Tag Archives: American History

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

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Donald’s Electoral Struggle

trump-map

After touting her pro-labor union record, the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua rhetorically asked, “why am I not 50 points ahead?”  Her chief rival bluntly responded: “because you’re terrible.”* No truer words have been uttered by any of the candidates about one of their opponents since the start of this extraordinary presidential campaign!

That Hillary Clinton is even remotely competitive in the race despite her flagrant and undeniable corruption, numerous breaches of national security, a long incompetent and bungling political career, and the utter lack of any personal charm or charisma, points to ominous trends within the American electorate that if not checked will mean political futility for future challengers of the status quo and continued economic deterioration.

Simply put: Killary is in contention despite a mountain of negatives because the “dependency class” of the electorate has mushroomed to such an extent that anyone who seeks its reform is automatically at a disadvantage, while candidates, no matter how vile, who promise to keep the gravy train rolling or expand it, will remain viable.  This is the dilemma that Donald Trump faces.

Most of the data in this regard is quite telling.  To show how far the US has fallen as an economic power, government workers outnumber manufacturing workers by 9,932,000!  The three levels of government – federal, state, local – employ some 22,213,000 people while the manufacturing sector employs 12,281,000.**   Parasitical bureaucrats outnumber those who actually create wealth by almost double.  Not only is this a recipe for economic stagnation and decline, but it creates an entrenched voting bloc and contingency for government-friendly office seeking politicians.  There have been few if any more government-friendly figures over the past century than Hillary Rotten Clinton!

Those who are dependent on the State goes far beyond mere government employees: 46 million receive food assistance, 66 million people are “Social Security” recipients, 8 million people receive “unemployment insurance.”  Federal government spending on for-profit firms comes to some $500 billion, which Charles Murray has estimated is about 22% of the workforce or about 36 million people.  Non-profit organizations and NGOs with income of $2 trillion and 12 million employees receive about one third of their funding from the government which accounts for another 3 million dependents.  This brings the total American State-dependency class to a staggering 181 million members!***

Summing up this disturbing data, the eminent economist and philosopher, Hans-Hermann Hoppe wrote:

                   . . . only 79 million people or about one third

of the adult (above 18) US population of 260 million

(or about 25 percent of the total population of 320

million) can be said to be financially wholly or largely

independent of the State, whereas close to 70 percent of

the US adult population and 57% of the total population

are to be counted as State-dependents.****

These trends will be accentuated, to say the least, if Donald Trump is defeated, which will give Hillary and the Republican-amnesty crowd free reign.  After grants of amnesty for the millions of illegals already in the country are given and opening of the nation’s borders to even more, any hope of true reform of the welfare state will be extinguished.  Moreover, it will further burden those of the productive, non-dependency sectors of society who will have to support even larger groups of parasites and free loaders.

The Left clearly understands what is at stake, which is why they see Trump’s anti-immigration stance, his talk of closing agencies (Department of Education), and grappling with federal spending as a direct threat to their power base.  This is why they are apoplectic in their opposition to the billionaire businessman turned presidential contender.  He and his constituency are, for the most part, outside of the dependency class.

A population that is increasingly tied to government largesse is obviously not conducive for economic growth.  For Donald Trump to make America great again, the nation’s burgeoning dependency class must be halted.  Not only will this mean that the “Trump Movement” will not be a passing political fad, but will have a necessary and lasting impact.

That Hillary Clinton is not significantly ahead despite her enormous advantages must be cause for a lot of sleepless nights among the power elite.  A Clinton Presidency would secure the Left’s electoral dominance for years to come.

One man stands in their way.

* Guy Benson, “Question From Hilary Clinton” ‘Why Aren’t I 50 Points Ahead?'”  Townhall.  22 September 2016.  http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2016/09/22/question-from-hillary-clinton-why-arent-i-ahead-by-50-points-n2222202

**Terence P. Jeffrey.  “Government Workers Now Outnumber Manufacturing Workers by 9,932,000.  CNS News.  2 September 2016.  http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/government-workers-now-outnumber-manufacturing-workers-9932000#disqus_thread

***Hans-Hermann Hoppe.  “Democracy, De-Civilization , and Counterculture.”  HansHoppe.com.  26 September 2015.  http://www.hanshoppe.com/2015/09/democracy-de-civilization-and-counterculture-pfs-2015/

****Ibid.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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The Donald Versus Killary: War or Peace?

trump-vs-clinton

Although history does not exactly repeat itself, it does provide parallels and sometimes quite ominous ones.  Such is the case with the current U.S. Presidential election and the one which occurred one hundred years earlier.

The dominating question which hung over the 1916 campaign was whether the country would remain neutral in regard to the horrific slaughter which was taking place on the European battlefields in probably the greatest act of mass insanity ever recorded, World War I.

President Wilson had maintained that the U.S. would continue a policy of strict neutrality.  By all indications, the nation wanted no part of the war, with the President’s own party at his nomination delivering an emphatic “No” to any foreign intervention.

Although Wilson maintained a neutral policy through the election and briefly afterwards, his advisors and Cabinet had been lobbying for war and continued to do so even more vehemently after the President’s re-election was secured.  Nearly all of them, including Wilson himself, had deep financial, family, and political ties to J.P. Morgan.  Wilson received considerable Morgan financial backing for his two presidential runs.

The Morgan operatives within the Administration were pushing for war because the House of Morgan had “invested” heavily in the “Allied” cause and a defeat or a negotiated settlement with any favorable concessions to Germany would be a catastrophe for Morgan financial interests.

Germany understood the cozy Morgan relationship with the Wilson Administration and the Allied powers as Morgan representatives, especially the sinister Colonel House, had repeatedly rebuffed peace proposals from the Central Powers.  The Allies and their opponents understood that Wilson’s re-election would mean U.S. entry into the conflict.

Tragically, for the U.S. and for the course of war-ridden 20th century history, Wilson capitulated and brought the U.S. into the battle despite the campaign promise of neutrality and no real German threat.  The House of Morgan’s financial bacon was saved at the cost of a devastated Western world.

One hundred years later, the U.S. and the world stand at another critical juncture and face a similar choice: the election of a known war criminal who has not only shown no remorse for her murderous policies, but promises, if elected, to continue them; or the election of a candidate who has spoken of negotiating with America’s supposed principle enemy, a possible pull back in the nation’s unsustainable global empire, and the enactment of a legitimate use of federal authority – protection of the country’s borders.

It is difficult to believe that Donald Trump is not sincere in seeking accommodation and friendly relations with Russia.  It would be far easier for the billionaire businessman and would most likely secure his election if he followed the bellicose policy of the Democrat and Republican Presidents of the recent past who have continued to antagonize and threaten Russia.  The most hopeful sign for peace coming from the U.S. in quite a while has been Trump’s talk of de-escalation of tensions and a pledge to place American interests first in foreign policy, instead of mouthing the global domination designs of the crazed neocons.

Some of the things he has said about Vladimir Putin and Russia have been, to say the least, quite encouraging:

I think I would get along with Vladimir Putin.

I just think so.*

It is always a great honor to be so nicely

complimented by a man [Putin] so highly respected

within his own country and beyond.**

I have always felt that Russia and the United States

should be able to work well with each other towards

defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not

to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from

mutual respect.***

Although not a non-interventionist, a President Trump is unlikely to provoke Russia or China into a civilization-ending conflagration and has displayed the instincts of a true peace maker.

There is, however, little hope for a reduction of global tensions if his sociopathic opponent becomes Commander-in-Chief.  Killary has repeatedly demonstrated that she is a willing tool of the neocons and the global financial forces that will profit mightily from continued U.S.- instigated conflicts.  If she makes it past the finish line, either legitimately or more likely through fraud, she will surely do their bidding.

For once, politicians and pundits who routinely call every election “the most crucial of a generation” are right.  This year’s Presidential election is the most significant one since at least the fall of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc.  If the U.S. electorate wants to avoid the disaster not only to its own land and the world that followed in the wake of the 1916 election, there can be only one choice in November of 2016.

* , “Trump Says he Would ‘Get Along Very Well’ With Putin.”  NBCNews.com 30 July 2015.

**Maxwell Tani, “Vladimir Putin’s Praise is ‘A Great Honor.'”  Business Insider.  17 December 2015.

***Ibid.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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John Maynard Keynes’ “General Theory” Eighty Years Later

Keynes Gen Theory

To the economic and political detriment of the Western world and those economies beyond which have adopted its precepts, 2016 marks the eightieth anniversary of the publication of one of, if not, the most influential economics books ever penned, John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.  Sadly, even to this day, despite its thorough refutation by lights such as Henry Hazlitt and other eminent scholars, The General Theory, which spawned “Keynesianism” and its later variants, remains supreme in academics, financial markets, and public policy.

Despite its outlandish theoretical flaws and nonsensical economic jargon and the catastrophic empirical evidence of its failure to prevent financial downturns or “stimulate” sustainable growth, Keynesianism remains the ruling paradigm of economic thought.

Why?

A number of trenchant reasons have been given for the General Theory’s continued dominance, however, one stands above all else: Keynesian economics provides the intellectual justification for economists, statisticians, technocrats, bureaucrats, and policy wonks in their exalted positions as “fine tuners” of economies the world over.  Since markets are to Keynes and his disciples inherently unstable from erratic investment spending and aggregate demand, it is up to these theoreticians steeped in the knowledge of their master’s teachings to ameliorate any economic fluctuations.

The General Theory came on the scene at a propitious time during the height (or more accurately the depth) of  the Great Depression, which in 1936, despite Roosevelt’s New Deal and other Western nation states’ initiatives, had not improved conditions.  Keynesianism was actually a “middle way” between all out Soviet-style central planning and that of laissez-faire capitalism.  Primarily through fiscal policy, the economy would be kept on an even keel under the astute management of Keynesian-trained economists.  Naturally, this appealed to academics and intellectuals the world over who correctly envisioned positions of power and influence in expanded state apparatuses.

As history has shown, Keynesianism was to become more than a remedy for the Depression, but would be applicable after the crisis dissipated.  The General Theory was based, in part, on the (false) notion that the capitalist system is inherently unstable and is, therefore, in need of state intervention.  Keynes  deliberately ignored the scholarship at the time, which demonstrated that the instability was not a “market failure,” but a monetary disorder caused by artificial credit expansion generated by the central banks, especially the Federal Reserve.

The enthusiasm for The General Theory came at first from younger economists while it was (rightly) dismissed by many of their elders as incomprehensible.  Yet, its lack of clarity was appealing to the novices, since they would become the Creed’s interpreters.

Not all, however, were entirely overwhelmed by their mentor’s magnum opus as Paul Samuelson candidly admitted:

[The General Theory] is a badly written book:

poorly organized. . . . It abounds in mares’ nests

of confusions. . . .  I think I am giving away no

secrets when I solemnly aver – upon the basis of

vivid personal recollection – that no one else in

Cambridge, Massachusetts, really knew what it

was all about for some twelve to eighteen months

after publication.*

Despite such an assessment, Keynesianism was never seriously challenged by its adherents, it opened too many lucrative policy making doors to be refuted.

That Keynesianism continues to reign supreme, despite its theoretical and empirical bankruptcy, speaks volumes of the state of Western intellectual and academic life.  Instead of the pursuit of truth and the refutation of error, Western intelligentsia is primarily concerned with securing privilege and power for itself.  At one time such status was gained by honest inquiry into social questions and issues, now it is obtained in the justification of the expansion of state power.  Very few turn down such enticements!

Societies are the product of ideas.  Since the release of The General Theory, the Western world has been under the destructive sway of Keynesianism, which has resulted in stagnation, financial turmoil, and eventual collapse.  Until Keynes and his nutty theories have been refuted, the economic malaise will continue.

Quoted in Murray N. Rothbard, “Keynes, the Man.” In Mark Skousen, ed., Dissent on Keynes: A Critical Appraisal of Keynesian Economics.  New York: Praeger Publishers, 1992, p.184

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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“A Date Which Will Live in Infamy:” President Nixon’s Decision to Abandon the Gold Standard

Nixon-Gold

Franklin Delano Roosevelt called the Japanese “surprise” attack on the U.S. occupied territory of Hawaii and its naval base Pearl Harbor, “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy.”  Similar words should be used for President Nixon’s draconian decision 45 years ago this month that removed America from the last vestiges of the gold standard.

On August 15, 1971 in a televised address to the nation outlining a new economic policy entitled, “The Challenge of Peace,” Nixon instructed the Treasury Department “to take the action necessary to defend the dollar against the speculators.”*

Nixon continued:

I have directed Secretary Connally to suspend temporarily the convertibility of the dollar into gold or other reserve assets, except in amounts and conditions determined to be in the interests of monetary stability and in the best interests of the United States.**

Of course, any objective student of history knows that this was a lie and that it was not “speculators” which were causing monetary instability, but the U.S.’s own crazed inflationary policy which attempted to fund its imperialistic endeavor in Vietnam while expanding the welfare state at home.  This resulted in the Treasury losing an alarmingly amount of gold reserves to other central banks who rightly sought real value in exchange for depreciated American greenbacks.

In essence, Nixon’s decision ended gold redemption and placed the U.S. and the rest of the world on a purely fiat paper standard for the first time in recorded time.  By doing so, the U.S., in effect, became a deadbeat nation which no longer honored its obligations and was set on the road to its current banana republic status.

Instead of impeachment proceedings and his ultimate resignation for the juvenile break in at the headquarters of the nation’s other ruling crime syndicate, Nixon should have been imprisoned for this deliberate and destructive act which has led, in large measure, to the nation’s crushing and insurmountable debt burden, reoccurring booms and busts, and now economic stagnation.

Nixon’s disastrous decision had precedent.  FDR had his own day of monetary infamy in 1933 when, by Executive Order 6102, he outlawed the private ownership of the precious metal while eliminating  gold redemption by banks for dollars.  Ostensibly, the order was instituted as an emergency measure to combat the Depression, but in reality, it was done to allow the Federal Reserve greater “flexibility” in inflating the money supply.

While Roosevelt and Nixon’s decisions would backfire economically, their actions highlighted the totalitarian direction that the federal government and its executive branch were heading throughout the 20th century.  Moreover, the lack of opposition or protest to blatant executive dictatorial decrees by either the legislative or judicial wings of the federal government demonstrates again the flawed and frankly naive argument put forth by Constitutionalists of every ideological persuasion on how the celebrated “separation of powers” theory checks tyranny.

Nixon’s final abandonment of the gold standard had far greater ramifications than simply bad economics.  Without the discipline of hard money, central banks could, and did, create massive quantities of paper money and credit, which enriched the politically connected financial elites and the governments which they were aligned.  Such power was used, in time, to control, spy on, and regulate the subject populations to a degree never seen before.  The power of the state has swelled mostly through bank credit expansion without worry of gold redemption.

Despite what is taught in social science courses, a true gold standard is a greater protector of individuals’ economic well being and, ultimately, their political liberty than any legislation or “rights” document ever penned.  Hard money limits state power!

While it is painful to quote from an ardent opponent of sound money, the international bankster Baron Rothschild said it best when he described the relationship of money and power: “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.”

Richard Nixon’s elimination of the last remnant of the gold standard over four decades ago combined with FDR’s earlier decree has fulfilled to the detriment of the American and world economies Baron Rothschild’s adage to a tee.  The return of prosperity and individual liberty will only come about when these two heinous acts are eradicated.

*Richard M. Nixon.  “Address to the Nation Outlining a New Economic Policy: ‘The Challenge of Peace.’”  The American Presidency Project.  15 August 1971. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=3115

**Ibid.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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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

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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.

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