Category Archives: Founding Fathers

The Universality Of The Confederate Cause

Christianity, Democracy, Europe, Federalism, Founding Fathers, History, Political Philosophy, States' Rights

Dr. Boyd D. Cathey’s
SPEECH for CONFEDERATE FLAG DAY, LOUISBURG, March 19, 2017

Thank you. I appreciate that kind introduction. I always like being over in Franklin County. You see, my mother’s was a “Perry,” and although my branch remained up in Perquimans County for about eighty years after the first Perrys came to this part of North Carolina, I have been assured by family genealogists and by  my own research that I’m kin to most of the folks with that last name in this area. So, in a way, I’m a Franklin County boy, and I also count many good folks out this way as dear friends.

Today is a special day, and it is special not just for the citizens of Franklin County. It is special because here—right here in Louisburg—156 years ago, the first Confederate flag was designed and flown. Here, on this spot, began the epic of Americans attempting not only to keep and preserve the republic handed down to them as a legacy by their grandfathers, but also the effort by force of arms to repel the broader attempt by what Europeans have called “the Revolution,” or, what I call global progressivism, to overcome and defeat one of the last remnants of true Western Christian tradition. That remnant was the Confederate South.

Let me explain with some historical context.

I begin with the French Revolution. The intellectual currents that produced that upheaval were already percolating during the early 18th century. In its eventual aims that revolution was not just a violent effort to destroy the French monarchy. No, its intellectual leadership and its practical executors were intent on dethroning the power of religious tradition and, in effect, rejecting the belief in a God Who was Lord of all Creation. In His place they would enthrone what they called “the goddess of Reason” in the heart of Paris, in Notre Dame Cathedral.

Of course, these were the extremists; not all the revolutionaries would go quite so far or advocate such radical measures.  But all of those who soon denominated themselves as “liberals” would accept the primacy of reason and place man at the center of the universe, in effect, displacing God. I think we should keep that fundamental point in mind as we look at subsequent history on into the 19th century.

It is true the Founders of our American republic were familiar with the French radicals, and, although a few read them and expressed a mild enthusiasm for a few of their ideas, most of the Founders of our old republic rejected the radical democracy and the extremely destructive ideas of that revolution.  In a real sense, the formerly loyal colonists left Great Britain and declared their independence to vindicate their traditional rights and duties as patriotic Englishmen. That is, to use the words of the great historian, Bernard Bailyn, ours was a “revolution averted, not made.”

Our Constitution was configured as a very conservative document.  The paramount rights of the various states were fully recognized. And what we might call “liberal democracy” and across-the-board equality were avoided.

What do I mean by that?

First, the Founders set up a system that was balanced, based deeply in English law. Three branches of government were established as check-and-balance safeguards against tyranny. Only those citizens who really had an interest in the new commonwealth would have a real voice in its governance.  It was up to each state to decide the qualifications for voting and for holding public office. And most states had a religious qualification for elected office holders.  For instance, in North Carolina up until 1868 you had to be a Christian to hold elective office.  As for voting, most states required voters to hold some kind of property—that is, they had to have some actual and real interest in the country. Our forefathers figured that only if you had an interest—an involvement—could you be truly trusted to cast a vote.

Let me point out, parenthetically, that the Supreme Court never declared such conditions and qualifications illegal or unconstitutional in the 19th century. Only in our benighted modern era have such decisions been made. But it is equally evident and clear that the Founders had no intention whatsoever to in any way impede religion or the states’ establishing Christianity in their respective territories. To make that assertion is to reveal an abysmal ignorance of history.

Let us jump forward to 1860. Up until that time the general consensus had been that the old republican system established by the Constitution of 1787 was and should be the basis for American life. But beginning early in the life of our republic there were a few voices—not many, but a few—that advocated greater centralization and more radical changes. Even in the Northern states, those voices were a minority for most of our ante-bellum period. Yet, those voices who thought that way were loud and boisterous.

Certainly, the issue of slavery entered this discussion, beginning in 1820 with the debates over the Missouri Compromise. But even then, the issue for most members of Congress was not slavery itself, but the power, both economic and political, of the states. It was the great Nathaniel Macon, North Carolina’s only Speaker of the House of Representatives, who saw clearly what was brewing.  For him the issue boiled down to the power of the Federal government to dictate to the states the disposition of their property.  If the Federal government could do that, he said, then a war between the states—that is, between those who believed in states’ rights and those who did not—would be the eventual result.

In 1861 North Carolina very reluctantly left the Federal union, but only after the Lincoln administration had demanded troops to invade South Carolina.  As members of the North Carolina Secession Convention declared, if a free state, a former colony, had freely entered the Federal union, then it could, with justice, freely leave that union if there were serious and grave reasons.  Indeed, many of the original thirteen colonies actually said so in the acts of joining the union.

When North Carolina seceded on May 20, 1861, it did so on the anniversary date of its 1775 Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Our state declared that the bond of union was dissolved and that as a free people we were re-vindicating our rights as citizens under the original American Constitution and not the one abused and scorned by the Lincoln administration.

Now let us return to my earlier discussion of what I termed “the Revolution.” And let’s examine how the actions taken in 1861 and our Southern crusade were viewed worldwide. The efforts of the Southern Confederacy on the battlefield, 1861-1865, were seen by many traditionalists in Europe as part of a global counter-revolution—the resistance—against the revolutionary poison unleashed by the French Revolution.

When I studied in Spain for my doctorate and later in Switzerland, I began to read and examine documents in various archives detailing the enthusiastic support that many persons, writers, even sovereigns, in Europe gave to the Confederacy. Thousands—yes, thousands—of volunteers came to the South to fight for the Confederacy.

Let me give some fascinating and incredible examples.

First, probably very few Americans know anything about the old Kingdom of Naples.  It ceased to exist in early 1861, after the forces of the liberal Kingdom of Piedmont-Savoy defeated it, thereby establishing the modern Kingdom of Italy. The Kingdom of Naples was hated with a passion by European liberals. For them it was backward, too bound to tradition and custom, too undemocratic, too hierarchical.  After an heroic fight the last Neapolitan army was defeated in February of 1861.

And then, guess what happened?  As many as perhaps 2,000 of those soldiers of the old, traditionalist Kingdom of Naples got on boats and sailed for New Orleans to volunteer to fight for the new Confederacy. Many of them formed the Italian Brigade that fought valiantly in Louisiana, along the Mississippi, and most notably at the Battle of Mansfield. Many lie buried in Southern soil, honored by our SCV compatriots down in Louisiana and Mississippi. Some returned to Italy.

Back in 1977 I visited a museum and revered historic site outside the city of Naples. There, over the hallowed memorial to Neapolitan Confederates, flew side by side a Third National Confederate Flag and the Royal Standard of the old Kingdom of Naples—gone maybe, but not forgotten.

That story is not well known, but it is not unique. In Spain I discovered that as many as 1,000 Spanish Traditionalists, or Carlists, who rose up against Liberalism in their own country under the motto, “God, Country, our Regional Rights, and our King,” came to Texas to volunteer for the Confederacy. They came by way of Mexico and fought in Confederate ranks at Sabine Pass and at other battles. According to Spanish military historian, David Odalric de Caixal, some enlisted in the Louisiana Tigers. Others found their way as far afield as the 34th and 41st Tennessee regiments. A few even ended up in the Army of Northern Virginia, where General A. P. Hill called them “his rough, tattered lions sent by Providence.”

In Spain one of my dearest friends, the Baron of Montevilla, had an ancestor who traveled to Texas to fight for the Confederacy. When his ancestor returned to Spain, an acquaintance asked him: “How can you justify fighting for two lost causes?” To which my friend’s ancestor replied: “A lost cause is never really lost if the fight is for what is true and what is right.”

Additional volunteers for the Confederate cause came from France and other European countries. We all should remember the great Prussian officer, Johann Heros von Borcke, who rode gallantly with General Jeb Stuart and distinguished himself throughout the war. Returning to Prussia after the war, he continued to fly our flag at his estate until his death. And who can forget Major General the Prince Camille de Polignac, from an old and noble traditionalist French family, who came and on the death of General Alfred Mouton, assumed command of Mouton’s division at the Battle of Mansfield? Among his troops were Texas frontiersmen, and apparently many of them could not pronounce his last name. So they called him “Gen’ral Polecat.”  But they loved him just the same, and would have followed him to the gates of Hell. Interestingly, the Prince de Polignac was the last surviving Confederate Major General, passing away in 1913.

In recent years it has been our Battle Flag that has flown as the people of East Germany tore down the Berlin Wall.  And today in the centuries-old Russian-speaking area of Ukraine—the Donbas—as those valiant people attempt to secede from an oppressive, centralized and imposed Ukrainian state, they fly a replica of our Battle Flag as a sign of the defense of their liberties and their belief in their Christian and Russian heritage.

What I am saying, my friends, is that our cause, the cause of the Confederacy, the cause symbolized by that flag that flies here today, was and is a cause that has universal meaning.

In the eyes of European traditionalists the Southern Confederacy represented the finest of Western Christian heritage. They could identify with leaders like Lee, Beauregard, Jefferson Davis, Stuart, and others. Of course, most of those European supporters were Catholic, not Protestant, but they shared a fundamental world view of an order under God, a belief in Divine and Natural Law, an understanding that society is composed of families in communities, and an allegiance to the idea of states’ rights, which they called subsidiarity.  That is, what can be done on a lower level of government, very simply should be done on that level closer to the people, and not on a higher level.

But those Europeans also saw the heroic virtue of the South, and it was an heroic virtue based in the chivalry and honor of Christian tradition.  It was opposed to the growing Liberalism in the North.  That Liberalism advanced a progressivist view that history was an unfolding evolution of human perfectibility, throwing off older beliefs and what they called the “myths” and chains of tradition. Whether those boys in butternut and gray who sank deep in the cold mud trenches at Petersburg completely realized it or not, they were defending Western Christian tradition against Liberal Modernism. And thus they stood with their traditionalist brothers in Europe and elsewhere who also rejected the progressivist vision of history.

My friends, for 152 years we have watched as the results of Southern military defeat have metastasized like a voracious cancer. Sixty years ago many Southerners felt that we had reached a real understanding with the Progressivists. We were mostly left alone; we had a thriving literature with America’s greatest writers in our midst. Hollywood made films that treated us at least with some sympathy. Our colleges taught real history. Although still suffering the deep economic consequences of military defeat, our people had made giant strides of recovery.

All that changed beginning in the 1960s. Since then, not only here in our beloved Southland, but in America generally, the Progressivist revolution has taken aim, and the targets are many: our politics—-our entertainment industry—-our educational system—-and our churches. It is as if a giant infection and subversion have taken place. Indeed, I would assert that they have taken place, and, sadly, most of our fellow citizens have been lulled by the false victories by politicians who promise us one thing, but once in office, go along to get along with a powerful progressivist establishment.  And that establishment will accept no dissent.

We are at ground zero in this cultural and political war.  And although our particular conflict concerns basically our Southern heritage, our legacy, and our symbols, it also involves, as I said earlier, a broader battle for Western Christian civilization, itself.

When I was in Spain pursuing graduate studies, my good friend called the Southern soldiers who gave their lives at Gettysburg, Bentonville, and other battle sites—he called them “Paladins of Christian Civilization.” I think that is very true.

Remember fifty years ago when Raleigh’s Channel 5, WRAL-TV, would sign off by playing “Dixie”? The times have changed radically.  The Revolution has made a lot of progress since then. Now our flags and precious relics are hidden away in dusty museums, our songs are banned, our symbols are labeled as “hateful.”

So it is for us, under that flag, to redouble our commitment to those principles that our ancestors held dear and for which they bled and died. That may mean that we lose friends or even lose positions. It may even mean that we must spend years, perhaps decades, in a kind of dark catacomb. But if we are faithful to those principles and to that memory—if we are faithful to the precious inheritance that we have received—-if we are faithful to that flag and what it stands for—-then we shall have done our duty.

For our principles are timeless and they only fall if we relinquish the field of battle. We cannot and must not.

As I grow older, the words of my Spanish friend’s ancestor resound constantly in my ears: “A lost cause is never truly lost if the fight is for what is true and what is right.”

That is our obligation before the long shadow of our ancestors and before the judgment of Almighty God. We can and should do no less.

Thank you, and God bless the South!

*****

References:

David Odalric de Caixal, in the Spanish journal, La Santa Causa. Accessed online at: http://www.geocities.ws/boinasrojas/impresa.html.

M. Estella, “Un historiador investiga la presencia de carlistas en la Guerra de Secession,” Diario de Navarra [Pamplona], December 9, 2011. Accessed online at: http://www.diariodenavarra.es/noticias/navarra/tierra_estella_valdizarbe/un_historiador

_investiga_presencia_carlistas_guerra_secesion_57393_1006.html

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

~ 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.

NEW ESSAY: The Anti-Federalists Were Right

Constitution, Federalism, Founding Fathers, History

The Anti-Federalists Were Right,” is now on Mises Wire. Excerpt:

On the eve of the federal convention, and following its adjournment in September of 1787, the Anti-Federalists made the case that the Constitution makers in Philadelphia had exceeded the mandate they were given to amend the Articles of Confederation, and nothing more.

The Federal Constitution augured ill for freedom, argued the Anti-Federalists. These unsung heroes had warned early Americans of the “ropes and chains of consolidation,” in Patrick Henry’s magnificent words, inherent in the new dispensation.

At the very least, and after 230 years of just such “consolidation,” it’s safe to say that the original Constitution is a dead letter.

The natural- and common law traditions, once lodestars for lawmakers, have been buried under the rubble of legislation and statute. However much one shovels the muck of lawmaking aside, natural justice and the Founders’ original intent remain buried too deep to exhume.

Consider: America’s Constitution makers bequeathed a central government of delegated and enumerated powers. The Constitution gives Congress only some eighteen specific legislative powers. Nowhere among these powers is Social Security, civil rights (predicated as they are on grotesque violations of property rights), Medicare, Medicaid, and the elaborate public works sprung from the General Welfare and Interstate Commerce Clauses.

There is simply no warrant in the Constitution for most of what the Federal Frankenstein does. …

… READ THE REST. “The Anti-Federalists Were Right” is now on Mises Wire.

Deep State Establishment Vs. The Aristocratic Republic The Founders Bequeathed

America, BAB's A List, Communism, Constitution, Democracy, Donald Trump, Federalism, Foreign Policy, Founding Fathers, Government, History, Intelligence, The State

By Dr. Boyd D. Cathey

Who is former CIA director William Brennan? Here is what the Wikipedia says of him: In 1976, he voted for Communist Party USA candidate Gus Hall in the presidential election; he later said that he viewed it as a way “of signaling my unhappiness with the system, and the need for change.”  Despite that and despite what such actions denote, he has been involved in the most sensitive of US intelligence work and in the CIA for twenty-five years, serving directly as a personal intelligence advisor in the administration  of Bill Clinton, and, as a staunch Obama supporter, appointed to head the CIA in 2013.

This fact puts into context an element of the present multifaceted  assault on the Trump presidency, and, indeed, of a highly-politicized intelligence community, infiltrated over decades by cadres of Deep State operatives and sleeper agents, whose goal is to bring down that presidency.

The Deep State establishment wants us to do our thing—pay bills, pay taxes, take the children to school, watch ESPN, mow the grass, maybe go to church, but mainly stay away from getting involved in the “big issues” of really deciding how this country is run. That is their thing: making executive decisions at the top of the food chain, running this nation, conducting its foreign affairs, enacting its domestic policy, lining their pockets, and passing legislation that most of us never hear about until it hits us in the face—or in the pocket book. It’s not exactly an old fashioned dictatorship, but neither is it the republic that our ancestors or the Founders of this nation envisaged, either.

Certainly, those men who assembled to draft our Constitution some 230 years ago did not believe in a “peoples’ democracy.” For them, the republic they gave us did have tiers and gradations, such that those with the most involvement and interest in the new nation would also have the most direct influence. Thus each of the thirteen states had a plethora of property requirements and age requirements, as well as religious tests: all these came together to insure a high level of participation from those who had those interests.

So, what then is the difference between then and now? Do we not still have an aristocracy that, in effect, runs the country?

The issue here is rather the nature of government and how it is construed and operated. Our Founders considered the aristocratic republic they established to be a natural development, based firmly in the deepest traditions and inherited beliefs of the citizens of the new nation. The new constitution would represent an organic “moment” in which the new United States would crystallize its history, reaffirm its British heritage of law and justice. It was, then, not a revolutionary moment, but one cementing a link and connection to the past, to rights that went back to Magna Carta, to Rome, Athens, and, yes, Jerusalem.

It was also intended to be transparent, in that this constitutional arrangement, with its mix of the traditions of aristocracy and limited democratic participation, was not hidden from view. Nor was it intended to be. Americans knew what they were getting. Of course, there were debates over aspects of the founding, and there were disputes, seen most particularly in the several state conventions in the 1820s and 1830s, about whether we wanted to move further in the direction of “democracy” or not.

A major concern of the Founders was the effect wealth might have in influencing elections. They wanted to avoid impropriety as much as possible, to make such concerns as public as they were able.  While they foresaw that men of great affluence might gain advantage, imposing set property conditions and the accumulated weight of traditions, custom, and a sense of deference they believed, could offset such dangers. And, very importantly, they wished that local and states’ rights act as a major counter-balance to eventual encroachments attempted by the Federal government. In other words, they posited what Catholic theorists term “subsidiarity,” that is, what can be done on a lower level of governance, ought to be done on that level and not on a higher level. A whole series of layers of intermediate organisms, families, communities, states, would insulate citizens from overweening powers emanating from Washington.

But, as was stated more than once, the republican “experiment” depended largely on the virtue of its citizenry.

Contrast this now with what acute observers like James Burnham (e.g., The Managerial Revolution) and Samuel Francis (e.g., Leviathan) have starkly noted about the modern United States, about how unelected and largely unseen “managers,” technocrats, and political operatives have in a real sense taken over both the electoral process as well as the running of government, forming a new, “hidden” kleptocracy, of those who answer to no one, and whose tenure is unlimited.  It is, thus, an ugly and grasping inverted mirror of the model the Founders envisaged.

And since 1865 those protective, intermediate layers—states’ rights, local controls, our liberties—have succumbed, one by one, to the power of the Federal state which seems to increasingly suck the lifeblood out of society. We now are face-to-face, far too often, with the full power and threats of a Federal bureaucracy which seems to know no limits. Those unseen managers, the Deep State establishment, will brook no real opposition. If it should appear, it is either tamed and bought off, or squelched.

Enter Donald J. Trump and an agenda that promised to “drain the swamps,” and a very rude awakening in last November’s election. For the Deep State establishment it could not—must not—be permitted to stand. And thus we come to today, all the chimerical controversy about how the “Russians did it,” and how that uncouth ruffian in the White House needs to be taken down a peg or two, surrounded by “experienced advisors,” or perhaps removed from office, toute suite!

This process has in effect torn the lying mask off the face of the Deep State, and most particularly, its advance panzer units, the Mainstream Media. A recent study completed by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy [May 18] has analyzed media coverage of President Trump’s first 100 days in office. Here is what was found:

CBS, CNN, NBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. All six portrayed Trump’s first 100 days in highly unfavorable terms. CNN and NBC’s coverage was the most unrelenting—negative stories about Trump outpaced positive ones by 13-to-1 on the two networks. Trump’s coverage on CBS also exceeded the 90 percent mark. Trump’s coverage exceeded the 80 percent level in The New York Times (87 percent negative) and The Washington Post (83 percent negative). The Wall Street Journal came in below that level (70 percent negative), a difference largely attributable to the Journal’s more frequent and more favorable economic coverage.

Even Fox scarcely gave the president more than 50% favorable coverage.

Add to this the unrelenting assaults by Democrats, academia, Hollywood, and various skittish Republicans and NeverTrump Neoconservatives, and we can see the massive offensive against not just President Trump, but even more, against the “drain the swamps” agenda that brought him to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the first place.

More than once I have called for a massive response to this massive offensive. I have stated that while winning this past November 8 was a mini-miracle, extremely difficult to achieve, “winning the victory” would be even harder. And, certainly, it is proving to be so.

*****

~ 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.

UPDATED: An ‘Ebullient’ President-Elect Who Cares About The Constitution As A Timeless Document

Barack Obama, Constitution, Donald Trump, EU, Europe, Founding Fathers, IMMIGRATION, Individual Rights, Natural Law

Our magnificent President-elect Donald Trump spoke to libertarian Judge Andrew Napolitano about constitutional originalists—who is; who isn’t—and the meaning of the Constitution.

Mr. Trump also asked Judge Napolitano about how you stop The Bureaucracy from legislating. As you all know, we live under a Managerial State, where the bureaucracy has vast discretion to pass and enforce laws that are never vetted by our so-called law-makers and representatives. These cockroaches have allowed it.

The Chevron Doctrine:

Did Barack Obama ever make such an inquiry? No. Barack Obama was not in the habit of hiding how he felt about the US Constitution. As much as he disliked the philosophical foundations of the republic, the president seemed to know a bit about the intent. Here’s Senator Barack Obama talking about the document Republicans seldom mention and Democrats deem dated:

… as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution … generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court-focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that. I’m not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. You know, the institution just isn’t structured that way.

The president recognized and rejected “the Constitution as a charter of negative liberties.” Because of the obstacles the Constitution poses to “redistributive justice,” community organizing à la Obama aims at achieving extra-constitutional change.

MORE GREATNESS FROM TRUMP: