Patterico's Pontifications

9/20/2014

Scotland’s Vote Makes the Point: It’s OK for a Free People to Decide for Themselves Whether to Secede

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:31 pm



One of the benefits of the vote on Scottish independence is that it helps re-establish a common-sense principle: a smaller political unit is allowed to choose whether to break away from a larger one. Nobody really thinks twice about the concept that Scotland was allowed to decide for itself whether to remain part of the United Kingdom. If they wanted to stay (and they did), fine. If they wanted to break away — well, that would have been fine too.

But if anyone suggests that a state should have the right to vote to break away from the United States, that person is necessarily Certifiably Insane.

I think it’s pretty clear this attitude derives from our history. In our wonderful and increasingly federally-dominated school system, children are indoctrinated to believe that we are “one nation, under God, indivisible” — and that some evil men once tried to secede because they loved slavery. So President Lincoln, because he hated slavery and racial prejudice, decided to stop the evil men from seceding — and now, anyone who talks about seceding probably is a Neoconfederate who wants to re-enslave black people.

There are some problems with that narrative, for anyone who cares to look at the facts. Lincoln said quite plainly in his First Inaugural Address that he was willing to allow slavery to continue in the South:

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

In that same speech, Lincoln promised to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act:

There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions:

“No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall in consequence of any law or regulation therein be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”

It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended by those who made it for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive slaves; and the intention of the lawgiver is the law. All members of Congress swear their support to the whole Constitution–to this provision as much as to any other. To the proposition, then, that slaves whose cases come within the terms of this clause “shall be delivered up” their oaths are unanimous.

It would be a bit odd to think that he turned on a dime so quickly and decided to fight a horribly bloody war simply because he hated slavery. He repeatedly said otherwise: that he fought the war to maintain the Union. As for his views on racial equality, it is enough to quote him from the Fourth Lincoln/Douglas debate:

While I was at the hotel to-day, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing a perfect equality between the negroes and white people. [Great Laughter.] While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, [applause]-that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.

So: whatever you think of Lincoln, let’s not pretend he was not a non-racist, abolitionist angel. But due to the fact that the Civil War ultimately resulted in the abolition of slavery — one of the most ugly, anti-liberty institutions in human history — it’s understandably difficult for most people to see that war as anything but a Good Thing, no matter the horrible bloodshed or atrocities associated with it. Fair enough.

But what does that have to do with whether secession is a valid option today? Slavery has been history for generations. No state that makes noises about secession is talking about re-instituting slavery. No, those who advocate seceding from the United States, as far as I can tell, are people raising valid points about the sorry state of the economy and national debt, and the seemingly unstoppable march towards the repeal of our basic freedoms.

Why is it insane to have this discussion? Why do people take it as a given that the Absolute Pinnacle of Ideal Government is a single national government that rules over 300 million disparate people? It is really so crazy to posit that some of the states are tired of being under the thumb of a system that is running us off a fiscal cliff? It is truly insane to suggest that maybe some of the states are sick of choosing between socialism and socialism lite? Is it beyond the realm of rational discussion to argue that a state like Texas, which was once its own country, might choose to reassert that status when its borders are under attack and the national government won’t lift a finger to defend them?

To me, it’s not obvious that any state should actually secede. The benefits of having free movement and free trade between the states are worth preserving.

But if the situation in Scotland means anything, it’s that a free people should be able to debate and decide these questions for themselves.

58 Responses to “Scotland’s Vote Makes the Point: It’s OK for a Free People to Decide for Themselves Whether to Secede”

  1. Ding!

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. America used to stand for something before it became an oppressive

    fascist

    laughably indebted

    wholly corrupt

    whorestate

    but today we can forget about the one nation under God part

    different bits and pieces might could take up the liberty and justice for all idea and run with it though

    that would be kinda neat actually

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  3. The situation in the ru -up to the Civil War s by no means as simple as those who argue that the South had a right to seceed would like to pretend, just as the War was far less about abolishing slavery than many Northerners might like to pretend.

    The south was afflicted with a class of would-be aristocrats – the Planters – who used the leverage slavery gave them to lord it over less afluent whites in the south, and to exercise a degree of control over tye Union far out of proportion to their numbers. Rather than noticing that Slavery annoyed the North and withdrawing from the Union they forced the North to abet them in keeping slaves, running roughshod over Northern States Rights. Then, when the population of the North looked like it might overpower their (unfair) advantage, they pouted and threTened to take the ball home.

    The War was about giving the South the kucking it had been begging for for decades. Abolishing dlavery was a byproduct.

    C. S. P. Schofield (848299)

  4. Well, one in four Americans are now open to secession. That’s not an insignificant percentage. As the rot continues, secession will become less of a certifiably insane idea as it once was. Anger and desperation tend to do that.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  5. Secession, unless the state were on the coast, or an international boundary, would most likely by an economic failure – which kind of restricts the pool of candidates. If New York were to secede, they would turn New England into an “East Prussia”, and we know how that turned out.

    askeptic (efcf22)

  6. Can we just vote to kick out Kalifornia?

    Edoc118 (c37322)

  7. New scottish bumper sticker: You should never forget that you LOST!

    mr.gop (ef9adb)

  8. 3 It was john browns raid on harpers ferry that got Lincoln elected as south now would not vote for Douglas and thought most in north agreed with john browns tactic that provoked civil war.

    mr.gop (ef9adb)

  9. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to craft a piece of political theory which would elaborate upon a set of principles which would determine whether a subsidiary political unit could unilaterally remove itself from under the sovereignty of a superordinate unit. Recall the evolution of the Holy Roman Empire if you wish to have a cautionary tale. The immediate practical problem: how small a political unit may secede? Is not the logic of this that every man can declare a Republic of Himself?

    You had some things in Scotland you commonly do not. The population of Scotland, its settlement patterns, and its sum of productive enterprise encompass just enough to support a sovereign state with a full buffet of sophisticated institutions: its own bourse, it’s own currency, its own banks, its own insurance companies, it’s own research universities, its own university hospitals, it’s own military. You could say the same of Quebec, and Flanders, and Wallonia-cum-Brussels, and Bavaria, and northern and southern Italy. When you start talking about other examples, it gets chancier. Catalonia is not coterminous with the Catalan language ambo and is demographically dominated by greater Barcelona; Basque Country has only 2 million people so would be dependent on foreign capital markets; Wales has only three million people, the largest city therein is smaller than Des Moines, and it’s notably less affluent than Scotland. Western Australia has a total population deficit and is demographically dominated by the Perth metropolis &c.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  10. Secession, unless the state were on the coast, or an international boundary, would most likely by an economic failure – which kind of restricts the pool of candidates.

    Not as much as you might think. Take a look at the map and tell me how many states are land-locked with no access to an international border. Maybe 15 of the 50?

    Patterico (9c670f)

  11. There are also conventional boundaries to Scotland. That’s not the case with other candidates for secession. It’s particularly an issue with Quebec as the Nord du Quebec region is largely populated by aboriginals who generally resist secession, as there are a string of border municipalities in Ontario whose population is modally francophone, and as you’d cut the heart out of Quebec if you excised greater Montreal (which has had opinions about secession which diverged sorely from the rest of Quebec).

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  12. 8-
    Well, Iowa is due for a taking-down.

    askeptic (efcf22)

  13. If New York were to secede, they would turn New England into an “East Prussia”, and we know how that turned out.

    The problems with New York seceding are as follows:

    1. The territory conjoins two incongruous parts, Upstate and Downstate, and would render Upstate a tributary of Downstate. Upstate is already treated dismissively enough by Downstate without the addition of sovereignty to the stew.

    2. Fully a third of the New York metropolitan settlement is over the river in New Jersey. That polycentric urban blob constitutes nearly 2/3 of the State of New Jersey’s population. In fact, excising the shares of greater New York and greater Philadelphia from New Jersey would leave you with an interesting configuration: a population of about 2 million, one third tier city and two fourth-tier cities, a long coastline, and masses of pine woods. Rather like Maine, with gangsters.

    3. Should greater New York – a blob with in excess of 17 million people and real income levels more than a third higher than national means – secede, would they be allowed to annex territory as suburban tract development proceeded? Could they still function as the ‘national metropolis’ for the United States (or all North America) while sovereign?

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  14. Take a look at the map and tell me how many states are land-locked with no access to an international border. Maybe 15 of the 50?

    Fewer, but most American states either lack total demographic heft or lack cities of requisite dimensions for either university hospitals or bourses. Look at New Zealand or Norway or Ireland. A concentrated population center of about 1 million would be a baseline, with a total population of north of 4 million. Singapore as a city-state has a population north of 4 million. Washington state can manage that, as can components of Texas, as can components of Florida, as can components of California. Pennsylvania is nearly landlocked and missing components of Philadelphia, Illinois has a subaltern population like that of Upstate New York and is connected to Canada only by sea lanes, Colorado is landlocked, Arizona is landlocked and dominated by Phoenix. Massachusetts is dominated by greater Boston, Virginia would have to relinquish the parts of the federal capital it has…

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  15. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to craft a piece of political theory which would elaborate upon a set of principles which would determine whether a subsidiary political unit could unilaterally remove itself from under the sovereignty of a superordinate unit. Recall the evolution of the Holy Roman Empire if you wish to have a cautionary tale. The immediate practical problem: how small a political unit may secede? Is not the logic of this that every man can declare a Republic of Himself?

    We need not engage in such philosophical speculation because this country was founded as a federation of independent states. Because Virginia explicitly reserved for itself the right to back out, and because every state enters on equal terms as the rest, all states have the right to back out. Therefore a state may back out.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  16. Why would New York secede, for that matter the North East, the speculation is about Texas and parts of the South East, then there is the Aztlan fantasy.

    narciso (ee1f88)

  17. Right, Texas is the clearest case. Tradition of independence, border under invasion, economy booming — why stay?

    Patterico (9c670f)

  18. Taking more Vitamin A might reduce the desire to secede.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  19. If I was Texas I’d take my chances and go. Might work the second time round.
    However, I’d recommend not firing on any US Military installations this time.

    rcocean (965492)

  20. if you secede you can tell the EPA to go piss in a bottle

    how could this be a bad thing?

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  21. If I were texas, I’d try to,get a few contiguous (and generally well armed) States to go with me…and head South. If Mexico has been decently governed at any time in its history, I’ m unaware of it.

    C. S. P. Schofield (848299)

  22. If I was Texas I’d take my chances and go. Might work the second time round.
    However, I’d recommend not firing on any US Military installations this time.

    It would always be nice for a country from which one has seceded to remove its military installations from the country that seceded. The seceding country needs to be careful not to kill any mules lest this justify massacring huge swaths of its male population.

    Patterico (f292fa)

  23. Sure. Let them secede. Then we arm an uprising by the loyalists, send in a few brigades to help them, ethnically cleanse all the seceshes, and accept back a loyal state with loyal citizens.

    nk (dbc370)

  24. A partition along loyalist and rebel lines would be a “legitimate” compromise. Which parts of Texas have the oil and which parts the Mexican drug cartels? It would probably be three-part partition, with South Texas voting to be annexed into Mexico.

    nk (dbc370)

  25. California needs to split along a N-S line about 100 yards east of I -5 and the newly formed East Cali hit the silk.

    Gramps, the original (7adb80)

  26. First:
    http://www.volokh.com/2012/03/06/libertarianism-and-the-civil-war/

    Note specifically the fourth point – that the black slaves didn’t get to vote.
    So before we discuss secession in theory let us note that what caused the Civil War was all those unfree people who didn’t get a voice in the discussion.
    That also leads to questioning the status of the several counties in the rebelling states that opposed secession and the extent to which they were oppressed by the Confederate governments for daring to want to secede.

    I would also note this:
    http://www.volokh.com/2013/07/19/why-some-libertarians-sympathize-with-the-confederacy/

    And suggest that it does not go far enough in indicting the Rothbardian Anarchism which made historical revisionism a core part of its strategy to subvert government.

    So with more perspective on those elements of the background, we come to this:

    “No, those who advocate seceding from the United States, as far as I can tell, are people raising valid points about the sorry state of the economy and national debt, and the seemingly unstoppable march towards the repeal of our basic freedoms.”

    Perhaps right now, but when Bush was in office it was the opposite. Indeed:

    “It is truly insane to suggest that maybe some of the states are sick of choosing between socialism and socialism lite?”

    Actually, as the rise of Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren shows, there are just as many who would prefer secession if it meant ending that choice and getting to have full on communism.
    The whole Scottish vote was promoted in the name of a greater command economy and not a greater free market economy.
    Meanwhile, Crimean “independence” almost certainly means absorption into Putin’s empire, much as Abkhazia and South Ossetia have gained their independence. (And of course while Chechnya has not.)
    And do you truly believe that an independent California would chart a course into free market paradise under Governor Moonbeam?

    It is nice to imagine that secession is about a free people deciding for themselves, but the record shows that it is just as likely if not more so to be the ever popular “one person, one vote, one time”. As Kipling wrote:
    Whether The People be led by The Lord,
    Or lured by the loudest throat:
    If it be quicker to die by the sword
    Or cheaper to die by vote–
    These are things we have dealt with once,
    (And they will not rise from their grave)
    For Holy People, however it runs,
    Endeth in wholly Slave.

    So before you being this casual discussion of secession, be aware that it may not bring the freedom you were expecting.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  27. We need not engage in such philosophical speculation because this country was founded as a federation of independent states. Because Virginia explicitly reserved for itself the right to back out, and because every state enters on equal terms as the rest, all states have the right to back out. Therefore a state may back out.

    Good luck with that, Mr. Sobran/diLorenzo.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  28. The majority of people in texas 40% latino 15% black and liberal white democrats do not want to secede. That is over50% of population of texas .

    mr.gop (ef9adb)

  29. Mr. Kipling was a very good rhymer

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  30. Art Deco: that is the historical record.

    Patterico (f292fa)

  31. I just wonder how many of the “Hispanics” in the South-West would actually vote for union with Mexico; after all, it is a country that – for the most part – they fled for better conditions in El Norte. How long after re-union with Mexico would it take for South Texas (for example) to be no better than the other side of the Rio Grande Valley?

    askeptic (efcf22)

  32. #7, Deco’s construct is upside down. The states were never subsidiary political units, nor was the federal government either sovereign or superordinate, and to assume so begs the question. Delegates from the states conceived the federal government and wisely limited it to specific designated powers in order to overcome shortcomings inherent in the Articles of Confederation. Thus was the federal government specifically created to serve the states, never to rule over them as their master.

    However, nearly from it’s very inception the federal government began improperly aggregating to itself powers and authorities prohibited by it’s creators. Under successive Administrations ever more authority was accumulated by the Executive Branch at the expense of both the Congress and of the states themselves. Eventually, efforts by the states to preserve their rights and to exercise their independence resulted first in the sectional conflict known as the Nullification Crisis of 1828 and 1832, and then conflict over enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act, and it finally exploded into open warfare in 1861.

    ropelight (9f2f00)

  33. When ya’ll, ya’ll, say a state has a right to secede, what do you ya’ll, ya’ll, mean by “state”? Plain majority, 50% plus one? And majority of what? Eligible voters?

    Now, Abraham got God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if Abraham could find ten good people in there. It seems to me, that if it’s good enough for God, it’s good enough for America. If there are ten people in the state who want to keep both their homes and their rights, privileges and immunities as American citizens*, that should end all talk of secession right there. What do ya’ll, ya’all, say?

    *Regardless of voting laws, BTW.

    nk (dbc370)

  34. That question is premature, anyway. I happen to think that, culminating with the end of Reconstruction, there was a novation of the American contract. But you seem to think the history prior to that is relevant, so let’s first reach a clear consensus on the causes of the Civil War the motivations of the people involved in it before we proceed further.

    nk (dbc370)

  35. *and* the motivations of the people involved in it

    nk (dbc370)

  36. The states were never subsidiary political units, nor was the federal government either sovereign or superordinate, and to assume so begs the question.

    I see you and Patterico are pleased to confound legal fictions with actual social relations. (In this case legal fictions not well-buttressed by actual case law). That aside, it’s the ‘historical record’ that 34 of the 50 states were artifacts of the United States Congress.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  37. However, nearly from it’s very inception the federal government began improperly aggregating to itself powers and authorities prohibited by it’s creators.

    Yeah, let’s have a review of twee political controversies of the 1790’s. The federal government only has the authority to designate post roads and not build them. When you two are done imbibing the Voegli Kool-Aid and the Thomas-Woods Kool-Aid, you might give some thought to practical steps to improve community control in this country.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  38. #33, Deco, are you pretending to be unaware the states I referenced at #29 were those which founded the federal government in 1788? Otherwise, your comment seems devoid of lucid content other than as a vehicle for snide insults.

    ropelight (9f2f00)

  39. Deco, are you pretending to be unaware the states I referenced at #29 were those which founded the federal government in 1788?

    No, I was referring to the moderator’s remarks on the subject several posts north.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  40. #36, Deco, so that’s why you quoted from me at #29 and opened your comment with I see you and Patterico… Yeah, thanks for clearing that up.

    ropelight (9f2f00)

  41. How long after re-union with Mexico would it take for South Texas (for example) to be no better than the other side of the Rio Grande Valley?

    I was reading an article posted to the NBCnews.com website about the drought in Central California. Lots of people in that area are really suffering, saying the lack of water is causing a desperate situation. Two of the people interviewed said the conditions remind them of what they experienced when they still were residents of Mexico (ie, they presumably lacked indoor plumbing or certainly reliable water supplies). So an extreme climatic reality in the US is what is required to make this part of the world seem more like that part of the world.

    Throw in corrupt police forces, narco gangs kidnapping and killing people and displaying their headless bodies or limbs, and Obama-type politics on an indefinite time chart, and the US eventually will be like home away from home to the undocumented.

    Mark (c160ec)

  42. 29. Delegates from the states conceived the federal government and wisely limited it to specific designated powers in order to overcome shortcomings inherent in the Articles of Confederation. Thus was the federal government specifically created to serve the states, never to rule over them as their master.

    That is incorrect as well, as it allows for the States to be the masters of the people. That is the error of the “States’ Right” group that provoked the nullification crises and ultimately the Civil War as an outgrowth from them.

    The federal government is both a construct of the people and of the States – it is both democratic AND federalist at the same time. That is why the Constitution begins with “We the People” and not “We the States” even though it describes relations between the States and the federal government more than between the people and the federal government. It is also why the 10th Amendment specifies powers reserved to both the States and to the People. (And why the 9th Amendment only refers to the rights of the people and not the States.)

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  43. One of the problems I see with such a movement is that our local and state governments are largely ornamental and would be totally incapable of self-governance. Unlike Saddam Hussein, the Federal government has created such a state of dependency through a system of bribes (subsidies) and threats based on environmental and fairness concerns. Saddam was a little more direct. But the end result is the same.

    For decades most of our school districts and local governments have been focused on what amounts to grant cultivation and little else. In my neighborhood, an earthquake knocked out a road that had been built by local funding many decades ago. One would think that the repair of the road would involve the county and the municipal government and life would go on. Instead, the county and municipal governments grovelled at the feet of our local Congressman, and three years later we were granted a road project complete with a large sign acknowledging the Congressman (a Democrat who is currently distinquishing himself by calling the authors of “13 Hours” liars) and our Governor (also a Democrat.) The funding for the project was split about 75% Federal, 20% State, and 5% local. The municipal contribution was probably the cost of preparing the grant.

    The problem is that the revenues of our local governments is largely static. But the Federal government offers a means of supplementing that income with free and reduced lunch subsidies, bussing subsidies, subsidies for environmental activities, mass transit subsidies, housing subsidies, and so on. Our local officials have responded by focusing on their compliance with various Federal dictates to ensure that their access to the Federal trough isn’t jeoparized. It makes sense in a small scale, but by focusing on the Federal rules and regulations, these stooges have completely lost sight of needs and opportunities of their neighborhoods. They are nothing more than low paid agents of the Federal government.

    The consequence is obvious. After a decade of municipal “improvements” our small business activities have now trended to barristas (clothed and otherwise,) pawn shops, and tatoo parlors. What was once a vibrant shopping center is now four acres of parking, unused, and Metro bus terminal that occupies another five acres. A new condominium built on the remainder of the site has been begging for tenants for five years, and street level retails spaces are still mostly (90%) empty. A new drugstore is in the process of being built, but part of their contribution to a better world was to install what appeared to be 8′ diameter storm drains beneath the site, which would suggest a drainage basin hundreds or thousands of times larger than what exists. But it must make sense economically, so this suggests that it might have expedited the permit process.

    Absent Federal rules and emotional lode stars like Climate Change and “fairness”, these custodians of the State and municipal weal are rudderless. This would be more apparent under local rule, so perhaps it would engender the needed changes in our society. If not, we’d just be another third world backwater, with delapidated, decaying Federal office buildings marking the good old days.

    bobathome (5ccbd8)

  44. “Slavery has been history for generations.” – sadly, while that is true in those parts of the world governed based upon Western/Judeo-Christian principles, slavery has continuously been practised in significant parts of this planet since the 7th century AD (or CE, if you prefer) … the prevailing ideology in those areas continuing the practice of slavery is that it is fully-legal under their legal system to own slaves as long as those slaves are kufr … (or kaffir, depending upon the pronunciation.dialect) …

    It is not a significant factor in any discussion of secession from the United States, as far as I can tell …

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  45. One of the problems I see with such a movement is that our local and state governments are largely ornamental and would be totally incapable of self-governance.

    If you wanted to persuade someone you knew nothing, you’ve done it.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  46. Sam #24 – you do both a service and a disservice in your Kipling quote …

    I strongly recommend reading the entire poem – Macdonough’s Song – and also an excellent article published in 1919 (which can be read at Kipling article … the article is worth reading slowly and then over again … I know that I bookmarked it, to share with others, once they are open to considering such words of wisdom …

    The beginning and end of the segment you quote both suggest that the target of Kipling’s disdain (and stronger) are religious leaders and believers – that is what tends to catch the eye, drawing attention away from what *you* wrote in “It is nice to imagine that secession is about a free people deciding for themselves, but the record shows that it is just as likely if not more so to be the ever popular “one person, one vote, one time”.” …

    Kipling’s first target is the “Terror” – the result of the French Revolution … the out-of-control mob being guided by demagogues to terrible decisions and horrifying deeds …

    (I admit that I am curious as to how and in what ways commenters here will respond to the article and my comment)

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  47. Kipling was a reactionary hack with a talent for putting words in a row in an entertaining way. The Jungle Book or Orange Is The New Black; what does your taste in entertainment run to? That’s all. No great shakes.

    nk (dbc370)

  48. I am surprised that the account of Lincoln’s views of Negro slavery and the war did not reference a statement he made later, summarizing those views:

    “If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

    Another party (8e12a4)

  49. #42, ArtDeco: If my thesis is too difficult for you to grasp, perhaps it would be best if you simply skipped the message. Your reply, such as it is, suggests that it is beyond you to provide a counter point, which tells me more about you than you might care to acknowledge. Have you dealt with your local mayor, or your school district? They’re nice people, but they march to a different drummer. Physics, chemistry, mathematics, logic are all subservient to governmental rules. Do you think every 400 feet of road repair requires Federal support? Do you think CO2 is a pollutant? Would we be better off if Pi was defined by law to be 3.0? These sorts of things are important if you value self-sufficiency. Stupidity is expensive, and we are squandering the wealth this country created chasing unicorns.

    bobathome (5ccbd8)

  50. 43.Sam #24 – you do both a service and a disservice in your Kipling quote …

    I strongly recommend reading the entire poem – Macdonough’s Song – and also an excellent article published in 1919 (which can be read at Kipling article … the article is worth reading slowly and then over again … I know that I bookmarked it, to share with others, once they are open to considering such words of wisdom …

    I have read the entire poem.
    And the short story, “As Easy as A.B.C.”, that it derives from. Here is a link to that:
    http://www.forgottenfutures.com/game/ff1/abc.htm

    The beginning and end of the segment you quote both suggest that the target of Kipling’s disdain (and stronger) are religious leaders and believers –

    First, I wasn’t going to quote the entire poem.
    Second, I wasn’t going to quote the entirety of “As Easy as A.B.C.”
    If the terminally illiterate therefore wind up with the wrong impression as a result it does not prove that I did a disservice with my quote but rather than those doing the misinterpretation are indeed terminally illiterate, not to mention being the problem Kipling is warning against.

    that is what tends to catch the eye, drawing attention away from what *you* wrote in “It is nice to imagine that secession is about a free people deciding for themselves, but the record shows that it is just as likely if not more so to be the ever popular “one person, one vote, one time”.” …

    Surely context would lead one to understand the connection between that and “lured by the loudest throat” and “cheaper to die by the vote”.
    Or am I again to be accountable for the limits of the terminally illiterate?

    Kipling’s first target is the “Terror” – the result of the French Revolution … the out-of-control mob being guided by demagogues to terrible decisions and horrifying deeds …

    Well, not to mention the world destroying catastrophe brought on by out of control, clearly socialist derived, mob rule in “As Easy as A.B.C.”

    (I admit that I am curious as to how and in what ways commenters here will respond to the article and my comment)
    Alastor (2e7f9f)

    My response is:
    “Well yes, I know all that, and quite a bit more about just how right Kipling was about so many things.”

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  51. Sam #47 – I was (and am) actually recommending that lots of folk are likely to enjoy (and benefit from) reading Kipling … I do not doubt that you yourself had read his works … the more people that do, the more who will understand better a lot of our current problems …

    People are human, and fallible, and often lazy (present company included) – so it can take effort to arouse passions … and it is worth the effort, as far as I am concerned, to show how others can become less the problem and more the solution … our mileages will indeed vary …

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  52. As to state vs. federal stuff…. I believe it was Shelby Foote (in vol 1) who noted that it was just about the time of the Civil War that the lexicon shifted from “…the United States are…” to “… the United States is…”. This tells us that prior to that war the US was truly a collection of independent states and that it “morphed” into a nation that had subdivision called states. The effect of that shift continues to be revealed…

    With education as my prime example, what aspect of our lives has been enhanced by expanded involvement of the federal government?

    Gramps, the original (7adb80)

  53. The problem with secession is that those who secede break up a country that is important not just to them, but to the people in other regions. Scottland should not have been allowed to secede without a vote of all the people of Great Britain. The same applies to US states.

    If we have a problem with the federal government (and boy, do we!), we should fix it. Secession is dumb, and unfair to those who oppose it.

    John Moore (ac5430)

  54. With education as my prime example, what aspect of our lives has been enhanced by expanded involvement of the federal government?

    Does that mean we should compare the literacy rate in 1860 to the literacy rate today – are least 50 years ago?
    Should we also compare the standard of living in 1860 to the standard of living today?
    What about the various mortality rates?
    How about just the raw world power and standing of the United States?

    Unfortunately most all of those are way too complex to be so simply declared the result of more or less federal intrusion, and we have no functional control to compare them to.
    Ultimately that leaves the entire question as one big straw man unless you are truly prepared to accept conditions in 1860 as your comparison point, in which case you pretty much lose outright simply because of the medium being used for the exchange.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  55. ArtDeco: If my thesis is too difficult for you to grasp,

    Your remarks have two components: one was a thesis statement which is pig ignorant. The rest is a ramble largely irrelevant to your thesis statement (supplemented with nonsense like “Physics, chemistry, mathematics, logic are all subservient to governmental rules.”)/

    North of 80% of all public employees work for state and local governments. They’re not ‘largely ornamental’ and are responsible for 89% of the manpower deployed in law enforcement, virtually all the manpower deployed in public education, and over 95% of the manpower deployed in public works.

    There is nothing that prevents the federal government from distributing revenue to state governments according to formula and without restrictions, nothing which prevents state governments from doing the same for county governments and school districts, and nothing which prevents county governments from doing the same for municipalities. They just don’t feel like it, in part because nincompoops like Alphonse d’Amato build their political base by favor trading with federal money and there are analogues in state legislatures who do likewise. They cannot act as benefit brokers if the cash is distributed without restrictions. At the local level, politicians manifest and act as conduits for the social resentments of their constituents, a critical mass of whom froth up at the idea of any cross subsidy between arbitrarily defined municipalities and any consolidation of services (e.g. police forces). There are ways to address these problems, but you’d be hard put to find one active Republican in 100 who gives evidence of caring.

    You seem to fancy that civil and environmental engineers employed by county and municipal governments would not know what to do with themselves absent federal guidelines and that no one knows how to run a school absent directives from the state capital. Not sure how you came by this idea.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  56. My dear friends, give me a minute of your attention and you will hear about this marvelous new invention called secession. This miraculous elixir has cured arteriosclerosis and nervous indigestion, suicidal mania, exhaustion, defective vision, epilepsy, palsy, asthma, deafness, goiter, kleptomania, domestic troubles, insanity, prostate trouble, rheumatism, universal arthritis, shell shock, ptosis and colitis, fever, panic, dementia praecox, imbecility, and, furthermore will put a car in every pot and a chicken in every garage. Why, dear friends, this miracle of the ages ….

    nk (dbc370)

  57. I think you are not giving Mr. Lincoln the credit he is due. He used cautious words about abolition because at the time the full force of the Abolitionist movement, of which he was very much a part, was not fully palatable to the populous. He speaks of “not interfering”, which he means as a Senator, because it was national abolition which was the great fear. He says, “if” whites and blacks are not going to be equal, I am in favor of the whites being superior, etc.

    Further down in the document you linked his opponent uncovers Lincoln’s real intent. Lincoln had gone from place to place in Illinois pushing for abolition. He had brought “Fred Douglass, the negro” on his speaking tours and wanted him to speak before the Democratic Convention (stunned silence). Yes, Lincoln thought that Abolition was not worth destroying the Union for, but he did believe it a fundamental good and both his opponents and the Southerners knew it. That is why his election in November lead to the Montgomery Convention in February and secession.

    It is disappointing that Lincoln played such political word games but he believed a great deal was at stake and, in the end, the cost was tremendous to the country and Lincoln himself.

    Mark Yunque (ff1163)

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