Playing the Offense Card

Kunk Fu Zoby Kung Fu Zu8/2/15
A robust discussion has been taking place in response to Brad’s article “Re-Fighting The Civil War”. I skimmed the comments, not having strong feelings one way or the other about it.  Then I noted a remark by William which sent the needle of my “bull-shit” detecting meter off the chart.

Williams comment was,

 Oh, and lastly, your comparison of the South to Nazi Germany is entirely ridiculous on its face. It’s desperate hyperbole likening two situations and governments that absolutely nothing alike to score emotional points on the cheap. Nothing more.

This was in response to Brad writing:

One could say the South believed they were justified, but that says little. Hitler believe he was justified. Stalin believed he was justified. Nearly any evil, mindless, or aggressive act is justified in the minds of those who perpetrate them. The acts themselves have to be judged on different criteria.

Now, I am sure William is a clever fellow. And if he is, he surely understood what Brad was actually doing. Brad used the extreme examples of Hitler and Stalin to drive home the unquestionable fact that simply thinking one is justified in some action does not make it so.   The only commonality which Brad stressed was all three parties, thought their actions were justified and yet all were wrong.   Justifications built on false premises are not justifiable.

This leads me to what, I am confident is, the real intent of William’s hysterical response. It smells of the same odiferous tactics used today by Leftists and the PC police. They feign “being surprised, upset and insulted ” by truthful and logical remarks from their opponents. We know why they play-act as they do.  It is in order to try and smear their opponents so as to shut down debate. Their phony holier-than-thou pose should not fool anyone. One should pay the same amount of respect to such bleats as one would to Captain Renault’s protestations when he declared, “I’m shocked, shocked to find gambling going on in here”.

So from the moment I read William’s “Nazi” cry, I knew I needed to go through his comments once more to determine if there was more such dishonesty or flaccid logic.

Once I started, I came upon a few other things which confirmed my initial suspicions.  I will give two examples.

William wrote;

The Declaration insists, as Lincoln referenced in 1848, that there comes a time to dissolve the political bonds which previously connected them to another.

And follows it up with;

ask yourself why Licoln (sic) the prairie lawyer was so wholeheartedly in favor of secession in 1848, if it was such an egregious and unconstitutional act.

I have read a couple of biographies on Lincoln in addition to a fair amount on the Civil War and events building up to it. At no time have I come across any utterance from Lincoln “favoring” secession” in 1848 or at any other time.  I decided to do a little research and find out where William might have come up with such an idea.

It did not take very long to find out Lincoln’s actual words, which have a quite different meaning than that claimed by William.  In January 1848, Lincoln wrote, “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better.”

I am assuming that is the sentence on which William hangs his rather moth-bitten claim.

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but nowhere in that sentence do I find the word “secede”. What Lincoln said is nothing more than the obvious fact that everyone can rebel if they so desire.  He does not, however, say a state rebelled against has to legally accept such a rebellion. Such a rebellion only becomes valid once it has, in fact, succeeded. Note the most important part of Lincoln’s remark, “and having the power”. That is the way of necessity in the world.

So William’s claim that Lincoln was “wholeheartedly in favor of secession in 1848” is, to be generous, a stretch of the truth. We are beginning to see a pattern.

Let’s continue exploring this pattern. William writes;

that the right for states to secede from the voluntary Union is far more supported in law by the Declaration, and also in the fact that it was an implied assumption when Constitution was ratified – and declared explicitly in the annexation of Texas in 1845. 

The above claim notwithstanding, I have never read the document which gives Texas the right to secede. I would appreciate advice as to where I might find this. But let us assume William’s statement is correct.

Surely, if secession were a right, there would have been no need to “explicitly” declare this right in the case of Texas.  If the argument for secession were inherently so strong, Texas would not have needed this clause be included in any documents of annexation.

If there truly were such a clause, would it not more logical that, since Texas’ entry into the Union was unique, Texas could demand such a clause be inserted into the agreement? And Texas would have done so as the right to secession was in no way clear or self-understood.  Certainly, no other State had such a guarantee.

There are other things which I might question, but it soon became clear to me that William was playing somewhat fast and loose with fact, and was somewhat lax in logic. In order to get a feel for his perspective, I connected to his site, “Political Palaver”.  This was very informative.

My dictionary defines “palaver” as, “confused or pointless chatter or fuss”.  I immediately knew who I was dealing with. William must be one, or some combination, of the following;

1) one who either does not have a very good grasp of the language

2) one who favored alliteration over clarity/meaning

3) one whose site truly is confused and fussy

I leave it to the readers to decide which. On second thought, don’t waste time going to the site.

In closing, I wish to point out I don’t particularly care about the South’s right to secede or Lincoln’s “abuse” of power. Clearly, the South as a political unit had the theoretical right to rebellion and the North had the equal right to attempt to put down the rebellion. We know how that ended.

But I do care when people twist historical fact and misuse words to support a premise, i.e. I dislike dishonest discussion. I like it even less when they insult others who disagree with them, especially when the insults are based on falsehoods, bad information and poor logic. I have no idea what William wrote in his article, but some of the comments he made under Brad’s piece were, at the very least, disingenuous. Others were simply wrong. Being wrong is not a crime, but one should not expect to be respected for it, particularly when one is obnoxiously wrong.

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13 Responses to Playing the Offense Card

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I’m still trying to figure out why the fixation on secession. Granted, it does fit the libertarian approach whereby you don’t actually have to stand for something good or bad, you just punt to an amoral, technocratic aspects such as secession. You don’t have to take a stand on slavery, the rebellion, or anything else. You just say, “The South should have been able to secede.”

    But what would secession achieve? So I’m going to have to assume none of this stuff is about Lincoln or secession because those events are long ago. And if one is so all-fired concerned by Big Government, what about fixating on the 16h Amendment (the income tax)? Or FDR. Or Woodrow Wilson. Or Dewey. Or LBJ. Or George W. Bush. How about Obama? Why does Lincoln bear all the weight of that? Lincoln didn’t create the EPA, the Department of Energy, the Department of Education, or any of that stuff. He never blocked a pipeline What he did do was save the Union from a bunch of Southern radical thugs and, in the process of the conflict, freed the slaves. Not bad.

    Yes, a heavy price was paid. But that price had been lingering ever since the creation of the Union and would not, I repeat, would not have been shuffled out of existence by yet another postponement (accepting the secessions South, for example). It was going to be resolved one way or another. The South chose the violent path and paid for it.

    Had the South been allowed to just walk away, that wasn’t the end of it. We then have two powers competing on the continent. So the battle line was drawn by secession itself, voluntary or otherwise. As Seward and Lincoln understood, the continent would be all free or all slave. The two could not co-exist.

    I really don’t know the motivation for this fixation on Lincoln. He seems to be infused with an authoritarian father figure mystique. Sorry to go all psycho-babble on you, Mr. Kung, but I don’t know what else it could be. Did a disproportionate number of libertarians not have a father at home to give them basic manly discipline? One can lament the heavy price paid for ending the rebellion and ending slavery. But those costs were not Lincoln’s alone. He had a nation behind him. He didn’t have to put a gun at anyone’s head to find men ready to put down the rebellion.

    Libertarians exist in this weird alternative universe where they read rank propaganda books such as “The Real Lincoln,” which is full of poisonous half-truths and willful misinterpretations, and then they think have some kind of special or secret knowledge. I guess yutes have always been eager to trash the past in order to make their mark.

    • Anniel says:

      In the early days of this decade there were those who attempted to paint Abraham Lincoln as a homosexual. Mr. Tripp, who was the first to bring it up, was a follower of Kinsey, which should make anyone question his sanity and ability to make sound judgments. I thought then why this attempt to discredit Lincoln? I guess it’s time again.

      Why AT is printing some of the tripe it does makes me question their sanity, too.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        One short piece I read noted both the extreme weakness of the argument that Lincoln was a homosexual, and the considerable likelihood that James Buchanan (who never married and spent a lot of time rooming with a good friend of his) was. I guess homosexual activists don’t like that comparison.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        In the early days of this decade there were those who attempted to paint Abraham Lincoln as a homosexual. Mr. Tripp, who was the first to bring it up, was a follower of Kinsey, which should make anyone question his sanity and ability to make sound judgments

        The deviants who push this tripe are just trying to con the public by claiming that special, interesting or famous people have the same perversion.

        They are trying to popularize and normalize biological deviancy, but one wonders how much of this propaganda is motivated by self-doubts concerning their own life-style and justifying this to themselves.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Selwyn has an article at American Thinker regarding Robert Gates caving to the Pink Mafia. I’m sure Mr. Duke will share that with us here shortly. He is generous in that regard.

        If you can’t defend the Boy Scouts (or traditional marriage), then who are you? If you can’t defend Lincoln, then what’s going on with that? And it’s not that I deny that the entire subject of the Civil War is complicated. It indeed is. But Libertarians have reduced all of the moral, cultural, political, and historical elements down to the legal technicalities of secession. Although this guy says he is a “classic liberal,” I don’t believe him. This fixation on secession as the one and only filter through which to understand the Civil War is consistent with the libertarian fixation on the principle of “non coercion.” As I’ve told libertarians before, you couldn’t even have a highway system using this principle. One has to have laws. One has to coerce people to drive in the right lane instead of the left, to limit their speed, to drive while not being intoxicated, etc.

        I’m reading a book on the rise of Nazism in Germany: The Coming of the Third Reich. Germany, particularly after the war, was filled will all kinds of factions, angry and alienated yutes (who, to some extent, had a right to be). And angry young men tend to boil things down to simplistic solutions. In Germany, “the Jews” were blamed for losing The Great War.

        No doubt there were Marxist Jews then as there are now who were subversives. A large number of Jews even today, to a large extent, aid and abet the hard Left, such is their contempt for traditional Western Civilization. But that’s surely a drop in the ocean compared to the reasons Germany lost The Great War. I can’t list all those reasons, but America entering the contest certainly tipped the scales in terms of manpower and resources. And unless Wilson was secretly a Jew, I don’t think you can blame the Jews for that.

        And it’s fascinating reading about the various lunatic fringes in Germany. And I consider libertarians the same sort of lunatic fringe. They’re blaming all their problems not on “the Jews” but on Lincoln. And if not technically *all* of their problems, then a disproportionate amount of them.

        American Thinker is certainly free to pick and choose which articles they will run. But if you can’t defend Lincoln, what will you defend? Granted, the click-count on William’s article (gauging by the number of comments) was very high, which is good for business. Here at ST we have the luxury of not worrying about click counts and can just go ahead and defend Lincoln. And I’m free to not publish articles that, for all intents and purposes, are little more than mental masturbation.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          And it’s fascinating reading about the various lunatic fringes in Germany. And I consider libertarians the same sort of lunatic fringe.

          When a society has collapsed and the traditional mores are being bashed and destroyed, it is not uncommon for all sorts of lunatic ideas to froth up. This happened in the Weimar Republic, and the result was anarchy in some areas. In consequence, the peaceful ideas in the middle were pushed aside and violent extremists came to rule.

          Our Libertarian friends are detached from reality and lack historical knowledge. Their philosophy is vacuous, thus any attempt to apply it on a concrete basis would leave a void. We all know political voids must be filled, and history has shown us that the filling is too often noxious.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Note that both Brad and I made much the same points with regard to the alleged Nazi comparison. I’m glad you explained the point about Cousin Abe’s alleged support for secession in 1848.

    The Confederate Constitution (which was heavily based on the US one, of course) had no explicit recognition of the right to secede. I think Bruce Catton found that rather interesting, as if they wanted to protect themselves from future breakups, but more likely they concluded that any such mention would imply that they didn’t already have that right.

  3. NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

    I think you’ve pretty well demolished William’s claims, KFZ. I’ll confine myself here to the one point on which you requested assistance, namely the annexation of Texas, which was done by the peculiar method of joint resolution on March 1, 1845. I have examined the resolution and cannot find any explicit right of secession in it. Perhaps the peculiar nature of the process of annexation, which bypassed the Senate’s authority to approve treaties (sound familiar?) with foreign governments (for Texas was, of course, an independent republic at the time) is what William had seized upon. Or it could be that because the text of the resolution clearly contemplates future statehood when certain conditions had been met and others agreed to by both Texas and Congress, an implication arises that should there fail to be an agreement Texas would not become a state. But to me, that seems fairly obvious in any case – Texas would then have remained U.S. Territory, but not because it had seceded, only because it had never become a state in the first place.

    It is interesting to note that when Texas actually seceded (1861), the Ordinance of Secession makes no reference to any supposed right of secession in the Joint Resolution of Annexation; it merely says that Ordinance by which Texas agreed to statehood was repealed and annulled.

    I can’t explain the common Libertarian hatred of Lincoln as anything except generalized hatred of any state which puts down a rebellion; and we see with secession as with so many other topics that even when Libertarians reach the right conclusion – for I “agree” with them that there is a right of secession if justified by the facts – they do so through incorrect methods which tend to invalidate that conclusion. I believe this is the result of (1) negating the concept of morality except for the one alleged value of “liberty,” and (2) in general having a few screws loose. I suppose I should be a bit more specific than that, but this comment is already long enough!

    • Timothy Lane says:

      This reflexive defense of rebellion has also led college students to support the Nationalist rebellion in the Spanish Civil War, to the consternation of their leftist professors. It’s just as well that none of them have ever heard of the Taiping Rebellion (unless they’re dedicated fans of George Macdonald Fraser or Caleb Carr).

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Nik, I also read the special resolution and could find nothing granting Texas a right to secede.

      I grew up in Texas and in those days, every kid had two years of Texas history by law, in 7th and 11th grade. At no time were we taught Texas had a special right to secede. In the years after school, I continued pursuing my interest in history and have never seen any document giving Texas the right to secede.

      I think the reasoning of your comments is quite correct especially the fact that when Texas did secede in 1861, they made no mention of the “right” which William and others claim Texas had.

      The history of Texas and the U.S. is very interesting. Many believe that Sam Houston went to Texas with a brief from Andrew Jackson, to whom Houston was very close. That brief was to pry Texas from Mexico with the intent of making Texas a territory and then a state. But powerful forces within the U.S. did not want to have anything to do with bringing a new slave state into the Union, thus Texas was forced to go it alone.

      As you note, the later annexation of Texas was done in a questionable manner. I believe this annexation made the War Between the States all but inevitable.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Good explanation and analysis, Nik. Of course, I can’t help thinking that the entire secession argument is just rope-a-dope, a distraction. Let’s concede right now that the Confederate states had an absolute legal right to succeed at any time, for any reason.

      What’s that got to do with the price of tea in China? Are libertarians offering secession (or the threat of same) as a solution to our bloated and often unconstitutional Federal government? The problem is, many, if not most, state governments have the same infection. You could let California drift off into the sea and separate from the Union, and that’s not going to solve the problem of bloated government, at least in that state. Nor would it in Washington State. Or Oregon. Or fill-in-the-blank.

      So I’m left to conclude that this whole secession business is an irrelevancy whose existence serves other purposes. And #2 on your menu seems as good a choice as any.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Well, if California, New England, and New York City seceded, it would have a considerable effect on the politics of the remainder of the USA. The same would be true in reverse if the South seceded again (but successfully this time), as some liberals were wishing after 2004.

  4. Rosalys says:

    Some years ago, while in Montpelier, VT for the weekend, I took a tour of the Vermont statehouse. I distinctly remember the tour guide telling us that Vermont was the only state that joined the union with the option to leave if it didn’t work out; that option would be available for 200 years. They joined in 1791, so their time is up.

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