Category Archives: States’ Rights

Whodunit? Who “Meddled” With Our American Democracy? (Part 2)

America, Conservatism, Constitution, Democracy, Government, Russia, States' Rights

THE NEW COLUMN is “Whodunit? Who “Meddled” With Our American Democracy?” (Part 2). The unabridged version is on WND.com. A slightly abridged version is on Townhall.com:

Not a day goes by when the liberal media don’t telegraph to the world that a “Trumpocracy” is destroying American democracy. Conspicuous by its absence is a pesky fact: Ours was never a country conceived as a democracy.

To arrive at a democracy, we Americans destroyed a republic.

One of the ways in which the republic was destroyed was through the slow sundering of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. The 10th was meant to guarantee constitutional devolution of power.

“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.”

The de facto demise of the 10th has resulted in “constitutional” consolidation.

Fair enough, but is that enough? A perceptive Townhall.com reader was having none of it.

In response to “Whodunit? Who ‘Meddled’ With Our American Democracy” (Part 1), the reader upbraided this writer:

“Anyone who quotes the 10th Amendment, but not the 14th Amendment that supplanted it cannot be taken seriously.”

In other words, to advance the erosion of the 10th in explaining who did our republic in, without mentioning the 14th: this was an omission on the writer’s part.

The reader is admirably correct about Incorporation-Doctrine centralization.

Not even conservative constitutional originalists are willing to concede that the 14th Amendment and the attendant Incorporation Doctrine have obliterated the Constitution’s federal scheme, as expressed in the once-impregnable 10th Amendment.

What does this mean?

You know the drill but are always surprised anew by it. Voters pass a law under which a plurality wishes to live in a locality. Along comes a U.S. district judge and voids the law, citing a violation of the 14th’s Equal Protection Clause.

For example: Voters elect to prohibit local government from sanctioning gay marriage. A U.S. district judge voids voter-approved law for violating the 14th’s Equal Protection Clause.

These periodical contretemps around gay marriage, or the legal duty of private property owners to cater these events, are perfectly proper judicial activism. It flows from the 14th Amendment.

If the Bill of Rights was intended to place strict limits on federal power and protect individual and locality from the national government—the 14th Amendment effectively defeated that purpose by placing the power to enforce the Bill of Rights in federal hands, where it was never intended to be.

Put differently, matters previously subject to state jurisdiction have been pulled into the orbit of a judiciary. Yet not even conservative constitutional originalists are willing to cop to this constitutional fait accompli.

The gist of it: Jeffersonian constitutional thought is no longer in the Constitution; its revival unlikely. ….

Into the Cannibal's Pot
Order columnist Ilana Mercer’s polemical work, “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa”


 

… READ THE REST:  THE NEW COLUMN is “Whodunit? Who “Meddled” With Our American Democracy?” (Part 2). The unabridged version is on WND.com. A slightly abridged version is on Townhall.com.

Texas Vs. The Pacific Coast: Explaining The Yankee Mindset

America, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Fascism, History, Left-Liberalism, Pop-Culture, Pseudo-history, States' Rights, The South

NEW COLUMN IS “Texas Vs. The Pacific Coast: Explaining The Yankee Mindset.”
A slightly abridged version is now on Townhall.com.

Unabridged, “Texas Vs. The Pacific Coast” appears on Unz Review, WND.com, Constitution.com, and other discerning outlets.

Excerpt:

I recently traveled to Texas to speak about South Africa, at the Free Speech Forum of  the Texas A & M University.

To travel from the Pacific Northwest all the way to College Station, Texas, without experiencing more of the “Lone Star State” was not an option.

So, after driving from Austin eastward to College Station (where I was hosted by two exceptional young, Southern gentlemen), I headed south-west to San Antonio. There I lingered long enough to conclude:

The Republic of Texas is a civilization apart.

Ordinary Texans—from my brief travels—tend to be sunny, kind and warmhearted. Not once did I encounter rude on my Texas junket.

On the Pacific Coast, however, kindness and congeniality don’t come naturally. State-of-Washington-statists are generally aloof, opprobrious, insular. And, frankly, dour.

Southern historian Dr. Clyde N. Wilson tells of receiving “a package containing a chamber pot labeled ‘Robert E. Lee’s Soup Tureen.'”

It came from … Portland, Maine.

Unkind cuts are an everyday occurrence around here, where the busybody mentality prevails.

Stand still long enough, and they’ll tell you how to live. They’ll even give chase to deliver that “corrective” sermon. A helmeted cyclist once chased me down along a suburban running trail.

My sin? I had fed the poor juncos in the dead of winter. (Still do. Bite me, you bully.)

Having caught up with me, SS Cyclist got on his soap box and in my face about my unforgivable, rule-bending. Wasn’t I familiar with the laws governing his pristine environmental utopia?

Didn’t I know that only the fittest deserved to survive? That’s the natural world, according to these ruthless, radical progressive puritans.

Yes, mea culpa for having an exceedingly soft spot for God’s plucky little creatures.

When a Washington statist gets wind of your core beliefs—why, even if your use of the English language irks His Highness—he will take it upon himself to fix your “flaws,” try to make you over in his sorry image.

For the distinct cluster of characteristics just described, Dr.  Wilson aforementioned uses the term Yankee. …

… READ THE REST. The column is  “Texas Vs. The Pacific Coast: Explaining The Yankee Mindset”.

Or, unabridged. 

Oh, Clyde Wilson adds this: “Telling other people not to feed God’s creatures according to some supposed scientific official plan is simply fascism.”

No Daylight Between ‘Conservatives’ & The Far Left About The South, American History & Nation’s Founding

Conservatism, Cultural Marxism, History, Neoconservatism, Racism, States' Rights

By Dr. Boyd Cathey

Today I want to discuss vaunted “conservative” Victor Davis Hanson who, it seems, possesses a fixation about the Confederacy and the Old South. The pre-War Between the States South was a region dripping with racism and bigotry, he repeatedly exclaims, that deserved its “punishment” from those Godly soldiers who went marching, burning and pillaging through to bring to the poor, unenlightened Southerners all the fruits of democracy, equality and “righteousness.”

In the past, Hanson has praised Sherman’s March as “holy work” and “actually not that hard” on Southern civilians, and called any decent or fair treatment of Confederates in cinema as glorifying “folksy racists.” Obviously John Ford, who treated Confederates with respect, if not sympathy (think here of John Wayne’s Ethan Edwards in the classic, The Searchers, or Pvt. John Smith, AKA General Rome Clay, CSA, in She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, for instance), did not get the memo.

Hanson is a prominent senior contributor to the “conservative” magazine National Review, and his views are shared by its other contributors, including editor Rich Lowry. It is a view that partakes of the very same narrative as the Marxist writers, historians and journalists on the “farther Left.” It is the same viewpoint that is now being foisted off every Sunday evening by Fox News in its televised “history” program titled, “Legends & Lies: The Civil War.” It is a theme that posits that the United States was founded specifically on an “idea,” and that “idea” was equality, which, they quickly point out, is proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence.

But it is an idea that the Founders rejected and, in fact, understood was and would be the death of the American republic.

In several columns and published articles over the past few years, I have cited the twenty year correspondence and series of debates between the late Professors Mel Bradford and Harry Jaffa regarding the American Founding and the idea of “equality.” Bradford’s volume, Original Intentions, gives the lie to those who pose the ideology of equality as this nation’s founding principle. And, more recently, Professor Barry Alain Shain (Colgate University), in his mammoth study, The Declaration of Independence in Historical Context: American State Papers, Petitions, Proclamations, and Letters of the Delegates to the First National Congresses (2014), provides overwhelming documentation of Bradford’s view and the ahistorical views of Hanson and those like him. An excellent, if detailed, summary can be found in Bradford’s essay in Modern Age quarterly, “The Heresy of Equality” (Winter 1976). [The essay may be online; I have a PDF of it, should anyone desire a copy.]

In short, the arguments of Hanson, Lowry, and other Neoconservatives violate the basic standards of historical investigation and writing.

There is no daylight historically between the Neocons and those now leading the establishment “conservative movement,” and the far Left Marxists when it comes to interpreting American history and our nation’s Founding. Indeed, George W. Bush’s point man and vaunted political consultant, Karl Rove, has praised anti-Southern Marxist historian Eric Foner as his “favorite historian.”

Given that fatal historical myopia, is it any wonder that “conservatism inc.” is now a miserable and losing proposition when it comes to opposing the forces of the farther Left in the battle for what is left of the American republic and our inherited culture? Needless to say, any traditional American who claims to be a real conservative and who continues to accept the tutelage of such individuals and their organs—indeed, any Southerner who continues to conflate such historical drivel with a defense of his own heritage—needs to re-examine his views and undergo a reality check.

***

RELATED: “Victor Davis Hanson’s Attack On Southern Heritage Is Vintage Leftist, Cultural Marxism.”

~ 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.

UPDATE III (4/10): Victor Davis Hanson’s Attack On Southern Heritage Is Vintage Leftist, Cultural Marxism

Conservatism, Critique, Cultural Marxism, History, Left-Liberalism, Neoconservatism, Propaganda, Racism, States' Rights

Victor Davis Hanson’s “The Confederate Mind” is an attack on the South, which is, as Prof. Paul Gottfried points out, “fully consonant with the Cold War left-liberal tradition that one finds, for example, in the work of Arthur Schlesinger. Note that in The Vital Center, and in other tracts, Schlesinger repeatedly compares Confederate leaders to Nazis, Communists and other unsavory types that the US had been at war with.” Gottfried is the historian of the American and European Right.

“This may be the most loathsome thing I’ve seen by Hanson in quite a while,” ventures historian Dr. Boyd Cathey (who contributes to the Unz Review and to Barely a Blog)“The Confederate Mind’ is just one more piece of screaming evidence that the neoconservatives and the establishment ‘Conservative Movement Inc.’ is not only no friend of traditionalists, but rather is collaborating with zeal with the far Left in the destruction and the extinguishing of what is left of Southern heritage.”

Yet, all so-called conservatives, Rush Limbaugh included, continue to quote Hanson admiringly.

A brilliant scholar himself, historian of the South Clyde Wilson regularly critiques Hanson for being a poor historian; primary sources are hardly the primary focus in Hanson’s “work.”

This is an interesting angle (and Wilson a most interesting thinker). Ignorance of the historic method is in fact a must for the likes of Hanson, explains Prof. Wilson, in “The War Lover,” with reference to Hanson’s ideological relative, Dinesh D’Sousa. For if you cleave to primary sources, as the historic method demands, it becomes difficult to reduce the warp-and-woof of history to the abstracted, desiccated principles the neoconservative seeks out in support of his theories:

… D’Sousa actually knows less about the real history, the real lived human experience, of his adopted country than I do about Paraguay. … But in ignorance is strength, because by the Straussian cult ritual, which D’Sousa here popularizes, you are not supposed to know any history. In fact, knowing history and giving it any weight is prima facie evidence of fascist tendencies. It demonstrates that you are incapable of seeing the universal principles by which proper interpretations are made. That is, the universal and eternal meaning of history is only to be obtained by Straussian exegesis of a few sentences which Straussians select, from a few documents which they select, written by a few men they select.

This methodology is perfection when one wants to sacralize Lincoln and what he wrought. All one need do is quote a few pretty phrases that evoke nationalist and egalitarian sentimentality. Though the methodology does tend to break down when challenged by the well-informed, as when Professor Harry Jaffa, in his debate with Professor Thomas DiLorenzo, was reduced to irritable denials of plain historical facts.

Hanson first came to notice by pointing out how Greek democracy was a product, not of theory, but of the importance to the state of the body of armed citizen-soldiers. There was not much really original about this – it is the old story of the Anglo-American yeoman—but it was useful to point it out.

Since then, Professor Hanson has gone on to writings about modern history that appear to glorify war, at least war as carried out by the armed forces of what he regards as democratic societies. This celebration (not too strong a word, I think), of the allegedly wholesome benefits of war has obviously provided comfort to the “democratic” global imperialists with which America is cursed today – and has thus made Hanson something of a celebrity.

In “A Class War” Hanson glorifies the great democratic achievements of General Sherman’s notorious March through Georgia and South Carolina in the winter of 1864-1865. Let us quote the blurb: “How 60,000 armed Midwestern men, in a 300-mile march taking less than 40 days, squashed aristocracy in America, and changed the entire psychological and material course of our national history.”

One might ask where, exactly, General Sherman got the moral and constitutional authority to change the psychological and material course of American history, but such questions do not occur to those who are preaching crusades. This is not a new story. It is the same old stamping-out-the-grapes-of-wrath rationalization: Northerners rising in righteous might to put down the treason of Southerners who, corrupted by slavery, harbored an evil desire not to want to belong to The Greatest Nation on Earth. It’s the same familiar story, but the old girl has had a make-over. She has a new hair-do and different cosmetics.

Here is a fair summary of Hanson’s description of Sherman’s March: a brave and democratic army of sturdy, idealistic Midwesterners performed a great military feat. In the process their democratic spirit was outraged by haughty Southern aristocracy and by the oppression of black people, whom they heartily embraced. As a result they resolved to destroy Southern society once and for all, and thereby bestowed on the universe a new birth of freedom.

There are so many things wrong about this paean to Sherman’s March that it amounts to a fantasy. Historians, before the era of PC, were expected to study primary sources, documents of the time, before they expounded on the meaning of historical events.

Anyone who has spent some time with the primary sources knows what a dubious characterization Hanson has made. That war was an immense event, occupying a huge area and involving several million people, and one can snip quotations to provide examples of anything one wants to find. I am referring here to the bulk and weight of the evidence and only the evidence left by Northern soldiers.

You do not have to pay heed to a single Southern testimony to understand what happened on Sherman’s March and why. It is all in the letters and diaries of the participants. I urge anyone who lives above the Ohio and Potomac to go to your local historical society or state library and read some of those letters and diaries for yourself. You will see how “A Class War” creates a fantasy of righteous virtue and intention that badly distorts the weight of the evidence.

Why would anyone who wanted to celebrate American military prowess pick out one of the US military’s most inglorious episodes, and one which involved brutality against other Americans? When there are a hundred more edifying examples?

To begin with, the march was not a military feat. What was left of the main Confederate army, after self-inflicted wounds at Atlanta, was in Tennessee trying to attack Sherman’s supply lines and deal with two huge federal armies that were holding down the people of Tennessee and Kentucky. Sherman’s advance from Chattanooga to Atlanta, opposed by a small but seasoned Confederate army, had not been so easy. The March through Georgia and Carolina was contested only by a few thousand cavalry and old men and boys of the home guard. When Sherman got to North Carolina he was met by the remnants of a genuine Southern army and was defeated by a small force at Bentonville. …

… READ “The War Lover.

UPDATE I: Should we believe Russell Kirk or Victor Davis Hanson?” Brion McClanahan responds:

… Hanson has a strange fixation on the South, one that involves a constant effort to attach progressivism to Southerners like Calhoun and every American evil to the Confederacy. His truth is marching on.

The most recent example was an intellectually vapid piece in National Review Online titled “The Confederate Mind.” To summarize, Calhoun and the South invented the sectional conflict by insisting that their society was “superior to the grubby, industrial wasteland of the north,” despised the “deplorables” of their day, led the “secesh” movement with “evangelical style” language, and through their “regional chauvinism” caused the destruction of the Union.

The sheer a-historical stupidity of these positions almost merits no response. The sectional conflict was born in the North almost immediately after the Constitution was ratified. Northern sectionalists, under the guise of “nationalism,” insisted on secession as early as 1794. Northern “religious” leaders called Southerners devils while her political sons said that Southern statesmen were the drunken vomit of civilization. Seems the nastiness flowed from North to South for most of the antebellum period. …

…THE REST.

UPDATE II (3/28): You’d think it would be difficult to forget, alas: Sherman’s March was actually a war against civilians, reducing as many as possible to homelessness and starvation.

UPDATE III (4/10):

Leftists often parade as rightists. Hallmarks of a consummate leftist: 1. Rabbits on about evil McCarthyism, when McCarthy was an American hero. 2. Compares ‘bad’ countries to apartheid South Africa, showing a lefty sensibility and no clue about the latter.