History

David Frum Fails Basic Reading Comprehension, Falsely Accuses Reason of Providing "Excuses for the Confederate Cause"

|

Earlier this week, former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum claimed that Texas congressman and Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul "openly prefers the slaveholding cause in the US Civil War." My colleague Matt Welch wondered if Frum had any evidence to support this statement, so he did some research of his own and found Paul asserting that "the Civil War wasn't fought over slavery." Welch then wrote:

I disagree with Paul's assertion that the Civil War wasn't fought over slavery (read Charles Oliver's classic 2001 Reason piece arguing the contrary), and I think his revisionist counter-proposal to have the North buy up the South's slaves sounds more than a bit naive, but none of that sounds to me like an open preference for "the slaveholding cause."

Frum has now responded, and his post contains one of the most embarrassing failures of basic reading comprehension I have ever seen. Frum writes:

It's truly bizarre that certain kinds of ultra-libertarians insist on endlessly contorting the historical record to provide excuses for the Confederate cause. I should have thought this style of libertarianism was different from the version on offer at Reason–but no.

To recap: Welch plainly states that Ron Paul is wrong about the Civil War and that Paul's "revisionist counter-narrative…sounds more than a bit naive," and Frum characterizes this as Reason providing "excuses for the Confederate cause."

Just in case anyone out there takes Frum seriously on this topic, below are a few of the things published by Reason that most certainly do not make excuses for either slavery or for the Confederacy. Among them are Charles Oliver's aforementioned argument for why slavery caused the Civil War, a celebration of the abolitionist Frederick Douglass as a libertarian hero, an attack on Thomas Jefferson's ownership of human property and failure to live up to his own words in the Declaration of Independence, and a description of the Confederate flag as representing "the cause of a nation state that championed an unforgivable violation of inalienable rights."

Southern Nationalism: Exploring the roots of the Civil War. By Charles Oliver.

The Confederate Leviathan. By Ronald Bailey.

Wrong Song of the South: The dangerous fallacies of Confederate multiculturalism. By David Beito and Charles Nuckolls.

'A Glorious Liberty Document': Frederick Douglass' case for an anti-slavery Constitution. By Damon Root.

The Trouble with Thomas Jefferson: The eloquent Founder's original sin. By Damon Root.

Up from Slavery: There's no such thing as a golden age of lost liberty. By David Boaz.

NEXT: The Doc Fix: A Lesson in How Government Doesn't Work

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Jesus fucking Christ, will someone put Frum out of his fucking misery? It should hurt to be that stupid.

    1. Ignorance is bliss, not blisters.

    2. Maybe Frum think “Old Mexican” is the editor’s collective handle.

      1. Maybe Frum has read Ron Paul’s fucking newsletters and wonders why Reason continues to celebreate a racist old windbag like Ron Paul. Just a guess.

  2. I’d suggest sending him back to the Great White North, but I don’t think they really deserve him.

    1. We’ve got plenty of stupid up here already, thanks.

    2. Take off, hoser.

  3. his post contains one of the most embarrassing failures of basic reading comprehension I have ever seen

    Frum is immune to embarrassment, so this won’t faze him. It’s a hallmark of being a partisan moron. See also: Krugman, Friedman, etc.

    1. Yeah, Krugman said Ron Paul was “wrong about everything” in the recession since inflation was still low, overlooking the basic fact that Ron Paul had predicted the collapse and the housing bubble that helped create it, while Krugman had not.

      1. Krugman totally predicted the bubble. He wrote several articles encouraging it.

  4. My God is he a dishonest piece of shit. And don’t forget their ensued a several hundred post thread on that post that consisted mostly of the local Rothbardites attacking Root for this post.

    Frum is just a thorough piece of shit. Who reads this loser?

    1. Obviously Reason.

    2. The only thing I could think of was that perhaps Frum mistook some of the comments for the content of the blog post. But that is too generous. He’s just a turd.

    3. I think Rothbardians works better than Rothbardites.

      1. Splitter!

      2. Rothatonians

  5. Lysander Spooner didn’t think that the war was fought because of slavery.

    1. The war was fought because Lincoln declared war on the Confederacy and then invaded them.

      Spooner pointed out that the South was engaging in chattel slavery, and that Lincoln’s warmongering created political slavery. Spooner condemned both types of slavery.

      1. And by implying that one was in anyway equivalent to the other ensured he should never be taken seriously.

        1. Conscription isn’t in any way equivalent to chattel slavery? Really, John?

          1. It is not nearly as bad. Does the draft last forever? Does it mean your children are drafted too? And your entire family?

            Unless it does, it is nothing like chattel slavery.

            1. Being dead in a war lasts forever, John.

              1. Well, until the dead rise and fight in the Great Undead War.

                1. Everyone should have a copy of “The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead” on hand just in case shit goes down.

                  http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-S…..1400049628

              2. Being dead in a war lasts forever

                War is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things.
                [insert flower graphic here]

            2. The draft lasts as long as the war lasts. The draft can call up both father and sons. The draft is done on the threat of imprisonment and death. The war is paid for by the citizens for years, decades even centuries after the war is over which is another enslavement. Along with the draft the war can also call up all people into forced labor, in the field or in factories even the battlefield. And the government who thinks that they can draft people think they can keep on doing it in war after war.

            3. No. The two things (slavery, conscription) are somewhat alike despite obvious and important differences. The concepts are comparable but they are neither interchangeable nor equivalent. Unfortunately for John, he mucked up an otherwise-tenable arg. by using the unfortunate phrase “nothing like.”
              Folks have been climbin’ too far out on that rhetorical limb since the days of Socrates (if not before).

              1. Nothing like was sloppy language. They are alike but not equivalent.

            4. The entering argument for conscription is that the government owns you and can compel you to fight. The major differences between antebellum chattel slavery and conscription are the relative rarity with which the government compels your service and that the pool of chattels is defined largely by age and gender rather than skin color.

              1. There are more differences than that. I can’t be drafted without my government, which I have a vote in creating, decides to draft me. And even after I am drafted, I still get to vote on that government. No one is drafted until the collective will of the people decides it to be so.

                The enslaved in the South, never got a vote on if they were to be enslaved. And no one is drafted from birth.

                1. “my government, which I have a vote in creating”

                  You can’t possibly believe this mitigates the evils of oppression by democracy, just because you had a “voice”. WTF

                2. “No one is drafted until the collective will of the people decides it to be so.”

                  Perhaps you remember Franklin’s definition of democracy.

                3. I can’t be drafted without my government, which I have a vote in creating, decides to draft me.

                  I had no vote in creating my government. It’s been around for hundreds of years. I vote against it every chance I get, to no avail.

            5. A government that can at pleasure accuse, shoot, and hang men, as traitors, for the one general offence of refusing to surrender themselves and their property unreservedly to its arbitrary will, can practice any and all special and particular oppressions it pleases. The result — and a natural one — has been that we have had governments, State and national, devoted to nearly every grade and species of crime that governments have ever practised upon their victims; and these crimes have culminated in a war that has cost a million of lives; a war carried on, upon one side, for chattel slavery, and on the other for political slavery; upon neither for liberty, justice, or truth. And these crimes have been committed, and this war waged, by men, and the descendants of men, who, less than a hundred years ago, said that all men were equal, and could owe neither service to individuals, nor allegiance to governments, except with their own consent.

              – Spooner

              1. If you think that people in the North in the 1860s were slave in the same way or in anything approaching morally or physically the way blacks in the South were enslaved, you are a fucking idiot.

                You cannot compare the two.

                1. If you cannot compare the two, it is impossible to claim that they are not the same.

                  /pedant

                2. It depends if you were a field Negro or a house Negro. The house Negros were much better off than the field Negros.

                  1. This is pretty much bullshit. The house Negros got beaten severally if ever they fucked up just like the field Negros. In fact they were usually subject to more psychological abuse to break them to the point that they would not be a danger to their masters.

            6. It lasts the rest of your life for lots of dudes.

        2. And John trots out the “taken seriously” stupidity. Excellent argument, John. Keep up the quality work. Hey, use the “the adults are talking” shit next; that never gets old.

          1. I don’t take Nazis and Communists too seriously either. Some things really are beyond the pale.

            1. So Spooner is equivalent to Nazis and Commies now? Shee-it.

        3. If you had read the link to the Spooner article I handily supplied to you, you would note that Spooner said there were degrees of slavery.

          He didn’t say they were equivalent in degree of severity — he said they were both violations of basic human rights.

          1. So what? The speed limit is a violation of human rights. At some point a difference in degree becomes a difference in kind.

            Today we live under the largest most intrusive federal government in American history. But to call us “slaves” in the same way black people were slaves in the 1850s is to degrade the term of any meaning.

            1. Subtlety escapes John. It’s his way.

            2. John, that’s dumb.

              American slavery was not the beginning and end of the institution.

              In fact, vastly MORE people were held as “slaves” during antiquity, and for a much longer historical period of time.

              Not all of those slaves lived lives that were exactly like those of black slaves in the American South.

              They were all slaves.

              You’re parochializing the term out of any meaning.

              1. No I am not. Sure there were different lives lived by slaves. Some had it better than others. But all had it worse than any of us.

            3. I’m guessing that John heard that story about he woman who would sleep with G.B. Shaw for a million pounds but not for two bob, but didn’t understand Shaw’s point about what she was but haggling over the price.

        4. George Washington, James Madison

          Other people John no longer takes seriously.

          1. Yeah, that old gag. TJ, GW, and other Founding Fathers owned slaves, so we shouldn’t take any of their writings or opinions seriously.

            1. Well, if you’re going to not take seriously the opinion of someone who actually opposed slavery because he didn’t support a war that lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths, then you probably shouldn’t take seriously the words of people who actually owned slaves. Personally, I don’t think because someone has one opinion you find objectionable everything that they say should be ignored, but then again, I’m not John.

              1. No just ignored on that subject. If he wrote things on subjects other than the civil war, then sure. In the same way, I will certainly listen to Jefferson on government but no listen to his opinions concerning black people.

        5. Are we seriously debating which is worse, being forced to commit murder and risk being killed versus forced labor?

          There is no contest in a sane man’s mind.

          1. In case it’s needed, four years in Stalin’s army would be more horrifying than forty years of digging rows in the hot sun. Not that either use of force is justifiable.

          2. Yes, because there was no risk of being killed as a slave, nor the risk of rape, nor the risk of being forced to commit rape.

            1. Well, Derider, that was just fucking stupid of you. As the risk you point out are generally true if you are a free man or a slave as possibilities; whereas, chattel slavery equaling forced labor is a certitude of the condition and defines it, as is being forced to commit murder defines the condition of being a conscript. Your risk of rape, yes, increases by the very fact you are confined in space, in either a garrison, slave quarters, overnight YMCA facilities, etc, it is pretty damn irrelevant to purpose. Goddamn, your quip was a stupid attempt at sanctimonious moralizing.

            2. Even if you HAD a pont, being raped or forced to rape (much more likely as conscript) are still not as evil as being forced to murder. Murder is the big daddy of all sins for a good reason.

      2. We must have read different history books, because the last time I checked it was the South who kicked off the war when they attacked Fort Sumter.

        1. That’s true only if you assume that the USA had the right to maintain a base in Charleston Harbor and to resupply it all against the will of the CSA. That’s not a gotcha, there are several reasonable ways of looking at it. If SC had the right to sever their ties with the Union, the USA was invading with their very presence. On the other hand, you could take Lincoln’s view that he was suppressing an illegitimate rebellion, which would justify the garrison’s presence.

        2. Wasn’t there something about the South refusing to collect tariffs, as well?

          The friction had been building between the North and the South since the immediately following the War of 1812. The banks in the North, having been burned previously by the government’s worthless paper, refused to buy it. So the government financed the war with paper from southern banks, then spent the money in the northern factories where it was eventually deposited in northern banks. The northern banks then went to the southern banks to demand specie payments on their notes, which the government, had not paid. The government then suspended specie payments, instead of paying their bills, and it led to the first banking panic in the US.

    2. In a previous thread, someone made the distinction that secession was caused by slavery, and the war was caused by people not liking secession.

      1. That would have been me, echoing the sentiments as often expressed by Old Mexican, with whom I have many disagreements, but see eye-to-eye with completely on this particular subject.

        Slavery caused secession. Secession caused the war. That does NOT mean that slavery caused the war. Secession and war are two independent actions.

        1. It makes a lot of damned sense to put it that way. If the South hadn’t seceded, no massive war. It’s pretty clearly the case.

          1. Yep. To say that slavery caused the war would mean that the North would have invaded no matter what…to end slavery. Which is obviously not the case.

            1. There’s that whole Northern slave states business, for instance. And the emancipation of the slave states not fighting with the Union.

              What bugs me the most about the Civil War is that it destroyed, in the minds of most Americans, the principles of the Declaration of Independence. That more than anything made the later expansions of government possible. The freedom to secede can and should be part of our system. That threat helped to protect real liberties, not just the “freedom” to keep slaves.

              1. I see that, and you see that. John does not. I respect his right to have a different opinion, though I vigorously disagree with it.

            2. Put another way: Say the Constitution were amended to ban slavery, or the federal govt had the authority enact a law doing the same. Some Southern states refused to recognize the law. The federal govt sent troops down to enforce the law. The ensuing war could be said to be “about slavery.”

              With what actually happened, the war was about preserving the Union. Slavery was largely the cause of the “threat” to the Union as it existed in 1860, but that does not make the war a fight over slavery. Furthermore, the war was not fought with the aim of removing slavery in the Southern states or the Union at large.

              In this argument at least, it’s a matter of clear thinking and clear language, not defending or somehow lessening the horrible actions of the CSA government or the principles motivating them.

              1. It is a question of semantics. The South left the union because it felt that Lincoln by stopping the spread of slavery to the West and ending the fugitive slave laws was going to effectively end slavery. They left because they wanted to keep slavery.

                Sure, the union had no intention of freeing the slaves at the beginning. So it was about secession. But since the particular secession in question was occurring entirely due to slavery, it seems odd to say the war wasn’t about slavery.

                1. Well, say South Carolina had seceded over the national bank issue, and several other states had gone along. If the federal government had been as pro-union then as it was later, then we’d have had a civil war. Could’ve been largely the same, only over a different root cause.

                  No one seriously suggests that the slavery issue wasn’t central to the dispute. But the war was fought to prevent secession, not to end slavery. If the South had agreed to come back but with slavery intact, I bet that would’ve been accepted early on.

                  Also, the other issues that pissed off some states, like the central bank and some other points of dispute, were also part of the reason secession was viewed as so appealing. Some states–not just in the South, either–wanted a less strong central government.

        2. Slavery caused secession. Secession caused the war. That does NOT mean that slavery caused the war. Secession and war are two independent actions.

          Let’s try that logic on another situation:

          Japanese militarism and expansion caused them to attack Pearl Harbor. The attack on Pearl harbor caused the US to enter WW2. Therefore, Japanese militarism and expansion did not cause the US to enter WW2.

          Make sense? No, it doesn’t.

      2. secession was caused by slavery, and the war was caused by people not liking secession.

        Yup.

        `cept here in central Virginny, you’ll still often get the line that it was that “tyrant” Lincoln denying “state’s rights” and it wasn’t about slavery – it was about a state’s right to determine its own economic system, etc., and that the states joined the Union under the understanding that they could leave if they wanted to.

        Yeah, it was about state’s rights – the right to own slaves. The Richmond Times-Dispatch a while back reprinted some of the old documents and declarations published back around 1759-1760 or so, in which representatives of the Southern states, in whipping up the people to secede, expressly stated that the north would deny them their right to keep slaves. It pretty clearly was, indeed, exactly about slavery.

        1. Wow, so I guess history is wrong when it teaches us that Virginia didn’t seceed until Lincoln called up troops for the purpose of putting down the other states. So their leaving was a direct response to the impending federal invasion.

          Because if they only left to defend slavery, that wouldn’t make any sense. They would have had to have left with the others, instead of being willing to stay in the Union until the troops started marching. I guess history is wrong.

          1. So their leaving was a direct response to the impending federal invasion.

            So how was the federal government going to “invade” Virginia when, at the time Lincoln called for volunteers, Virginia was still a part of the United States?

            1. The sense of Virginians at the time was that even though they chose not to secede, the other states had the right to do so in peace. When the Union made plain their intention to stop them by force, Virginia chose to join the other Confederate states rather than participate in what they saw as an unjustified invasion.

              1. The opinions of Virginians (especially the delegates) was mixed at the time. Unionists and Secessionists had a variety of opinions, some contradicted people on their own side.

                Interestingly enough, Henry Wise was planning to fight a Civil War on Virginia’s behalf, whether Virginia seceeded or not.

                1. I’ll stipulate mixed opinion if you agree to read my post as a more general answer the question in your post.

                  1. I’ll accept that.

        2. Just Google “causesofthecivilwar” and you find many declarations of causes from secedeing states (complied and posted by a friend of mine). They weren’t coy about their reasons.

          The Union side may not have entered the war to abolish slavery, but the seceding states sure as hell left the Union to protect it. (And I speak as a Southron born and raised, named after my mother’s mother’s pappy, who rode with Forrest.)

          1. Anonymous rode with Forrest?

            1. It’s an old Lithuanian name. My ancestor was Edwin Lafayette Anonymous; by the time of Forrest’s surrender he was twenty, and a sergeant in Wilson’s 16th/21st Tennessee Cavalry Regiment.

              My mother’s father’s family is full of Confederate soldiers too.

              My father’s family were Germans on both sides, who have been here about a century now.

              Some combination, huh?

              Except for the family name all the above is true.

        3. The Richmond Times-Dispatch a while back reprinted some of the old documents and declarations published back around 1759-1760 or so, in which representatives of the Southern states, in whipping up the people to secede…

          1759? Which Virginia secession are you talking about?

          1. This is like the worst chat room ever.

    3. Obviously Spooner was not a Reason subscriber.

      What did he know anyway?

      The real champions of human rights like Matt Welch are the people we should be listening to.

    4. And when I start worshiping Lysander Spooner like some here, that will matter.

  6. This brings up a good point: would it kill Reason to post at least a couple of pro-slavery and pro-Confederate stories once in awhile, to maintain journalistic objectivity? We’re really not getting the other side here.

    1. Some of the comenters on here are flat out neo confederates. But neither Reason nor anyone on its staff is anything of the sort. Frum is just grotesque.

      1. Well there iareNick and his trademark Mint Julips…and Kathryn “Colonel” Mangu-Ward.

        1. Why Nick traded in his seersucker jacket for a leather one, I’ll never know.

          1. There’s a black on black seersucker pattern on the leather, Hugh. Very subtle.

      2. Got a link to any of those alleged neo confederate statements? What I saw on the thread in question was you not understanding the principled libertarian objections to what Lincoln did.

        1. I fully understand those objections. And there is nothing principled about ignoring the bondage of millions of people or thinking that maintaining a small government justifies the continuation of that bondage.

          1. So you are in favor of the U.S. invading North Korea, Cuba, and every other shithole country where the citizens are treated like slaves?

            And are you saying that the existence of slavery anywhere in the world justifies creating a huge government engaging in political slavery via warmongering to allegedly end that chattel slavery elsewhere?

            1. First, the civil war did not create a huge government. The government of the late 19th Century was tiny compared to today. The huge government didn’t come until Roosevelt and Johnson. So stop with that nonsense.

              Second, North Korea and Cuba are not part of this country. If California decided to leave the Union and enslave its Mexican population, I would say, yes, the rest of the country has a moral obligation to stop them.

              1. Taking away the right to secession did not * immediately * result in a huge government. But, taking away this fundamental right to walk away from an oppressive central government enabled the later growth of the federal government.

                1. That is just nonsense Protefeed. First, the Confederacy was an awful government that violated its citizens rights more than the North did. Further, even if they had won, what reason is there to believe the North wouldn’t have gone ahead and created a big government on its own? We got a big government because that is what the people post 1932 and really post World War II wanted.

                2. Taking away the right to secession did not * immediately * result in a huge government. But, taking away this fundamental right to walk away from an oppressive central government enabled the later growth of the federal government.

                  LOL. I better never hear you supporting the incorporation of the bill of rights against the states again.

                  Were you bitching about states’ rights when the SCOTUS ruled in McDonald that Illinois has to respect the 2nd amendment?

              2. Second, North Korea and Cuba are not part of this country.

                The Confederacy was not part of the Union. It was a sovereign nation.

                What if California seceded from the U.S., and the federal government allowed that to happen, and not immediately, but after a period of time, the sovereign nation of California started oppressing some of its citizens. How soon after the secession in your mind would that have to take place for the U.S. to be allowed to invade them? 1 day? 1 year? 10 years?

                Why doesn’t the U.S. invade Cuba, by your reasoning?

                1. If California left the union for the purpose of enslaving its population, the federal government would have a duty to stop it right then.

                  Again, the validity of secession depends on the reason for which you are doing it.

                2. The Confederacy was not part of the Union. It was a sovereign nation.

                  Oh, that old saw.

                  Lemme guess – yer great-grandpappy handed down that rhetoric to your grandpappy, and so on…

                  Where is this “right” to secede found? And the South did not “start” oppressing the slaves after it seceded – it was doing it all along and left the Union because it didn’t like the way the anti-slavery sentiment was heading.

                  1. Where is this “right” to secede found?

                    Actually, it’s “found” by not being prohibited, and that bothersome text which states that any rights not expressly given to the feds in the document are reserved to the states.

                    1. It’s also found, quite eloquently and decisively, in the Declaration of Independence. It’s very clear on the subject.

                      The South and the United States as a whole were incredibly in the wrong in enslaving people. If the North had allowed the secession but had (1) banned slavery in the North, (2) invaded the South, liberated the slaves, then left the CSA as a separate nation, our principles of liberty would remain intact, and the North would’ve had the absolute moral ground.

                  2. Where is this “right” to secede found?

                    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

                    1. Beat me to it, Montani.

                      The Bill of Rights specifically says that if the Constitution doesn’t give teh feds the power to do X, or prohibit a state from doing X, the state can do it.

                      My copy of the Constitution doesn’t prohibit secession, and certainly doesn’t give the feds any power one way or the other over secession. And, seeing as it was written by people who had just seceded from another country, I don’t it would have just slipped their minds.

                    2. My copy of the Constitution doesn’t prohibit secession, and certainly doesn’t give the feds any power one way or the other over secession.

                      This has been refuted on the other thread. Art I Sec 8 gives Congress the power to raise armies to put down rebellions. Art I Sec 10 forbids states from forming compacts without the consent of Congress, and from joining confederations under any circumstances.

                  3. Where is this “right” to secede found?

                    natural law.

                    1. Does natural law include the right to enslave people? Last I looked it didn’t. Whatever natural right the South had to secede was forfeited by their commitment to slavery.

                    2. natural law.

                      Natural law gives rights to particular levels of political entities now? Quite the limber concept, just like other forms of bullshit.

                3. The Confederacy was not part of the Union. It was a sovereign nation.

                  A sovereign nation that attacked the US.

                  1. A nation of slavers that started a war which ground up countless lives AND according to protefeed set the stage for the giant government we have today…

                    I fail to see why any libertarian would be anything but repulsed by the confederacy.

                    1. My position is that the Confederacy clearly had the right to secede.

                      But that once it had seceded, it was a slave state, and therefore not in possession of a legitimate government. And THAT meant that anyone who wanted to invade and conquer it to alter its government had the right to do so. Even a country that still partially retained slavery for its own part.

                      That’s the part you can’t get around. If you concede as I do that states can secede from the union – they have to secede to something. And that new something is subject to moral and political judgment.

                      I don’t know if I’d say that the North was morally bound to invade the South. But I’d definitely say that the South couldn’t hide behind sovereignty after secession – because sovereignty requires legitimacy, which the Confederacy did not possess.

                    2. So does that mean any country with a smaller income tax than the US has the right to conquer us and alter our government?

                    3. “So does that mean any country with a smaller income tax than the US has the right to conquer us and alter our government?”

                      It depends. Will I like their government better?

                4. The Confederacy was not part of the Union. It was a sovereign nation.

                  A matter of opinion, not fact.

                  What if California seceded from the U.S…

                  After California negotiated a peaceful secession, resolving questions of federal government owned territories, property concerns of non-Californians, compensation to the several United States whose tax dollars have been spent in California?

                  Or do you mean the “fuck you! we quit!” method?

                5. What if California seceded from the U.S., and the federal government allowed that to happen, and not immediately, but after a period of time, the sovereign nation of California started oppressing some of its citizens.

                  But, the feds didn’t “allow” SC to leave the union. They ignored the secession until SC made it impossible to ignore, and then they called up troops to put down the rebellion.

              3. If California decided to leave the Union and enslave its Mexican population, I would say, yes, the rest of the country has a moral obligation to stop them.

                But the Southern states didn’t secede to enslave people. The people were already enslaved. So was there a moral obligation created to end slavery after the South seceded, one that didn’t exist while they were voluntarily part of the Union?

              4. I guess then that the important question is whether the Confederate states were “part of this country.” The answer to that question cannot depend on whether the Confederacy was established to preserve slavery.

          2. Still waiting for the link to the alleged neo confederate statements, BTW.

            1. You are making new ones now.

              1. False choice much? “I believe states should have the right to seceed without being invaded” =/= “I heart slavery!”

                1. Is that the new libertarian fundraiser gift T-shirt?

                2. That’s not a false choice when you’re talking about the American Civil War. Allowing the South to seceed = Allowing Slavery.

                  1. By the same reasoning, Recognizing the Independence of North Korea = Allowing Slavery.

          3. thinking that maintaining a small government justifies the continuation of that bondage

            And right here is the justification for every bit of liberal foreign adventurism in the past 20 years. Let’s help the unfortunates around the world because we can! How’s Team Blue treating you, John? Must be pretty nice for you to switch.

            1. How about the unfortunates in our own country? The South was part of the US. And the entire country bore the moral responsibility of slavery. The civil war was not foreign adventurism.

              As I said above, if California left the Union and enslaved 1/3rd of its population, would you call bringing it back to the Union adventurism?

              1. John, the antebellum Union wasn’t what it is today. It was a loose confederation of mostly sovereign states with their own laws, currencies, etc.

                Lincoln’s “Union Uber Alles” mindset may not have created the leviathan that we buckle under today, but it did create the framework that Roosevelt and Johnson exploited to expand the scope and power of the Federal Government.

                1. So what? The fact is that the federal government that Lincoln left us was a great government. I would love to have the federal government we has in the late 19th Century back. And so would you. The fact that the American people later created an enormous government is not Lincoln’s responsibility.

                  1. “So what? The fact is that the federal government that Lincoln left us was a great government. I would love to have the federal government we has in the late 19th Century back. And so would you.”

                    Lincoln did not leave us the government that I prefer to the one we have now. Ignoring the whole civil war part, the 19th century small government that I like was in place and Lincoln had nothing to do with it.

                2. John, the antebellum Union wasn’t what it is today. It was a loose confederation of mostly sovereign states with their own laws, currencies, etc.

                  This is so full of shit it’s hard to know where to begin.

                  First, states now still have their own laws. Furthermore states were not permitted to coin money or make anything but gold or silver currency, even back then.

                  Yes, the federal govt wasn’t nearly as powerful as now, but it wasn’t a loose confederation by any stretch of the imagination.

              2. And the entire country bore the moral responsibility of slavery.

                That is collectivist thinking, John. Countries are an abstract concept that lack volition.

                Individuals who owned slaves bore the sole moral responsibility for their acts of oppression. Other individuals living nearby in the same country who found slavery reprehensible were not somehow collectively guilty of the acts of their neighbors.

                1. They all benefited from the works of those slaves didn’t they?

                  1. That makes every person alive in the US before 1865 guilty by association, John. Sure you wanna go there?

                    1. In some ways we kind are. In the same way people living in the 1950s were responsible for Jim Crow. And people living in Nazi Germany were responsible for Nazism even if they didn’t join the party.

                    2. In some ways we kind are. In the same way people living in the 1950s were responsible for Jim Crow. And people living in Nazi Germany were responsible for Nazism even if they didn’t join the party.

                      This is rank horseshit, and the kind of thinking that leads to conclusions like,”All the Jews who lived at the time of Christ (and even afterwards, for that matter) are responsible for his death.”

                2. That is collectivist thinking, John. Countries are an abstract concept that lack volition.

                  Cheeky coming from the guy arguing that states have the right to enslave people without any consequences.

              3. The South was part of the US.

                Not after they seceded.

                1. Only if that secession was legal and legitimate. And it wasn’t.

                  1. It was as legitimate as the secession of the Colonies from the UK. Again, both the United States and the Confederacy held slaves and continued to do so for the duration of the war, so I’m not sure that that mere fact invalidated the entire idea of secession.

                    As I said earlier, if the North had invaded, freed the slaves, then left the southern states as a separate nation, there’s be no question they would have been morally in the right. Slavery is and was reprehensible and the use of force to end it was morally just, in my opinion.

                    1. It was as legitimate as the secession of the Colonies from the UK.

                      Unlike the collectivists who claim that the boundaries and governments of nations must remain fixed forevermore, I don’t hold secession to be inherently illegitimate. However, the Southern insurrection (which is what Lincoln considered it) is not the ideal of secession to uphold, especially since the Southern states in question resolved to “seize” (or unlawfully deprive) the federal government of its property within those states without compensation.

                      Put another way, I look at the Confeds the same way I would look at one side of a partnership, who had comingled funds and property with the other partner, as though he had backed his truck up to their place of business in the dead of night and taken everything that the “seceeding” partner believed they were entitled to.

                    2. It was as legitimate as the secession of the Colonies from the UK.

                      And the UK’s military response to the DoI was perfectly legitimate too, so it’s odd that you all are arguing that the US had no right to put down the Southern rebellion. Secession/rebellion is one of those areas where might really does make right; legitimacy is determined by who wins.

                    3. So you’re voluntarily getting off your moral high horse?

      3. I don’t know if I’d call them neo-confederates.

        I despise the Confederacy for it’s treatment of blacks. They locked up political prisoners, instituted a draft, and suspended habeus corpus, all of which are amongst the charges against the Lincoln administration. That country and what it stood for was an abomination and an affront to gods and men.

        That doesn’t mean I don’t think they had the right to seceed though. One doesn’t necessarily have to “pick a side”; often there is no “good” or “bad” guy in a conflict. Just two bad guys.

        1. No it wasn’t just two bad guys. No matter what he North’s sins, those sins pale in comparison to the sin of slavery. It is the failure to fully appreciate and admit the evil of slavery and the constant moral equivocation on the subject that makes the commenters if not neo confederates close enough. If you think the evil of the federal government circa 1865 is equal to the evil of slavery, you might as well go all of the way and be a confederate.

          1. No, I do not think they are equal evils.

            What I do believe is that one does not absolve oneself of evil actions by belting out that one is committing said evil in order to defeat greater evil. “The ends justify the means!” has been the siren song of every great tyrant in history.

            Now, here’s how I would have handled it.

            South: “We’re leaving!”

            North: “Alright, but all those blacks, who are at least residents of the nation as it is currently constituted if not actual citizens, didn’t get a vote on that. So if you try to take them with you by force, we’ll come get them. Once you’ve let all of them go that want to, we’ll leave you completely alone, and you can do your own thing.”

            Bam. Problem solved. Now if war comes, it’s for a legit purpose (the defense of individuals against slavery specifically, not the restoration of the Union slavery and all).

            1. You couldn’t have done that without having an all out war.

              1. I know. That’s why I recommended it.

                I don’t honestly think the South would have gone for it, but if they did, then poof, no war. And if they did resist, they would be completely in the wrong, and the North would be able to correctly state that they were fighting for a just cause (ending slavery), rather than just to preserve the Union, slaves and all (which they would have done had they won early).

                1. You may all be missing one crucial point here, and it’s the main reason that the Union didn’t go with the option Gojira is suggesting here.

                  And that is that the people of the North (Union) were every bit as racist as the Southern slave owners. After the emancipation proclamation, there were even cases of violence against blacks in the North by whites who had been drafted because they did not wish to fight for the freedom of the southern slaves. Not to mention decades later some the trade unions protectionism of “white” jobs against black interlopers (Davis-Bacon Act for example).

                  Bottom line is that if the Union had made the war all about ending slavery from the beginning the entire country may have come apart at the seems (though there’s no way to know for sure since I haven’t invented a time machine yet).

                2. So you’re not actually concerned with preventing war, just making a nice little semantic pillow for you to sleep well on.

            2. Alright, but all those blacks, who are at least residents of the nation as it is currently constituted if not actual citizens, didn’t get a vote on that.

              Neither did the women, you know.

            3. Alright, but all those blacks, who are at least residents of the nation as it is currently constituted if not actual citizens, didn’t get a vote on that.

              Women and children didn’t get a vote on it either. I suppose you’re going to demand the South hand them over, too.

          2. Isn’t slavery one of the North’s sins?

            1. Don’t bother John with facts about the border states; it complicates the publik skool narrative about the Civil War.

              1. Fuck you Jim. I am giving a hell of a lot more detailed account of the civil war than the public school books. You just don’t like it and don’t have a good response.

                1. Your “account” is the public school narrative that the South was bad, and the valorous and heroic supermen of the North under Saint Lincoln invaded to end the evil of slavery.

                  Which is utter bullshit, as I’ve repeatedly demonstrated with “facts” such as the continuation of slavery in the border states until after the end of the war.

                  1. I have never said the North was all good. You just assume that. No matter how bad the North was, the South was so horrible, it didn’t matter.

                    I really don’t understand why Libertarians are so unable to fully admit the evil of slavery. They is always “yeah but”. There is always a “it would have gone away” or a “but the war was worse” or a “but Lincoln was bad too”.

                    No. Slavery was the worst evil in American history. The South left the union in order to preserve that evil. And the union fought a war to preserve itself and in the process ended this evil. It is really that simple.

                    And all of the “yeah buts” and all of the what about states rights and such claptrap is just vile. If the price of limited government was slavery continuing, I guess we didn’t deserve limited government. If you want to blame anyone for the death of limited government, blame the South because without the evil institution of slavery, there never would have been a war and that limited government would have never ended.

            2. Sure it is. And all the more reason why the North had a moral obligation to end it.

            3. Didn’t we do this yesterday?

              I like to look at history as history. It is pointless to have this sort of argument about the civil war. It happened for the reasons it happened for. Slavery had something to do with it. Slavery was effectively ended in the US because of it, and that, at least, is a good thing. We also have the government we have today in large part because of it. We are not going to travel back in time and do things differently.

              1. A reasonable position, except that (a large) part of the reason to study history is to analyze the decisions of people and to ask if they were justified. That inevitably leads to counterfactual alternatives.

                The Civil War ended slavery in the United States. Was that worth the 620,000+ deaths that resulted? Reading “history as history” won’t tell you.

                1. That is an interesting and unanswerable question Hugh. But I think it is a bit much, me a free person living in the richest country in history, to sit on high and say that it wasn’t. I am thinking the people who were freed thought it was a great bargain. And I can’t really argue with them.

                  1. I am thinking the people who were freed thought it was a great bargain.

                    I wonder about the ones who died. Those who are sacrificed for are generally in favor of the sacrifice. Those are sacrificed, well, I guess they aren’t talking, are they?

                    1. Well perhaps then RC the debate belongs to those who fought it and those who suffered from it not being fought.

                      Don’t you find it the least bit appalling for someone to say “hey the slaves should have just sucked it up and remained slaves for another generation or two and let things work out on their own”?

                  2. No doubt people in captivity would put no upper limit on the body count to secure their liberty. On the other hand, if I were pressganged into dying to free people I didn’t know, I might be a little resentful.

                    Also, masterful playing of the privilege card. What handle do you go by over at Jezebel?

                    1. Compared to 99% of the people who have ever lived, I am very privileged Hugh. There is no denying it.

                      And I will die eventually. I suppose dying to free a people from slavery is as good of a reason as any and better than most.

                    2. If it’s your choice to do so, it’s a wonderful heroic fate. If you are pressed into service you will be fighting for an altogether different reason.

                2. In most discussions like this, the body count eventually comes up. That’s right and proper, but in my experience most of those (not Hugh here) who raise the question “was it worth 600,000 lives?” already have a negative answer.

                  I like to take that question a step further for those who answer negatively: would the result have been worth 60,000 lives? How about 6,000, 600, 60, or 6?

                  1. Was the 6EX volunteers or draftees?

                    The X doesnt matter in either the former or the latter case, but the answer changes.

                  2. I’m with Xenocles. People who want to sacrifice their lives and fortunes to free their fellow men are heroes of the highest order.

                    People who want to sacrifice my life and fortune to free their fellow man are villains.

                    1. No problem. As for the volunteer or draftee question, it’s not easy to answer in this instance. John Keegan (who I disagree with on a lot of things) said somewhere that in reality most of the soldiers on both sides -were- volunteers, at least those who stuck with the colors: it wasn’t that hard to desert if you really wanted to.

                      As for me, I don’t have an answer to the “worth it” question. I haven’t paid any price myself, and won’t speak for those who did.

          3. Perhaps you could give us a link to anyone on this thread saying slavery isn’t evil?

            Or that the existence of evil in a sovereign country anywhere else in the world gives the country that one lives in the obligation and duty to invade that country?

            1. It is not about paying lipservice to the evil of slavery. It is about thinking that fighting a war to save people within your own country from slavery is worse than allowing the slavery to continue.

              1. It is about thinking that fighting a war to save people within your own country from slavery is worse than allowing the slavery to continue.

                You are blatantly ignoring all the people who have explicitly said that states that have seceded from the Union are no longer “within your own country”.

                1. That is because they were not in their own country. Secession for the purpose of maintaining slavery was not legitimate.

                  1. Probably wasting my cyber-breath but here goes:

                    As has already been pointed out the constitution didn’t prohibit states from secedeing, and thanks to the 10th amendment they did have the right to do so.

                    So technically their secession was legitimate. Their reason for doing so was repugnant and morally reprehinsible, but they still had the right to do it because the constitution didn’t say “it’s OK to secede only if you have a non-morally repugnant reason to do so”.

                    So if the secession was in fact legal, then what legal basis did the Union have for going to war with the CSA? Technically none, and normally 2 wrongs don’t make a right, although in this case since the outcome did result in the end of slavery as an institution, maybe it did just this once. In this case, slavery was such an unmitigated evil that’s easy to argue that the ends justifies the means.

                    Unfortunatly all too often libertarians get into quibbling over the principles and forget that this is one those arguments that’s impossible to win with logic and principles because it’s just too emotionally charged for most people to see the big picture, they just see “slavery is bad, the Civil War ended slavery, therefore the Union was the good guy”.

                    1. “slavery is bad, the Civil War ended slavery, therefore the Union was the good guy”.

                      I don’t think that you need to see the Union as the good guy.

                    2. As has already been pointed out the constitution didn’t prohibit states from secedeing, and thanks to the 10th amendment they did have the right to do so.

                      Art I Sec 8 gives Congress the authority to put down rebellions. Art I Sec 10 forbids states from joining confederations or signing compacts without consent of Congress.

                    3. “As has already been pointed out the constitution didn’t prohibit states from secedeing, and thanks to the 10th amendment they did have the right to do so.”

                      The legitimacy of seccession as a principle was always controversial from the Constitutional Convention forward. The Founder’s resolved the controversy by ignoring it as much as possible. The Constitution does outright prohibit secession but as was pointed out several clauses are not consistant with a state right to secession, nor was any legal process for secession given. Saying the CSA was a legitimate separate soveriegn entity is stealing an intellectual base as this was one of the central issues that the war was fought to resolve.

                  2. But secession for other purposes was? The legality of secession (i.e., whether or not the Confederate states were or were not in the Northerners’ “own country”)) doesn’t turn on the motives for secession. Or do you think that whether you have the right to freedom of speech depends on whether you want to use that freedom to further a reprehensible cause?

            2. Perhaps you could give us a link to anyone on this thread saying slavery isn’t evil?

              Several people were comparing lifelong slavery to the draft upthread. robc even compared the income tax to it.

          4. Both the USA and the CSA were slaver nations.

            1. I’m tempted to add that one of them still is, but that’s more appropriately said by one of our resident anarchists that by a minarchist like me.

            2. Both the USA and the CSA were slaver nations.

              The reality was that the USA would not remain one for very long. The Republican party was founded on freeing the slaves…hard to imagine that a nation controlled by Republicans would remain a slaver nation.

              1. They couldnt pass the required constitutional amendment as long as the free v slave states were near balanced.

              2. The Republican party was founded on freeing the slaves

                No it wasn’t. It was founded on excluding slavery from the territories. There were plenty of abolitionists in the Republican party, but there were also a lot of people (a guy named Abe Lincoln was one of them) who declared that they had no intention of interfering with slavery in those states that allowed it.

          5. I think the fact that most Northerners didn’t want the blacks free, and definitely not migrating north, not to mention their reliance on Southern cotton for their textile factories means they were both equally culpable in the proliferation and continuation of slavery.

            1. This sort of gets to my point about looking at history in a more dispassionate way. Everyone in the 19th century (including abolitionists) was a racist asshole (well probably not everyone, but I think you know what I mean).

          6. No matter what he North’s sins, those sins pale in comparison to the sin of slavery.

            Starting a war that kills 600,000 people doesn’t pale in comparison to much.

            Just because I defend the right of people and their local governments to secede from larger regional governments they once belonged to in no way excuses the sin of slavery that the slaveowners committed and their governments condoned.

            1. Starting a war that kills 600,000 people doesn’t pale in comparison to much.

              Ever heard of Fort Sumter?

    2. “Top Ten Holiday Slave Shopping Tips For The Frugal Capitalist.”

  7. Didn’t you hear Frum? He said STFU! And if you don’t listen, he’ll send Seal Team 6 to make you STFU.

    So, there!

  8. Frum is a loathsome individual. The only redeeming quality either he or Mark Levin possess is their contempt for one another.

  9. Stop sending traffic his way. Don’t link to the article. Just write the rebuttal.

    1. The Mouth shall rise again!

  10. Okay, so slavery was wrong, but can we at least have someone with the courage to stand up in defense of secessionism?

    1. Sure. But here is the thing. The validity of the secession depends entirely upon the reason you are doing it. For example, if the federal government were taken over by a fascist dictatorship, secession would be entirely appropriate.

      But that is not what happened in 1860. The South engaged in secession for the primary reason of preserving slavery, a vile an immoral institution. So regardless the validity of secession in general, the South’s secession, because it was for such a horrible reason, cannot be defended. And they got everything they deserved.

      1. Nicely put, John. Secession is a neutral word, like independence, that is only given meaning by the reasons for seeking it. Liberty and Freedom
        are falling in the same category.
        Liberty to do what? Freedom to do what?

      2. “And they got everything they deserved.”

        Well, Sherman’s whole “Total War” thing was a bit uncalled for, wouldn’t you say?

        1. It was the only way to end the war. It was horrible. But so would have been another year or two of war. It also so broke the South’s will that we didn’t have a guerrilla war following the end of formal hostilities.

          1. that argument makes sense to me

          2. So when my wife’s anti-slavery, pro-Union Quaker ancestors in North Carolina had their farms destroyed by Sherman, they should have been happy to be the eggs that were broken to make a brave new omelette?

        2. War fucking sucks. That’s the way she goes.

        3. Well, Sherman’s whole “Total War” thing was a bit uncalled for, wouldn’t you say?

          I’m sure the people of Dresden and Hamburg sincerely appreciated those firebombs we sent them too. And the outpouring of good will from Hiroshima and Nagasaki for those nukes…resounding.

          As for Sherman, let the man answer for himself:

          V. To army corps commanders alone is entrusted the power to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, &c., and for them this general principle is laid down: In districts and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested no destruction of such property should be permitted; but should guerrillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, then army commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless according to the measure of such hostility.

      3. I think you’re missing the point. The issue of slavery and the issue of succession are two different issues. You cannot say succession is ok … so long as you agree with the underlying reason. It’s a procedural issue – either you agree with the procedure or you don’t:

        Succession was justified because the United States was a coalition of STATES – it was an agreement between independent states. If you look at historical documents at the time, people wrote about the United States in its plural form – not in a singular form like we use today: (i.e., “The United States ARE …” vs. “The United States IS” …).

        The states (then and now) have every right to succeed if they feel the partnership is no longer effective — just like a business partnership can be deactivated (or a treaty can be revoked) if the partners no longer agree. I am totally behind the procedural principal of succession.

        SLAVERY – on the other hand – is NOT a procedural issue. The right of an individual to be free in his PERSON is an INDIVIDUAL GOD-GIVEN RIGHT that CANNOT be taken away. And efforts to restrict this right should be combatted with armed force, if necessary. If someone tries to kidnap you, do you not have the inherent right to resist or escape from your attacker by all means?

        Although I adore Ron Paul and initially could see his point regarding property rights and the ease of merely paying off the slave owners, I disagree with him on this issue. There are certain rights which are sacrosanct, and the right to one’s own freedom is one of them.

        1. You cannot say succession is ok … so long as you agree with the underlying reason.

          If the south had succeeded for a reason other then slavery the south would be independent to this day. So yes you can say secession is ok so long as I agree.

          The integrity of the union was used as justification for abolishing slavery not the other way around.

          1. If the south had succeeded for a reason other then slavery the south would be independent to this day.

            Bullshit. Lincoln didnt give a damn about slavery, he cared about union.

            1. Lincoln was the leader of the Republican party.

              A party which owes its very existence to the fact that they are abolitionists and a party to which Lincoln spoke, in order to gain its leader ship, for the abolition of slavery long before the south ever spoke about succession.

              You sir need to read up on your history.

              1. “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.”

                1. Lincoln abhored slavery as a practice. But when it came to the war, he didnt give a damn.

                  You are the one who needs to read some history.

                  1. Which suggests Lincoln was open to compromise on the issue of slavery and therefore the Confederates reasons for secession were less urgent.

                    It’s interesting to see how much ideological purity matters to Confederate apologist libertarians. Lincoln decided that the President’s first duty is to keep the Union intact. That quote of Lincoln’s is him establishing his priorities, not recanting his beliefs.

                2. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.

                  Would I lie in a speech to position myself as the “moderate” to voters in order to gain office to free the slaves?

                  I hope so….and I know Lincoln did just that. The letters and speeches and actions before and after that speech you quote tell a very different story.

                  1. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.

                    Another point:

                    Why didn’t the South buy it?
                    If Lincoln was not bent on freeing the slaves why the fuck the south begin succession before he took office but just after he won the election?

                    If he was such a union “moderate” as you claim then why didn’t his enemies believe it?

              2. You sir need to read up on your history.

                Here is a good place to start

                http://www.webcitation.org/62a7fJ9hj

                Lincoln was not only an anti-slavery hero he was also smart enough to get it done.

      4. I also believe that the validity of free speech depends on your motivations. If you’re speaking out against a cruel corporate-controlled right-wing government in favor of tolerance, that’s one thing. But you’re promoting racism or homophobia, I think it’s fine if you get fined or go to jail for that sort of thing.

      5. The validity of the secession depends entirely upon the reason you are doing it.

        The moral validity, sure. The legal validity? Not so much.

        And we’re back to whether/when it is appropriate to go to war over morality. “Responsibility to protect” ring a bell with anyone?

        1. I disagree with you. The moral legitimacy is absolutely tied to the legal legitimacy. Take my example above. Suppose Texas decides to succeed over the income tax. Meanwhile California does because he wants to repeal the Bill of Rights and legalize slavery. If it is strictly a legal question, the the federal government cannot stop either one legally. And that is bunk. The federal government has a duty to protect its citizens. While you are flipping through that Constitution of yours, you might look at the part that says the federal government has a duty to ensure a Democratic government in every state. You can look it up it is right there. Clearly if the feds have the authority and duty to ensure a Democratic government in every state, secession for the purpose of destroying such government would not be legal.

          1. “…Democratic government…”

            You want to try again?

            1. As with correct spelling, John is sometimes careless about proper phrasing.

              He meant “republican government”, and John is correct on that point, that clause exists in the Constitution and brings the legal legitimacy of secession into question.

              Again, the Founder’s dealt with the idea of secession much like they dealt with the legitimacy of slavery, by ignoring it as much as possible. That was because resolving it one way or the other was a potential deal breaker.

        2. The moral validity, sure. The legal validity? Not so much.

          Arguments about legality kind of break down when dealing with secession/rebellion against the polity whose laws we’re discussing.

      6. “The validity of the secession depends entirely upon the reason you are doing it.”

        I disagree. Says who, some esoteric moral code?

      7. The validity of the secession depends entirely upon the reason you are doing it.

        No it doesn’t. Everyone has the basic human right to choose their own government, or lack thereof. It’s called “self-determination”.

      8. The validity of the secession depends entirely upon the reason you are doing it.

        No, the moral legitimacy of secession may depend on the motives for the secession, but the *validity* of the secession depends on the law governing the relationship between the seceeding community and the community it’s seceding from.

    2. We got into it pretty heavily yesterday.

    3. I just want to fucking talk about secession without the negative association with the Civil War and slavery always popping into people’s heads.

      For a lot of people, secessionist ideas are thought of as “racist” or, in the very least, “un-American”.

      1. That’s because in America, people with secessionist ideas overwhelmingly hold racist ones.

        1. I wouldn’t generalize them all as “racist”. Perhaps kooks? (in a Ron Paul “DEATH TO THE FED!” kind of way?)

        2. Any facts to back that up? The overwhelming majority of people I’ve seen defending the right to secede are libertarians who find slavery abhorrent.

        3. So members of the Alaska Independence Party who want to secede from the Union do so because they’re racist?

      2. Even G.H.W. Bush cited slavery and the Civil War as a reason to oppose the breakup of the Soviet Union.

    4. can we at least have someone with the courage to stand up in defense of secessionism?

      I think the US should split up into 2 or more nations simply because having one central government for 300 million people over such a vast geologically diverse and culturally diverse area is a bad bad bad idea.

  11. FACT PWNED

  12. Welch shouldn’t feel bad.

    Frum apparently has problems hearing anybody else say anything over the noise of all the other voices in his head.

  13. ?Oh, Snap!

    If Frum values intellectual honesty, this will be stinging him for awhile.

    Root 1 Frum 0

    1. So, no then.

    2. Intellectual what?

  14. Oh, and just for the record…

    The individuals who fought the Civil War fought for their own individual reasons–just like the individuals who volunteered to fight after 9/11 did so for their own individual reasons. Some of them joined for the scholarship, but it would be silly to say that none of them did it because of 9/11.

    Likewise, it would be silly to say that slavery wasn’t a big issue for a huge chunk of the individuals who fought the Civil War.

    …which doesn’t mean there weren’t any other reasons, too.

    1. There are plenty of historical diaryied examples of young men joining to impress the girls, avoid being looked down on by their friends and neighbors, or just for the glorious adventure of being with the lads as
      we punish the “slavers”/”yankees” (take your pick.)

      1. I think the average soldier fought because it was an adventure away from home at first. Then once they were in combat, they fought so that their fellow soldiers, who were usually form their home town, didn’t think they were a coward. Peer pressure.

        1. Has it ever been any other way? I guaran-fucking-tee you that Alexander’s soldiers did the exact same thing.

          1. No it never has. Patriotism and love of country and all of that might work if you are defending your own home. But outside of that, people fight because of their buddies.

            1. Or money or pussy.

              1. I think they join up for money or pussy.

                But they fight for their squaddies.

            2. Patriotism and love of country and all of that might work if you are defending your own home. But outside of that, people fight because of their buddies.

              And there were people who were fighting to protect their homes.

              If somebody did to the people of Afghanistan or Iraq today what Sheridan did to the largely slaveless farmers of the Shenandoah Valley?

              He’d be brought up on war crimes.

              If I knew Sheridan and his raping, plundering, murdering and pillaging army was working his way down the valley to burn my farm? I don’t think I’d worry too much about what side of the slavery issue his army was on before I decided who I wanted to fight for.

              1. The war crimes went both ways. See e.g. Andersonville and Fort Pillow.

                1. Didn’t say they didn’t.

                  In the North, the war crimes were part of the official strategy, though.

                  Sheridan didn’t burn the Shenandoah Valley by accident. Sherman’s march to the sea wasn’t a case of his having lost control of his men. They did it on purpose!

                  And it is telling that when modern readers read about Sheridan raping, looting and murdering his way through the Shenandoah Valley, it’s often dismissed as an unfortunate but necessary example of modern total warfare.

                  A few years later, when Sheridan is using the exact same tactics against Plains Indians? Everyone pretty much agrees with the use of the term “massacre” to describe Sheridan’s actions then…

                  The only real difference between those two examples is the victims. The farmers of the Shenandoah Valley supported the Confederacy and are, therefore, associated with slavery–so modern readers typically don’t like them. Where Plains Indians have no such association in modern readers’ minds…

                  Underscoring the fact that even if the Civil War wasn’t all about slavery to people back then? It’s definitely all about slavery to modern readers today.

        2. This was really well documented in the works of Bell Irvin Wiley, who not only used primary sources like diaries but also interviewed a lot of Civil War veterans (some were still alive in the 1930s-40s). I think his The Life of Johnny Reb and The Life of Billy Yank are excellent.

      2. I appreciate that. But slavery (and the political, economic, philosophical, religious and cultural issues surrounding it) was the driving force behind the Civil War.

        I just get tired of hearing why large groups of people did one thing or another–especially when I get shoehorned into that group. The reason America did this, the reason entrepreneurs did that…

        Actually, Ken Shultz does the same thing as other Americans, sometimes, for reasons that may not be the same as other Americans.

        I hear there were individuals like me back during the Civil War, too.

        It’s already hard to get other people to think of me as an individual with individual rights. When we project beliefs and precise motivations onto large groups of people, it just makes it that much harder.

        Somehow, people take what should be just a convenient linguistic device (the third person plural) and turn it into a justification for whatever. They talk about what illegal aliens do and why; they talk about Iran like it’s got a single motivation; they talk about the Muslim Street and Wall Street as if if they were both monolithic, homogenous blocs with singular concerns and singular motivations.

        It’s a hard habit to break, but the debate about whether slavery was the cause of the Civil War is always a great place to point out that–individuals do things for their individual reasons. We can’t talk about why millions of people did something for five years–and NOT oversimplify it.

  15. Frum got used to writing from made up facts during his time as a White House speechwriter.

  16. Well if Frum said “Matt Welch is a racist and sexist pig”, he’s half right

  17. Lest we forget: http://www.thedailyshow.com/wa…..david-frum
    (FF to 2min mark)

    1. Oh shit!!

      I was wondering where all this bile was coming from.

      The poor little shit, Frum, hitched his star to Rudy back in 2008.

      This would explain his animus towards RP and Reason.

  18. I hope Neil Young will remember, a Southern Man don’t need him around anyhow.

    1. Even before my father’s fathers
      They called us all rebels
      Burned our cornfields
      And left our cities level
      I can still see the eyes
      Of those blue bellied devils
      When I’m walking round tonight
      Through the concrete and metal.

  19. Frum seems a candidate for the Derek Zoolander Center For Bloggers Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too.

    1. If I die, I want someone to get up there and say she asked me to give her eugoogly

      1. “Rather was a women who hated men. She had a blog that was unreadable and she would often post as one of her various sockpuppets at reason hit and run. She hated Epi. She will not be missed”

  20. I know I’m a bit cynical but I think Frum can read just fine. The “libertarians love the Confederates and support slavery” meme is just one of the standard smears used by the establishment. It’s a standard because all some people have to hear is “Confederacy” and they go into mental lockdown.

    1. Doh! Just made the same point below you.

    2. Isn’t this obvious?

  21. It’s truly bizarre that certain kinds of ultra-libertarians insist on endlessly contorting the historical record to provide excuses for the Confederate cause. I should have thought this style of libertarianism was different from the version on offer at Reason–but no.

    This is GOP-hackspeak for “STOP RESISTING”! i.e. he knows perfectly well what position Reason holds – but prefers to keep telling his audience that LibertariansTea Party types are *racist*, and therefore unelectable.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a paycheck from the RNC everytime he does this

  22. No Max, shrike, or Tony in this thread so far. What a relief.

    1. When you point that out, your words are like turds attracting dung beetles. Don’t say it, man, or they’ll appear out of nowhere!

      1. You’re right. I shall use “the usual H&R thread-fucking suspects”, or something similar.

  23. So can everybody here agree on the following?:

    1) Slavery sucks balls and is totally unjustifiable and unacceptable.

    2) The Confederate States of America fought significantly, although certainly not entirely, for the same shitty institution.

    3) Abraham Lincoln was a petty tyrant.

    4) Fuck Jefferson Davis, and fuck Abraham Lincoln.

    5) Southern states shouldn’t have seceded to preserve slavery.

    6) The southern secession was only wrong because it was mostly for slavery, not simply because it was secession/illegal.

    7) The Battle Flag of the Confederacy is badass from a vexillological perspective, regardless of what you think of its representations.

    8) The events of the War Between the States/Civil War resulted in the creation of a precedent that quickly boomed into a large, increasingly oppressive governmental structure and similarly large, increasingly oppressive administrations to run it, and far sooner than Roosevelt and Johnson, contrary to John’s beliefs.

    1. You left out “Bourbon rules.”

      1. That, and 10) the Confederate States of America weren’t actually confederate. At all. Not even close.

        1. … which brings up another thing: people’s fear/loathing/opposition to the very idea of confedera[tions/cies] because the new central government of the South called itself the Confederate States of America.

          1. Yet “Federation” has positive connotations thanks to the Shat.

            1. Funny, the Star Trek shows, aren’t they? In a supposedly scarcity-free future, where everybody is beyond the need to even discuss economic systems the way we do today, half the dialog is quasi-Marxist/socialist bullshit.

              Except for DS9, I guess.

              1. Not so much the original series, either, but I agree. If you’re post-scarcity, then there’s no justification at all, even a bad one, for socialism.

                1. I’ve had to choke back my justifiable hatred for socialism/Marxism, every time I watch a Trek franchise episode/movie.

                  It’s kinda like having to do the same thing when listening to Rage Against the Machine. It’s a shame they’re so talented, yet so fucked in the head when it comes to politics.

    2. The federal government was the size of PBS in 1928. You could maybe trace it back to Wilson but not much before that. Hell even TR’s government was pretty small. And Wilson was no worse than Adams. Adams and alien and sedition acts was a hell of a lot worse than Lincoln.

    3. Res Publica Americana|12.16.11 @ 4:20PM|#
      So can everybody here agree on the following?:

      1) Slavery sucks balls and is totally unjustifiable and unacceptable.

      Whoa!ho ho ho hold on their big guy! Not so fast with the *generalizations*!…. The ball-sucking slave I keep in my basement is *more* than acceptable, if you’ll take my word for it… if you want to come over sometime, I’m sure you’ll agree.

      The rest, meh~ whatever! Sure. I skipped history! So I’ll agree.

      1. As much as I sympathize, kinkiness is no excuse to enslave people, young man! Off with you to federal prison!

    4. I can agree, plus I learned a new word (vexillological).

    5. So can everybody here agree on the following?:

      1) Slavery sucks balls and is totally unjustifiable and unacceptable.

      Yep.

      2) The Confederate States of America fought significantly, although certainly not entirely, for the same shitty institution.

      Yep.

      3) Abraham Lincoln was a petty tyrant.

      No. Lincoln faced the greatest existential crisis the nation had since the Revolutionary War. He may have acted tyrannically, but there was nothing “petty” about it.

      4) Fuck Jefferson Davis, and fuck Abraham Lincoln.

      I’m not attracted to men.

      5) Southern states shouldn’t have seceded to preserve slavery.

      Yep.

      6) The southern secession was only wrong because it was mostly for slavery, not simply because it was secession/illegal.

      This is a topic worthy of greater debate. I’m currently undecided.

      7) The Battle Flag of the Confederacy is badass from a vexillological perspective, regardless of what you think of its representations.

      *sigh* Don’t tell me that you’re one of those idiots who say “But at least the Nazis dressed cool!”

      8) The events of the War Between the States/Civil War resulted in the creation of a precedent that quickly boomed into a large, increasingly oppressive governmental structure and similarly large, increasingly oppressive administrations to run it, and far sooner than Roosevelt and Johnson, contrary to John’s beliefs.

      Unfortunately, yes.

      And Bourbon does rule.

      1. Disagreements noted.

        Also, the point of number 7 was completely off-topic and unrelated to any judgments on the subject. And I don’t like Nazi-era German uniforms, so now, I guess I’m not “one of those idiots”, although Hitler sure knew how to throw a political rally.

        1. *so no

        2. Take away the swastikas, and they were pretty cool uniforms…

          Oh, shit. I just opened the door for “FIFY’S a Nazi!”.

          1. Take away the swastikas, and they were pretty cool uniforms…

            Oh, shit. I just opened the door for “FIFY’S a Nazi!”.

            Give me Olive Drab any day.

            1. I meant the dress uniforms. Kinda breechy.

        3. What I was arguing was that a flag or a uniform cannot be separated from the values of the organization or institution it represents. That’s why people fly flags or wear uniforms.

          Not to kick over the port-o-potty and open up a whole stream of shit, but I would argue that those who claim the Battle Flag is a symbol of their “heritage” are claiming that their “heritage” is represented by points 1,2, and 5, yes?

          1. I used to argue with a local liberaltard who said – with a straight face – that ANY curiosity over Civil War history – for either side – was just as evil, and just as bad, as being a Confederate.

            Even if one only focused on, and agreed with, the Northern part of said history.

            He’s still a Democrat. I ran into him a few months back, and he had eight various Team Blue bumper stickers on his vehicle… a Chevy Suburban, btw.

            1. I used to argue with a local liberaltard who said – with a straight face – that ANY curiosity over Civil War history – for either side – was just as evil, and just as bad, as being a Confederate.

              Even if one only focused on, and agreed with, the Northern part of said history.

              See, that’s stupid. Hell, I used to be involved in Re-enactment/living history groups, and I know that those wearing the Grey weren’t always racists pining for slavery.

              1. Shows how liberals can be full-bore stoopid when it comes to their belief system… this guy would bitch about how anyone involved in a Civil War reenactment was pining to put on a Klan robe afterward – even iv they were portraying Union soldiers.

            2. I’ve run in to a few (very very few) folks like that. I always want to suggest they take it up with the black guys who reenact as USCT.

              1. Black guys in Civil War reenactments are probably double-secret probation racists!

                1. “that ANY curiosity over Civil War history”

                  What’s wrong with curiosity, homophobe?

                  1. Good one, Van H.

          2. Again, my point of view was from a purely vexillological perspective — as in, the way it looks. For THAT purpose, you CAN separate the values of the organization/institution/state it represents.

            Also, I don’t know of a single modern neo-Confederate group that argues against those points and supports slavery, or even secession to protect slavery; they either bury that fact when they’re asked why they would have supported the southern secessions, or they genuinely believe the secession of the southern states hadn’t had its basis in the issue of slavery.

            1. Again, my point of view was from a purely vexillological perspective — as in, the way it looks. For THAT purpose, you CAN separate the values of the organization/institution/state it represents.

              If you said it looks “pleasing” then I would agree with you, but you said it looks “badass,” which I argue is really saying “intimidating to the other team.”

              Personally, if I am driving down the road, and I see another car with a rebel flag bumper-sticker or something, the question always enters my mind as to why they chose to place it. I’m sure that 75% of the time it’s because the person thinks it looks “cool,” (It would be 95 percent if I lived in the South, but I live in N.H.), the other 25 percent is probably due to a political reason. And there is a slight chance that that political reason includes negative feelings towards people who look like I do. It may not be correct, but my personal experience has taught me that it’s sometimes true, so better safe than sorry.

              Likewise, if I attend a concert of American folk music, I can appreciate the musicality of “Dixie”; however, if someone follows right behind me while “whistlin’ Dixie,” they’re going to get punched in the face.

      2. *sigh* Don’t tell me that you’re one of those idiots who say “But at least the Nazis dressed cool!”

        The Nazis seemed to have the best everything, including uniforms.

        1. The Nazis seemed to have the best everything, including uniforms.

          Oh hell, naw! For WW2 give me American uniforms, British planes, Soviet armor, German generals, and Japanese admirals.

          1. I’ll take the M-1 over the uniforms thank you very much.

          2. Heroic Mulatto|12.16.11 @ 5:24PM|#
            “For WW2 give me …. Japanese admirals.”

            Uh, care to name one that didn’t misuse/waste his resources, or ‘blow a lead’?

          3. For WW2 give me American uniforms, British planes, Soviet armor, German generals, and Japanese admirals.

            What about Patton?

        2. The Nazis pretty much set the standard for bad guy iconography. Every sci-fi ‘evil’ military since then has drawn on the uniforms.

        3. In my old Axis and Allies game the Russian tokens were the best looking of the bunch.

          1. That game is the shit!

  24. The stoopid! It burns:

    http://www.frumforum.com/the-a…..ent-366779

  25. I don’t know anyone left or right, paleo-libertarian, socon, cosmotarian, Rushhead, social democrat, etc., who being aware of who Frum is, doesn’t absolutely hate Frum with every fiber in his or her being. In my family, there are four people alone who hate him. Amongst my coworkers, at least a dozen. Start digging ditches for a living, Frum. You are the worst human being alive.

    1. Serious question, who besides Frum doesn’t hate Frum?

      1. It’s a statistical certainty that there’s some body of people out there, however miniscule, that not only like him, but want him sexually. Wow. Humanity’s weird.

        1. I think I just lost my lunch. Thanks Res.

          1. Yeah, now that I think about it, it’s not like we’re discussing Huntsman or Sarah Palin. David Frum has just the sort of look that might bring your lunch back up.

            Sorry.

        2. Rule 34 has some frightening implications, doesn’t it?

      2. John|12.16.11 @ 4:34PM|#
        “Serious question, who besides Frum doesn’t hate Frum?”

        Frum’s mum. Maybe.

  26. Speaking of stoopid, off-topicish version:

    http://www.examiner.com/manhat…..acks-video

    1. Stoopid on the above link topic, via DUh:

      http://www.democraticundergrou…..7910#post4

  27. Even though we all agree slavery is a social evil, I have never understood why a US State shouldn’t have the right to secede.

    1. Because any desire for property rights + any desire for states’ rights = I HEART SLAVERY!

      1. You forgot to add “any desire for non-socialist policy”.

        1. You forgot to add “anyone who is against a 90% tax on millionaires and billionairs”, Lawrence.

          Sometimes, I wonder why we both work for the same cable channel… you strike me as a right-winger.

          1. YOU, Ed and Lawrence, forgot to add “anyone who doesn’t protest in favor of gay rights”.

            Fucking men.

            1. Fucking men.

              Doesn’t that sort of defeat the point of the whole “lesbian” thing?

              1. “Pegging”.

    2. It should, and by all rights, it does. Until it doesn’t, for a totally valid reason – Lincoln said so, like 150 years ago or something!

    3. I’ll chime in on this with the same point I usually make. Theoretically, I can’t see why a state wouldn’t have the right to secede, and some days I’d be happy as a clam if mine did.

      Practically, we settled this argument in 1865 at Appomattox, and the answer is “Not no, but fuck no”.

      1. I’d like to see a state try it again without doing it for such despicable reasons, just to see if Americans would still stomach seeing their own slaughtered by the Empire.

  28. I vow to never participate in any thread that has anything to do with the Civil War from now on. It’s a completely pointless conversation.

    1. Your non-action speaks volumes, Cracker.

      1. I’ll bet Cracker wrote the racist Ron Paul newsletters.

        1. Christ-fags!

          1. I’m good for the environment. I’m a hit with African-American women.

    2. You would think that the post being about Frum would be enough to give us a unity of purpose, and we could pull our minds together and use it in a massive psionic attack to shatter his glasses, but no. We are who we are.

  29. Only question that needs to be asked:

    Would you break the law (not the natural law or the moral law but the law in the books) to free a slave?

    Nearly every libertarian would answer that question in the affirmative….so what the fuck is the problem?

    1. Would I break the law? Sure.

      Would I kill the slaveowner in question? Perhaps.

      Would I kill his family? Probably not.

      Would I kill everyone in his town? Certainly not.

      That litany hints at the problem for many of us.

      1. It should suffice to slip in to the slave quarters ninja style, and undo the locks, and tell the slaves, ‘now your choice to stay or go is yours, and yours alone.’ Then slip in to the bed room of the owner’s hot daughter because that would be more fun than leading a bunch of former slaves to the railroad station.

        1. Yes, but the point of the exercise is “How far would you go?” not “What would actually be necessary?”

          1. Well, if his daughter wound up dead, purely a choking accident during rough play, not political zealotry, I swear!

            1. I just received your enlistment application, and I am sorry to tell it were rejected. And I had to take a bath afterwards.

              1. You’re mistaking me for someone else. I only work alone.

            2. Your ideas intrigue me and I’d like to subscribe to your newsletter.

              1. ixnay onay ewnay etternay, I’m running for congress!

  30. David Frum supports the Final Solution. So…

  31. Save your Confederate money, boys, the South will blog again!

    1. Confederates were a bunch of fiat money loving socialist. No thanks!

      1. Whew, that means the great Southern Rock Revival is delayed another year. 38 Special makes me homicidal.

  32. David Frum is a fucking neocon tool.

  33. Frum is a cunty jizzbag plain and simple.

    Also, has anyone seen the “endorsements” of Frum Forum? It used to be almost all lefties except Buckley, who’s dead. Now that he’s bitching up a storm, he throws up O’reilly and Goldberg to appease the republicans. Fuckin’ smarmy douche

  34. How about that Patriot cause?

    When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them…

    1. That is first American Revolution thinking, no longer valid after the glorious Second Revolution wrongly called the Civil War.

  35. What libertarian wouldn’t hold an open preference for the cause of self-determination, vs. imperial rule?

  36. OK, I went though the entire thread. The arguments are pretty much as expected; the positive value of ending slavery vs. the negative value of a government which denies human rights.
    Anyone else see the problem here?
    A government which enforces slavery (and it can happen in no other way, absent anarchy) is certainly a government which denies human rights.
    As bad as the effects of the Civil War on the reconstituted Union government, at least *that* power was forever removed from its repertoire.

  37. www surprisefirms com

  38. The whole masturbatory intellectual excersize of judging historical socio-political situations through hyper-moral modern safety lenses is stupid when it’s focusing on 20 years in the past, let alone almost 200.

    Slavery kind of sort of existed since the dawn of civilization and still does. It was never going to be an easy remedy. And outside of some sort of possible S&M game, no one here’s ever made anyone pick cotton or tobacco or understood the benifits of doing so. So the moral grandstanding is nonsense

  39. I disagree with you. The moral legitimacy is absolutely tied to the legal legitimacy. Take my example above. Suppose Texas decides to succeed over the income tax. Meanwhile California does because he wants to repeal the Bill of Rights and legalize slavery. If it is strictly a legal question, the the federal government cannot stop either one legally. And that is bunk. The federal government has a duty to protect its citizens.

    If a state secedes, the people who choose to reside in that state are no longer citizens of that state.

    For example, the state I live in now, Hawaii, has a small but vocal minority of pissed-off locals who want to reinstitute the Hawaiian kingdom and kick out all the haoles.

    In the highly unlikely event that attempt to secede occurred, the federal government would not have the power under the constitution to prevent that secession if the legislature authorized a vote on the matter by the populace, no matter how malign the motives were of some of the people who would seize power if the vote succeeded.

    What the federal government could rightfully insist upon is that any dissenting citizens who did not want to live under such a monarchy should have the ability to leave the state unmolested.

    Same deal with John’s hypothetical about California seceding with the express stated intent to mistreat hispanics. The federal government should not interfere with the secession, but it sure as hell could insist that the hispanics that the new government intended to oppress be given the opportunity to sell all their stuff, pack up, and leave.

    1. Whoops, first line above should read, “If a state secedes, the people who choose to reside in that state are no longer citizens of the United States.”

    2. “What the federal government could rightfully insist upon is that any dissenting citizens who did not want to live under such a monarchy should have the ability to leave the state unmolested.”

      If HI seceded, by what legal mechanism could a foreign power (the US government, in this case) demand special treatment for certain citizens of a sovereign nation?

      1. If HI seceded, I would not be a citizen of that new nation if I did not so consent and renounce my citizenship with the U.S. If the vote happened, and me and my wife and my kids showed up at the airport to catch the next flight out, and goons from the new government tried to prevent us from catching that flight and leaving, so they could enslave us or whatever, they would not be lawfully detaining their own citizens, they would be kidnapping citizens of the U.S.

        Now, if we tried to continue living in Hawaii after the secession, but insisting on being treated according to the Bill of Rights even though the new government had not adopted those rights for its citizens, then the U.S. government would not have the power to force a sovereign government to abide by the U.S. Constitution.

        1. “If HI seceded, I would not be a citizen of that new nation if I did not so consent and renounce my citizenship with the U.S.”

          Not arguing the moral aspects, just the legal ones.
          A seceded HI is now a sovereign nation, and you, as a resident, are an HI citizen, regardless of your vote.
          You *may* also hold a claim to US citizenship, depending on how the form of secession is worded. Maybe not!
          My point is that intervention by a (now) foreign power regarding a certain class of citizens in a (now) sovereign nation is not a given.

          1. Hmmm, let’s say that you are a tourist living in a house in North Korea. A coup happens there, and a different communist declares himself the Dear Leader. Are you, as a resident of this newly formed government, thus suddenly a citizen and prohibited from leaving because that would be treason?

            A newly formed government * might * make that claim, of course, which would possibly lead to a declaration of war by the U.S. on the behalf of its citizens trapped there, if a diplomatic resolution was not possible.

            Basically, governments are gangs of thieves, of varying degrees of coerciveness, none of which fully recognize your self-ownership and natural rights.

            So, what happens in a secession would depend on who seizes power in the new government, and the relative military strength of the U.S. versus the new government. My guess is that the U.S., if it were to suddenly start obeying the Constitution and allow secession, would have the military power to insist on allowing the residents of the state to each decide whether to stay and become citizens or to pack up and leave.

    3. So, how does this apply to the Civil War?

      At the time the initial group of states seceded, slavery was not only legal in those states, but in a bunch of other states remaining in the Union.

      So, while the Union did not have the constitutional right to prohibit those states from seceding, they could not put conditions on that secession that would have amounted to prohibiting slavery in the Confederacy while allowing it to continue in the Union.

      So, it would take an imaginary alternate universe for John’s hypothetical to apply — the Union in 1860 prohibited slavery everywhere throughout the Union, and some Southern states wanted to secede so they could enslave currently free men and women. Then, yes, the Union could say, “Go ahead and secede, but before you do that, every person in those states who wants to leave gets to do so, including those who you intend to enslave.”

      1. “…slavery was not only *LEGAL* in those states, but in a bunch of other states remaining in the Union….”

        This is a point I’ve tried to make, and have not yet succeeded and I don’t think it is trivial:
        It’s not that the state “allowed” slavery; it was *enforced* by the state.
        Slavery is an artifact of the state; absent anarchy, it can be no other.

        1. Just shut the fuck up, Sevo. You clearly don’t get what I or anyone else is talking about, so just crawl back under your rock and we’ll call you when we need someone to play a retard on TV.

          1. protefeed|12.16.11 @ 11:02PM|#
            …”You clearly don’t get what I or anyone else is talking about,….”

            No, asshole, I clearly *get* the bullshit you’ve posted, and I’ve called you on the bullshit you’ve posted, asshole.
            And if you don’t like getting called on bullshit, you shouldn’t post bullshit, asshole.
            BTW, I presume that “we” means you have a turd in your pocket, asshole.

            1. Ummm, that wasn’t me posting at 11:02PM, Sevo. Someone arsehole posted using my handle.

              The lack of eloquence in the arguments should have been a tipoff.

              1. Sorry.
                Troll-meter needs calibration.

        2. This is a point I’ve tried to make, and have not yet succeeded and I don’t think it is trivial:
          It’s not that the state “allowed” slavery; it was *enforced* by the state.
          Slavery is an artifact of the state; absent anarchy, it can be no other.

          You’ve made that point, and some here agree with it, and some don’t.

          I agree that slavery in the U.S was enforced by various levels of government.

          I disagree that slavery is necessarily an artifact of a state — any arsehole anywhere can use force to enslave another, and governments can choose to support that slavery, oppose it, or (theoretically, though unlikely in practice) be neutral on the question.

          In an anarchistic situation, whether someone gets away with openly practicing slavery depends on whether enough people who know of this hold enlightened views on self-ownership and are willing to use the arms they own to end such a pernicious violation of the rights of others.

          1. INSTITUTIONAL SLAVERY is necessarily an artifact of the state. And I think that’s the point of most who bring it up.

    4. Hawaii attempting to secede in order to establish a monarchy would run into problems with these Constitutional clauses:

      “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.”

      “No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.”

      It is difficult to see how an absolute right to secession (or evn a limited right to secession) is compatible with those provisions of the Constitution.

      1. No, because once a state secedes, they are no longer a “State in this Union”, and thus no longer subject to the U.S. Constitution.

        And it is not an “invasion” if the legislature votes to amend its state constitution to allow secession, and puts the question up to a vote, and the majority of the residents vote to secede.

        For example, Puerto Rico has held several votes to join the U.S. as a state, and the vote has more or less narrowly failed. It is possible that Puerto Rico might hold yet another vote, this time explicitly stating that if accepted in the Union, they have the right to secede at any time for any reason, and with specified procedures to follow in such a secession.

        Of course, it would be up to Congress to decide whether to accept that application if the vote succeeded, or to reject it, similar to, say, the negotiations that took place when Utah tried to join the Union and the U.S. insisted that they give up practicing polygamy as a condition of joining.

        1. If a state attempts to secede with an intent to create a non-republican government (monarchy), and Titles of Nobility (King/Queen) how do these provisions of the Constitution not compel the federal government to declare the seccesion invalid? Presuming that any form of secession is legal, which has always been at a minimum controversial and unsettled.

  40. For the people defending secession:

    How big does a polity have to be to have a “right to secede”? Can NYC secede from the union? How about Brooklyn? Or Greenwich Village?

    Those who support natural law as the answer to everything are going to have a particularly tough time with this, I’m afraid.

    1. Any area of land could apply to become a state, and vote to secede. The U.S. government, having superior military force, would hold a veto on this if they so chose.

      Governments don’t fully recognize natural rights, or they wouldn’t BE governments. Governments recognize military power, and sometimes recognize some natural rights.

  41. And furthermore, there are two possibilities re: Southern secession:

    The CSA was part of the USA in rebellion: then Art I Sec 8 gives Congress the power to put down the insurrection, and Art I Sec 10 plainly states that the states are not permitted to join a confederation.

    The CSA was no longer part of the USA: In that case, the federal govt has no constitutional obligations to them whatsoever, and can launch military action against them at any time for any reason it chooses, just like any other foreign country.

    1. Part II is the correct answer: The CSA was no longer part of the USA. Of course, launching military action against them simply for seceding was a violation of the Constitution, but the federal government has repeatedly shown a disdain for actually following that document as written.

      Now, if your next argument was that the federal government would have wanted to launch an invasion of the CSA to end slavery, that would be a nonsensical argument, because the remaining states in the Union recognized slavery, and included about half of the population of what became the CSA in our timeline in slave states that did not secede until the North launched its invasion, and several other slave states that in our timeline did not secede even after that invasion.

      So invading to end the practice of slavery in that much smaller version of the CSA would have been politically impossible without the Union first voting to end slavery — and the slave owning states remaining in the Union IIRC held enough votes in the Senate to block any such move in the early 1860s.

      So, eventually with changes in public opinion the Union would almost certainly have ended slavery within its own borders, but also it is certain that it would not have occurred until the CSA had been an established country for a while.

      1. “…launching military action against them simply for seceding was a violation of the Constitution,…”

        Except that the Union did not fire the first shot. The federal government had at least a plausible argument that the CSA pre-empted a diplomatic solution to the crisis by firing the first shot. It is arguable that the CSA would have been in a better negotiating position if they had waited for the Union to make a definitively hostile movem instead South Carolina gave the Union a legitimate casus belli. After Ft. Sumter you cannot say that Union prosecuting military action against the CSA was merely because they attempted to secede.

        And again, secession was a controversial and unsettled principle which made the legitimacy of the CSA as a separate sovereign entity legally dubious. It was not at all clear that the federal government had a Constitutional obligation to allow the seceding to depart.

  42. I would like to say that most of you are full of shit. Thank you.

    1. Then go ahead.

  43. “As someone who has written and commented widely and generally sympathetically about Ron Paul, I’ve got to say that The New Republic article detailing tons of racist and homophobic comments from Paul newsletters is really stunning. As former reason intern Dan Koffler documents here, there is no shortage of truly odious material that is simply jaw-dropping.
    I don’t think that Ron Paul wrote this stuff but that really doesn’t matter–the newsletters carried his name after all–and his non-response to Dave Weigel below is unsatisfying on about a thousand different levels. It is hugely disappointing that he produced a cache of such garbage.”– Nick Gillespie

    “If Paul didn’t write those articles, who did? If he didn’t know what had appeared in his newsletter, when did he find out and how did he deal with it? If the candidate is vague on these points, it will only fuel suspicions that he held those beliefs after all (or that he was willing to stay silent despite his disagreements because the newsletters brought in some cash).”–Jesse Walker

    1. God damn it, Max… you’re a one-note motherfucker.

      1. BTW… if Paul were a Democrat, I’d bet three-fifty you’d not give half a shit about the newsletters.

  44. Succession was over slavery, the war was over succession.

    1. Reason Doesn’t seem to want to admit that the war was over succession, cause it won’t go over as well at their pinkies-out cocktail parties. It’s really plain simple dishonesty.

      Put another way, one could say that both sides were fighting in an effort to dominate people of other lands: The Confederates wanted to rule the (descendants of the) people of West Africa, and the Union wanted to rule the people of South-East North America. The more noble goals claimed by both sides don’t stand up to much scrutiny.

  45. Having received my education in Texas, I can understand Dr. Paul asserting that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery. That’s how history is taught in Texas. I had many arguments in my college history classes over this, as I could not understand how my classmates and professors could claim that the war was NOT fought over slavery. Even though Dr. Paul was not a product of the Texas state education system, forty years of living and working in Texas has certainly had some affect on him.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.