman's army murdered and raped civilians is just false. They foraged widely and destroyed property within limits.

"Those of us, who were in the advance, went through the burning town, bending forward upon our horses' necks, as fast as our faithful steeds would carry us. We had no knowledge of the great destruction and devastation that we should witness, and when we had once started it was necessary to continue through the burning streets. Houses on fire on both sides, it was no time to turn back, and to stop was to be burned up; our poor horses were mad with fright. Each and every one of us felt relieved when we got to the outer edge of the town. The atmosphere was stifling, with the smoke that settled over the earth like a pall. The citizens were gathered in groups; strong men with bowed heads, women wringing their hands and the little children clinging to their mothers' dresses and crying. Desolation on all sides! It was a sad picture, long to be remembered."

Article I section 8 "…To declare War…."

We use the term "war" equivocally oftentimes. Strictly speaking it wasn't, but in any case the Constitution is referring to declarations against foreign powers as everyone accepted even during the CW. That is why the North never declared war. War was not declared in the Whiskey Rebellion either, though the insurrectionist forces collapsed before arrival of the federal troops. That no one argued at the time that war should or need be declared is clear evidence that no one in their right mind thought that section 8 had anything to do with internal insurrections.

States only become states in virtue of joining the federal union.

Declaration of Independence … We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America,

That snippet says nothing about how new states join the union. The Constitution states that "New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union". *By the Congress* It also says the consent of both Congress and all the state legislatures involved are required to merge two or more states into one.

Al defends this regime, even as he is quick to the lecture the rest of us for being too complacent of Southern irredentism.

I realized after I replied it was your assertion and not Al's. So I disagree with Al. I fully agree that abortion is a grievous social issue akin to slavery, except that one always involves death rather than just the threat if one didn't submit to the oftentimes gruesome regime. I have no problem with the statement "abortion is genocide".

As one Catholic priest said at a conference "I submit to you there isn't one of us that wouldn't give our lives this very night if it would end abortion". Indeed.

... the flip side is that never before (or since) has a revolution been undertaken for such light and transient causes. Massachusetts firebrands rebelled against what was then the most liberal government and constitution the world had ever known: Because it wasn't liberal enough!

Though you didn't assert this, I just want to point out that Just War Theory was never intended to apply to wars of independence in my view, and I think in the view of most, and in fact is highly problematic to try to do it.

It is irrelevant whether or not the Brits governed the Colonies in a way that was better than the citizens of most nations had it. That is not how you judge the worth of freedom and sovereignty. Parents have foolishly been using this same tack unsuccessfully on their children since dirt, and it never works. They still want independence eventually, and thank God they eventually get it.

If a group of morally principled people think they have a decent shot at challenging the ruling regime, then they are free to do so. After they have done it so splendidly, as you acknowledge, it is silly and pointless for people to say they shouldn't have. Many Christians adopt this line that the Revolution was wrong because of Paul's words to "obey authorities", but this is misguided. There is no way Paul's words could be a universal statement. A universal statement like this would obviously be self-defeating. It is our lot to decide when we can and should obey, and a wide lattitude should be given to wars of independence because of our God-given nature.

Does anyone really think that the process of a national plebiscite, by way of the Electoral College), in America as she is today constituted, is a superior means of selecting a ruler ...

"A ruler"?????? A president is a ruler? Well, I guess you're not the first to make this mistake.

... than simply throwing a random dart at pictures of West Point's top 10% of graduates?

But as far as selecting a president in our ... ahem ... system of government ... can you cite anyone but your drinking buddies that doesn't think the current way is better than your dart throwing method? In 2008, as it happens, it was no doubt correct, but generally I'm doubtful.

[God] has permitted an invading army to penetrate our country almost without impediment;

Dear Cranky Vermonter,

If secondary causes count for anything, I think is just as accurate to say a major cause of Sherman's march was the Southern press, which was a government propaganda organ. There likely never would have been a Sherman's march if the Southern press printed what really was happening in the war zone as the Northern presses did in their regions. No, they printed what they wished the Southerners to know, which was that they were still winning when they weren't. Public support would almost certainly have collapsed if the public knew the truth that the Southern cause was doomed by then. The propaganda organ as press insulated the general public from what was really happening, at least if it wasn't good news. The Union army marching unopposed (though mostly because Sherman never made his destination known so Rebel forces could not concentrate against him) all the way to the sea made this quite apparent and the war support nosedived and desertions accelerated afterwards.

The Southerners were ruled over like subjects in many ways. The Confederate government borrowed all their money (they had to do that) and then lied to them whenever necessary to keep the project going and keeping up the fiction they'd pay it back. There were no elections to face, no Congress of the sort that would ask real questions, etc. It was a military dictatorship.

Jeff, I posted links to five of the papers basic to the founding of the Confederacy. As I (and others) read them, they unequivocally demonstrate that that founding was about the preservation and extension of Negro slavery; the mint juleps were secondary and expendable. These documents were contemporary to the founding and written by the founders.

Why am i wrong and what sources do you have that trump mine?

"We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States,"

VC, note the order here. The several colonies gathered together and jointly declared a separate independence from Great Britain. They then fought a war under the Continental Congress, formed a loose confederation, and then a closer union under our present Constitution, all within a period of about twenty five years.

They had extensive experience of various levels of autonomy as colonies under the Crown. They had little meaningful experience as sovereign states and the compromises in the Constitution around state sovereignty reflect transient and pointless fears and petty jealousies.

As Jay pointed out, it's the people who are sovereign. The weight put on state sovereignty is a bug, not a feature.

Steve, first you would need to find some GOs who are willing to violate their oath to uphold the Constitution. Now, perhaps you will explain why we should trust that those who have violated a most solemn oath in seizing power will so easily relinquish it on your schedule?

Here comes the sun, yet Paul will not be neglected.

I think part of it comes down, at least unconsciously, to motivation. Feminists have been trying for years to resurrect the Myth of White Female Virtue that got quite a few black men murdered by slutty and/or dishonest women. They do it now in the name of "ensuring justice for rape victims" and have stripped the racial tones from it. Likewise, it's perfectly fine to make a buck reducing black children to disposable property. So long as you discard them rather than sell them. Just make sure you say your "hail woman's rights, full of liberation, Marx is with thee" while you power up the vacuum in preparation for the Sacrament of Infanticide.

Mike, that's a fascinating observation. I hadn't thought of it that way before, but there could be something to it and worth some thought. I've recently become aware of the sexual aspects of the plantation culture by a great book "A Rage for Order" by Joel Williamson. "At Odds" by Carl Degler is well worth at least a skim for history on the abortion question. Doctors actually were the activists to educate common people in the 19th century that the tissue in the womb was a person that can't simply be discarded if a pregnancy came at an inconvenient time.

I posted links to five of the papers basic to the founding of the Confederacy. As I (and others) read them, they unequivocally demonstrate that that founding was about the preservation and extension of Negro slavery; the mint juleps were secondary and expendable. These documents were contemporary to the founding and written by the founders.

Why am i wrong and what sources do you have that trump mine?

One thing you have to realize is that the same folks who made these statements repudiated them after the war, and this is deeply confusing. Steven's Cornerstone speech was quite clear, and yet the same man would claim after the war that it wasn't about slavery. It beggars credulity to think the 180 turnabout from the clear statements before the war are intellectually honest.

Steve, first you would need to find some GOs who are willing to violate their oath to uphold the Constitution. Now, perhaps you will explain why we should trust that those who have violated a most solemn oath in seizing power will so easily relinquish it on your schedule?

I agree.

Here comes the sun, yet Paul will not be neglected.

But on the other hand, as I pointed out earlier, Paul's statement can't be a universal statement. Everyone obeying everybody is an infinite regress in this fallen world. There are hypotheticals where a military coup would be morally justified, however remote they are to us. In fact there have been in history such cases, and will likely continue to be at times. Violating oaths can be justified on the same basis as lying to protect the innocent from those who would harm them, for those that believe that is true. Which would be roughly most people not yet corrupted by post-graduate theological studies. :)

... lunatic radical whose bloodlust resembles the nothing so much as the Southern fire-eaters; but most of the rest of us here remember it well, and (speaking for myself) it is just the sort of evidence of lunacy that we hold against modern Leftism.

Say Paul, here's a question for you. You say it is bloodlustful and showing evidence of Leftist lunacy for thinking that Southern officers should have had the laws for treason on the books at the time applied them, at the discretion of a military tribunal of course.

1) Does this mean you intend to say the laws for treason at the time were unjust? I think it would have been a huge mistake to execute the Southern officers, and in fact I think it likely the Northern public would rioted if it had been tried. Grant himself blocked (by force of his public stature) the mercurial and buffoonish Johnson's attempt to try Lee for treason. I think they were given grace --very, very wisely in my view-- but not necessarily justice.

2) Why is it not bloodlust or Leftist lunacy to think that John Brown should have been executed for treason, as he was, or is it?

Though I'm new around here, I wonder if some here are making a martyr of Al. I have seen people making emotional arguments against him that lack much force or reflection, and being more dismissive than is charitable. I think that's a shame.

I think the Republicans, who are soon going to be a majority in the House (where such decisions would be made), wouldn't touch that with a 1000 foot pole. It would be political suicide for them to punish Tennessee for that.

Republicans could try to stop it, but a majority of decisions can be made without their input, an unfortunate part of that "unitary executive" thing they like to make noise about. In any case, if they are cool with hostile governments arresting federal agents enforcing federal laws within national borders they should renounce the Constitution and their own legitimacy as federal lawmakers.

As an aside, your original scenario is very unlikely, since a lot of Tennessee Democrats switched over to vote for a moderate Republican governor. We know those Tea Party types are anarchists in sheep's clothing.

In any case, if they are cool with hostile governments arresting federal agents enforcing federal laws within national borders they should renounce the Constitution and their own legitimacy as federal lawmakers.

You make it sound like the Constitution itself gives the BATFE that arrest authority. It doesn't. Supreme Court precedent does. Unless you wish to insult your own intelligence by implying that a document that is accessible to most middle school students, I suggest you not put much stock into the theory that the Supreme Court has some unique ability to divine how to apply the Constitution.

Mike T,
You'll appreciate the irony in this particular case, but the legal principle remains in full force.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ableman_v._Booth

Dear Mark;

Treaty of Paris...Article 1:

His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states, that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.

You wrote you were proud of how the Union conducted the war and when I posted the link to the Union's indefensible atrocities at Columbia, yours was a so's-your-old-man" response.

You could at least be man enough to concede that was indefensible.

And Sherman's Diary records Lincoln's uncontrollable laughter when he was told of all the horrors that occurred in the Unions' sweep through the south. Nice guy that Lincoln

As far as your appealing to secondary southern causes to exonerate what happened during The Union's March through Georgia, I do not know what to say other than - wow.

You are a true believer in the Myth of Northern purity.

BTW, as I disengage - when are we supposed to believe Lincoln, when he says there is no right to secede or when he said this in Congress on Jan 12, 1848

Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right - a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people, that can, may revolutionize, and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit.

There are many, many sources outlining the right of secession and how Lincoln got is wrong but I see no benefit in trying to have an exchange with you because you are not even willing to admit your errors.

No hard feelings on my part but I've got better things to do

oops. I forgot to add this link detailing how Lincoln got it wrong on secession and also describing the gross growth of the govt due to Lincoln's war.


http://jimostrowski.com/articles/secession.html

And, now I really done.

You wrote you were proud of how the Union conducted the war and when I posted the link to the Union's indefensible atrocities at Columbia, yours was a so's-your-old-man" response.

Do you dispute that a large portion of Chambersburg was burned and few buildings left standing by direct order from Jubal Early (the town refused to pay a ransom) before Sherman arrived in the South? That's the real issue isn't it? You think Jefferson Davis didn't laugh when he got the news? And nothing was burning in Chambersburg before McCausland arrived.

The retreating rebels lit fire to cotton bales to deny there use the Union army in Atlanta and Colombia, so both cities were burning when Sherman arrived. Would they have been burned anyway? Almost definitely. But it's also undisputed that many fires were fought by the union army. Some fires were put out by one brigade only to have men of another one light another fire. Gaunt and half-starved union POWs that escaped from a nearby POW camp after the rebels retreated definitely wanted to burn Colombia too, and no doubt did.

You are a true believer in the Myth of Northern purity

Hardly. And if it eases you mind, I think Sherman was anything but pure, and I don't admire him as a person for other reasons, but he was carrying out war policy. I was only trying to point out that you don't seem to get that the Rebs had a scorched earth policy too, and a foraging policy as well.

The Northern army didn't commit POW murder and mass murder as happened at Fort Pillow and other places. But they get a pass because they thought blacks were property, right? I don't believe in Northern purity, I believe in the justice of the cause. That's a very different thing. There were a lot of regrettable things that happened during the war. Singling out the destruction of property as "indefensible", and overlooking the destruction of human life is not something I'm going to do.

Will you admit that it was indefensible for Southern troops to murder and mutilate black soldiers rather than take them prisoner? Was it indefensible for Confederate soldiers at Saltville to execute unarmed black prisoners, and even raid a hospital on two separate occasions and murder wounded blacks in their sickbeds? It that morally equivalent to burning property? And if you want to say Sherman murdered civilians in the South, well good luck with that. It isn't true, and that is mythology.

A Georgian who was an ethics teacher at West Point in the 80's pointed out that his family and not a few others had a kind view of Sherman because their livestock and supplies were taken by the retreating Confederate troops and Sherman shared his army stores with families that had none. Sherman was even given a warm reception in Atlanta not long after the war; it wasn't until Jefferson Davis' memoirs came out later where he was portrayed as a monster that the mythology of mass murder and rape began. There is no evidence of this whatever, and the citizens who lived through it didn't think so.

In any case, modern Atlantans would find your Vermont long-distance grievances amusing I think. They have long since realized that local legend far outstripped historical reality. But your politics seen to demand this view. I'd love to hear the books you've read on the CW that have influenced your understanding of the war. I get the impression you are living off the fumes of Lost Cause oral legends, public grade school teachers, and Google searches.

There are many, many sources outlining the right of secession and how Lincoln got is wrong but I see no benefit in trying to have an exchange with you because you are not even willing to admit your errors

Sorry I forgot to address this point. As I've already said, but I'll specify in detail since it was not understood, the right to revolution is a *natural* right that is present whether it was stated in the founding documents or not. A natural right is not given by any documents, but by the moral nature of the universe as God created it. This is what Lincoln affirmed, as do I.

Most in the thrall of the Southern narrative assert a *legal* right in the Constitution, for the purpose of attempting to declare the CW illegal after the fact as a grievance, which is silly because there are no international (nor intergalactic) legal bodies to which either side bound themselves, quite obviously. So that there is a legal right to secession is false. However, this fact does NOT mean that secession was illegal, because by the same principle that says the CW was not illegal because based on a *natural* right, it was not legal either. That's why I say it is extra-legal. I've never said, and people don't generally say as far as I know, that secession was illegal. Nooooo, it is always the Southern sympathizers who are always blathering on that secession was legal. Denying this does not mean secession was illegal and the Southerners guilty of criminality. Nooooo, it means that the Union or Federals were not guilty of criminality in opposing secession. It was extra-legal in any case. The question is one of *natural* rights, which are given by God. In other words, it was a moral contest.

The South asserted its *natural* right of revolution by seceding, and the North contested it and won. The bottom line is the South had no right to secede *that the North was bound to respect*. Sheesh.

Lincoln was entirely consistent on this point, and he'd had decades to think about it, as did other Americans before public school made everyone dumb. I suggest you brush up on the Declaration (the natural law basis for the Constitution) and the difference between *natural* rights given by God, and *legal* rights given in the Constitution before making facile arguments that imply Lincoln was stupid or disingenuous. If you want to be intellectually honest in your argumentation, you owe it to yourself to look up these basic details.

If that was too dense, another way of saying it is that *natural* rights (such as the one of revolution) must be insured by force. There is no legal right to revolution, and could never be. Legal rights are contested by lawyers and judges, and sovereign nations, or wannabe sovereign nations, don't have any higher authority to appeal to unless they both bind themselves to an international body, in which case they aren't sovereign. The South asserted a natural right to revolution, which is to say to *initiate* a revolution, not a right to complete it uncontested. This just reiterates the point above that there was no right to secede that the North was obligated to respect.

You'll appreciate the irony in this particular case, but the legal principle remains in full force.

The legal principle was also not created when the current form of jurisprudence was mainstream. There was an assumption on their part that the 10th amendment really meant something.

Mark,
What Biblical basis, if any, do you have for the assertion that rights actually exist and that God gives them? Perhaps the whole rights rubric is a (useful) legal fiction into which God has been incorporated by some folks. In my view, at any rate, you'd be hard pressed to show Scripturally that rights exist, and especially that secession is one of them. You'd have a much better go of it demonstrating that obligations and righteousness exist, and that they come from God. But, Biblically, rights is a different ball game, or so it seems to me.

In the light of Steve's suggestion, this may be of interest.

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2010/11/the-perils-of-presidential-democracy-revisited/

Michael,

I argued that secession WAS NOT a legal right. You've got to get clear on the difference between natural and legal rights before you can comment on what I said.

It does no good to reply that "maybe rights are a legal fiction", because I was talking about natural rights, and I said they were *extra-legal*. Because insistence of legal rights has run amok in this fallen world is no reason to deny natural rights in any case. Here's why.

Do you think that God created all men equal in terms of moral worth? No doubt you do. Do you think you have a moral obligation to act towards others in a way that reflects this truth? Of course you do. Do you have a moral obligation not to kill me because of this? Of course you do. Doesn't this mean you have a moral claim on me not to kill? Surely you do. That is what we call a natural right. If you want to deny natural rights, you'd have to deny the truth of the above statements too.

As for biblical evidence that natural rights exist, the epistle of Romans has much (2:14-15 is one verse) that have been considered to ground natural law since ancient times. And the Declaration is referring to natural rights when it says "these truths are self-evident".

If natural rights don't exist, then legal rights don't either. You're on extremely shaky ground if you want to deny natural rights. I can't even talk to you about legal rights until I know whether of not you accept natural rights. I hope you don't want to deny that there is something within the nature of an unborn baby that makes it wrong to kill him. Read the epistle of Romans.

Wow, Mark, talk about badly misreading a very short comment!

I did not say you thought secession was a legal right (or a natural right). I asked if you thought rights was a Biblical notion and, if so, if you considered secession a right granted by God. I asked on what Biblical basis you might think so. I specified neither natural or legal rights in that question. In that vein, I suggested that rights might be useful a legal fiction. I did not say secession was a right of either sort, natural or legal. Nor I did say you thought so.

Romans 2:14 and 15 have nothing to do with, or say about, natural rights. Natural rights are not in that text at all. That text talks about a native understanding of right and wrong, one present even in those who were not given the laws of Moses. It says nothing about rights, whether natural or legal. Right and wrong are quite different categories from rights. I am suggesting that the entire rights talk agenda and rubric might not be authentically Biblical, whether one thinks of rights naturally or legally.

By the way, I do not think of human beings in the way you suggest. Nor do I grant any of the reasoning you present on this point. Because it is evil to murder, and because God has commanded me not to do so, I have a moral obligation. Alleged rights have nothing to do with it. Commandments and obligations do. It is a matter of righteousness, not rights. The difference here is between something God actually gave -- commandments -- and something it seems to me He did not -- rights.

I am suggesting that, from a Biblical perspective, we'd be better advised to speak of right and wrong, and of commandments and obligations, rather than of rights.

Michael, I'm sorry I misunderstood you on some points. But I knew you were preparing to advance some form of divine command theory, as indeed you now have. The basic problem with this view is that is does not ground morality in God's nature. In other words, is murder wrong because God declares it, or does God declare it to be wrong because it is inherently wrong? Divine command theory says the former, anyone other Christian view would say the latter. This type of field is called meta-ethics and I'd encourage you to follow up in a good Christian ethics book to read the many challenges of that view. I don't have time to go into it.

You'll appreciate the irony in this particular case, but the legal principle remains in full force.
The legal principle was also not created when the current form of jurisprudence was mainstream. There was an assumption on their part that the 10th amendment really meant something.

I hope you also appreciate the irony, Step2, that the federal government is being purely self-referential in that precedent now. The obvious reason why being that the Constitution itself grants the federal government no authority by which the Supreme Court could ever declare it legal for a BATFE agent to have jurisdiction over personal weapons, owned by private citizens, that stay within one state's borders.

Mark,
You continually read your thoughts into my words, and try to force them into your categories. I did not advance some form of divine command theory and divorce it from God's nature. (Indeed, I prefer to say "character" rather than "nature." "Nature" smacks too much of Greek philosophy for my taste. I'm not talking about Greek philosophy or the way it masquerades as Christian theology in the thought of some folks.) God's commands indicate, or reveal, his character. But that fact has nothing to do with the question I asked you about rights. All you have done is to stick my statements into your non-Biblical rubric. Your gratuitous classification of my statements has nothing to do with whether or not "rights" is a properly Biblical concept.

Yes, I know about meta-ethics, have taught it and related subjects for many years, and reject it as theologically false and Biblically irrelevant.

Now, how about the question I asked regarding the way you smuggled God into your view of rights, and the way you subsequently interjected rights into Romans 2 in a blatant example of eisegesis, not exegesis? I am challenging you to set aside the conceptually foreign grid through which you are pulling revelation and to read the Bible more fully on its own terms. Either that or show that your concept of rights and the way you employ it really are properly Biblical. So far, you have not done so.

You continually read your thoughts into my words, and try to force them into your categories. I did not advance some form of divine command theory and divorce it from God's nature. (Indeed, I prefer to say "character" rather than "nature." "Nature" smacks too much of Greek philosophy for my taste. I'm not talking about Greek philosophy or the way it masquerades as Christian theology in the thought of some folks.

Steve, these are not your categories or mine. This debate has all been rehearsed since dirt. You can "say" whatever you wish, but the challenge of DCT has been considered since the beginning to be arbitrariness, and its adherents normally end up denying that it is grounded in God's nature when asked a few hypotheticals. I'm not sure how or why you deny that your view owes a good bit to DCT. It's a minority view, but not a crazy on its face such that it is some slander for me to say it.

I have some extended family that doesn't believe in the Trinity because they say it borrows too much from Greek philosophy. Their view owes a lot to what is generally called "anti-Hellenism." Isn't it accurate to say your view owes a good bit to anti-Hellenism? Problem is, the mystery religions of Greece and Rome even contained a dying god motif. If we must toss out all ideas that the Greeks had, we'll have to toss out the Resurrection too to be consistent.

I'm not being dismissive, I'm just saying we're both rehearsing familiar positions but you seem to not like any labels, so maybe I could just cut to the chase and ask these questions: 1) What do you call your view? Steve's view? 2) What do you teach?

I don't think arguing about it much more is going to help, and I probably won't, but knowing that would likely help to understand what line of thought you consider yourself to fall under. I am surprised that you almost imply that I smuggled Natural Law into Romans, since the idea Romans grounds Natural Law has been believed at least since Augustine in the 4th century. Maybe the greats of the Faith are wrong, but I can assure you it isn't my idea.

Oops. Sorry, I meant to say Michael, not Steve.

Mark,
Yet another non-answer? Am I to take your repeated evasions as evidence that you actually have no defensible Biblical basis for the way you gratuitously connect Yahweh to your view of rights?

The label, since you deal in labels, is "biblical theology" -- an even older and more properly basic theological movement than the ones you reference. It's not an anti-Hellenist stance any more than it's an anti-Thor or anti-Mani stance. It's a pro-biblical stance. It's shaped by what it endorses, not by what you say it opposes. It endorses Biblical categories, methods, and terminology. It asserts that unless you are a theologian of the Word, you are not doing authentically Christian theology. It's pro-Word, not anti-Hellenist. Opposition is its consequence, not its basis. It's fundamentally an affirmation of Biblical categories, methods, and rubrics, not fundamentally a denial of others. It says that you are far better served to employ the methods, categories, and rubric of the apostles, prophets and (especially) of Christ than you are those of some their more historically, ideologically, and theologically remote followers.

It's all there in Karl Barth, Oscar Cullmann, G.C. Berkouwer, Geerhardus Vos, Francis Schaeffer, and Cornelius Van Til, among many others.

Michael: We disagree on the relationship of reason and faith. We don't share enough in common for us to make any headway. As I said, I have inlaws who who are anti-Hellenists and we have the same problem. You say you've taught meta-ethics and reject it, but one can't reject meta-ethics --we all have one. Like I said, I share a position on Natural Law that the church has had for most of its history. That doesn't make it right of course, but that makes it so you would know my position if you wished. Now that you've shared more about how you think I roughly know yours. Anti-Hellenists are rejectionists on a lot most take for granted so there isn't a lot of common ground. I'm not being evasive, but we simply are at an impasse.

we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted.

So Lincoln was the original "safe, legal and rare" advocate?

So Lincoln was the original "safe, legal and rare" advocate?

No, his view was rare, rarer, and terminate the institution. He was merely saying he didn't want immediate abolition, which would surely be highly disruptive. This isn't an unreasonable position even for those like Lincoln who thought it was a grave evil. Because ending it quickly was a very tall order, and really even the war didn't end the issues revolving around slavery. Reconstruction was a continuation of it with the same idealogical groups squared off against each other to try to enforce the right to vote and others. The South won that one, and voting and other rights guaranteed by the Constitution were nullified until the 1950-60 period. The war never really ended.

Anyway to slow death view was the position throughout the North. Witness the battles for statehood, where Congress would not allow a slave state to enter unless a free state also entered, and the South insisted on the reverse. Neither wanted the other side to get an advantage in representation in the houses of Congress. That is why for years states were approved in pairs. My home state of Indiana entered paired with Mississippi. Anyway, the view for several generations in the North was that it would eventually die out, but instead it metasticized and became expansionist and was eventually came to be viewed in the South as a positive good. John Calhoun was the intellectual force behind this brazen element that became widespread in the South by the 1850's.

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