Category Archives: Constitution

UPDATED (10/23): Has John McCain Heard Of ‘We The People’?

Constitution, Foreign Policy, John McCain, Neoconservatism

The ironically named National Constitution Center in Philadelphia has honored Sen. John McCain who cares not at all for the Constitution. In his acceptance address, the man dishonors voters who voted to be done with advancing John McCain’s ideas around the globe.

That’s how faithful McCain is to the unique constitutional principle of a government by the people, and not a government by a cabal of elites bent on advancing ideas with The People’s blood and treasure. A government by The People, not by one John McCain, is a bedrock of the US Constitution.

McCain on Monday cautioned against the US turning toward “half-baked, spurious nationalism” during an event honoring the war hero’s contributions.
Reflecting on his decades-long political history, McCain warned that to “fear” the world the US has led for the better part of a century, “abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe” and “refuse the obligations of international leadership … for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems” is unpatriotic.
“As unpatriotic,” he continued, “as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”

MORE: “Sen. John McCain warns against ‘spurious nationalism’ in Liberty Medal speech.”

UPDATE (10/23): One very respectable journalist did not think McCain a hero.


The neocon and neoliberal creed:


America First:

‘Conservatives’ Fail Litmus Test As Defenders Of ‘Western & Christian Tradition

America, Britain, Christianity, Communism, Conservatism, Constitution, History, Left-Liberalism, Neoconservatism, States' Rights

By Dr. Boyd Cathey (who, as is his wont, has covered it all—except for one other defining issue on which conservatives have failed miserably: Their gushing support for Mandela and his ANC).

You can tell a lot about a person by the friends he cherishes, and you can intuit much about how a writer thinks on one topic by how he thinks on another, related topic. This surmise is not always true in every case, but, I think it applies in a great majority of situations. Tell me what a person—a distinguished author, a political leader, a cultural icon—believes, his perspective, on this or that significant historical event, and you can usually gather a valid impression of his world view and overarching philosophy.

A few years back I created my own measure, my own test, as it were, to determine on which side of immense and fundamentally unbridgeable divides various writers and authors, politicians, and others come down. It seemed to me that we could take, historically, several major conflicts and wars, that fundamentally shaped not only subsequent history, but also, indelibly, the consciousness, thinking and cultural outlook of succeeding generations, and utilize them as markers.

I came up with the following five:

1)     The  English Civil War, 1642-1651;

2)     The French Revolution, 1789-1799, also including the Napoleonic Period, 1799-1815;

3)     The War Between the States, 1861-1865;

4)     The Communist Revolution, 1917-1920; and

5)     The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939.

I won’t dwell at length on my reasons for selecting these conflicts as measures—I will save that discussion for another time. But I will say I believe how we think about them clearly illustrates where a person stands in relation to the accumulated inheritance—that great continuum—of Western and Christian tradition. Respond correctly on all five (as I see it), and you are a staunch defender of that heritage and most probably have been able, in some fashion, to understand the fundamental connection those conflicts have in the context of our civilization and our willingness to defend it.

Obviously, for most self-described “conservatives,” there are at least two “giveaways” in my list, that is, two of the five questions they would very likely answer correctly: about the French Revolution and the Communist Revolution. Most “conservatives,” if queried, would have certainly opposed them.

It becomes harder after that, and, I suggest, even more critical to a determination. Not that many current “conservative” writers or politicians are intimately familiar with the history, causes, and issues surrounding the English Civil War.  Yet, I would state most vigorously that issues debated then were, in microcosm and incipiently, some of the issues we continue to debate today, and that a faithful and thinking defender of the continuity of Western tradition must, necessarily, come down on the side of the Royalists, as opposed to Oliver Cromwell’s authoritarian experiment in democracy. King Charles, for all his mistakes and bad decisions, nevertheless, represented the traditions of his country and, as he stated at his famous trial, represented “more the people of England” than the rump “democratic” dictatorship of the Cromwellians and Roundheads.

Back in the 1960s, back when William F. Buckley’s magazine, National Review and Russell Kirk’s journal, Modern Age, were arguably truly conservative, the question concerning the Spanish Civil War would have, likewise, been a giveaway. Almost all conservatives would have viewed that conflict in the light of a much larger, universal conflict between international Communism and those forces opposed to it, and this despite the fact that the anti-Republican Nationalist forces led by Francisco Franco did receive some support from Fascist Italy and Hitler’s Germany (while the Soviet Union not only supported the Republic, but eventually via the Spanish Communist Party eliminated most of its opposition in Spanish Republican ranks). But not today; indeed,  many of the dominant “conservatives” of 2017—the Neoconservatives—come down passionately on the side of the socialist Republic, and, employing the linguistic armor of the Left, they attack the Nationalist, Catholic and traditionalist forces that fought against the Republic, as “fascists.”

Finally, there is the War Between the States, and it is here, in this case, where we indeed can separate the true traditionalist conservatives who comprehend and accept the continuum of Western Christian civilization, its virtues, and its authority, and those who have, in reality and to varying degrees, severed themselves from that continuity. It is here that we can range on one side those who accept and participate in that “great chain of being”—that fundamentally religious and hierarchical structure of all matter and life, decreed by God, Himself, and present in our historical consciousness, and those who do not accept it. For support, in some form, of the Confederacy becomes that crucial measure that determines not just a political outlook about states’ rights and the original meaning of the American Constitution. It also demonstrates a vision of reality and of our existence as human beings created  by and subservient to God as part of an organic whole, a Creation which must continually be protected and defended against those who would seek to puncture it,  or distort its meaning, if not, eventually, to subvert or destroy it.

Certainly, there are those of good will and, let us call it, “invincible ignorance” who have been educated to think that the primary issue in 1861 was slavery, and that Abraham Lincoln was simply reacting to those “rebels” who wished to destroy “the sacred bonds” of Union, while advancing the great humanitarian cause of “freedom.” So much for the caliber and character of our contemporary educational system, not to mention Hollywood’s ideologically tendentious (and mostly successful) attempts to influence us. Yet, that mythology surrounding the Southern Iliad of 1861-1865 will not stand serious cross-examination.

Consider these popular myths and shibboleths:

The War was about slavery!” Not really accurate: the war aims cited repeatedly by Lincoln and Northern publicists were that the War was to “preserve the Union.” Indeed, if abolition of slavery had been declared as the principle war aim in 1861, most likely a great majority of Union political leaders, not to mention Union soldiers, would have recoiled, and the Northern war effort would most likely have collapsed. It was difficult enough to gain wide support in the North, as it was. Remember, Lincoln was elected with less than 40% of the vote in 1860, and barely gained pluralities in most Northern states.

“Lincoln freed the slaves!” Not so; Lincoln freed not one slave. His Emancipation Proclamation, issued first on September 22, 1862 and finalized on January 1, 1863, supposedly “freeing the slaves,” only applied to those areas not under Union military control or occupation, that is, territory of the independent Southern states. It did not apply to the “slave states” within the Union or controlled by the Union military, including Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. Thus, Lincoln’s proclamation “freed” slaves where his action had no effect, but left it untouched where he could have “freed” them. Not only that, exactly one month prior to his initial proclamation he had been interviewed by Horace Greeley, editor of The New York Tribune, where he forthrightly stated: “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it… What I do about Slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save this Union….” [August 22, 1861] The amendments to end slavery came after the conclusion of the war and after the death of Lincoln.

And most recently this charge: “Robert E. Lee and other Confederate military leaders who had been in the US Army committed treason by violating their oaths to defend the Union, and Confederate leaders were in rebellion against the legitimately elected government of the United States.”

It is this accusation that has become the ultimate weapon of choice—the “ultima ratio”—for today’s fierce opponents of the various monuments that honor Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, P. G. T. Beauregard, and other Confederate military leaders, and for the belief that they should be taken down. And most especially, it is spewed forth as unassailable gospel by many Neoconservative writers, publicists, pundits, and their less distinguished camp followers in much of the NeverTrump elites of the Republican Party.

Most recently, we have witnessed the spectacle of Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, apparently “channeling” (!) Robert E. Lee and declaring that if Marse Robert were alive today he would gleefully join in the chorus to bring down those monuments honoring Confederate soldiers and leaders. Tell us, Rich, so the great general would be there right beside the “antifa” Marxists and Black Lives Matter vandals, that is, those “new” friends you have made over on the extreme left?

Even more obtuse views come from Mona Charen, a long time Neocon publicist and NeverTrumper, who fears that the GOP is “being taken over by Trumpists and Neo-Confederates”! Perish the thought, Mona!

But it is from the foul mouths of “conservatives” Andrew Bacevitch and Max Boot that the worst venom emits, and, fascinatingly, it could have just as well come from a member of the communist Workers’ World Party as from Bacevitch (who writes for The American Conservative, but voted for Obama twice) or Boot (who was John McCain’s foreign policy advisor during McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign).

Just a few quotes from Bacevitch:

“My complaint about Lee—I admit this to my everlasting shame—was not that he was a slaveholder who in joining the Confederacy fought to preserve slavery. It was that he had thereby engineered the killing of many thousands of American patriots who (whatever their views on slavery and race) wished simply to preserve the Union. At the beginning of the Civil War, Lee famously remarked that he could not bring himself to take up arms against his home state of Virginia. This obliged him to take up arms against the very nation that as a serving officer he had sworn to defend? No less than Benedict Arnold, Robert E. Lee was a traitor. This became, and remains, my firm conviction.”

And then this from Boot:

“…what is it that we are supposed to be grateful to the Confederates for? For seceding from the Union? For, in the case of former U.S. Army officers such as Lee and Jackson, violating their oaths to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”? For triggering the most bloody conflict in American history? For fighting to keep their fellow citizens in bondage?” 

Now, these individuals are, supposedly, well-educated, with valuable university degrees, writers of some (I would submit, undeserved) repute. I do not believe they fall into the category of invincible ignorance; I do not believe that will suffice as an explanation or excuse for the hatred-laced and furious animus they demonstrate against a Lee or any other faithful military leader of the Confederacy. Rather, they fall clearly on that other side of my unbridgeable divide—they implicitly, through this major indicator and precisely because they are educated, reject the continuum of Western Christian civilization. They may protest not, but, in effect and through their views, they effectively do so. And, as such, they are the enemies of those who do defend that great chain of being, that European inheritance of those who went before us, the legacy of Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome. Thus, they must be called out and their vision denounced for what it is: the “Fifth Column” of the progressivist Revolution that seeks to radically remake the world and man…and that remade image is not one that comes from God.

Two years ago, in 2015, in response to the hysteria (including the actions of the invincibly stupid Nikki Haley) concerning the display of Confederate flags after the criminal acts of Dylann Roof, I authored a long essay, first published in the Confederate Veteran magazine, and then picked up by the Abbeville Institute. Much of the ludicrous reasoning offered by Bacevitch, Boot, Lowry, and Charen (and other Neocons) I attempted to answer back then, in particular the utterly ridiculous charge that General Lee somehow violated his oath to defend the Constitution as a member of the US Army. Accordingly, I reproduce portions of that essay today.

Lastly, Dr. Lee Cheek has written a shorter, but fine, defense of General Lee, and I pass that on as well.

Once again, I ask your indulgence: there is much here, but in these critical times, it is incumbent upon us to be informed…and prepared for the battles ahead.

==========================================

~ DR. BOYD D. CATHEY is an Unz Review columnist, as well as a Barely a Blog contributor, whose work is easily located on this site under the “BAB’s A List” search category. Dr. Cathey earned an MA in history at the University of Virginia (as a Thomas Jefferson Fellow), and as a Richard M Weaver Fellow earned his doctorate in history and political philosophy at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain. After additional studies in theology and philosophy in Switzerland, he taught in Argentina and Connecticut before returning to North Carolina. He was State Registrar of the North Carolina State Archives before retiring in 2011. He writes for The Unz Review, The Abbeville Institute, Confederate Veteran magazine, The Remnant, and other publications in the United States and Europe on a variety of topics, including politics, social and religious questions, film, and music.

President Trump And The Racism And Anti-Semitism Obsession

Anti-Semitism, Constitution, Donald Trump, libertarianism, Morality, Paleolibertarianism, Race, Racism

A friend—a brilliant scholar of Objectivism—expressed concern over my support (albeit waning support) for Donald Trump. He pointed out in an email that the president was “slowly, but surely, abandoning that outsider stance and was becoming part of the very system he fought against.”

It’s hard to disagree.

However, I had hedged my words in the book, The Trump Revolution, which stands up quite well, since I supported Trump’s “creative destruction” or “process,” more than anything else.

My friend points to Trump sending more troops to Afghanistan (“well, at least he’s committed to no nation-building”). He laments that “it was like pulling teeth to get POTUS to condemn the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville; yes, they had the support of the ACLU, just as they had the support of the ACLU when similar groups marched on Skokie”:

I’d be the first to defend their rights to march. But his initial response seemed so tepid to me; he finally was able to utter the words Obama wouldn’t: “Islamic terrorist”, but he couldn’t seem to utter the phrase “neo-Nazi” in his condemnation of those brown-shirt nutjobs who were chanting “Jews will not replace us” and who thought he wasn’t racist enough because he gave his beautiful daughter to that “bastard Kushner”. The whole thing reminded me of the Nuremberg rallies. …
Now, don’t get me wrong: “Antifa” are not interested in freedom. They are like the Red Stalinists who were for Hitler when Stalin and Hitler were “allies” and then against Hitler when the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union.

But I’m just puzzled that you’re not concerned by this scent of anti-Semitism that keeps emerging from some of Trump’s constituency; it seems like he doesn’t want to come down hard on them because he’s starting to act more and more like a politician: afraid of alienating a group of disaffected and disenfranchised voters who most obviously voted for him, and who he will need in any bid for re-election.

My response to the last is that I’ve never looked to the Leader to utter feel-good moral fatuities. A leader in the American tradition should stick to the Constitution. Moreover, the race meme and its use in American politics sickens me. Seriously, I support people’s right to hate me, even not to serve me. Maybe I
am that radical a propertarian. I want my president to shut up about race and uphold the Constitution, which he has failed miserably to do. I’m a minimalist gal.

My friend goes on to emphasize that he’s “a little puzzled not to have read much in [my] columns about this troubling issue. For me, a lot of it came out of the Bannon wing (despite Bannon’s valuable opposition to the neocons), but for me, there is no love lost with his ouster.”

My reply: I’ve never railed against anti-Semitism. So long as your mitts stop at my face, I don’t care if you hate me qua Jew. Maybe it’s naïve, but … I confess to hating the Left even more than caring about anti-Semitism.”

My friend was sadly right to have feared

that Trump would be absorbed by the very system he opposed, because it’s just in the nature of politics. Now with his amping up of the war in Afghanistan and his tepid responses to Jew haters, I’m extremely concerned. Help me out here.

Like my friend, my concern is more with War and the Deep State. I don’t see Jews becoming targets for more than verbal aggression. I certainly can no longer look up to Trump: His nepotism; his kids in the White House, his wars, no tax reform, no free market in medicine, no wall. All those issues consume me more than his reaction to the words of a fringe group.

There Can Be No Unity With Those Who Desire Your Extinction

Christianity, Constitution, Democracy, Federalism, History, Nationhood, Racism, Reason, Republicans, States' Rights

Dr. Boyd D. Cathey

All over the news these days you hear various anguished personalities, political and otherwise, with pained expressions on their faces, voices trembling, even a furtive tear or two, pleading for national unity. “Can’t we all get along,” they mumble, echoing words uttered decades ago by Rodney King. (Remember him from the violence in the streets of Los Angeles?).

But I have a question, and it seems to me to be absolutely central: “Unite around what?” What is that principle or foundation of beliefs around which we should unify? If we posit a series of beliefs, a credo, which we hold as fundamental, and if we hold that those principles and vision for a just society come to us as a precious legacy from our ancestors and from our Western Christian traditions, will there be—can there be—any agreement, any unity with those who openly and forcefully reject that foundation and those essential principles as irretrievably laced with and poisoned by racism, sexism, homophobia, and “white privilege,” not to mention hints of “fascism” and other not-so-pleasant “isms”?

The American republic was formed through a kind of understood compromise between the colonies; the Authors of our constitutional system fully comprehended that there were diverse elements and interests that must be balanced to make the new nation at all workable. But in 1787 there was enough essential agreement on fundamentals that a seemingly miraculous result was possible. Yet, those far-sighted men also feared what might happen should that which they created be perverted or turned from its original propositions. The central Federal government was counter-balanced and limited by newly and fiercely independent states which jealously guarded a large portion of their own sovereignty.

Voting was universally restricted to those considered most qualified to exercise the franchise. Universal suffrage was considered by the near totally of the Fathers of our Constitution to be a sure means of destroying the young republic: absolute democracy and across-the-board egalitarian views were considered fatal for the future of the country. Such views were sidelined to the periphery, without practical voice in the running of the commonwealth.

The American republic was, in all but name, a “Christian” republic. Certainly, the basic documents of our founding did not formally state as much. There was no formal national “religious establishment,” as existed in almost all European countries. Yet, despite that lack of national confessionality, the new nation, while demanding freedom for religious expression, professed de facto the Christian faith as a kind of understood basis of the new nation. As is often pointed out, almost immediately after adopting the Bill of Rights in 1791 (authored, ironically, by slaveholder James Madison), including the “freedom of religion” First Amendment, Congress provided for paid Christian chaplains in the new Northwest Territories. Even more confirming is the fact that nearly every one of the original thirteen colonies/new states had a “religious establishment” or religious test of some sort on the state level, and those establishments were left completely untouched by the First Amendment, which was understood to mean only the formal establishment of a national supported state church.

Above all, there existed amongst the new Americans the ability to converse and communicate with each other, using the same language, and employing the same symbols and imagery that had brought them together originally as a country. Appeals to traditional English law and the historic “rights of Englishmen,” the belief in a God of the Old and New Testament whose prescriptions found in Holy Writ informed both the laws of the state and the understanding of justice and virtue, and an implicit, if not explicit, agreement that there were certain limits of thought and action beyond which one could not go without endangering the republican experiment, formed a kind of accepted public orthodoxy.

That modus vivendi—that ability to get along and agree on most essentials—continued, sometimes fitfully, until 1861. The bloody War Between the States that erupted that year might have been avoided if the warnings of the Authors of the Constitution had been heeded, if the Federal executive in 1861 had understood the original intentions of 1787 and the precarious structural balance that the Philadelphia Convention had erected. But that was not the case, and four years of brutal war followed, with over half a million dead and thousands more maimed, and, most tragically, that essential “via media” between an increasingly powerful central government and the rights of the states and of communities, and eventually, of persons, distorted and perverted.

The resulting trajectory towards centralization, the growth of a powerful Federal government, has continued nearly unabated for 150 years. With it and with the gradual destruction of not just the rights of the states, but also of communities and persons, came the institutionalization of a large and mostly unseen permanent bureaucracy, a managerial and political class, that took upon itself the role of actually ruling and running the nation. James Burnham and the late Samuel Francis have written profoundly on this creation of a managerial state within the state. Indeed, in more recent days we have come to label this establishment the “Deep State.”

Concurrent with this transformation governmentally and politically, our society and our culture have equally been transformed. It is certainly arguable that the defeat of the Confederate states in 1865, that is, the removal of what was essentially a conservative and countervailing element in American polity, enabled the nearly inevitable advance of a more “liberal” vision of the nation. At base, it was above all the acceptance by post-war Americans of nearly all persuasions of the Idea of Progress, the vision that “things”—events, developments in thought and in the sciences and in culture, as well in governing—were inevitably moving towards a bright new future. It was not so much to the past we would now look, but to the “new” which always lay ahead of us.

And that future was based squarely on the idea of an “enlightenment” that always seemed to move to the political and cultural Left. While loudly professing and pushing for more “openness” and more “freedom,” liberation from the “straightjacket” of traditional religion and religious taboos, and propounding equality in practically every field of public and private endeavor, ironically, the underlying effect and result of this “progress” has brought with it in reality a severe curtailment of not just many of our personal liberties, but of the guaranteed rights once considered sacrosanct under our old Constitution.

I would argue, as well, that this long term, concerted movement, and eventual triumph of nineteenth-century liberalism and twentieth century progressivism, politically, culturally, and in our churches, not only placed into doubt those essential and agreed-upon elements that permitted the country to exist in some form of “unity,” but also enabled the growth of ideologies and belief systems that, at base, rejected the very foundations, the fragile creed, of that origination.

In one of the amazing turnarounds in history, the fall of Soviet Communism in 1991—hollowed out and decaying after years of boasting that it would “bury” the West—witnessed almost concurrently the exponential growth and flourishing of an even more insidious and seductive version of Marxism in the old Christian West, in Europe and the United States. A century of the ravages and termite-like devastation by liberalism and progressivist ideology had debilitated the foundations—and the requisite will—to resist the attractions of a cultural Marxism that eventually pervaded our culture, our education, our entertainment industry, and our establishment religious thought.

Older and gravely weakened inherited standards and once-revered benchmarks of right and wrong, of justice, of rights and duties, were replaced by what the Germans call a “gestalt,” or a kind of settled overarching Marxist view of society and culture which had no room for opposing views. Dr. Paul Gottfried has written extensively on this phenomenon.

That dogmatic vision now pervades our colleges and public education; it almost totally dominates Hollywood; it controls the Democratic Party and large swathes of the Republican Party; it speaks with ecclesiastical authority through the heresiarchs who govern most of our churches; and, most critically, it provides a linguistic template—an approved language—that must be accepted and employed, lest the offender be charged with “hate speech” or “hate thought.” Its goals—the imposition of a beguiling but ultimately phony democracy not just in the United States but across the face of the globe—the legislation of an across-the-board equality which is reminiscent of the kind of “equality” the pigs in Orwell’s Animal Farm “legislated”—the perpetuation of a largely unseen, unanswerable, unstoppable managerial and political class, secure in its power and omnipotence—the proclamation of the United State (and Europe) as an “open nation with no physical borders”—have been and are being realized.

It is this overlay, this suffocating ideological blanket, with its dogmas of multicultural political correctness, its anathematization of perceived “racism,” “sexism,” homophobia,” “nativism,” and other characterized forms of “bigotry” as unforgivable sins, that now has assumed near total dominance in our society. The older forms of liberalism were incapable of offering effective opposition, for cultural Marxism utilized liberalism’s arguments to essentially undo it, and eventually, absorb it.

Yet, there were and are still millions of Americans—and Europeans—who have been left behind, not yet swept up in that supposedly ineluctable movement to the Left. They are variously labeled the “deplorables,” or perhaps if they do not share completely the reigning presumptions of the Mainstream Media and academia, they are “bigots” or “yahoos,” uninformed “rednecks,” and, increasingly, maybe “white nationalists,” or worse. The prevailing utter condescension and contempt for them by the established Deep State would make the most severe witch-burner of the 17th century envious.

So, again, I ask: unify around what? Unite with whom? On what basis and on what set of fundamental beliefs and principles? Can there be such unity with those who wish your extinction and replacement?

Frankly, I don’t think so…unless millions have a “road to Damascus” conversion, or some major conflagration occurs to radically change hearts and minds.

******

~ DR. BOYD D. CATHEY is an Unz Review columnist, as well as a Barely a Blog contributor, whose work is easily located on this site under the “BAB’s A List” search category. Dr. Cathey earned an MA in history at the University of Virginia (as a Thomas Jefferson Fellow), and as a Richard M Weaver Fellow earned his doctorate in history and political philosophy at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain. After additional studies in theology and philosophy in Switzerland, he taught in Argentina and Connecticut before returning to North Carolina. He was State Registrar of the North Carolina State Archives before retiring in 2011. He writes for The Unz Review, The Abbeville Institute, Confederate Veteran magazine, The Remnant, and other publications in the United States and Europe on a variety of topics, including politics, social and religious questions, film, and music.