Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In Consideration of Secession - Part III


I found an interesting subject for part three.

The link at top concerns secession petitions filed by a number of states and a possible comment on the subject by Justice Antonin Scalia As of today the count of petitions was 47. These petitions seem to only be online types that anyone can start, send via email, and sign with a few clicks. Therefore, they obviously cannot be taken seriously and most of them are likely done in jest or as a mild form or protest.

The text of Scalia's alleged response is interesting According to the article, a producer who wanted to make a movie on the subject wrote to the Supreme Court Justices and the only one that responded was Scalia.

Of course we have no idea whether or not the letter (copy is on the link) is real or a forgery, but the content is provided below and is perfect for this topic:

"I am afraid I cannot be of much help with your problem, principally because I cannot imagine that such a question could ever reach the Supreme Court. To begin with, the answer is clear. If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede. (Hence, in the Pledge of Allegiance, “one Nation, indivisible.”) Secondly, I find it difficult to envision who the parties to this lawsuit might be. Is the State suing the United States for a declaratory judgment? But the United States cannot be sued without its consent, and it has not consented to this sort of suit.

I am sure that poetic license can overcome all that — but you do not need legal advice for that. Good luck with your screenplay."

For the sake of argument, let's say that the letter from Scalia is genuine.

One of the most common misconceptions from American history, and one that is unfortunately accepted without question, as that the question of Secession was settled by the outcome of the American Civil War. For the record (I fear that I will need to do this often) I am a staunch unionist, a Lincoln man to the core, and I also love the manner in which Daniel Webster treated the topic. Surprisingly to some, I also strongly approve of Andrew Jackson's actions in regards to South Carolina. In short, secession cannot occur unless the situation merits such action.

The cold hard fact is that the question of secession was not disproved nor settled by the Civil War. The Civil War proved that the overwhelmingly superior resources of industry, population, railroads, and the moral high ground of opposing the extension of slavery gave the North the advantage that it needed. Once the war became one of will and attrition verses a contest of tactics, √©lan, and strategy, it was only a matter of time before Lincoln would find generals who would employ the forces at his disposal rather than moving cautiously and ineptly like so many other former Union army leaders.

Wars, by their very nature, do not prove anything. One side wins, the other loses.

Scalia's statement is either a classic example of one of the most brilliant legal minds in American history either being unable to apply basic common sense, attempting to play the game of political diplomacy (He is not known for that), or gently kidding the individual to whom the letter was written.

Think about it - if we apply the logic of Scalia's statements, the following must also be true:

The Athenian Democracy would have been wrong had it been beaten by the Persians at Marathon or at the later and more crucial naval battle of Salamis.

The inhuman and criminal acts and ideology of Nazi Germany would have been right had Hitler's regime won WWII.

It would also mean that Rome was right in each and very one of her conquests of other nations and peoples, be they from the days of the Republic or the Empire (Principate).

The list could go on and on; Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, and all losing peoples are wrong, and every winning nation or dynasty being right.

In fact, if this is true, the Left must immediately cease to petition for Israel to concede to every demand of the Arabs of Palestine because Israel won every conflict since her founding.

I think that I beat that point to death, so we can put the idea that secession was decided by the Civil War safely to rest.

The question, then, is what makes a revolution, rebellion, or secession justified or not.

The answer lies in the basic concept of government. The Founders of the United States were heavily influenced by writers such as John Locke, Charles-Louis de Secondat, (Refereed to by his Baronial title as Montesquieu), Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Hobbes, and other writers.

The first two are in my opinion the most influential to the Founders. They were of course also tremendously influenced by the history or ancient Greece, Rome, and the Glorious Revolution of England. Eran Shalev, in his work Rome Reborn on Western Shores, provides and in-depth analysis of the manner in which the founders were animated by the personalities and mindsets of those of the ancient Roman Republic. His next work, which is to be released in 2013, will present evidence of the strong influence that the Old Testament also had with these individuals. 


The starting point for the American Founding Fathers was this - that governments were created by people in order to secure liberty, property, safety, etc. Governments do not predate people or the earliest societies, therefore they cannot be held to be inherently sovereign, but are only sovereign when supported by the people they govern.

Locke, in his Treatises on Government, was far and away the most clear on this issue; if a government ceases to protect the people and instead becomes the oppressor, it is the right and obligation of the people (Who are born free by the very nature of mankind) to detach from or depose the oppressive body and create a new government.

We must also recall that, technically, all revolutionary movements, including the American War of Independence, are considered to be illegal by the government from which they are breaking. It is only when a people or a nascent nation can cite what Locke refers to as a 'Long train of abuses" (Words used specifically in the Declaration of Independence), the steps taken to reconcile, and the results of those failed attempts that a people can declare themselves to be free and independent and take steps to govern themselves.

As I noted in Part 1 two days ago, the States of the Confederacy did not have these arguments. That is why they were wrong, not because they lost the war.

Also noted in Part 1 is one of the realities of what has happened to our freedoms. Three Supreme Court cases were cited as evidence that our final bulwark against oppression has been negated and is now effectively a rubber stamp for the Left.

In the US, the State now has the authority to control anything and everything, from your property to your body and what you purchase. Our electorate has definitely changed significantly; almost half of the voters will vote for strongly Progressive candidates. That number will soon reach the 51% point. Once that occurs, those who want no part of the new program will be backed into a corner.

I personally have no problem with people who want to live in a Leftist-driven society. My problem is that these same people most certainly have a problem with me being able to live in a society that is not Leftist-driven.

I will try to put Part 4 together tomorrow.

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