Category Archives: secession

On the 225th Anniversary of the United States’ Bill of Rights

the-bill-of-rights

This December, 2016, marks the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the first ten amendments to the US Constitution which would become known as the “Bill of Rights.”  To secure passage of the Constitution, the framers of the document (the Federalists) had to agree that it would contain explicit language on individual rights.

Ever since its ratification, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in which it is a part, has been hailed as one of the seminal achievements in the annals of human history while the political arrangements prior to it (primarily monarchy and aristocratic rule) have been sneered at and belittled by the Constitution’s hagiographers.   Moreover, the American Constitution has provided a model for the emergence of the nation state which came into its own after the French Revolution and the tragic breakup of Christendom.

History, however, if looked at outside the Anglo-American perspective has shown that far from a protector of individual liberty, the Bill of Rights has been mostly useless in defense of basic freedoms while the Constitution, that it is a part of, has been a vehicle for the expansion of state power to an unfathomable degree.

Despite the supposed guarantees of individual liberty within the Bill of Rights and the supposed limited nature of the Constitution itself, there has never been a more intrusive state in world history both domestically and in its myriad of interventions across the globe than the Leviathan that rests on the shores of the Potomac River.  And, the rise of American totalitarianism did not begin with the revelations of Edward Snowden and the other courageous whistle blowers of the recent past, but started soon after the new “federal” state came into existence with the passage of the Alien & Sedition Acts.  Each year since has witnessed the growth of state power at the expense of individual rights where now domestic spying and surveillance are part of the nation’s social fabric.

The primary reason why the Bill of Rights has been unable to secure basic liberties is because the federal government and its courts are the ultimate interpreters of the Constitution and its amendments as explicitly stated in Article VI, section 2, subtitled, Supreme Law of the Land:

This Constitution and the laws of the United

States which shall be made in pursuance thereof,

and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under

the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme

law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be

bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of

any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

Since the central government is the final arbitrator of the document, any ruling or decision on particular laws or regulations which would impinge on individual rights will, for the most part, be favorable to the government itself.  And, due to man’s fallen nature, any such power will be abused.

The ratification of the Constitution in 1789 made in essence the individual states mere appendages of the central government.  While the Constitution’s sycophants boast of its “checks and balances,” a far superior bulwark against political repression is that of people “voting with their feet.”  Under the Articles of Confederation, when the national government was not the supreme law of the land, if a certain state became too tyrannical, at least in theory, and had the much neglected Articles remained in place, those persecuted could simply move to a more friendlier jurisdiction.

This would also hold true in the realm of taxation and regulatory policy.  Those political authorities who became too confiscatory in their taxing or enacted burdensome regulations could also see population outflows.  Similar activity goes on all the time currently as people flee high tax municipalities and states like California and New York to lower tax regions such as Florida and Texas.

For voting with one’s feet to be most successful, there needs to be a multitude of states and political jurisdictions.  In the current political climate, this would mean the breakup of the nation state.  Secession and political decentralization should thus be the goals of those who prize individual liberty and prosperity, not the celebration of constitutionalism and the supposed guarantees of personal freedoms under ideas such as the Bill of Rights.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/

Presidential Dictatorship

Sic Semper tyrannis II

Executive orders, undeclared wars, drone hits, assassination of citizens and non-citizens alike, the overthrow of foreign regimes, domestic spying, the abetting of known criminal activities through pardons, economic planning, opening borders, monetary manipulations are just some of the nefarious activities that routinely emanate from the most dangerous political office that the world has ever painfully come to know – the United States Presidency!

The U.S. presidents can and have created a veritable “hell on earth” for their opponents, perceived enemies, and the innocent not only in the country in which they reign, but over the lives and fortunes of peoples and places where they have absolutely no authority to interfere.  While other chiefs of state have theoretically had such power, U.S. presidents have been able to inflict their destruction and chaos because, paradoxically, the nation’s free-market system, for a long time, created immense wealth which could be tapped into.

The tyrannical nature of the presidency was recognized long ago by those politically perspicacious men who opposed both the office and the draconian document which created it.  Few groups in history have been so vindicated for their foreboding as those who vainly argued against the ratification of the United States Constitution than the Antifederalists.

“An Old Whig”* aptly sums up the damage that would come about if the Constitution was ratified and the office of president would come into being:

. . . the office of President of the United States appears to me

to be clothed with such powers as are dangerous.  To be the

fountain of all honors in the United States, commander in chief

of the army, navy and militia, with the power of making treaties

and of granting pardons, and to be vested with an authority to

put a negative upon all laws, unless two thirds of both houses

shall persist in enacting it, . . . .**

An Old Whig saw that the president would become a “king” but without the natural and binding checks that even the most absolutist of monarchs were restrained by:

[The president] is in reality to be a KING as much a King

as the King of Great Britain, and a King too of the worst

kind; – an elective King. . . . The election of a King

whether it be in America or Poland, will be a scene of

horror and confusion; and I am perfectly serious when

I declare that, as a friend to my country, I shall despair

of any happiness in the United States until this office

is either reduced to a lower pitch of power or made

perpetual and hereditary.***

One of the Federalists’ counterarguments to the Antifederalists’ concern over the presidential office was the widely held assumption that George Washington would become the new Republic’s first chief executive and the general knowledge of his impeccable character would assuage those worried of potential executive overreach.  Such a lame response neglected to look into the future when the office’s huge potentiality for despotism would be sought after and won by those who had less upstanding personal traits than the father of the country.

The growing decentralized political movements throughout the world with, for instance, the hopefully upcoming British exit from the European Union, can only be enhanced if the office of the president and, for that matter, all other nation state’s chief executives are exposed as tyrannical institutions which are anathema to individual liberty and collective self-determination.  Presidents, premiers, chancellors, prime ministers, and their like along with central banking are the two nefarious pillars of power of the modern nation state whose continued existence guarantees perpetual war and economic regression.

In this seemingly interminable presidential election cycle, populist, libertarians, conservatives, and all sorts of anti-Establishment types are delusional if they believe the totalitarian direction in which the country is now headed will be reversed through elections or choosing the “right” candidate.  “Making American Great Again” will only come about when the chief executive office and the statist document that created it have been repudiated.

Prior to the presidency’s abolition, its ideological justification must be first debunked.  There is no finer place to start for this most necessary task to take place than in the dissemination of the perceptive and enduring words of the much neglected Antifederalists.

 

*Probably penned by a group of Philadelphia Antifederalists – George Bryan, John Smilie, James Hutchinson and maybe others.  See, John P. Kaminski & Richard Leffler, eds., Federalists and Antifederalists: The Debate Over the Ratification of the Constitution.  Madison, Wisconsin: Madison House Publishers, 1989, p. 18.

**Ibid., p. 86.

***Ibid.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/

Long Live the Flags of Dixie!

Confederat Flag

On May 19, the House of Reprehensibles passed a proposal that would essentially ban the display of Confederate flags from national cemeteries.  The amendment was added to a Veteran Affairs spending bill.

Not surprisingly, House Speaker Paul Ryan allowed the measure to be voted upon in hopes of not disrupting the appropriations process.  Yes, by all means Paul, the redistribution of taxpayers’ confiscated wealth should take precedent over a draconian attempt to eradicate a heroic symbol of the country’s past.  Hopefully, Ryan will be ousted this November as both Speaker and Congressman for not only his consistent sell out to Obummer and the Democrats on the budget, but his lack of understanding and appreciation of what is arguably the most important period of American history.

In a certain sense, the Confederate flag should not be displayed in national cemeteries or for that matter flown alongside those of the Union.  The two are representations of dramatically opposed political ideologies.  Liberals and political opportunists of all sorts have deliberately smeared the South’s attempt at secession as being entirely over the issue of slavery.  The “Civil War” (which that struggle has become known by) is now seen through Politically Correct hindsight.

A civil war, in the truest sense, is a conflict between factions attempting to gain control of a government typically for their own aggrandizement.  The bloody conflict between the North and South was not that, nor was it solely over slavery although the institution played a role in it.

The Confederacy wanted no part of the Washington establishment at the time, which it believed had become too tyrannical, and attempted to secede from it.  The remaining states of the North, under the “leadership” of Abraham Lincoln, prevented this at the cost of more than 600,000 lives, the vast destruction of property, and the impoverishment of a people who simply sought to rule themselves.

The South’s action was nearly identical to what the colonies, North and South, did some 80 years previously in breaking away from the British Empire and becoming free and independent states under the benign rule of the Articles of Confederation.

As America’s Founding Fathers saw their liberties violated by King and Parliament, Southerners witnessed similar tyrannies and wisely anticipated more federal oppression with the election of Lincoln.

This interpretation has been ably supported by scholarship, though the view is rarely acknowledged in academia or in the mainstream media.  In an essay from an insightful collection titled Secession, State and Liberty, Donald Livingston persuasively describes the ideological content of the Declaration of Independence, the revolution it inspired, and its influence on the South’s leadership.

He writes: “Overall, the Declaration is an argument designed to justify the secession of the new self-proclaimed American states from the British state. . .  [It] is a document justifying the territorial dismemberment of a modern state in the name of the moral right of a people to self-government.”*

The South, imbued with such logic and the example of the Revolutionary generation’s break with Great Britain, attempted to separate from the Union on similar grounds and, in Livingston’s view, had a much stronger claim than the Founding Fathers had for independence:

[T]he colonies were not and never had been recognized as sovereign states, either by others or even by themselves.  At the time of the Civil War, however, the southern states had been and still were sovereign states, and so they could mount not only a moral argument but a legal one as well.  And it was the legal argument they primarily insisted upon.  Each state used the same legal form to secede from the Union that it has used to enter, namely, ratification in a convention of people.**

Although slavery was a part of the South’s final break with the North, the Confederacy could never have been built on such a narrow foundation.  Those who seek to paint Southern secession as a movement solely designed to protect their “peculiar institution” have either misunderstood the genesis of that struggle or do so for political gain.

While Southern secession is mercilessly condemned by the Establishment, scholars like Professor Livingston see it and the War for Southern Independence in a much different and far nobler light: “With the orderly, legal secession of the southern states, the American genius for self-government reached its highest moral expression.”***

The Northern and Southern flags which fly in national cemeteries across the land are indeed representative of different traditions, but not what the Politically Correct crowd would have everyone to believe.

The defenders of Dixie and the flags that commemorate their courageous actions have long since been morally justified.  The Union flag, on the other hand, has been one of aggression and domination, at first, brutally directed at its fellow countrymen who simply sought self-determination, and afterwards against millions of peoples from Vietnam to Iraq.

Hopefully, in the not too distant future as economic conditions worsen and American hegemony can no longer be maintained, the Union flag and the empire in which it represents will receive greater vitriol than the Confederate flag has gotten for its innumerable mass murders, destruction, crimes, and chaos which it has wantonly brought to every corner of the planet.

*David Gordon, ed., Secession, State & Liberty. Donald W. Livingston, “The Secession Tradition in America.” New Brunswick (U.S.A.), Transaction Publishers, 1997, p. 7

** Ibid., 18.

*** Ibid., 19.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/