Rand Paul, the Confederacy, and Liberty

burn_CSA_flag_015__webHere’s a thing I didn’t know until this morning:

A close aide to Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) who co-wrote the senator’s 2011 book spent years working as a pro-secessionist radio pundit and neo-Confederate activist, raising questions about whether Paul will be able to transcend the same fringe-figure associations that dogged his father’s political career.

Paul hired Jack Hunter, 39, to help write his book The Tea Party Goes to Washington during his 2010 Senate run. Hunter joined Paul’s office as his social media director in August 2012.

From 1999 to 2012, Hunter was a South Carolina radio shock jock known as the “Southern Avenger.” He has weighed in on issues such as racial pride and Hispanic immigration, and stated his support for the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

During public appearances, Hunter often wore a mask on which was printed a Confederate flag.

Prior to his radio career, while in his 20s, Hunter was a chairman in the League of the South, which “advocates the secession and subsequent independence of the Southern States from this forced union and the formation of a Southern republic.”

I will certainly stop thinking of Rand Paul as the “good” Paul, the one who was over all that bad, old, racist, secessionist nonsense. Very obviously, he’s just fine with all that. He can’t not be fine with it. He must both know about it and tolerate it. The association here seems a good deal stronger, if anything, than the one between the elder Paul and his neo-Confederate associates.

I do not have to tolerate this stuff, and I won’t. Rand Paul has always insisted that he was a conservative, not a libertarian, and I’d sometimes tried to say, “Well, yeah, but he kind of really is a libertarian. Sort of.” From now on, the conservatives can have him, and they will hear no objections from me. Take him, he’s yours.

Whatever others may say on the subject, I can’t understand how anyone might admire the Confederacy and also call themselves a libertarian. Any affinity for the Confederacy marks one very clearly as an enemy of liberty.

The Confederate Constitution says all that needs to be said on the subject, and it answers all possible arguments to the contrary. Yes, the antebellum U.S. Constitution was clearly quite soft on slavery, and this is not at all to its credit. The best that can be said for it was that it was embarrassed about being quite soft on slavery—amid all the other liberties it granted and all the other progress it made. Products of committees, do note, can be as schizophrenic as the committees that draft them. Our first attempt at a constitutional order was one such schizophrenic product, and in this respect, the antebellum U.S. Constitution was terrible.

But the Confederate Constitution was vastly worse. What it lacked in schizophrenia, it more than made up for in pure, unadulterated, wholly consistent evil. Consider the following passages:

No law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.

The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.

No slave or other person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the Confederate States, under the laws thereof, escaping or lawfully carried into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs, or to whom such service or labor may be due.

The Confederate States may acquire new territory… In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.

It would be a sick joke to stop merely at calling these provisions unlibertarian — as if all but the exceptionally punctilious members of my little tribe might maybe tolerate them after all.

These provisions are unlibertarian, but they are far worse than that. There is only one legal term that seems quite to do them justice. That term is hostis humani generis: The founders of Confederacy were the enemies of all mankind, as admiralty law holds slave-takers to be. War against slave-takers is always permitted, by anyone, without pretext or need for justification. The practice of slavery is to be crushed, so that mere humanity might live.

Anyone who cares about human liberty — to whatever degree — ought to despise the Confederacy, ought to mock and desecrate its symbols, and ought never to let Confederate apologists pass unchallenged.

Those who make excuses for the Confederacy are at best ignorant, and even that ignorance is hard to fathom. Those who wave the Confederate flag just to make other people angry? Well, I get angry at them. It works every time, and I’m not even a little ashamed of it.

All friends of the Confederacy are my enemies. Wherever they appear. They’re your enemies too — they are the enemies of the entire human race — and the only remaining question is whether you face up to your responsibility as a human being and disown them.

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513 thoughts on “Rand Paul, the Confederacy, and Liberty

  1. As someone who grew up, and lives, in Mississippi, I find one of the best things about the internet is that it puts me in contact with people who are entirely sane about the depravity of the Southern rebellion. Helps keep *me* sane. Thanks for this post!

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  2. It’s almost as if all of the people who recognized Rand Paul’s bullshit for what it was were right.

    Meanwhile, how though did this guy manage to make it past everyone? How is this only emerging right now?

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    • Almost, yes. But being right without supporting evidence is a different thing from being right with supporting evidence.

      The above includes some important new evidence, at least by me. It’s caused me to re-evaluate Rand Paul, but that’s not the end of my perplexities.

      Now, sadly, he goes in the increasingly large bin of folks who seem otherwise pretty okay to me except for one giant horrible pile of obvious, completely inexcusable evil.

      Why is it that people like these are so common in politics?

      Is it all just me? I mean, sure, things would seem pretty nice in the outside world if I were okay with the Drug War and the surveillance state, and if I were also not okay with the Confederacy. The good guys would have won crashing victories all around, and I’m sure that feeling this to have been the case would be gratifying.

      If only I could do it. But I can’t. To me the evils of the one and the evils of the others are, while not at all identical, certainly related. They are evil not for the exact same reasons, but for similar ones.

      I am helpless to think otherwise, even as virtually no one else agrees.

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      • I agree (at least on the drug war, surveillance state, and Confederacy).

        And the short answer to your question is that our positions regarding the first two are – sadly – on the fringe, so any politicians who agree with us are also likely to be on the fringe. And on the fringe, you’re more likely to get cranks. People who are willing to defy the conventional wisdom when it’s wrong also appear to be more likely to defy it when it’s right; and for at least some of them, the very fact that something, anything is conventional wisdom is sufficient reason to reject it.

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    • Someone “special” got the scoop. Other folks probably knew and were saving it for his subsequent presidential run.
      (you don’t seriously think kos and company don’t run background checks on folks…?)

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      • I have no doubt that there are people much more informed about such things than I am.

        My idea of staying informed includes reading journal articles, books on public policy, and policy papers from various think tanks. I will freely admit a relative blind spot when it comes to the past histories of someone’s campaign staff. I tend to care a lot less about those sorts of things until something serious comes up, as it did here.

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        • (I’m glad most people don’t spend their time counting how many gay people are on someone’s campaign staff. Or “fill-in-the-blank”. It’s generally not relevant. Hell, it’s not even generally relevant if someone’s campaign staff supports the opposing candidate. (that’s more an expression of political blackballing, which is important))

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        • Paul is horrible on women’s liberty (just as his father is). Perhaps more related here, Paul’s entirely unsure where to stand on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which he buries in libertarian “But what about the businessmen who just wanted to keep black people out of his private property!” arguments which becomes (even) more difficult to stomach given this sort of thing. I’m sure there are other examples where his alleged commitment to liberty ends specifically at whatever is most politically expedient to him and his supporters.

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          • Sorry Sam,

            In a civilized society, no one is ‘at liberty’ to hire a perverted gynecologist to soak their unborn child in caustic brine.

            And ‘civil rights’ laws do violate freedom of contract. If you pay attention to the activities of the student affairs apparat, you come to understand that the notion of ‘free association’ is widely misunderstood among the flyspecks in the lower management of higher education. Also, in the hands of creatures such as Thomas Perez, anti-discrimination law has acquired a metastatic aspect. We’d best be done with it.

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              • No, liberty is that to engage in just objects, or perhaps in objects that are not defensible on their merits when there are some prudential constraints to proscribing them. Abortion is never undertaken for a just object (and you might have noted another person who is violated in defense of this woman’s sexual license) and was legally proscribed prior to 1967 with no more manifest leakage and slippage than any other component of the penal code.

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                • Weird how you consider a woman’s “sexual license” a problem but not a man’s, apparently. Either women are free to make choices regarding their bodies even if they’re nasty sluts, or men who are nasty sluts have no right to choose whether or not a pregnancy is carried to term. All you’re doing in this argument is betraying an anti-woman bias.

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  3. White-hats become black-hats. I can’t stand this kind of thinking. It’s got more in common with borderline personality disorder than with political science.

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      • For those of us who’ve always seen Rand Paul as you now see him, the question becomes — how did you never see it before? The apple never falls far from the tree. Rand Paul has been thumping the tub of crypto-racism for at least a decade.

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          • Like the way Ron Paul would pile on tasty earmarks (nearly $400M in FY2010) for his/my congressional district on an omnibus spending bill, then (knowing full well it would pass anyway) vote against it, on principle.

            Good times.

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            • As a practical matter, I’m not sure that’s as inconsistent as you think. Being opposed to the existence of earmarks does not confer an obligation that, if earmarks are going to happen, your district doesn’t get its cut.

              I know people who thinks tax rates should be higher, and that there should be fewer tax breaks, and would vote to that effect if given a chance, but nonetheless take advantage of the tax rates and breaks that are within the system that they oppose.

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              • At some point, Will, if you’re dealing with a Prisoner’s Dilemma, you have to be the one to do something to change the strategy or you’re just part of the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

                People who argue against earmarks and then put them in anyway are doing a “have cake, eat it too”. It’s utterly understandable, when framed that way.

                But it continues to perpetuate the Dilemma.

                It sorta undermines your credibility that you think earmarks are actually a problem, if you never do anything about them and actively participate in the creation of them.

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                • I think the budget of the Army Corps of Engineers is under $10 bn. Public works projects are a small sliver of the federal government’s expenditure. Maintenance of inter-state navigation and highways is a legitimate activity of the federal government. It gets troublesome when you have the feds footing the bill for a low use bridge which connects one island in Alaska to another island in Alaska or you get some municipal amenity like a park (complete with a plaque which says something along the lines of ‘brought to you by Chuckie Schumer’).

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                • Well, he does vote against it And I’ve never seen any indication that he would change his mind if his vote were the deciding one. To me the spent question is whether his earmarks are out of line or simply a decision not to unilaterally disarm.

                  I am perhaps a bit defensive Of Paul here in part because he is doing What I would do. I’d vote against earmarks, but wouldn’t leave the money on the table if they were going to pass anyway because my district is still paying taxes and should get its cut.

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                  • Right – one thing that never seemed to get mentioned is that earmarks did not create any new spending, it was simply appropriating money from the amount that had already been decided upon for that year. It added zero in new spending – but was instead just dividing up money that had already been budgeted for that particular fiscal year. Yet it gets thrown around as if it is a vote for new spending or a new program, which is where the actual problem is, not in trying to divide up the money that was already decided upon for all sorts of evil govt programs. Really, the DEA or the ATF is an “earmark” every year, and that is where the problem resides.

                    Comparing it to those who vote for new programs, and new spending is not even close to the same thing. Earmarks typically were around 1 to 2% of the budget at the most, too – so this idea that “earmarks” were the problem instead of the politicians who voted for new govt programs and spending each fiscal year is dishonest at best.

                    Especially when one considers that it is actually constitutional to do earmarks – unlike most of what congress does with its budget every year – and that it helps take away money from other blatantly unconstitutional and immoral govt agencies and programs – I wish every congressman would do earmarks to try and starve the beast, since asking them to actually vote against spending as Dr Paul did every year is probably too much.

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        • “The apple never falls far from the tree” is as prejudicial a statement as you’ll ever hear. I refuse to judge someone based on his father’s actions. I’m a different man from my father – worse in a lot of ways, better in a few, just different in most. Accusing Rand Paul on the basis of Ron Paul’s associations is a step away from the Prescott Bush / George W. Bush / Nazi conspiracy garbage – which, interestingly, you could find among Ron Paul fans.

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      • How would I respond? First off, I wouldn’t go overboard on the basis of the first story.

        And a few things jump out at me in this story. The guy is said to have supported the assassination of Lincoln, but in the linked article he conspicuously (coyly, but even so) doesn’t. The League of the South is cited as implicitly racist, but not necessarily a hate group. That’s odd phrasing. Beyond that, he’s just a staffer. He’s not, as far as I know, whispering the Confederate Constitution in Paul’s ear, and if he is, as far as I know Paul’s not nodding along.

        The Tea Party has a taste for inexperienced politicians. Bob Dole wouldn’t have had this guy on his staff, but an inexperienced politician would. If you play in the minors for a few years, you work out the kinks in your game. You go straight to the big leagues, you’re going to make rookie mistakes in front of a big crowd. That’s inevitable.

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        • the Tea Party has a taste for not vetting people, and then disclaiming responsibility.
          Obama tried that game too, for a while.

          This is why the Tea Party sucks, by the way. They aren’t being run by people smart enough to vet people.

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          • It’s life spent on the flat part of the bell-shaped curve. If you’re three standard deviations from the norm, and you want to gather a group of similarly positioned people, you’re going to get some 12-deviationers.

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        • @Pinky:

          Ordinarily, I’d be somewhat sympathetic to the notion that this can be chalked up to mere inexperience, but there’s a number of factors here that should cause Rand Paul to lose the benefit of the doubt.

          First, Rand is hardly a neophyte, having grown up in such a political family and having been as heavily involved in his father’s 2008 campaign (and presumably some of his earlier campaigns) as he was. He thus had a front row seat to watch that campaign get stopped in its tracks because of connections with groups like this.

          Second, this guy’s most noxious behavior is hardly a thing of the past that only would have been discovered through a background check. He was hosting this radio show as recently as 2012, which means that he was still hosting the show even as he was co-writing Rand Paul’s book. There’s just no way Rand can claim ignorance of this guy’s views and activities.

          Third, unlike a lot of the Tea Partiers, Rand has shown himself to be a very savvy politician almost from the moment he got into the Senate, who did not make many rookie mistakes his first couple of years in the Senate. To use your metaphor, he had been playing in the big leagues long enough, and at a high enough level, that it’s hard to accept that hiring this guy permanently in August 2012 was a mere mistake rather than an acknowledgement that Paul found this guy’s views something less than noxious.

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          • Yes. This is also why I give essentially no weight to the objection that Hunter “renounced” his views — just in time to take up his role with Rand Paul.

            Convenient. But really, who was that supposed to convince?

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  4. I am happy not to be working contract work in the southeastern USA any more. I did not grow up in the area and encountered far too many people living there who seemed to believe life would be grand if only the South had won what they called the “war of northern aggression.” The fascination of dead-enders for libertarian justifications or for assertions of local or state sovereignty is not lost upon me either.

    Thank you for speaking up and being completely unapologetic in denouncing this.

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      • yes and yes. any secession that fails is clearly illegal. only winners get to claim legality after the fact. losers just have to deal with the fact that they were wrong.

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          • I was mostly just snarking. but I don’t see a whole lot of difference between illegal and wrong. so maybe i should not assume that everybody sees it the same way.

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              • someplaces it is squishy. i put my moral judgement before the legal one. so it gets me the same place most of the time. pot=NWIL, slavery=WL

                also in context of secession and the confederacy I admit i find almost nothing the south did was right morals-wise or legal-wise. I of course see the difference between wrong and legal almost everywhere else. on Confed, nope.

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  5. What I especially don’t get is why people with those kind of associations act all shocked when someone thinks they just might have racial resentment issues. You don’t see Germans waxing sympathetic with Nazi crap & justifying it by yelling “heritage!” as if bigotry weren’t key to the very concept.

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    • I am sad to report some Germans are waxing sympathetic with fascist crap, Japanese even more so. At present, Japan’s Shinzo Abe is still making excuses for it, yelling “heritage”. It’s turning up in France, too, the Ukraine, Russia’s got more than a handful of them.

      Fascism is an endlessly capacious political mindset. Obsessed with modernism on the one hand, on the other, ancient runes and symbols and Volksgemeinschaft, the crude, vicious solidarity arising from Us versus Them thinking. It’s everywhere, if you look for it. Doesn’t take much work to find. It’s an all-purpose philosophy, a thin, translucent scrim over our own grinning, bestial, tribal natures.

      There’s a school of thought whose pie-eyed devotees wander around, their heads in their hands, wondering how on earth the nation of Beethoven and Einstein and Jung could possibly fall into the abyss of Nazism. The veneer of civilisation is very thin, just a little more opaque than the scrim of fascism. Doesn’t take much to peel up that veneer: when the boards below are rotten, it will peel up without any assistance.

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      • Minor point, and it depends on what you meant by “nation”, but Jung was born and died a Swiss national. Maybe you meant Freud? (Austria at least being an eventual and not wholly unwilling part of the Nazi state.)

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  6. May I join with others in saying this is an admirable post, Jason.

    Products of committees, do note, can be as schizophrenic as the committees that draft them. Our first attempt at a constitutional order was one such schizophrenic product, and in this respect, the antebellum U.S. Constitution was terrible.

    Schizophrenic? The Constitution as first drafted (I’m given to understand this is also true of the Declaration of Independence) condemned slavery. Moneyed interests forced those condemnations out of those documents. The Constitution has never been strong in defence of the rights of man, either before or after the Civil War. For all the work put into the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, the nation slid back into a systematic oppression of black people. Groupthink is more than schizophrenic, though I can see why you’d use the word. I’d say America is psychotic, neurotic, self-deluded. It’s Least Common Denominator thinking, the rotten rationalisations for injustice we concoct for our own consumption.

    Maybe you’re right about the schizophrenia, though. The schizophrenic can’t think very far ahead, he’s stuck in a combination of the immediate present and his own disordered and irrational view of the world. I always feel awkward, trying to impose terms of art from mental illness (being bipolar myself, truth is, I resent their usage) upon the political sphere. But what other term can be used for Ron Paul?

    Admiring the Confederacy is bad business. Truth is, I’m not sure we should admire the Union Army any more than the Confederates. Sherman’s March featured a horrible incident at Ebenezer Creek. The treachery of it is appalling: abandoning just-freed slaves to the mercies of their former masters. Don’t tell me the Union was fighting to free the slaves. That was just an excuse. If the Confederacy is to be condemned, and properly so, for the institution of slavery, the Union does not deserve much praise for how they ended it.

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    • Thanks. “Schizophrenic” was probably the trickiest word in the post, because I’m trying to use its vernacular sense (and its literal etymology), but not its clinical sense. Those things are very different, of course.

      I meant here that the founders were of split minds on the issue. They were a big group of people with lots of different views on slavery, including everything from warm support, to hoping it would go away — but not just yet! — to even a few who worked directly for abolition, like John Jay and Gouverneur Morris.

      Anything the group had to agree on together was going to be a mess here, and it was.

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  7. Very well said Jason.

    Though I am an unrepentent Northeasterner of post-Civil War vintage. It will always be the Slaver’s rebellion to me.

    Though what is curious to me is that the Confederate flag in some ways has become more than a symbol of the South. It has generally morphed into what I call the “Universal White Rural North American Fuck You”. I think that there are a lot of people out there who fly the flag in terms of what DHX calls cultural signalling. This time they are signalling their opposition to upper-middle class urbanly inclined liberals like me who see the flag as being racist. They know it offends and that is why they fly it. I knew a woman on another internet community who was a white, rural working class Canadian. Her white, rural working class Canadian ex was a Confederate Flag flyer and wanted to sew it onto a denim jacket for their very young daughter. There are white, working class people in northern states who fly the Confederate Flag.

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      • Does my reasoning stand on why they adopted it? Is it as a big Fuck You to upper-middle class Liberal and NDP supporters in the cities?

        I am honestly a bit perplexed about how rural Canadians came to adopt it as a symbol of their own. This sort of open juvenile attitude is beyond me. It is like a whole group that never grew out of middle school rebellion.

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    • Right, the confederate flag was in several dorm rooms (not mine) when I was in college in PA, typically signifying nothing more than “SKYNRD!! WOO-HOO!!” Since the confederacy were “the rebels,” the flag picked up associations with “being a rebel” and that resonates with lots of people who might not have any idea that they’re supporting slavery. Kinda the same way that lefty college students wear Che t-shirts – they think it’s a way of announcing their opposition to “the man” or “the system” or whatever and it doesn’t occur to them that they’re supporting a racist homophobic killer and a murderous ideology.

      Great post!

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      • This. A lot of people only give things a surface reading rather than a deep reading. Its why people can read Wurthering Heights and think Healthcliff is dreamy rather than see the darker undertones. The general assumption should be that many people are going to miss any subtext and focus on the text-text.

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      • This. A lot of people only give things a surface reading rather than a deep reading. Its why people can read Wurthering Heights and think Healthcliff is dreamy rather than see the darker undertones. The general assumption should be that many people are going to miss any subtext and focus on the text-text.

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  8. The Confederate Constitution is quite an interesting read.

    I highly recommend it — not for the slavery stuff, but for the makeup of the Confederate government, the rights of the states making up the government, and basically the whole organizational model.

    Playing compare and contrast with it and the more conservative Constitutional views on the right (especially the Southern right) is well worth the time.

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      • “Conservative constitutional views” can be summarized as follows:

        1. Powers delegated to the central government are specified in Article 1 and do not exceed those specified.

        2. The appellate courts are not a superlegislature. Legislative power is vested in elected conciliar bodies and their acts null and void only when they contravene constitutional provisions.

        The liberal response to the above is a series of intellectual frauds.

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  9. Eventually, when you skewering some idiot Confederate apologist, they’ll cite one “Tom DiLorenzo” an economics professor at Loyola in Maryland as ‘proof’ that you are wrong, and that it was really the big, bad War of Northern Aggression that’s the problem. I won’t link to that douchenozzle, but he is so extreme that even arguably mainstream conservatives at Hillsdale College have publicly rebuked his work. That he regularly posts at LewRockwell.com should be warning enough.

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  10. I wonder whether Daniel Larison, another conservative who picked up a lot of popularity and recognition especially on the libertarian left arguing about drones and intervention, will speak up on this issue. It seems to me that he has remained silent in recent years on such issues [loosely speaking “neo-Confederate” ones], leaving a kind of gap where the loyal reader is left to wonder what he really stands for, but a somewhat infamous post of his from 2005, defending revisionist historian Thomas Woods, offers a defense of the Confederacy and of the League of the South, of which latter Larison was a member at least at the time.

    The entire post is worth reading if you want to understand how someone thinks himself into this position. Here’s the concluding paragraph in defense of the Confederacy:

    The defeat of the Confederacy, though the Confederate political experiment does not exhaust the richness of Southern culture and identity, was a defining moment when the United States took its steps towards the abyss of the monstrous centralised state, rootless society and decadent culture that we have today. In sum, the Confederacy represented much of the Old America that was swept away, and with it went everything meaningful about the constitutional republican system, and the degeneration of that system in the next hundred years was the logical and ultimately unstoppable result of Lincoln’s victory. All of this is in recognition that we are beholden to our ancestors for who we are, and we honour and remember their struggles and accomplishments not only because they can be established as reasonable, good and true but because they are the struggles and accomplishments of our people, who have made this land ours and sanctified it with their blood in defense against the wanton aggression of a barbarous tyranny.

    If you read the entire post, you may notice, incidentally, that the only mention of slaves or slavery occurs in the context of an attack on neo-conservatives, who are taken as prime enemies of what the League of the South stands for, understood to be “hateful to those who want to obliterate particular loyalties, federalism, political and cultural diversity …and subjugate all men to a stale and fatal creed for homogenous slaves serving faceless masters in their anti-personal and anti-religious world of abstractions and social engineering.”

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    • Yes…it’s one of the issues where Larison disappoints me, but neo-Confederate sympathies are oddly common among paleoconservatives (i.e.: anti-interventionists).

      I think it’s because the Civil War ushered in a major expansion of government (wars tend to do that – which is one of the reasons paleocons don’t like them) that, from a paleocon perspective, started America down the road to where it is now. But I wish they could manage to draw a distinction between that and sympathy for the Confederacy, which was antithetical to human liberty and was, in addition (which might mean more to a paleocon), highly imperialist. It was the pro-slavery folks who kept trying to get the US to conquer bits of Central American and the Caribbean (especially Cuba), because the climate there would be better for slavery than in the Northwest. The third chapter of Battle Cry of Freedom is about that, and I found it fascinating.

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      • ” I wish they could manage to draw a distinction between that and sympathy for the Confederacy”

        They’ll never be allowed to. The instant you seem to have the slightest, vaguest, most tenuous connection to the possibility of admitting that maybe the Civil War was something other than A Noble Fight To End The Most Awful Anything Ever, you get…well, you get this post, pure uncomplicated guilt-free hategasm, a spewing of long-pent-up emotion all over the face of one of the last sins we’re allowed to be mad about.

        And it’s gonna be really, really hard for someone to discuss government power and libertarian theory *without* the concept of secession entering into the discussion, because a key tenet of libertarian philosophy is If You Don’t Like It, Then Leave. (which is where we got the “move to Somalia” gibe.)

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        • The instant you seem to have the slightest, vaguest, most tenuous connection to the possibility of admitting that maybe the Civil War was something other than A Noble Fight To End The Most Awful Anything Ever, you get…well, you get this post, pure uncomplicated guilt-free hategasm,

          No.

          There is much to debate about motives and about the necessity and whether “it was worth it.” There were massacres done on both sides, and some people, especially in the North, got rich off the conflict. Some of the most virulent racists were in the North and opposed ending slavery more because they didn’t want black people to move north than because of some high sounding ideal.

          That said, the southern states seceded because they believed that staying in the union endangered slavery. Most of their ordinances of secession named the preservation of slavery as the principal reason for secession. Their constitution, as Jason pointed out, explicitly protected slavery.

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          • This.

            I’d be happy to point out the aspects of the Confederate Constitution that were actually better than our own, either at the time or today. Here are just a few of them:

            –term limits
            –tariffs must not be used for the benefit of particular industries
            –no “general welfare” clause, but a “general laws” clause, so that laws don’t favor particular parties

            But let’s face it, there’s a lot more turd here than punch bowl. Notably, even the precious right to secession is itself denied in the Confederate Constitution, for in Article I section 8(15) we find that the Confederate Congress is empowered to

            (15) To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Confederate States, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.

            And if I’m not mistaken, no other provision allows a mechanism of peaceful departure from the Confederacy.

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            • But in a victorious Confederacy, wouldn’t stare decisis preserve a right to secession in a country that owed its existence to succession? That is, assuming hypothetically that:

              1) The confederacy existed, and
              2) It had successfully seceded from the United States,
              then wouldn’t the implication be that
              3) such secession was legal?

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              • I’ve never studied the history of the Confederacy from this angle, so have no idea what the thinking was at the time, but I can suggest as a general observation that the Confederacy wouldn’t need to specify a right of secession since, according to the Confederacy, such a right was already implicit in that other Constitution that the Yankees were mishandling so egregiously: To specify a mode of secession would be to admit that it needed to be specified. The foundational history of the Confederacy would make the right implicit for the Confederate states in somewhat the same way, as Sky suggests, just as the Confederacy took its right to separate as implicit in the founding of the original US of A. However, both separations – of 1776 and of 1861 – were for cause, not for the fun of it.

                The first sentence of the Confederate Constitution, in its preamble, define “each State [to be] acting in its sovereign and independent character.” There are also specific lines further constraining the power of the new “permanent federal government”: There were explicit limitations, for instance, on any schemes of “internal improvements” (of the sort Lincoln’s old party, the Whigs, favored). An already “sovereign and independent” state might, given the major precedents, find it easier to declare its independence, or “dissolve the political bands,” but it would still have to show cause, which the constitution itself was written to limit: You don’t have to declare your sovereign independence if it’s already been acknowledged. Presumably, you’d have to show that the Confederacy had violated it. Whether this would have been made easy or made difficult, become a permanent problem or a remote but interesting possibility is something we’ll obviously never know.

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              • “But in a victorious Confederacy, wouldn’t stare decisis preserve a right to secession in a country that owed its existence to succession? ”

                The problem with succession is that it keeps following after itself, and is replaced each time by another one.

                (((sorry….couldn’t resist)))

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              • More seriously, I wonder if after a CSA victory, the remaining states might have ratified an amendment either prohibiting secession or creating a (very cumbersome and difficult to implement) mechanism for seceding.

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              • Stare decisis is a rule of thumb. It’s enforced only by higher courts, which means it has no enforcement mechanism whatsoever at the Supreme Court level. And it’s not even theoretically legally binding, anyway.

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        • You know, this straw man is getting awfully shabby. Even as a Canadian, I’m well aware that the Civil War was not “about” freeing the slaves. That was a battle tactic and a Good Thing To Do Regardless of the Situation.

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          • Well the CW wasn’t about freeing the slaves per se. But slavery was the issue of the war. The South thought the North was trying to snuff out slavery and the South wanted to be able expand slavery to the west. Slavery was the cause of the war.

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      • Though the Larison of 2013 writes somewhat more carefully than the Larison of 2005, he is still subject to the same over-generalizing tendencies, a common fault of polemicists. It’s striking to me that he sees “everything meaningful about the constitutional republican system” as having been “swept away” with the Confederacy. Everything. I won’t attempt to draw out the logical consequences of such a stance, because I don’t think Larison or anyone else active in common public political discussion, even at the fringes, can really hold it. Yet the same problems begin to arise when, as in the OP, we begin to gather the Pauls, or their associates, or their sometime allies, and the guy waving the flag all together under the headings of “evil” and “enemies of all mankind.” This entire question lies at the defining limits (which are also foundations) of the American collective identity and so-called second constitution, where everything is joined to and always on the verge of turning into its own opposite.

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        • There are of course degrees of culpability. Jefferson Davis is a whole lot guiltier than any present-day Confederate apologist. But to the degree that you admire and support the goals of the Confederacy, you are guilty. That kind of thing is evil.

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      • Katherine, I wish I could upvote this comment. It’s completely right.

        One certainly can be consistently anti-intervention, anti-imperialist, small-government, and anti-Confederate. Indeed, one should be.

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      • I think it’s because the Civil War ushered in a major expansion of government (wars tend to do that

        It did not. The ratio of federal expenditure to domestic product in the fiscal year concluding in 1929 was .017. About half of that was accounted for by the military and much of the remainder was attributable to the postal service. There were some regulatory agencies erected over the period running from 1887 to 1926, but these were adaptive changes to technological developments and the increasing commonality of long-distance commerce and large-scale industry.

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      • And we all know that rootless cosmopolitans are also associate with the J-word!

        I wonder how Noah Millman sleeps at night by accepting a paycheck from anti-Semites. And I would consider Larison to have anti-Semitic tendencies.

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          • No. Pat Buchannon has a long history of anti-Semitism and it does not really do the cause of the pro-Palestinian movement any justice or good to defend anyone and everyone who criticizes Israel. There are a lot of people who simply dislike Jews. And there are a lot of people who soft-peddle the more violent rhetoric of Hamas and Hezbollah.

            Where were Jews supposed to go after WWII and the Holocaust? Europe certainly did not want them. Jewish survivors who went back to Eastern Europe were often the victims of Programs. The US and UK certainly did not want to accept many Jews before or after the Holocaust until shammed.

            Would you ever question a gay person on something that they perceived as homophobic? Would you ever question a black person on something or someone they perceived as racist? Jews seem to be the only group that get constantly question on their perceptions what and who is anti-Semitic. It is one area where the left begins to sound like right-wingers and can’t see anything except overt and cartoonish activity as being anti-Semitic.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Buchanan#Accusations_of_antisemitism_and_Holocaust_diminution

            How is this not anti-Semitic?

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            • I’ll absolutely agree that Pat Buchanan is an anti-Semite, and a racist, and an all-around distasteful person.

              Larison, though, hasn’t said anything pertinent other than criticizing the actions of Israel, and criticizing the extent to which American foreign policy is influenced by Israel and by hawks (both Jewish and non-Jewish) supporting the Israeli right wing.

              I question claims of anti-Semitism because they are constantly used to silence anyone who criticizes Israel for actions in which Israel is clearly and egregiously the oppressor. I reject such attempts at silencing. As for it only being Jews: when Mugabe says that people attacking his human rights violations are just doing so because they’re racists, most people roll their eyes at the accusation. A frivolous claim used for the purposes of deflection deserves no better.

              And I think that Canada, the US, and Europe bear a high degree of responsibility for the current Israeli-Palestinian situation because they refused to accept Jewish refugees during and after WWII, leaving the refugees with a shortage of options. I also believe that it’s immoral to make the Palestinians pay for the crimes of Europe.

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            • Yes, this. The only reason we avoided Holocaust II right after Holocaust I was because Stalin died just before he could carry out his plan to send all the Jews to labor camps in Siberia. Without Israel, the viciously anti-Semitic governments of Eastern Europe would simply have hundreds of thousands more Jews to persecute.

              What would the fate of the Middle Eastern Jews be without Israel? Nothig good. At best they would be treated with benign neglect and simply allowed to be while not really being viewed as part of the nation. At worse, they would be actively persecuted. Many of them would have to face the same damned if you do, damned if you don’t choices that other minorities in the Middle East had. Do they support the secular dictator for paper equality and marginal protection or face the reality of majority rule and hope for the best? Either choice isn’t good.

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            • Would you ever question a gay person on something that they perceived as homophobic? Would you ever question a black person on something or someone they perceived as racist?

              Uh, yes. People do that all the time. Just because one person says something does not actually make it true.

              More to the point, no one is actually doing anything _to_ those people. Yes, if a member of group X experiences something and thinks it’s prejudice against group X, perhaps we _should_ tread carefully about dismissing their own experience.

              But when a member of group X see some other member group X do something halfway around the world, and some non-member says ‘That action was wrong’, no, we don’t let the member of group X shut the discussion down with allegations of bigotry with no evidence at all.

              Especially members of group X _much closer to the scene_ seem to have just as much, if not more, objection to that action. The Jews _in Israel_ are usually not that happy with the actions of their government that people in the US criticize.

              Jews seem to be the only group that get constantly question on their perceptions what and is anti-Semitic.

              Firstly, _no one_ gets to assert that criticizing a specific country is not permissible.

              And ‘Jews’ as a group are not running around calling any criticism of Israel anti-Semitic. A very small group of Jews are doing that. They’ve just managed to hijack the political discussion about Israel in this country.

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            • “Would you ever question a gay person on something that they perceived as homophobic? Would you ever question a black person on something or someone they perceived as racist? Jews seem to be the only group that get constantly question on their perceptions what and who is anti-Semitic.”

              of course you have to question assertions. that’s kind of silly.

              now, you don’t get to say “you don’t actually feel that’s racist” – because if someone feels something, they feel something – but otherwise you’re left with saying “everyone’s beliefs are legitimate, even if they believe that the selling of cheeseburgers in america is an anti-jewish plot”.

              of course, i’m willing to bet that in your circles being jewish is less of a privileged rhetorical category than being black or being gay, because “team to hell with israel*” is mighty strong wit youse guys, but i think the idea that only jews get accusations of bigotry handwaved away is incorrect.

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          • Yeah, maybe if the Anti-Zionists would stop resorting to obviously anti-Semtic troops when criticizing Israel and think of why possibly we Jews might want our own state and ponder what would be our fate without Israel than we can move forward. Maybe if they stopped presenting Israel as the source of all evil and trouble in the Middle East because its rapidly clear to anybody capable of thought that its not. Maybe if they look slightly more closely at their allies and all the madness and hatred spewed against the Jews in the Muslim world. Maybe if the anti-Zionists can approach this with even a modicum of seriousness.

            At best, the anti-Zionists express nothing but antipathy towards us Jews. They are the type of people of reacted to the progroms that occured after the Holocaust with the reply, “progroms, there have always been progroms” before going back to sleep. They say they feel compassion towards all the oppressed but when we need help, we are ignored while demanding our help because we are persecuted. At worse, the anti-Zionists are painfully obvious Jew-haters that are struggling to find away to express their perverted fantasies and bigotry without looking bad.

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                  • Glenn Greenwald has a history of also engaging in attacking people he considers to be against his viewpoints by less than 100 percent.

                    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/06/glenn-greenwald-is-ralph-nader.html

                    Of course this is the issue of partisanship and getting into a never ending dance of your writers and persuasive arguments v. my writers and persuasive arguments.

                    So I will say this:

                    1. Just because someone dissents and dissents far from political orthdoxy does not make him right, more moral, more free, more independent, or more worthy of being listened to. There are plenty of people who dissent from all sorts of “orthodoxies” and are just plain wrong.

                    2. There is nothing wrong with supporting the rights of the Palestinian people. There is something wrong about supporting it to such an extent that you accuse Israel’s records on gay-rights as being merely “pinkwashing” like Sarah Schulman* does or ignoring the extreme rhetoric of Hamas and Hezbollah who really do want to get rid of Israel entirely.

                    *This is a kind of holier-than thou far-leftism that is simply unwilling to make any compromise or presume any sincerity in Israel. Everything is merely a clever and cynical marketing ploy to make them look better in the eyes of the Western World. If that is not erring close to stuff found in the Protocols, I don’t know what is.

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                    • So, you’re saying that you’re sorry for viciously saying that Chomsky is a “self-hating Jew,” right?

                      If not, I’ll leave it at that and people can decide what they think about how your comment reflects on you.

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                    • There is nothing wrong with supporting the rights of the Palestinian people.

                      You have to recall that the modal opinion on the West Bank and Gaza is that their rights include a franchise to murder and expel the Jewish population next door. There is a minority willing to cut a permanent deal, but they do not amount to more than about 30% of the adult population.

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                    • My attack was extreme and wrong but that does not mean I have to agree with Chomsky and Greenwald because they consider support of Israel to be imperialist and neo-con.

                      Now will you address why I should find the non-Orthodox to automatically be more right and moral because it is non-Orthodox. Also address Chait’s observations on Greenwald and how Greenwald treats his perceived critics, dissenters, and enemies.

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                    • Art Deco – I’ve travelled to the West Bank twice before, I’ve spoken to many people there, and what you are saying is libel and a flat-out lie. What the greater part of Palestinians want is 1) an end to the occupation 2) the right of refugees to return to the homes from which they were exiled or forcibly expelled and 3) equal treatment and legal status of Jewish and non-Jewish Israelis.

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                    • I agree with Chait on Greenwald, actually.

                      I just thought Greenwald made a good point that Chomsky is often attacked ad hominem instead of people dealing with the content of his arguments.

                      I very much commend you for taking that back. Very judicious. I certainly think there are attacks on Chomsky that are (even if I disagree) fair game. But maybe that is for another thread.

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                    • Katherine,

                      I no longer have access to Polling the Nations, but you can likely find it at a local college that allows walk-in users in its library. Quite a mass of survey research was done during the years running from 2003 to 2008. Of course, there is a distinction between choosing between real option and offering an idle opinion when a pollster shows up. Still, the results of those surveys are bloody depressing. If you take the median of these polls, north of a third of the respondents understand the dissolution of the state of Israel as the only acceptable solution. Another thirty percent or so are willing to sign an agreement with Israel, but regard as non-negotiable provisions which would grant a seven digit mass of Arabs plenary discretion to settle in Israel. That’s no solution.

                      While we are at it, the last competitive election in the West Bank and Gaza in 2006 revealed a precisely divided electorate. About 5% or so went to accommodationist parties, about 40% went to al-Fatah with its long history of criminal behavior and double-dealing, north of 40% went to Hamas (which makes its position vis a vis Israel very clear) and 7% went to a mess of communist parties who have no more use for Israel than Hamas does. (They have just exchanged the Koran for Karl Marx).

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                    • ” Israel’s records on gay-rights as being merely “pinkwashing” like Sarah Schulman* does”

                      I doubt you’re quite as aware of Israel’s record on gay rights as you think.

                      But I hardly see people that are engaged in frequent acts of biological terrorism as worthy of continued dialogue.

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            • What the hell is an anti-Zionist? Someone with a time machine?

              You do know that Zionism is over, right? It won? Like women’s suffrage in the US? It set out to create the state of Israel, and such a state was, in fact, created. And unlike women’s sufferance, there’s not actually any way to ‘repeal’ it, so there’s no conceivable policy that ‘anti-Zionists’ would have, except possible attempting to convince the state of Israel to close up shop. (Something that literally has never happened in the entire history of nations.)

              Or are you using ‘anti-Zionist’ to mean ‘people who want Israel conquered’, which a) is rather goofy interpretation of Zionist, and b) a rather large slur on pretty much everyone who criticizes Israel. Most of the people who criticize Israel are criticizing _the actions of Israel_, not wishing that, for some completely unknown reason, that Israel would go away.

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              • Its not very hard to find people who say that Israel shoul go away. In large swathes of the world, its actual a popular political position. Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranian regime, and numerous other organizations are open in saying that the only just solution to the Israel-Palestine crisis is the destruction of Israel or the Zionist entity to them.

                Their allies in the West tend to over look this or actively endorse this and imagine a future where Israel disappears and is replaced by a “secular, democratic Palestine”, which is something that the Palestinians don’t even want.

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                • So you _are_ accusing everyone who disagrees with a specific action of Israel of being ‘anti-Zionists’, and by ‘anti-Zionist’ you mean ‘people who wish that Israel would be destroyed’.

                  You assert that criticizing Israel is actually promoting the murder of Israelis. Genocide, if you will. You assert that someone stating that the Israeli government does was something that they do not agree with and don’t think the government should have done is the equivalent of wanting them all to die.

                  And this is just confined to Israel…saying that, for example, Russia shouldn’t be arresting people for protesting is not promoting Russian genocide. (I’m not sure whether or not this is true of _Israelis_ who object to their government’s behavior.)

                  I just wanted to clarify that for everyone.

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                    • I don’t think you actually read what Lee said. KatherineMW said ‘Ah yes, because that always happens when somebody becomes willing to criticize the actions of Israel.’

                      So he responded with: Yeah, maybe if the Anti-Zionists would stop resorting to obviously anti-Semtic troops when criticizing Israel

                      In other words, he called _everyone_ who criticized Israel an ‘Anti-Zionist’ (_Some_ of which are anti-Semites. Presumably, he also thinks some of them are not, but neither of those are relevant here.)

                      a) He calls everyone who criticizes Israel an anti-Zionist.

                      Do you agree with this interpretation of what he said or not?

                      I then asked him the hell what an anti-Zionist was, to to keep from making assumptions, asking if he meant people who thought Israel should be conquered, or possibly just someone who thinks they should vote themselves out of existence and he responded with:

                      In large swathes of the world, its actual a popular political position. Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranian regime, and numerous other organizations are open in saying that the only just solution to the Israel-Palestine crisis is the destruction of Israel or the Zionist entity to them.

                      Their allies in the West tend to over look this or actively endorse this and imagine a future where Israel disappears and is replaced by a “secular, democratic Palestine”, which is something that the Palestinians don’t even want.

                      b) and by Anti-Zionist he means people actively endorse the idea that Israel disappears, having been destroyed by force (Although he’s nice enough to assert they might not _think_ much about it)

                      Do you agree with this interpretation of what he said or not? Remember, this was a response to a _specific question_ as to what he meant by calling people ‘anti-Zionist’.

                      So, Lee said, and this is as well documented as I can possibly make it and I even asked questions to clarify:

                      a+b=c) Everyone who criticizes Israel wishes Israel was destroyed by force, even if they’re glossing over exactly what that means in their own mind.

                      Please state _exactly_ how this interpretation of what he said is incorrect.

                      Or, better yet, let’s ask _him_ to explain if it’s incorrect.

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            • Some people crticial of Israel’s actions now in the occupation and settlements or of Zionism (these are very different things, of course) are anti-semites.But most prominent critics are not and do not deploy anti-semitic tropes. Many critics are Jews, of course.

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              • Just because you can find Jewish critics of Israel doesn’t make them right, it just makes them Jewish critics of Israel. I can find Muslim criticism of Palestinians but it won’t make their criticism more right simply because they are Muslim.

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                  • I actually disagree with this to an extent. They aren’t self-hating but a lot of Jews on the Far Left are apathetic towards the concerns and needs of their fellow Jews. Its been way since Marx penned “On the Jewish Question.” See my quote from Rosa Luxemberg, this was said in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution when the Jews in the Ukraine where being slaughtered by the tends of thousands, mainly by her ideological enemies, and she still didn’t care.

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                    • I think this is false and unsubstantiated

                      Critics of the occupation, settlements, or even the morality of the zionist movement of the past (it is no longer a movement, because it has fully suceeded) are often likely to do so out of concern for Jewish people (e.g. Beinart’s recent criticism) or (partially) out of a belief (at the core of Judaism) that all people (Jewish or not) deserve equal concern, including Arab Muslims in occupied lands.

                      You’re painting critics with too broad a brush.

                      And it is all ad hominem anyway.

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                    • The problem that I see with most Israel criticism is the following:

                      A Palestinian blows himself up in a library, killing students:
                      “Well, you have to understand, the Palestinian people have been oppressed to the point where they’re using their own bodies as weapons. Now, I don’t condone the destruction of books and/or college students, but I understand where the Palestinians are coming from.”

                      An Israeli platoon goes into the West Bank to kill the guy who sent the kid to blow himself up in a university library: “THIS IS AN OUTRAGE AND A VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW AND AN INSULT TO THE SOVREINTY OF THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN ISRAEL-OCCUPIED PALESTINE! WE NEED TO HAVE THE UN SAY SOMETHING! WE SHOULD BOYCOTT CATERPILLAR! WE SHOULD WEAR YELLOW SCARVES TO PUBLIC PROTESTS THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MIDDLE EAST IN ORDER TO RAISE AWARENESS! AND FREE MUMIA WHILE WE’RE AT IT!!!”

                      There seems to be something going on there that isn’t easily explained by adherence to where belief in weak cultural relativism would take a guy.

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                    • There is more talk about the situation in Israel then just what you are talking about Jay. In some circles they are always talking about, often, actually in far more nuance then you are presenting. Now what you seem to be talking about it just the loud yakking that gets mainstream coverage after something big happens.

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                    • JB,

                      Well, hypothetical people without specific names are easy to criticize.

                      Generally, critics of the occupation are even handed in criticizing terrorist groups and Hamas specifically, even if they demonize them less than others.

                      At the very least, if you’re going to make a blamket statement about such and such angroup of critics, you need to back it up with lots and lots of quotes from specific members from the group, or you’re just making unsubstantiated accusations.

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                    • Shazbot5, its pretty easy to find examples of what Jaybird is talking about. The entire BDS movement, practically any anti-Israeli editorial on the net, etc. I’ll give you some recent examples from the net. None of the bellow is subtle but it is typical in the anti-Zionist circles in my experience.

                      http://hurryupharry.org/2013/05/15/massad-on-zionism/

                      http://daphneanson.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/professional-east-europian-sic.html

                      http://hurryupharry.org/2012/05/29/ben-white-look-at-howard-jacobsons-face-boycott-other-jews/

                      http://hurryupharry.org/2013/03/01/puppetmasters/

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                    • LeeEsq, that is completely hilarious. The complaints there are about _anti-Semites_. If you wish to prove anti-Semitism still exist, congrats, although we sorta already knew that.

                      None of that has a single fucking thing to do with criticism of Israel. In fact, only one of those article appear to be _about_ opinions towards Israel in any way.

                      And, Jaybird, you’re basically just outright lying. No one sane has ever complained about Israeli forces ‘entering’ Palestine in the manner you imply. (And if you _do_ read sites where such complaints happen, I have to ask what the hell you’re doing there.)

                      What people complain about is, in your hypothetical example, when Israel responds to the bombing by killing four random Palestinians and restarting settlements, or whatever bullshit Israel decides to do this week because they don’t have to behave with human decency towards Palestinians. (Because the country that is _supposed_ to be shining a critical light in the world on that, the US, mysteriously always turns off the light when it reaches Israel.)

                      Likewise, there will always be a difference in outrage between _individual_ action and _state_ action. A random Palestine who is now dead…and we are supposed to do what, now? Track down his relatives and write them sternly-worded letters? Israel, OTOH, is supposed to be a first world democracy and should not be behaving in a manner that it often does.

                      I mean, right now we’re all standing around talking about NSA spying which, in case we’ve all forgotten, started in response to 9/11. But we’re standing around criticizing the US government for misbehavior, instead of criticizing the 9/11 hijackers! Why, we must all be pro-terrorist…or, alternately, we realize that ‘criticizing terrorism’ is a pretty stupid thing to worry about, as no terrorist is listening to us. Criticizing the behavior of random Palestinians is equally pointless, and even criticizing Hamas barely does anything. (As they see America as little more than a supporter of Israel no matter what Israel does…which is a pretty accurate perception.)

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                    • Critics of the occupation, settlements, or even the morality of the zionist movement of the past (it is no longer a movement, because it has fully suceeded) are often likely to do so out of concern for Jewish people (e.g. Beinart’s recent criticism) or (partially) out of a belief (at the core of Judaism) that all people (Jewish or not) deserve equal concern, including Arab Muslims in occupied lands.

                      Something Conor Cruise O’Brien said nearly a generation ago remains true: “There is no solution. There is merely security”. Anyone who thought otherwise saw that thesis brutally refuted twelve years ago. Few if any ‘critics of the occupation’ know anything about best practice in pursuit of security and such is certainly foreign to anything Peter Beinart has ever done with his life. If the ‘critics’ were producing commentaries on articles in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism about security operations, one might listen. Mostly they kvetch that Israel acts to protect itself and fails to pursue a political solution when such a solution does not, in fact, exist. It is all idle if it not a pose.

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                    • They aren’t self-hating but a lot of Jews on the Far Left are apathetic towards the concerns and needs of their fellow Jews.

                      I think it would be pretty difficult to locate in Noam Chomsky’s writings (or Ben Ehrehreich’s, to take it down a standard deviation) any indication of loyalty or affection to anything outside the author’s immediate social circle. Ordinary people have concentric loyalties. The intelligentsia is shot through with people who just strike attitudes. Counterfeit prophets.

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                    • I resent your comment greatly. It is an act of vicious mischaracterization, and vast misunderstanding.

                      You’ve told glaring lies at least twice in this discussion. You might just benefit from a bloody good hiding.

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                    • No one sane has ever complained about Israeli forces ‘entering’ Palestine in the manner you imply.

                      That’s quite the qualification there.

                      I’m reminded of Ulysses telling Penelope “I have been faithful to you, after my fashion.”

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                    • Likewise, there will always be a difference in outrage between _individual_ action and _state_ action. A random Palestine who is now dead…and we are supposed to do what, now? Track down his relatives and write them sternly-worded letters? Israel, OTOH, is supposed to be a first world democracy and should not be behaving in a manner that it often does.

                      Without getting into how Palestinians seriously need to be held to a lower standard, I’ll just say that this is another trick that I saw a lot of. A 17 year old blows up on a bus and people say that it’s one kid who blew himself up. What can you do? Well, you can ask “how are they smuggling bomb belts into Israel?” and find out that they’re using ambulances. Then you can stop ambulances and search them for bomb belts. People cry out “but these people need to get to the hospital! People are dying! This is a violation of the international Red Cross/Red Crescent/Red Star Of David!”

                      And then you point to the bomb belts that have been found… and the response is “only a handful!” (The ambulance argument is one that I have had, for the record.)

                      All of this pretty much indicates that there is a conspiracy afoot, people are acquiring bomb belts, smuggling them, then distributing them… and when someone blows up in a University Library, people say “It was just one person!”

                      That’s another thing that always irritated me about this debate.

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                    • Jay,
                      ugg. that’s despicable. I support stopping arms trafficking.
                      I support understanding Hamas…and then doing everything we can to weaken and corrode its influence.

                      Gee, I wonder how many “Israeli-loving jews” (I’m only using this terminology because Lee/ND’s being exclusionary, by the way) have given money to stop arms trafficking…? (note: no, donating to Israel doesn’t count.)

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                    • In Israel-Palestinian debates, everyone on either side is insufferable. It’s not so much that people tend to gravitate to the extremes, so that it’s all Israel’s fault or if you criticize Israel you’re an anti-Semite (we’ve already seen a bit of both here in this subthread), but more that people just have a inordinate amounts of passion, and can’t see past it once the discussion starts.

                      I have an opinion, so I’ve done the same thing. It’s why I refuse to discuss it these days. I’ve heard pretty much every argument on both sides at this point, I know the relevant facts. I’m just gonna keep my mouth shut.

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                    • Jaybird
                      Without getting into how Palestinians seriously need to be held to a lower standard, I’ll just say that this is another trick that I saw a lot of.

                      I didn’t say Palestinian should be held to a lower standard. I said _individuals_ should.

                      People are held to lower standard than nations, yes. Or rather, if a person in another country commits a crime, we judge that of less important than if another country commits a crime itself.

                      As an American, I have no power to enforce the law anywhere else in the world. But as an American, I have the power to get my government to put pressure on other nations.

                      And then you point to the bomb belts that have been found… and the response is “only a handful!” (The ambulance argument is one that I have had, for the record.)

                      If Israel wishes to stop people from using ambulances to smuggle stuff, perhaps they could, you know, actually let the Palestinians have a _hospital_ or two. Seriously. Why the fuck are Palestinian patients having to cross into Israel for medical care?

                      And it’s not just emergency ‘This part of Palestine happens to be closest to an Israeli hospital’ trips. It’s for shit like dialysis. Apparently, there’s nowhere in Palestine you can get that.

                      The entire setup of Palestinians having to cross in and out Israel (And thus able to attack Israel) is because both parts of Palestine are shitholes without any sort of proper economic base or medical facilities or anything, which is a problem that _Israel_ made.

                      Hell, not only do the Israelis not do that, they don’t even let in outsiders to do that. They don’t let in relief ships bringing fucking medical supplies and concrete.

                      How on earth could Israel solve the problem that it has caused itself by denying Palestine any sort of medical facilities?! If only it had the ability to construct buildings, or allow others to construct buildings, in Palestine! If only it controlled Palestine’s borders and thus could let medical supplies in!

                      All of this pretty much indicates that there is a conspiracy afoot, people are acquiring bomb belts, smuggling them, then distributing them… and when someone blows up in a University Library, people say “It was just one person!”

                      Uh, yeah, and I didn’t say it was just one person. It is a criminal conspiracy.

                      Now, exactly who do we write to attempt to dissuade criminal conspiracies from operating? Well, not us specifically…but perhaps we could write out government asking them to threaten to withhold aid to that criminal conspiracy…no, wait, that doesn’t make any sense either.

                      Israel is a _country_. It needs to behave like a _country_, or, like any country that is misbehaving, the US needs to criticize it and eventually threaten to withhold things from it. I (along with all other citizens) am the boss of the US, and I wish to make the US do that.

                      Random Palestines are _not_ a country. There is functionally nothing I think my government should, or even _can_ do, to change their behavior.

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                    • Lee,

                      I’m not sure what those links ar supposed to establish.

                      Jaybird made a broad swipe (an ad hominem, depending on what he was trying to prove, which is as opaque as Jaybird often is) at critics of Israel, saying that they (all?) do such and such.

                      I said that they don’t and that this was uncharitable and unsupported.

                      Here are some critics of Israel’s behavior and the occupation:

                      Peter Beinart, Noam Chomsky, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Iain M Banks, Michael Lerner, I.F. Stone, Norman Finkelstein, Ralph Nader, Joseph Levine, and Bertrand Russell.

                      They all have different arguments. Some better. Some worse. Are they anti-semitic and self-hating Jews as a group? No. Not at all. These are humanists who care about people in general, regardless of race, and you should honor that, even if you disagree with their position. To say they are anti-semitic or self-hating is a wild slur and, if meant to discredit them, a sad and gross ad hominem.

                      Critics of zionism historically are a different story. There was more anti-semitism there. But even so, I don’t see evidence that all or maybe even a majority of such critics were anti-semitic. Here are few people who expressed deep concerns about the wisdom or morality of a Jewish state in then Palestine at some point: Einstein, Freud, and Ghandi.

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                    • And if Jaybird is going to make claims about critics of Israel in general, he needs quotes from these leading critics that establish that they do say what he says they say.

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                    • Shazbot, let me assure you, this is not my first argument about Israel/Palestine.

                      If you have not seen arguments about Israel/Palestine where the arguments that I mentioned having, I’m going to have to assume that this *IS* your first argument about Israel/Palestine.

                      For the record, it is not the case that *ALL* of the people who pick Palestine as the horse they want to back use arguments like the ones I’ve shown above… but you know what? A non-zero number have.

                      Double-standards for the level of civilization we can expect from one group versus the other, discussions of how Israel is acting as a Country while individual Palestinian extremists are acting as individuals and this should not reflect on the Palestinian people as a whole, and that stupid ambulance bomb belt smuggling argument that practically played out again.

                      Dude, if you want to say that you’ve never seen these things play out in these arguments? That tells me that you haven’t had that many of these arguments.

                      As for the “leading critics of Israel”, I’m this close to making a comparison to the “leading critics of the Union at the time of the Civil War”.

                      It’s not that Israel is above criticism. Heaven forefend! It’s just that if you’re going to pick a side to champion… Of all the camels you choose to swallow… why in the hell are you swallowing the ones the Palestinians are offering?

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                    • See how Jaybird subtly compared supporters of Palestine to supporters of the Confederacy. That was a nice little rhetorical flourish.

                      By the way, can we get the list of criticisms of Israel are OK and the ones that makes us look like critics of the Union during the Civil War? Just for future reference.

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                    • Subtly? I came out and said it!

                      I cannot understand the people who support a country that would engage in the 2nd Intifada. I cannot understand the people who, when given a choice between the governments of Israel and the governments of Fatah or Hamas, would choose Fatah or Hamas. I cannot understand the people who, when given a choice between a culture with free speech, civil recognition of Same Sex Lifepartnerships, and abortion rights, would pick the freaking Palestinians.

                      Oh, maybe if they were, like, Fundamentalist Focus on the Family types, right? That must be… Wait… These are the people who brag about being *PROGRESSIVE*???

                      I’m in a constant state of “what the hell?” when it comes to the Israel/Palestine debate.

                      I try to just assume that the progressives just said “who’s the underdog? I root for the underdog.” and when they heard that it was the Palestinians, they just started putting on keffiyehs and niqabs in solidarity.

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                    • So, I guess people in Pakistan and Afghanistan should stop bitching about drone strikes. After all, Obama passed health care.

                      More seriously though, the fact Israeli’s have a decent social safety net doesn’t mean I don’t have to support their security policy. No more I would’ve needed to support South Africa during the 80’s if they had a good welfare state either.

                      But, I’m not in favor of Israel or Palestine. I’m in favor of a democratic secular state made up of Israeli’s and Palestinians living in the same nation.

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                    • “Any law involving the promotion of religion or with the basis of religious text has to be approved of a panel consisting of 5 rabbis, 5 imans, and 5 atheists.”

                      Something like that. Or, even better, a guaranteed 50/50 split in the legislature between Israeli and Palestinian parties for the first x years.

                      I’m sure there’s even better ideas on how to protect secular government, but that’s just a couple I came up off the top of my head.

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                    • It’d be helpful if they would. But, Egypt’s not a responsible First World nation. Israel is.

                      So, yes, just like American soldiers should be held to higher standards when it comes to treatment of prisoners than North Korea or Nazi Germany, Israel should be held to a higher standard when dealing with their security issues than the Congo or China.

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                    • Egypt’s not a responsible First World nation.

                      Let’s remove Israel from the picture. It’s the Rapture! Holy cow, did you misinterpret *THAT* verse!!! Okay, Israel is now gone. The Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza all flow into New And Improved Palestine (NOW JEW-FREE!!!).

                      What is the likelihood of New And Improved Palestine being a “responsible First World nation”?

                      I’m guessing that, after the Palestinians would have had finished burning the holocaust museums and synagogues, we’d find that, golly, they actually might not be.

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                    • Since that’s not going to happen, I don’t particularly care about that possible alternate history.

                      Even if the Palestinian nation would act as horribly as the nightmares of Sheldon Adelson and the Jewish ADL believe they would, that still doesn’t excuse the treatment of Palestinian people by Israel over the past sixty years.

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                    • I’m in favor of a democratic secular state made up of Israeli’s and Palestinians living in the same nation.

                      Like Lebanon, and Iraq, and Syria, and all the other Middle Eastern nations where people of different religions live side by side in peace?

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                    • Even if the Palestinian nation would act as horribly as the nightmares of Sheldon Adelson and the Jewish ADL believe they would, that still doesn’t excuse the treatment of Palestinian people by Israel over the past sixty years.

                      Even if slavery was a moral atrocity, it still doesn’t excuse Lincoln not allowing the Southern States to secede!

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                    • If Adelson and The JADL are right about The Palestinians, their existence hangs in the balance. They don’t have an obligation to lady down and die so that we can, from our place of relative comfort and security, feel better about the state of things over there. Survival justifies a lot.

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                    • Did I ever say it would be easy or had to go into effect tomorrow morning?

                      Bluntly though, demographics may make the choice for Israel in the long run. Either their going to have to accept a much smaller Jewish state in the deal that is finally made with Palestine, actually go full on apartheid as the population numbers get worse and worse, or accept a binational state which will have methods to protect a Jewish minority, at least until a few generations pass where Jewish and Muslim population live in close quarters.

                      I get it, though. I guess it was a good thing Israeli soldiers killed those Palestinian kids. They would’ve just ended up suicide bombing somebody. Better to cut it off at the pass.

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                    • Bluntly though, demographics may make the choice for Israel in the long run. Either their going to have to accept a much smaller Jewish state in the deal that is finally made with Palestine, actually go full on apartheid as the population numbers get worse and worse, or accept a binational state which will have methods to protect a Jewish minority, at least until a few generations pass where Jewish and Muslim population live in close quarters.

                      Fertility rates have been tanking for a generation in the Near East and North Africa, and are now below replacement levels in a selection of countries. This applies to the West Bank, Gaza, and the Arab villages in Israel as well. The one exception to this rule is Israel. Israel is also the only place in the region attractive to extra regional settlers (as opposed to temporary labor migrants).

                      Sorry to disappoint.

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                    • that still doesn’t excuse the treatment of Palestinian people by Israel over the past sixty years.

                      It does not seem to occur to you that the Arab populations in the West Bank, Gaza, and the UNRWA camps actually pursued the courses they preferred given the options proffered. Israel ended up with the West Bank and Gaza because Gamal Abdel Nasser’s bluff was called. They hold municipal elections in 1972 and 1976, and the locals elect revanchists. They dissolve the municipal governments and negotiate an agreement with Egypt and the United States to turn the territories over to an elective local authority. They get a series of upraised middle fingers from the PLO et al. The PLO makes an agreement with Israel to take possession in stages of the West Bank and Gaza in 1993, and the result is seven years of double dealing, escalating racketeering, and, ultimately a political and security disaster. Israel unilaterally evacuates Gaza in 2005, and the result is rockets and the Hamasistan by popular vote.

                      Either this isn’t working out for them, but they haven’t gotten the memo yet, or their goals are not what you care to acknowledge.

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                    • “A non-zero number have.”

                      But you didn’t criticize a non-zero number of critics. You criticized critics, suggesting all, or most, or many. You now have walked that back without admitting that you were over generalizing. That is dishonest.

                      The rest of your post is irrelevant and obfuscation wrapped in cheeky rhetoric that is beneath us all.

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                    • You criticized critics, suggesting all, or most, or many.

                      It’s more that I’m saying “this is a dynamic that I see when I argue these things”, then that’s not saying “all” or “many” or even “most”.

                      And you know what? We damn near recreated the ambulance argument RIGHT HERE IN THIS VERY THREAD!

                      It’s sort of like when we have arguments over the Civil War. There are sub-arguments that constantly keep showing up. Does that mean that everybody who, for whatever reason, argues the side of the Confederacy believes a particular thing? No… not necessarily. Certainly not enough information to reach that conclusion… but, you know what? Whenever you have those arguments, there are sub-arguments that constantly keep showing up.

                      Now, does that say *ANYTHING* about all, or most, or many? I’m not talking about all, or most, or many. I’m talking about the dynamics that show up *WHENEVER* this conversation takes place.

                      You now have walked that back without admitting that you were over generalizing.

                      You’re the one suggesting that I was suggesting something that I wasn’t suggesting. When I say “I wasn’t suggesting that, I was *SAYING* this other thing”, you’re accusing me of walking back.

                      In any case, this is yet another trick that I see in every single one of these arguments. “How dare you accuse all whatevers of whatever?” “I didn’t.” “OH NOW YOU’RE WALKING BACK.”

                      Maybe we can get to “I don’t see what the rest of the Middle East has to do with this” before the end of the day.

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                    • Double-standards for the level of civilization we can expect from one group versus the other, discussions of how Israel is acting as a Country while individual Palestinian extremists are acting as individuals and this should not reflect on the Palestinian people as a whole,

                      Wow, nice way to pretend an example is symmetrical when it’s not.

                      Israel is acting as a country when it uses military force.

                      Palestine terror cells that do things are operating as terrorist cells. (Duh)

                      _Neither_ of them reflect on the Israeli or Palestinian people as a whole.

                      I love how the people who criticize Israel are asserted to be criticizing Israeli as a whole (And thus Jews as a whole), but it’s those people who attack Israel’s critics that are actually the ones generalizing from the behavior of to a few to the behavior of all. (For both Israelis and Palestinians.)

                      Criticizing a terror cell is not criticizing the country that cell works out of, or the people of that country a whole. (Although it’s certainly reasonable to criticizing the country for allowing it…although in this case I don’t actually think Palestine can stop them.)

                      Likewise, criticizing a country for a military decision is not criticizing the people of that country as a whole. (Although if said country is a democracy, the people can be criticized for electing leaders that choose to do that thing. But it’s a rather indirect level of criticism.)

                      Saying ‘I don’t like what just happened’ is not code for some sort of bigoted moral judgement of an entire set of people, like people who think this is some sort of moral judging content between Palestinians and Israelis and the winner gets to, I dunno, get a record deal. (And they look at critics of Israel in amazement, because don’t they know that being bigoted against Jews is passe and it’s now time to be bigoted against Muslims?)

                      No. It’s saying I DON’T LIKE WHAT JUST HAPPENED. It’s saying that that thing, which just happened, is not acceptable.

                      And ‘that thing’, which makes peace less likely, may be a terrorist attack that no one in the US can actually do anything about, or it could be Israel deciding to built some more illegal settlements…which we (Aka, the US) _could_ do something about with the tiniest amount of pressure, but chooses not to.

                      and that stupid ambulance bomb belt smuggling argument that practically played out again.

                      Ah, yes, the bomb smuggling argument, which you brought up apparently hoping someone would, I dunno, say it’s acceptable for people to smuggle bombs in ambulance. When it’s obviously not. It’s terrorism, and it manages to be even worse than _normal_ terrorism by violating additional laws of war, which requires some sort of congratulation of the terrorists, I guess.

                      So, of course, the only response you got was ‘Why the fuck does Palestine not have hospitals?’

                      Why the fuck _doesn’t_ Palestine have hospitals, jaybird?

                      I know the answer to this one. Let’s see if you do.

                      Even if slavery was a moral atrocity, it still doesn’t excuse Lincoln not allowing the Southern States to secede!

                      And thus you’re saying that…Israel is not letting Palestine secede? Cause, you know, just outright _stating_ Israel is in violation of international law by refusing to Palestine (an occupied territory) leave is, uh, not that clever for a defender of Israel. That would actually be a war crime.

                      And Palestine’s moral equivalency to slavery is? That they _might_ have a non-progressive government when given the chance?

                      What _exactly_ do you imagine you’re saying there?

                      I cannot understand the people who, when given a choice between the governments of Israel and the governments of Fatah or Hamas, would choose Fatah or Hamas.

                      Why am I tempted to find some of your opinions about Bush’s torture program, and ask why you, when given the choice between Afghanistan and the US, pick Afghanistan?

                      A country can be a better country than some other country (Although being a better ‘country’ than Palestine isn’t that impressive.) and _still do shitty things they need to be called out on_.

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                    • Jaybird,

                      You are lying or you are unable to read your own writings on this subthread.

                      In this subthread you said, “The problem that I see with most Israel criticism is the following” You said “MOST.”

                      You then tried to walk it back when I confronted you in this subthread by saying you were just saying “non-zero.” When I pointed out that this was walking back your original claim, you now say, “It’s more that I’m saying “this is a dynamic that I see when I argue these things”, then that’s not saying “all” or “many” or even “most”.

                      First it is explicitly “most” and then it is just non-zero, then it is explicitly not “most.”

                      I am done discussing things with your for a long time if you can’t admit what you wrote on this very page.

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                  • Since September 2000 (the beginning of the second Intifada), around 1,000 or so Israeli’s have died and around 6,000 Palestinians have died via direct military or terroristic action, Will.

                    I’m not asking for Israel to lie down. But, how about we drop that ratio from 6 to 1 to about 3 to 1 and see if it helps at all. Just an idea to start with.

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                    • If you want to argue that the Palestinians aren’t that bad, feel free. But what you posited is the hypothetical that they are asbadas their critics say. If that’s so, Then I am sure as hell not going to stand here and tell the Israelis how to walk the line of appropriate response to a bunch of people who want to wipe them off the planet and would as soon as they had the opportunity.

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                    • If the Palestinian people are as bad as hardcore Israeli supporters believe they are, then Israel should just drop a nuke on the West Bank and it get it over with.

                      However, I guess I’ll throw Israel-Palestine into the mix of things not to debate with the right-leaning members of this site. Since we’re literally looking at the same thing and seeing two different realities.

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                    • I wouldn’t trust the accounting.

                      (Oh, memo to Hezbollah and Hamas: if you would like to avoid getting clobbered by the IDF, quit with the rockets. Has worked for Syria, Jordan, and Egypt for about 4o years now).

                      That aside, what’s your solution? There has to be some intersection of aims that produces a stable equilibrium, and their just isn’t.

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                    • Hell, I think that Israel should give Gaza back to Egypt and the West Bank back to Jordan.

                      Maybe those newly reintegrated countries could set up something like a panel consisting of 5 rabbis, 5 imans, and 5 atheists to help them make decisions about things.

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            • In your opinion, could the state of Israel survive as something other than an officially Jewish state?

              I ask because, in my view, the very concept of a “______ state”, regardless of what fills that blank, is inherently prejudiced. Thus to uphold it is to defend institutional prejudice.

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                  • In 1939, The Saint Louis travelled from Europe to the US (and Cuba, and Canada) with a little under a thousand Jews onboard.

                    Nobody would accept the passengers.

                    The ship went back to Europe. Between a quarter and a third of the Jewish passengers died in camps, they estimate.

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                    • There are many tales of such cruelty. I don’t absolve the countries that did such. They were being evil, period.

                      My issue is, if the nation-state as we know it is to persist, insistence that their permanence depends on maintaining by policy a certain ethnic or religious identity in power. If people within your borders being political equals with the same rights as anyone else regardless of ethnicity or faith spells trouble for a nation-state, then I’d say that that nation-state deserves to collapse.

                      Why? Because it strikes me as an extension of the type of thinking that led to The Saint Louis being turned away. Those countries thought “Too Many Jews” & sent people away to oppression & death. I cannot accept any state saying “too many ____” for the same reason, whether it’s the US saying Too Many Hispanics or Israel saying Too Many Arabs/Muslims. To accept it in one case but not others is hypocritical, & to accept it of everyone effectively labels humanity as doomed to its petty prejudices & superstitions forever so strongly as to be an embrace of them — to say they are needed, immutable, even good.

                      If the only solution to hatred is separation, we are not fit to control this damn planet. At least the apes aren’t bombing anyone.

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                    • Well, the solution to this particular problem was seen as “we need a country that would not turn this boat away”.

                      Israel is a solution to that problem.

                      A solution to the problem of hatred? No, it’s not that. But what would be?

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                    • B, do you object to The Navajo getting their own reservations, or do you think that white folks shouldshould be able to move in (buy land, participate in elections, etc)?

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                    • B, do you object to The Navajo getting their own reservations, or do you think that white folks should be able to move in (buy land, participate in elections, etc)?

                      Honestly Will I wouldn’t say the situation with the Navajo or any other native peoples is the same, considering how little political power they have. From my understanding the reservations were the least the US could do, and doesn’t even come close to proper restitution for their genocide (which is likely impossible by now anyway, considering how much land they were evicted from).

                      I understand and can sympathize with some extent of ethnic solidarity emphasis, with conscious decisions to try to keep things within the group in the face of a looming history of outsiders trying to crush you whenever possible. When the rulers refuse to treat you as individuals, then utilizing your own people makes sense.

                      That said, a neighborhood making conscious decisions is different from a government imposing such on others with no functioning recourse. I don’t think explicit separation is what anyone needs. I can understand the fear of being simply overrun by ill-intentioned whites again (I’d even say if a native refused to sell property to a white person for that reason that is their right), but if that needs to be in place as law, forever, it’s a sad commentary on ethnic relations. There are groups that couch outright separatism & racism in faux-solidarity/”people just want to be with their people” language and while I am NOT in ANY WAY equating them & the natives, I’d just rather those kind of groups not sound even remotely like they have a point.

                      In short, 1) they can do it, 2) they aren’t equivalent to what Israel is doing in my mind (when they treat non-natives like the Israeli government treats Palestinians, do let me know), & 3) I don’t like the concept in the long run.

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                    • B, I appreciate the thoughtful response. For the record, I was genuinely interested in your impressions and it was in no way meant as a “gotcha” question (I meant to say that in my original comment).

                      I am hoping to get some time freed up so that I can write a post on this (and on the secession conversation James and Michael are having). But… moving. Ugh.

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                    • b-psycho, Zionism only arouse as a political idea in the late 19th century because the European and Middle Eastern nations refused to treat their Jewish nationals as equals. We were defined out of the places of where we lived. Its a response to persecution, no persecution of the Jews means no Zionism.

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                    • That said, a neighborhood making conscious decisions is different from a government imposing such on others with no functioning recourse.

                      Moreover, I’m not sure that non-Natives Americans that live on Navajo land actually are denied any real rights. Non-Native Americans on tribal land may not be able to vote for tribal leaders, but as we’ve all recently learned thanks to the Violence Against Women Act example, they _also aren’t subject to tribal law_. (Which is completely screwed up, but whatever.)

                      So, basically, they’re just living in the state they’re living in, subject to that state’s laws, while another ‘state’, the Navajo nation, is sorta going on around them occupying the same location. There might be a _few_ ways they are denied rights, such as the inability to buy real estate, but that seems to be about it. (And that’s assuming that real estate on reservations even works the same way, which I’m not entirely sure.)

                      Whereas, with Israel, there is a real question of how the heck they remain a Jewish state if they _don’t_ agree to a two state solution soon, because at a certain point non-Jewish people in Israel and Palestine will outnumber them, at which point it’s in Palestine’s best interests to fold as a nation, demand that Israel take them over, demand citizenship for everyone, and simply vote Israel into something else.

                      Which is a fairly hilarious concept applied to the other example…the US giving up and joining the Navajo nation and demanding voting rights in the Navajo tribe. Of course, the Navajo nation did not ever conquer and occupy(1) any of the US (I think?), and does not still occupy the US if they ever did, and thus would have no responsibilities to the former US.

                      I wonder if any occupied country every tried to petition to join the US while occupied by the US?

                      1) By which I mean legal occupation under the laws of war. Obvious, the Navajo nation(2) did occupy the same physical location as parts of the US, and still does.

                      2) Am I the only person who thinks there should a better term than ‘the Navajo nation’? States (By which I mean political entities, not just US states.) are supposed to have names, so we don’t have to call them ‘the People state’. We don’t talk about ‘the Californian state’ or ‘the French nation’. Is there really not a word like ‘Navajon’ or ‘Nava’ or something? Can we ask them to invent one? Or even just start using ‘Navajo’ to refer to the political entity?

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                  • Jews were treated as reasonable equals in the Middle east. possibly taxed a bit more, but treated pretty damn well.

                    Rubbish. Treated satisfactorily in Morocco and some other loci. Slaves of the Imam in Yemen. Abused in Iraq as well.

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              • If we can truly get rid of the concept of all X states at once than I’d agree. However, I really doubt that all the other ethnic and religious states are going to disappear if the Jewish state does. Why should Jews have to give up their state first? If there can be other ethnic and religious states, if their can be entire organizations of such states like the Organization of the Islamic Conference; than the world can handle one small Jewish state.

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                  • I disagree, the cult of Jewish weakness did not help us. At best we were tolerated and allowed to exist with benign neglect but never really included. At worse, our persecutors went about merrily killing us anyway. We do not have to tolerate this sort of behavior.

                    I also disagree with your earlier post about Jews in the Middle East being tolerated and I have ancestors who were from there and Eastern Europe. The Dhimmi system was a system of second-class citizenship. At best, Jews had to pay more tax/protection money for being Jewish. If heterosexuals were to impose a tax/protection money scheme on homosexual in exchange for allowing them to be homosexual; nobody would call it tolerance. At worse, Jews were subjected to additional forms of humiliaton and persecution and there were porgroms in the Middle East like the Damascus Blood Libel. They might have been rareer but they did happen.

                    Even the most symbolic form of second-class citizenship is not to be tolerated.

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                    • What the fuck was I talking about Jewish Weakness?
                      Man, some people…

                      No, you’re simply offbase, there, so I’ll bother explaining (for once, as I’ve used this idiom before, and you deserve more patience and respect than folks I’ve plonked).

                      In Eastern Europe, Lords would often raise one Jew higher than everyone else. He was the “guy in charge” (the overseer). Not because of his own force, but because of someone else’s. Well, kinda predictably, the fool would act like an asshole, lording it up and degrading other folks. (Why wasn’t this a smart jew? Smart jews knew better than to sign up for it.)

                      That’s what pissing off the edge of a diving board is, by the way. It comes with the implication that sooner or later, you’re going to be down with everyone you’ve pissed off, and without dat lord to protect you.

                      Israel is in that situation right now. Without America (and to a lesser extent Europe)’s protection, it’s a tiny little country surrounded by a bunch of people it’s tried it’s level-headed best to be dicks to.

                      It ain’t gonna end well.

                      You know people in Israel? Ya probably do. I sure as hell do.
                      Tell ’em to get out now. Better to be a year early than to be dead.

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                    • “Even the most symbolic form of second-class citizenship is not to be tolerated.”
                      Except for Palestinians, am i right?
                      Because it’s HORRIBLE when whites burn down black people’s houses in America, but it’s aokay when Palestinian homes (or farms) are destroyed to build Israeli settlements. What’s that verse about destroying fruit trees during a war?

                      Jews get the right of return, but Arabs do not.
                      This is a form of second class citizenship.

                      Are you really this bad at rhetoric?

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                    • 1. I think you are confusing the sort of commercial leasing (boyars subletting demesnes to ‘tenants’) characteristic of Roumanian agriculture after 1866 with general agrarian practice in Eastern Europe.

                      2. Hereditary subjection was eliminated throughout Central Europe in 1848. It continued in Russia and Roumania for a while longer, but even in Russia, demesne agriculture was atypical, comprehending maybe 10% of the cultivated land area by 1860.

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                    • Israel is in that situation right now. Without America (and to a lesser extent Europe)’s protection, it’s a tiny little country surrounded by a bunch of people it’s tried it’s level-headed best to be dicks to.

                      The United States has never had a treaty of alliance with Israel nor has it ever had any garrisons in Israel. Prior to 1973, American aid to Israel was of modest dimensions and of scant contextual import. Over the years running from 1973 to 1985, there was a massive increase in various sorts of assistance, but aid has undergone a monotonic decline in the intervening 28 years. At this point, American subventions amount to 1.24% of the country’s gross domestic income, so could be withdrawn without too much injury to the country’s macroeconomy.

                      Germany has paid reparations to Israel, but as far as I am aware, the Netherlands and Portugal are the only European countries that ever took a particular interest in Israel’s welfare. These are small economies, so they likely were never good for more than lunch money.

                      As we speak, Israel’s level of affluence is about equivalent to that of Mediterranean Europe and it has consistently and steadily improved its position vis a vis the front rank occidental countries and may join them in the next twenty years. Very few countries in the post-war period have been able to build an industrial infrastructure of such sophistication so quickly. Also, and unlike the bulk of occidental country and the industrial orient, it is not facing an incipient demographic crisis. It has a buoyant total fertility rate of 2.7, the highest among the world’s affluent countries.

                      Israel is a going concern in a way that almost no other loci is.

                      While we are at it, perhaps you might explain how Syria, Egypt, and Jordan have been injured by Israel in the last 40 years. Then you might explain why, given the recent unpleasantness in 1947-49, 1956/57, 1967, and 1973 it is not somewhat unseemly for these governments to be offering any complaints.

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                    • You know people in Israel? Ya probably do. I sure as hell do.
                      Tell ‘em to get out now. Better to be a year early than to be dead.

                      Who’s going to kill them? The surrounding Arab states have been losing ground to Israel in the construction and maintenance of industrial capacity and in the sophistication of technological developments for sixty-odd years now. The fertility advantage they had over Israel has been rapidly dissipating as well. (Or are you banking on a nuclear blast courtesy Iran?)

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                    • Jews get the right of return, but Arabs do not.
                      This is a form of second class citizenship.

                      The Jews immigrated lawfully prior to 1939 and then at least peacefully after 1939, bought land on the market and constructed agricultural colonies. The Arabs are debarred from returning because then and later their response to their Jewish neighbors was decidedly unconstructive.

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    • The defeat of the Confederacy…was a defining moment when the United States took its steps towards the abyss of the monstrous centralised state,

      This part, at least, has a good degree of truth to it. Federalism, the relation of the states to the federal government, changed as a consequence of the Civil War, and the move towards a more centralized system was set afoot. As a believer in strong federalism, I deplore this outcome (although I know I’m in the minority on that–and to be in a perhaps even smaller minority, I support a general power of secession for the states, given some procedural requirements). But the South created the opening for the expansion of federal power. And the dumb fucks even instigated by firing the first shots. Sure, Lincoln bears responsibility because he actively supported a stronger federal government anyway, but he would never have come to the presidency had the South not insisted on splitting the Democratic ticket in two.

      Strategic blundering from beginning to end on the part of the South. But perhaps there is no ultimately successful strategy when you are defending the undefendable?

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      • but he would never have come to the presidency had the South not insisted on splitting the Democratic ticket in two

        We’ve discussed this is the past, haven’t we? Give one candidate all the Democratic votes, and Lincoln still beats him handily in the electoral college. Where the Democrats failed was in becoming a purely regional, pro-slavery party.

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        • Hmm, I’ll have to go back and check that out before I can respond intelligently. I will admit that there is some fleeting, at least hypothetical, possibility that I might, in this one specific case, be something a very tiny little bit less than 100% completely, fully, and unequivocally correct.

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          • Trust me on the numerical part. Lincoln got 180 electoral votes, of which 11 were from states where he didn’t won an absolute majority of the electoral vote, with 152 needed to win.

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              • Fine :-) But that the easy part, as you’ll see. The more difficult question is whether a united Democratic party would have attracted significantly more total voters than the split one did. I have no idea how to answer that,

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                • We’re in the realm of speculation anyway, but I would think that a united Democratic party, in order to keep the Southern Democrats within the coalition, would have had to adopt a platform that was more pro-Southern than Douglas was willing to adopt. So, the price of a united Democratic party might have been that Douglas would have lost some of the middle-of-the-road voters in New Jersey and other Northern states that he did win in our timeline. So, a united Dem party may not have performed any better (and perhaps worse) than the splinter parties did in 1860.

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      • As a believer in strong federalism, I deplore this outcome…

        But I wonder… if the south had won the civil war would we all be speaking German now?

        Another thing about federalism is how the meaning is inverted. Federalism is the process of concentrating power. The anti-federalist were against that. How did this inversion of meaning happen?

        Anyway I think tyranny starts at a local level and grows. By the time it reaches the national level it is cheered. You should never forget Madison’s factions and majorities.

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        • PPNL: From the perspective of a citizen of any of the 13 former Colonies, “Federalism” stood for the creation of a centralized “federal” state, and Anti-Federalism stood for resistance to it. From the perspective of the plural United States, “federalism” stands for the compromise constitutional system rather than for a fully centralized system, though many of the Federalists themselves (Hamilton esp.) favored the latter. So “federalism” is more centralizing than original Anti-Federalism, but resistant to what some now call “statism.” At the same time, it’s very possible for a “federalist” to be much more “statist” than a libertarian regarding personal liberties, and, for that matter, for both libertarians and believers in a strong central government to be less “statist” in that respect. Federalism is much more open to communitarian exceptions to any notion of universal and equal rights, and a major problem for libertarian theory also arises here. Leaving the latter aside, contemporary “federalists” are among those who tend to locate the true source of “the right” in politics, or the framework for the best society, at some intermediate level of social self-organization above the individual and well below the massified modern state. Barring unexpected alterations in observable human nature, the more universal a regime of individual rights, in their view, the more powerful and eventually tyrannical the “universal homogeneous state” politically capable of overriding all exceptions.

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          • Federalism is much more open to communitarian exceptions to any notion of universal and equal rights, and a major problem for libertarian theory also arises here. Leaving the latter aside, contemporary “federalists” are among those who tend to locate the true source of “the right” in politics, or the framework for the best society, at some intermediate level of social self-organization above the individual and well below the massified modern state.

            But isn’t this exactly what Madison was warning about? Factions and majorities are just those self-organized groups that threaten the liberty of the individual.

            I see a problem with a “universal homogeneous state” but not in its power to enforce individual rights. In fact that is its main function. I would even put national defense second to this since if I don’t have those individual rights I don’t really see much to defend.

            You want to talk about the abuses of the commerce clause I’m with you. You want to talk about the idiocy of the war on drugs I got your back.

            But local, state or federal don’t tread on my individual rights.

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            • Sure, it was what Madison war warning about. He could find no other solution – and there may no other desirable solution – than to keep all of the different contradictory views in play in perpetuity or anyway for as long as possible barring a nowhere observed major alteration in human nature. The necessary result includes gross inefficiency from every particular perspective, and, in politics, always tends to imply tolerance for injustice, or far less than perfect justice from whichever perspective, as well. The perspective also dovetails nicely with certain religious ideas regarding human imperfection, original sin, and so on. It’s proven not just sustainable but immensely successful – at least for those within the charmed circles of the liberal-democratic state, now a neo-imperial world state – but it depends on frontiers, physical and other, continuously expanding, providing a safety valve (or in economics a social surplus) for accumulating strains and pressures.

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              • CK,

                Excellent responses. Exactly right about both federalism and Madison. And if you’re not yourself inclined toward federalism, I congratulate you on your accurate description of the contemporary federalist’s perspective.

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                • Thanks, Prof Aitch, though I’m confident you’ll regret your kind assessment sooner or later. Seriously, I suppose I qualify as a “federalist” in the abstract, or as American shorthand for “favors the mixed regime esp for lack of decent and practicable alternatives.” I think you and I probably differ less on American politics in theory than in our estimates of where the needle on the spectrum of compromise between (18th C) “liberal” and “democratic” ought to or needs to settle.

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                  • Why would I regret my kind assessment? I assess what a person has written; I don’t unequivocally condemn or praise them. I will note agreement with people I nearly always disagree with, on those rare occasions we agree, and will disagree with those I nearly always agree with, on those rare occasions we disagree. Any perception that I attack primarily out of personal animosity is regrettably mistaken.

                    Besides, I want to encourage people when they say things I agree with. I always hope it will warm the cockles of their hearts enough that they’ll do so more often. ;)

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        • Another thing about federalism is how the meaning is inverted. Federalism is the process of concentrating power. The anti-federalist were against that. How did this inversion of meaning happen?

          No, not quite, although there is indeed confusion on the issue. Allow me to put on my official political science prof hat for a moment.

          Federalism is defined as a system in which sub-national units of government have some degree of authority* that is wholly independent of the central government (with that degree, and the specific policy areas, being hugely variable–one famous book is titled, Federalism: Infinite Variety in Theory and Practice).

          The concentration of authority in one central government is the definition of a unitary system.

          The third possibility, all (or the great majority) of authority resides with the subnational units of government, and the central government has very limited authority, and only that granted to it by those other units of government, is the definition of a confederal system.

          The U.S. under the Articles of Confederation were a confederal system. The shift to the Constitution was a shift to a federal system. It’s true that it involved a greater concentration of authority in the central government, but it’s also crucial that it involved keeping some degree of independent–sovereign–authority with the states.

          So the “Federalists” (supporters of the Constitution) were indeed federalists–they more centralization than under a confederal system, but less than in a unitary system (Hamilton excepted).

          The “Anti-federalists” are less clear. Some actually were, preferring to remain confederal, rather than becoming federal. Others were probably actually federalists, but just opposed to the particular federal structure devised in the Constitution.

          You should never forget Madison’s factions and majorities.

          Oh, trust me, I never do. Unfortunately Madison was born a century or two too early, so he didn’t understand that there likely is no such thing as a coherent public interest, and he definitely didn’t see how minorities can be as dangerous as majorities through the principle of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs. But no political theorist had tumbled upon those things yet, so he can’t be criticized for that oversight.

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          *Since I’m wearing my official political science prof hat, I’m pedantically using “authority” in place of your use of “power.” It means the same thing as I believe you mean, but if we’re being more technical, power properly understood is something different; essentially the capacity or ability to determine outcomes, whether or not one has the constituted authority to do so. E.g., that person who is particularly good at getting people to follow their lead, even they’re technically just one of the group, officially equal to all others (or, potentially, even officially subordinate to all others), has power, despite not having official authority. But of course authority is itself normally a source of power, and politically we usually try to restrict power to those with authority (e.g., we dislike the Grover Norquists of the world), so in everyday talk it’s no problem to use them as synonyms.

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        • He favored a strong regime of tariffs, not for the purpose of funding the government but of building the American economy, as well as federally funded internal improvements and a strong national bank. This was the strong central government approach of Hamilton, and promoted by Henry Clay as “the American system.” It seems like small potatoes in our day and age, but it was dramatically opposed to the much more limited Jeffersonian vision of the federal government’s role.

          I’m not saying all these were bad things, just that they were on the centralizing end of the spectrum in mid 19th century American politics.

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      • Might have a good degree of truth, Professor, but for my tastes only if we set aside the melodramatically prejudicial language of “abyss of the monstrous centralised state.” (Oddly, British or possibly archaic use of the “s” there in “centralised.”) The cause of the Union really is the cause of union, and you’re right that Lincoln’s version of Old Whiggery put him on the side of a stronger federal government, unless it would be more accurate to say that he was on the side of a stronger and more capable national-level government or nation-state, so in that sense a less “merely federal” one. The whole “rail-splitter” thing: He was a crypto-progressive, a modernizer. He and his allies wanted a central state strong and capable enough to develop the nation systematically, and some were already quite explicit about what that would mean on the level of a philosophy of world history in which the United States had an exceptional destiny to fulfill. So, it’s predictable and consistent for Larison and the Pauls to be aligned with those who see a “great degree of truth” in such rhetoric, against contemporary exceptionalisms applied on an ever more globalized scale in diverse, seemingly disconnected realms, from terrorism to industrial policy to civil rights to interventionism to WW2, WW1, and Civil War revisionism. The problem of slavery and neo-Confederacy is in this sense a very typical problem for a narrow libertarian-federalist ideology: So-called isolationism as a response to genocide or lesser but still gross injustices abroad closely parallels the idea that it would be better to have let the Southern states secede. Secession would have turned Virginia into a “near abroad” whose internal affairs would have been none of Pennsylvania’s business (his country, his laws). The remnant US of A could have taken an indifferently Chinese or Russian attitude toward what those people down there did to each other. History, or at least history from the American perspective, seems very much to have been moving in a different direction.

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        • CK,

          No real disagreement from me on any point here. My only quibble would be that I suspect the remnant U.S. wouldn’t have been able to simply be indifferent to slavery, given both the growing strength of abolitionism and inevitable conflict with the CUSA over both runaway slaves and–probably sooner rather than later–conflicting claims on territorial expansion. But that doesn’t in any way undermine your argument about the kinship between isolationism and letting the south secede to continue their peculiar institution.

          That’s an argument that strikes right at me, in fact. As I noted above, I favor the idea that states should have authority to secede–given an established process that guarantees it’s a desire of a large enough proportion of the states citizens (I imagine a strict supermajority requirement, although I won’t dare to specify a precise percentage)–so I in fact would argue that the South should have been allowed to secede. But I’m under no illusion about what that would have meant in regard to slavery, and I understand why it’s very difficult for people to believe that a person could sincerely hold a simultaneously pro-secession/anti-slavery position.

          One possible clarifying point comes in my insistence upon a proper procedural standard: Regardless of Dred Scott v. Sandford, it was simply wrong to define non-whites as non-citizens, so the legitimacy of secession depended upon the agreement of a sufficient proportion of all those who ought to have been recognized as citizens. Given the percentage of slaves in the confederate states’ population, it’s doubtful that many, if any, of them could have met the standard. So I would argue that while they did–or should–have had the right to secede, their actual attempt at secession was illegitimate.

          (But what if, say, the white population of Tennessee had allowed a vote on the issue, including all the slaves, and then the 75.2% of the population that was free had voted unanimously for secession? That’s pin-me-down question someone could very fairly ask, and my response would be that, yes, in that case they would have met the standard. And of course abolitionists could have continued to find ways to pressure to end slavery. And it’s not like it was just about to end in the absence of secession anyway. Ironically, southern secession turned out to be a gift to the abolitionists.)

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          • James,

            Do you hold this belief about secession as a function of the particular history of the American Union (E Pluribus Unum), or is it more a function of a general political-theoretic predilection for you, i.e. that any country (of a certain size, perhaps), will be better off if politically constituted so as to be composed of several contiguous territories, each with right to (at a least a process to pursue) secession?

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            • The latter. It’s a normative claim of universally applicability. As a general rule, perpetual and unbreakable partnership are disdained. Business partners can split, and we allow married couples to divorce. Children can even divorce their parents under certain circumstances, parents can disown their children, and men can formally abandon paternal rights toward their children. Why would a country be different? In my view the idea that the state is a uniquely coherent and unbreakable whole beggars both logic and historical evidence.

              As to whether under the U.S. Constitution states had the authority to legitimately succeed, well, that’s tricky, I think. The Articles of Confederation were actually title “Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union,” and Article XIII provides operative language that “the Union shall be perpetual.”

              However the Constitution voided the Articles entirely. But surely if they were strengthening the union they wouldn’t simultaneously allow for its non-perpetuity? And yet they said nothing at all about the matter. Some argue that the lack of a secession procedure means there is no such authority, while others would point to the explicit statement that all powers not surrendered by the states to the federal government remain with the states, and there is no statement that clearly implicates such a surrender.

              It can reasonably be claimed that the Framers took the lack of secession authority as self-evident, not in need of specification (especially as states could opt out at that particular moment in time, simply by not ratifying the Constitution). But I incline toward the idea that the enhancement of central government power, of moving more towards being a nation, was so controversial, so potentially a dealbreaker (the whole of the Federalist Papers were written precisely to overcome the objections in New York, whose failure to ratify would have meant the U.S. was split into northern and southern sections, with a country-sized lump controlling one of the most important harbors, in-between them), that they just fudged the issue, deliberately not addressing it so each side could interpret it in whatever light was positive to them. It’s worth noting that there was talk of secession in northern states during the War of 1812. Perhaps not very serious talk–it didn’t lead to any action–but it does suggest that prior to the Civil War the idea of state authority to secede had some legitimacy, and not only in the South.

              Ultimately, I think the (perhaps intentional) absence of any constitutional statement makes the question unanswerable as a matter of original intent. But you’ll have no difficulty finding people who think that’s just plain nuts.

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              • Gotcha, thanks.

                I think nation-states as a rule don’t allow pieces of themselves to secede, so absent a clear provision for it, I think the United States was well within its rights not to grant that the right exists and to resist. If the CSA had won independence through war, well.. that’s how nations win independence.

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                • Yes, and it’s very understandable why nation-states don’t want parts of themselves splitting off. I just think it would be better if they prevented that by giving those pieces a good reason to stay, rather than just battering them into submission. And if the differences are so great that you can’t give them a good enough reason to stay, you’re probably better off without them. (The exception to this being “if they left we’d have an inveterately hostile neighbor on our borders,” in which case it might be in the state’s best interest to maintain control, accepting the cost of insurgency if it is in fact less than the cost of dealing with them as an external enemy. I doubt that’s often true, but when it is, I’d say the would-be secessionists are to blame for making their own independence too costly for the state to accept.)

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                  • It’s contrary to the whole reason nation-states came into being to allow so readily for exactly that uncertainty. Not that it’s wrong for you to prefer they take u a different tack, but I think prioritizing concern about fracture is also reasonable. Where I would resist is if you said that this was a hard moral rule that states ought to act this way. It’s a matter of balancing prudential concerns at the theoretical level, and we just do that differently. At the practical level, states have every reason to look to maintain their territorial integrity (to the extent the think it’s in their interest), and that is and was their presumed prerogative in the world in 1860. As a result, again, because of the absence of any clear constitutional provision to the contrary, I think the United States was very well within standard expectations and moral norms for countries at the time in resisting secession. And given that the basic cause for the secession at hand was the tending of the autonomy needed to maintain human chattel slavery, the absolute morality of the resistance seems basically unquestionable to me. (Though that’s a side issue to me). As a prudential matter n the event, it turns out that the decision to resist was much more narrowly justified, if it was, than was expected (as the U.S. expected a quick war and certainly didn’t get it). But as a matter of political justification, I just don’t share your sense that they acted out of a deficit of theoretical justification for their actions. As Mark Thompson says in the thread, states don’t have rights; people do. With a few exceptions mostly not related to this question (unless you do read the 10th Amendment so broadly as to allow something like secession), that’s even true in the Constitution.

                    Again, it’s perfectly reasonable to wish that states acted somewhat more charitably with their subordinate political units. But that doesn’t make it so that when they act like states usually act, they’re running afoul of a hard principle that binds the legitimacy of state action as regards subordinate political units.

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                  • …IOW, is a political organization really a state if it has to induce, convince, and compensate its component parts to remain part of itself and cannot compel them to remain so? Are you sure you’re not just moving the state power down a level here?

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                    • is a political organization really a state if it has to induce, convince, and compensate its component parts to remain part of itself and cannot compel them to remain so?

                      I say yes. Weber’s definition of the state as “that human organization that successfully claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of force” is still the dominant definition, but the difficult point in it is the “legitimate” part. We still don’t have a good handle on determining when the state has successfully achieved legitimacy. But my personal perspective–which not may widely representative–is that maintaining that monopoly through inducements (we can even go so far as to call it bribery) is more legitimate than maintaining it through force itself. But don’t be fooled–I’m totally begging the question of how we recognize legitimacy when we see it.

                      Where I would resist is if you said that this was a hard moral rule that states ought to act this way

                      I’m pretty sure it is a moral rule. I don’t know about “hard,” though. I’m generally inclined to temper moral rules with a judicious dose of pragmatism. Morality’s a great thing, in moderation.

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                    • You’re right here. If a territory voluntarily makes itself subject to another power’s ultimate monopoly on force, that still makes the latter the state there (assuming whatever is necessary for legitimacy). I guess my view just comes down to not seeing how a state can regard this kind of slate of voluntary decisions to subordinate as tenable. I think any organization interested in uniting such a group of lower units into something like a state (as opposed to just an organization of separate units) will only see any value in the enterprise if it can enforce their subordination going forward(even if it was initially offered voluntarily), at least under some terms (claims about whose breach it can always dispute).

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                    • …Or maybe the question is not whether the organization succeeds in remaining the state under Weber’s definition, but in sustaining its effort to unite the territories in a single nation-state. (Did Weber speak to the term nation-state, or, as I recall, just to “statehood”?)

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                    • my view just comes down to not seeing how a state can regard this kind of slate of voluntary decisions to subordinate as tenable

                      It does seem difficult, doesn’t it? Somehow the Czechs and Slovaks did it, but probably only because each wanted to be free of the other. It may be happening to some extent within the borders of the EU, as England allows greater autonomy for Scotland and Wales, and–if I understand correctly–autonomy for Catalonia doesn’t evoke as strong a reaction in Madrid as it once did–but in these cases I think it is the certainty of continued coordination through the fact of being EU members that makes the consideration possible.

                      Beyond that? I’m not a world historian, so there could be stronger examples I’m unaware of–but that you and I are both unaware of them indicates they’re few and far between, and what examples may exist are more probably minor states.

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                    • I don’t believe Weber discussed nation-states specifically in “Politics as a Vocation,” which is where his definition is found. He did have an essay on “The Nation State and Economic Policy,” but I’m not familiar with it.

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                  • …Or in other other words, there was a reason I said sates don’t *allow* parts of themselves to secede, not just that they don’t want them to.

                    This, of course, is all in the context of a recognition that we don’t have to hink that the fact that states exist is a good thing. But generally, I am of the belief that if we do want them to exist, we should expect them to act like states, and more or less form our norms and expectations around what they are, not what we’d like them to be. I.e., we should set rules that try to get them to act not hugely worse than states tend to act, not expect that those rules will get them to act very much better than they tend to.

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                    • if we do want them to exist, we should expect them to act like states

                      Heh, even if we don’t want them to exist, right? We’d be damn fools to expect them to do anything different. All we can do is to try to change the accepted standards of what “act like states” means, which I think complements your statement about setting rules. It’s a damned hard uphill climb, but I think there has been measurable progress. At least colonization and wars of territorial expansion are now generally seen as illegitimate, rather than glorious, state behaviors.

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                    • That’s fair, and the response I anticipated. At any one time, though, the norms are what they are. I guess we just get into the general discussion of the value of maintaining norms partly by positively reinforcing their observance (even if that just means staying our criticism when we’d prefer the norm is otherwise but is being followed) versus always advancing critique of conduct based on our preferred standards. And that just depends on how insufficient or bad a given norm is, how much backsliding we think it nevertheless prevents, etc. In any case, I understand your preference, I just don;t see how it adds up to a critique of the United States for resisting Southern secessions with force.

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                    • I just don;t see how it adds up to a critique of the United States for resisting Southern secessions with force.

                      Solely because I oppose that norm, I suppose. It’s not that I don’t expect the U.S. to do that; I just would prefer that they violate my expectations and fall in line with my preferences.

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      • Strategic blundering from beginning to end on the part of the South.

        The South was just very very stupid, driven by rhetoric.

        To be fair, they had a ‘right’ to be pissed, in that the North was turning a blind eye and letting abolitionists who were functionally terrorists pass back and forth, killing people and stealing their property.

        Seriously, imagine if raiders from the next state over keep showing up, shooting random people, setting fire to things (And in those days, fires were much bigger deals.) and stealing all your valuables. And the next state not only refused to do anything about it, they _encouraged_ it.

        People in the modern day just don’t understand that premise because the people they were killing were slaveowners (People that, under international law, it is now legal to _shoot on sight_.), and the ‘property’ they were stealing was _people_.

        If you remove ‘slavery is completely unethical and should be stopped at all costs’ from the moral equation, the South had a point. They could not functionally be part of a nation where half of it is harboring ‘terrorists’ that are attacking the other half. And the fact they attacked it after they left, the stupidest move ever, is understandable when you think about just _how_ pissed they were.

        Of course, you _can’t_ remove that from the equation and keep any other sort of moral high ground, which is where the entire defense falls apart.

        But perhaps there is no ultimately successful strategy when you are defending the undefendable?

        I dunno, I think there actually were possibly outcomes where the Confederacy _could_ have left peacefully, or at least had a few uneasy years while the US insisted they were in it, and they insisted they weren’t. And while Lincoln rejected the _first_ peace overtures from the Confederacy, he did make the concession that Fort Sumter was to only be supplied with provisions, not weapons, and it’s _possible_ that the US could have slowly disintegrated, with US military bases in the Confederacy being slowly abandoned over time.

        But no, the Confederacy had to get US troops out _right the fuck now_ for no obvious reason, giving Lincoln the excuse to raise troops. If they hadn’t done anything, if they’d just started mostly ignoring Federal law, and passively blockading supplies to US military bases, and stopped sending congressman to the US…Lincoln would have been completely screwed, without a real casus belli to keep start a war.

        At a certain point, the remaining US states simply wouldn’t care about it…in fact, they’d now be happy in that they could make new western territories non-slaveholding, without all those slave-holding states holding them back.

        Lincoln wouldn’t have liked it, but he wouldn’t be president forever. And the 1864 election would have been _really_ interesting, especially if the seceded states made the point: Either you accept we left the Union, or we still have the right to vote in your election. We’ll be sending a bunch of electors…either you set a precedent that we’re no longer in this Union by refusing their vote, or you let us screw around with your election.

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        • Abolitionists were “functionally terrorists.” Double face palm. So what were the Southerner’s who went to northern states to recover “lost property” than? What were those Southerners who took freed blacks who never been slaves to the South to be slaves?

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            • Ahhh i see all the schooling you clearly never had. John Brown, who certainly was a murderer, was active in what was called Bleeding Kansas. There was violence, murder and terrorism on both sides for years. Very very ugly, but in no way can that just indict one side.

              And again what about the southerns who took freedmen from the north back to slavery in the south?

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          • Abolitionists were “functionally terrorists.” Double face palm.

            I didn’t say that ‘abolitionists’ were fundamentally terrorists, I said there were ‘abolitionists who were functionally terrorists’.

            There _were_. (And a lot more that were not terrorists, but they were not the ones invading slave-holding states.)

            The free states were, at that point in US history, refusing to enforce US law, and deliberately looking the other way while people based in those states were, technically, committing lawless border incursions, attacking people and stealing stuff.

            That is a _technically correct_ description of events. And is the reason the states that seceded from the Union were angry.

            Now, the laws the southern states were trying to enforce were immoral, and, at this point, actually considered a violation of basic international law. As I pointed out.

            You appear to be assuming that ‘terrorism’ is some sort of moral judgement. No. If you fucking own slaves, or live somewhere that’s acceptable, you _should_ live in terror. ‘Change the politics of your country or I will stab you in the face’ is the very definition of terrorism.

            And it’s _completely morally fine_ to threaten slaveownerss in such a way. In fact, I assert it is a moral _requirement_ to threaten to kill slaveowners, at all times, in all circumstances.

            So what were the Southerner’s who went to northern states to recover “lost property” than?

            Technically? As those slaves were, under US law, still their property, they were basically vigilantes enforcing the law and recovering lost property when the government refused to do so.

            So they were breaking the law, but just barely. It’s like breaking into someone’s house to steal back a stereo they stole from you. It’s breaking and entering, but it’s not theft.

            Please do not confuse their _technical_ status with their moral status.

            What were those Southerners who took freed blacks who never been slaves to the South to be slaves?

            They were either kidnappers or thieves, depending on how you want to look at the law.

            However, there were not political parties and open encouragement of such practice among Southern states, as far as I’m aware of. (Which was, ironically, due to the fact that the lawmakers either were, or were controlled by, the slaveowners, and the less slaves there were, the more valuable they were. Letting people just go _collect_ them diluted their value.)

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            • ” In fact, I assert it is a moral _requirement_ to threaten to kill slaveowners, at all times, in all circumstances.”

              I honestly fail to see the substantive difference between indentured servitude (or outright slavery) and certain categories of immigrants to America. What does that do to your moral requirement?

              Are you actually threatening to kill anyone right now? Because there damn well are corporations in this world that revolve around (sex, to be technical) slavery.

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              • I honestly fail to see the substantive difference between indentured servitude (or outright slavery) and certain categories of immigrants to America. What does that do to your moral requirement?

                It…makes my moral requirement still be necessary?

                I am confused by your question. What exactly are you asking? Are you assuming that my requirement was an empty boast, that I was threatening to kill slavers because I didn’t know there were any more? No, I know they still exist.

                I am also a little confused by what sort of immigrants you’re talking about. If you’re talking about H1-B visas, no, they are not slavery.

                The bullshit that has happened on the Northern Mariana Islands, OTOH, _is_ slavery. As are plenty of ‘immigration’ scams of chinese workers and whatnot, where they are crated and smuggled in secretly.

                Are you actually threatening to kill anyone right now? Because there damn well are corporations in this world that revolve around (sex, to be technical) slavery.

                There’s a difference between threatening ‘I’ll kill them if I run across them and think I actually can manage it without getting killed myself, and can either make a good legal case or not get caught afterwards’ and hunting them down.

                I didn’t say people had a moral obligation to _actually_ kill slavers. That would be fairly hard to do. I said a moral obligation to _threaten_ to kill them. They belong in the moral class of people that do not deserve to live, and should not be interacted with in any civil manner whatsoever, unless it is to trick them as a prelude to killing them.

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                • ” ‘I’ll kill them if I run across them and think I actually can manage it without getting killed myself, and can either make a good legal case or not get caught afterwards’”

                  … an odd angle to take (certainly a well reasoned one, I must admit). Most people on the internet seem to think threatening to kill someone means e-mailing them death threats.

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            • No. If you fucking own slaves,

              There is a reason other people here use the term “fish” or “fishing”.

              Your gratituous use of the term “f-ck” is unacceptable. Please watch your language. Thank you.

              This applies to everyone, including the other resident pottymouth.

              – The Management

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        • ” the Confederacy had to get US troops out _right the fuck now_ for no obvious reason”
          hotheads. SC only. Wanted to win the propaganda war by forcing everyone else’s hands.
          nobody else wanted the war. It’s a classic push play.

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  11. Any affinity for the Confederacy marks one very clearly as an enemy of liberty.

    Oddly, Lord Acton (most famous for the saying that “”Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”) said of the confederacy, “I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy.” He saw it, as did the south, as a battle for liberty. But his view of that was, again like the south, limited to liberty for white people. In The Political Causes of the American Revolution (1851) he wrote;

    It is as impossible to sympathize on religious grounds with the categorical prohibition of slavery as, on political grounds, with the opinions of the abolitionists…[slavery] has been a mighty instrument not for evil only, but for good in the providential order of the world . . . by awakening the spirit of sacrifice on the one hand, and the spirit of charity on the other.

    It boggles our minds today how a person could hold this particular set of views. So whatever could be said to have made sense to some reasonable people at the time can hardly be said to be a position any reasonable person could hold today. I’ve not been particularly trusting of Paul, anymore than I have been of his father, but even so it’s disturbing to hear that he follows this particular disgusting trait of dear old dad.

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    • “It boggles our minds today how a person could hold this particular set of views. ”

      It will boggle people’s minds in 2142 how two people could work at the same company, and one be paid ten million dollars a year and the other be paid ten thousand.

      It will be explained as “the person who was paid more money had a much more important job, and was much smarter than the other one; if the smart person hadn’t been paid ten million, then the other wouldn’t have been paid anything at all”.

      Being able to make this argument will be seen as evidence of reprehensible separationism.

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  12. “Whatever others may say on the subject, I can’t understand how anyone might admire the Confederacy and also call themselves a libertarian.”

    I can. Those states joined the Union voluntarily. When they attempted to leave, total war was waged on them to keep them in the Union. I “admire” the Confederacy because they 1) were correct about leaving (they had the right) and 2) they were willing to fight for it. It matters not at all that they would have formed a less free, horribly racist society.

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    • It matters not at all that they would have formed a less free, horribly racist society.

      I suspect it mattered, and matters, to some people. You know, the people who would have been enslaved in that “less free, horribly racist” society.

      The South started the war. The South caused the war. The South fought the war to preserve slavery. The South losing the war, and being utterly crushed in the process, was likely the only possible moral outcome of the war (anything less would likely have preserved slavery), to the extent that wars can have moral outcomes at all.

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    • they 1) were correct about leaving (they had the right)

      40% of the population in the 11 seceding states were African-Americans with no voting rights. Did the state legislatures and secession conventions consult them about whether they wanted to leave? If you add that 40% to the large number of white Southerners who also opposed secession, I believe you have secession being driven by a minority of the adult population. Sounds a bit antimajoritarian to me.

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        • The Northern states were not trying to exercise a supposed right to unilateral secession.

          Also, from the dissent by Justice Curtis in Scott v. Sanford:

          “Of this there can be no doubt. At the time of the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, all free native-born inhabitants of the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and North Carolina, though descended from African slaves, were not only citizens of those States, but such of them as had the other necessary qualifications possessed the franchise of electors, on equal terms with other citizens.”

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    • I “admire” the Confederacy because they 1) were correct about leaving (they had the right)

      They had no such right. Who is “they” anyway? As noted, it’s very doubtful that secession would have commanded a majority, if anyone had bothered to hold a proper, one-person one-vote election.

      But added to that, secession isn’t a remedy to be undertaken lightly. Its use to block the outcome of an election is particularly improper. And anyway, the Constitution clearly did not permit states to leave; we know this because the Articles of Confederation did permit states to leave, and that element was deliberately left out by the framers of the new Constitution.

      and 2) they were willing to fight for it.

      This carries no weight for me, or possibly a negative one. Every war has two sides, and in all cases at least one of those sides is merely an aggressor.

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      • Jason, I think you forgot the single simplest and most important – from a libertarian standpoint – argument in response to the claim that they had a right to secede:

        States don’t have rights. People do.

        In the context of the Confederacy, this reminder is especially important since the purpose of secession was at least partially (and, in my view, almost entirely) to ensure that a group of people would continue to be permanently deprived of any and all rights.

        If being libertarian means anything, it is that the rights of the individual are (at least rebuttably) presumed to be paramount and superior to the state. To the extent the state must exist at all, it is foundationally to protect the rights of the individuals who reside within it. A government that seeks to form for the express purpose of more fully denying such rights lacks any legitimacy whatsoever.

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          • Indeed, all the states that seceded (I think; I’ve only read seven or so) issued documents explicitly patterned after the Declaration, listing the sorts of tyranny than required them to leave. And, in the ones I’ve read, the chief reasons are future threats to slavery and refusal to return runaway slaves.

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              • Just because states don’t have rights doesn’t mean that a group of people can’t get together and justly attempt to secede. It also doesn’t mean that a government can’t legitimately make a decision to secede if it feels the rights of its denizens are being inadequately protected.

                The morality of an attempt to secede is in the causes and purposes of its secession. It is not an inherent moral good, nor is it an inherent moral right of a state, even if one could argue that it is an inherent moral right of individuals (which is a different and, to me, far more interesting topic).

                The colonies did not declare independence until well after the war had begun. And even in the least generous interpretation of the causes of that war, the resistance in the colonies was premised primarily on opposition to taxes. That may or may not be viewed as an inadequate basis for secession, but it is certainly not an outright immoral and inherently illegitimate one.

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              • I talk about this a little bit below. There are two different questions: whether secession is acceptable, and whether that particular act of secession was acceptable. I agree with you on the second point that, essentially, the Civil War was justified. I don’t agree with you on the first point that secession itself can never be permitted.

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                • I don’t think anyone is arguing that it can or should never be permitted, nor even that it is inherently immoral or should be illegal. I’m just arguing that it is not a “right” in any meaningful sense of the word, and to talk of “rights” as something possessed by states as if they were analogous, comparable, or equivalent, much less superior, to individual rights is to pervert the meaning of the concepts.

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                  • I’ve avoided wading into this discussion of “rights” or the “morality of secession,” but have to say that this notion that states do not have rights, but that individuals do, and that any other view is “perverse,” is a position or theory, not a fact. One alternative argument is that all “rights” derive from the state (in the sense of a society or collective interest) alone – which would be another way of saying that “right” and “justice” are meaningless except in relation to a collective interest or society, or that the “individual” is a meaningless concept except in relation to other individuals and an implied social whole of some kind.

                    In the particular instance of secession, the immediate question is of the assertion or creation of a separate state. The decision of or on behalf of an existent state, even and perhaps especially under the Weberian definition (which is really Hobbes’ framework in nearer to contemporary terms), may and arguably ought to be to hold onto the territory in question, but let rebellious and uncooperative inhabitants go (or destroy them), and then (if it so chooses) re-populate the territory with loyal and therefore deserving citizens or subjects.

                    The notion of a moral right to secede either pre-supposes the very right in question – that of the seceded state to exist as a separate state on territory claimed by another state – or pre-supposes an even higher interest from which the morality or immorality of secession would be derived or within which it would exist at all. Why its claim would take precedence over the claims of others is not yet explained, but the existent state may have its own arguments to present to the higher or highest tribunal.

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    • I find it very difficult to construct an argument against the right to secession that doesn’t end up saying “they were just wrong”. I understand if people have the same problem I do. And yet: they were just wrong.

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