In his latest column, A. Barton Hinkle defends the decision of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to order the removal of the Confederate flag from Virginia specialty license plates:
Southern partisans who insist the South was defending only states' rights are wrong in two ways. They were not defending states' rights in the abstract—but rather a particular state right: the right to maintain a system of slavery. More important, however, is this: They were not defending states' rights at all. Individuals have rights. States don't. The South was fighting to preserve state authority. Secessionists wanted to preserve the authority of state governments to enforce an inhumane legal regime.