Gun Free America!

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This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.

Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural

 

 

From Reason TV.  Language advisory in regard to the above video.  Of course I am sure that leftists watching the video think:  “BS!  All we need are a few more votes on the Supreme Court and we can wipe the Second Amendment out from the Constitution in one lawsuit.”  And you know something, they are right.  A Court which can create rights to abortion and gay marriage is obviously a Court that can read anything into, and anything out of, the Constitution.  However if leftists ever did attempt this, and they are feckless enough to eventually attempt to do precisely that, I suspect that American Revolution II or Civil War II would be on.

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48 Comments

  1. So, Lincoln thought Americans had the right to engage in revolution, but not the right to vote to secede? Sounds inconsistent. I could see history repeat itself where certain states vote to secede, before there would ever be another revolution. Too many of the masses would never consider what Thomas Jefferson wrote was necessary every now and then to water the roots of the tree of liberty.

  2. There is no right to secession F7 in the Constitution. The right of revolution is inherent in the human condition, and is well set out by Mr. Jefferson in the Declaration. The problem for the Confederates was that there was no long chain of abuses which justified their revolt, and that is one of the reasons, among many others, why the Confederacy failed.

  3. Before we pick up a gun, our otiose Republican congressional caucus might consider (1) adopting sensible parliamentary rules (which eliminate the filibuster) and (2) eliminating extant circuits and districts and rendering the commissions of their judges effectively null and (3) stripping extant circuits and districts of jurisdiction over given issues and (4) closing the Supreme Court through the appropriations process. Of course, accomplishing any of this would require defenestrating Addison Mitchell McConnell, Richard Burr, Orrin Hatch, and various other ticket punching Capitol Hill drones.

  4. We’re already at the long-chain-of-abuses point, Mr. McClarey. It’s just that the abusers consist of the entire Washington political class less the dissenter faction in the Republican legislative caucuses and their staffs. They have allies in every state capitol and dominate the New England states, New York, Illinois, and California. Effective resistance is nil because no body of state politicians has the cojones to refuse federal swag.

  5. “Effective resistance is nil because”

    Because no one has yet successfully run for President on a platform highlighting the way in which self-rule is being replaced by rule by elites, especially if they wear black robes. (Reagan came close to doing this in 1980, but Carter was such a hapless figure that the issues tended to be about his general incompetence. In 1984 it was all “morning in America” hoorah). I suspect that time is coming, especially since the Washington cash spigot, judging by the way nations around the globe are dumping US debt, may stop flowing.

  6. The problem with expecting the Republicans to do something is this: the GOP is led by transactional men, and it bidding fair to elected yet another transactional man to lead it in the House. Transactional types just want to do business and manage optics.

    Whereas the Democrats are led by ideologues who refuse to compromise on any but the most peripheral items. And they win.

  7. Well, Don, your position sounds like the old saw attributed to Ben Franklin, who said a rebellion is always legal in the first person, such as “our rebellion.” It is only in the third person – “their rebellion” – that it becomes illegal.

    The South certainly thought it had more than enough cause for its rebellion… and given the low bar set by the Founding Fathers and their rebellion, I’d have to agree.

    It’s amusing to see Lincoln adulators scramble to explain away the plain contradiction of Lincoln the conquerer advocating revolution whenever the people decide to exercise this constitutional right.

  8. “The South certainly thought it had more than enough cause for its rebellion…”

    The vast majority of people in the Border States of the South did not, the black slaves did not, enough white men did not for 100,000 of them to volunteer to fight for the Union.

    Secession was very much a minority position in much of the South till very late in the process that led up to the Civil War. Without the wave of hysteria that hit the white portion of the South during the secession winter of 1860-1861 secession would never have occurred.

    Let me ask you Tom, what alleged train of abuses did white southerners have to complain about prior to the War that were not directly connected to slavery? What menace to slavery within the slave states did the new Lincoln administration pose that warranted a war that took some 750,000 American lives?

  9. And of course, you mis-apprehend the Constitution, Don.

    The fact that a right to secession does not appear in it does not mean that such a right does not exist. The Constitution exists to define and delimit the functions and limitations of the federal government, not the states.

    We’ve been over this before, but it bears repeating: the states pre-existed the federal government, by definition, since it is their coming together in a constitutional conventional that created the federal government. They are therefore logically greater than that which they create, and since the constitution is merely a compact or contract by which the states agree to act in concert by ceding very limited and defined authority to the federal government, like any compact or agreement, they can withdraw from it at will.

    Moreover, the relevant point is not whether there is a “right of secession” in the constitution, which does not grant rights at all, but whether the constitution permits the federal government to invade a state or compel states to invade each other. Not seeing any such provision, it is unconstitutional for a President to invade a state.

  10. So. Where’s this right to revolution to be found in the Constitution? The “good and proper” clause?

  11. And tying it all together with the theme of the post in mind, it is good to recall that Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, ordered the mass execution of 39 Indians in 1862 for “war crimes” following a sham and disgraceful military show trial. http://www.historynet.com/abraham-lincoln-deciding-the-fate-of-300-indians-convicted-of-war-crimes-in-minnesotas-great-sioux-uprising.htm

    The Indians, like the Southerners, apparently did not qualify under LIncoln’s “revolution whenever” standard.

    The federal government’s treatment of the Indians is an enduring reminder of why a well-armed populace is a good idea.

  12. “The Constitution exists to define and delimit the functions and limitations of the federal government, not the states.”

    How in the world can a state have the right to secede from the Union unless the Constitution grants it the right? You can’t bootstrap such a right by saying that the states retained such a right; you have to establish that the right existed in the first place. There are many provisions in the Constitution that simply make no sense if the states could willy-nilly leave the Union whenever they wished. I would especially like to hear how the states other than the original 13 would have such a right, since they are purely creations of the Federal government and never had any existence except under the Constitution. At least the original 13 colonies had an existence as colonies prior to their becoming states under the Union created by the Declaration of Independence.

  13. And it’s fascinating to listen to Southern apologists declare their tender solicitude for the Indian. Where are the Georgia Cherokees again?

  14. As I’ve stated before, Don, my own Virginia indeed did not agree with the deep South about secession… until Lincoln decided to impress troops and announced his intention to invade seceding states. Virginia did not therefore go to war over slavery, but over what they perceived to be the unconstitutional act of Lincoln in raising invading armies against states.
    The deep south for its part believed that northern tariffs unfairly burdened southern interests, and they also feared that the election of an abolitionist Republican like Lincoln ensured perpetual political impotence for the south, as Robert Toombs explained:

    Northern anti-slavery men of all parties asserted the right to exclude slavery from the territory by Congressional legislation, and demanded the prompt and efficient exercise of this power to that end. This insulting and unconstitutional demand was met with great moderation and firmness by the South. We had shed our blood and paid our money for its acquisition; we demanded a division of it, on the line of the Missouri restriction, or an equal participation in the whole of it. These propositions were refused, the agitation became general, and the public danger great. The case of the South was impregnable. The price of the acquisition was the blood and treasure of both sections — of all; and therefore it belonged to all, upon the principles of equity and justice.

    Whatever one thinks about the weight of these issues, they were front and center on the minds of the southern states considering secession… the decision to secede or “revolt” in Lincoln’s own phrase, was not undertaken lightly or without reason.

  15. After-admitted states were are expressly given all rights that the original 13 had:

    Prior to this time, however, Georgia and Virginia had ceded to the United States large territories held by them, upon condition that new States should be formed therefrom and admitted to the Union on an equal footing with the original States. 256 Since the admission of Tennessee in 1796, Congress has included in each State’s act of admission a clause providing that the State enters the Union ”on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever.” 257 With the admission of Louisiana in 1812, the principle of equality was extended to States created out of territory purchased from a foreign power. 258 By the Joint Resolution of December 29, 1845, Texas, then an independent Nation, ”was admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever.”

    http://constitution.findlaw.com/article4/annotation16.html

    Again, your view of the constitution is backwards. The states created it and are only bound by it’s express terms, and every power not expressly ceded to the federal government is retained by the states. Nowhere in the constitution is the federal government given the power to keep a state in the union by force.

    Not having been expressly given the power to compel states into the union, the states cannot then be lawfully invaded for withdrawing from the constitutional compact.

  16. The South decided to secede because it lost an election. Full stop.

    Yes, basically this. Had there been a long train of abuses, we certainly would have had more rumblings of secession long before South Carolina decided to stomp off after Lincoln won. Furthermore, an honest assessment of much of 1850s American politics would lead one to conclude that the northern half of the country had more justification for rebellion than the south, at least if we’re utilizing the “long train of abuses” justification.

  17. “it is good to recall that Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, ordered the mass execution of 39 Indians in 1862 for “war crimes” following a sham and disgraceful military show trial.”

    Actually Tom, 303 Sioux were sentenced to death and Lincoln commuted all but 39 of them. The Republican party in Minnesota suffered at the polls as a result of Lincoln’s clemency:

    https://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/september-23-1862-battle-of-wood-lake-minnesota/

  18. “Congress has included in each State’s act of admission a clause providing that the State enters the Union ”on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever.””

    How in the World could Congress give to States created by the Federal government a right that is not mentioned in the Constitution, the document that gives Congress all the powers that Congress possesses?

  19. “So. Where’s this right to revolution to be found in the Constitution? The “good and proper” clause?”

    It is an inalienable right derived from the right to liberty. Bad consequences usually flow from revolutions and rebellions so they are not to be entered into for light and transient reasons.

  20. On recalls Sir John Harington
    “Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
    Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.”

  21. Because no one has yet successfully run for President on a platform highlighting the way in which self-rule is being replaced by rule by elites,

    That’s a parallel condition, not a cause. Local school commissioners and state legislators have no excuse not to know the ways in which pedagogy and discipline are compromised by conditions placed on federal aid. Where they need the assistance of Congress is in sabotaging the federal judiciary’s efforts to seize control of local schools.

  22. What MPS wrote about treason applies well to the Obama Administration in particular and politically successful liberal progressive Democrats in general. Thus – back to the topic of this post – must we who believe in individual liberty and individual responsibilty be well armed. Traitors are usually cowards and will acquiesce to only one thing: superior force. That said, I do NOT advocate the intitiation of force, but rather the use of force if and only if that is the sole mean of overcoming aggression. Sadly, the recent massacre of Christians in Oregon shows us the wisdom of the Maccabean solution however much we should avoid needing its implementation.

  23. “That’s a parallel condition, not a cause.”

    My point is Art that once it is shown to be a winning political issue, politicians will flock to it. Cruz might be the man to make the case.

  24. They can’t deport 11,000,000 illegals but they will disarm 83,000,000 Americans.
    .
    Re: “The South decided to secede because it lost an election. Full stop.”
    .
    Points of information (Robert’s Rules), 1860 Presidential Election popular votes cast:
    Lincoln 1,866,452 – 40% (180 electors – – every vote of the so-called free states, except three of seven of NJ)
    Douglas 1,375,157 – 29% (12 electors – Mo and three NJ)
    Breckenridge – 847,953- 18% (72 electors – all the cotton states)
    Bell 590,631 – 13% (39 electors- VA, KY, TN)
    It appears that states’ electors could be split between candidates.
    .
    Democratic ideals: “Majority rules”; “consent of the governed”
    .
    The US had a republican form of government; not a democratic. Sixty percent of 1860 voters preferred someone other than Lincoln. Similarly today, we have arbitrary rule by unelected judges and incompetent, corrupt elites. God bless us one and all.

    .
    The NRA, et al are invincible because the people don’t trust politicians (essential deceit and coercion) or the police (incompetent and corrupt). In reaction to the CT grade school massacre, CT and NY knee-jerk enacted assault weapon and high-capacity magazine prohibitions. No one (say 90%) in either state complied. In fact, in NY outside NYC and LI, county sheriffs stated they would not enforce the unconstitutional act.
    Come and take them.

  25. The US had a republican form of government; not a democratic. Sixty percent of 1860 voters preferred someone other than Lincoln.

    It is precisely because we have a republican form of government, not a democratic one, that Lincoln won the presidency with less than majority support. But even with all that said, notice that Lincoln’s vote totals still surpass anyone else on that list.

  26. “And it’s fascinating to listen to Southern apologists declare their tender solicitude for the Indian. Where are the Georgia Cherokees again?”

    Good point. The Supreme Court ruled to uphold the rights of the Cherokee. Andrew Jackson ( a Democrat cut from the same cloth as FDR, George Wallace, Hillary, Pelosi, Obama, Reid) did nothing to enforce Marshalls’ ruling. The rest is history.

  27. PZ: I guess I’m too much of a numbers guy. Lincoln won 40 to 60. My math says the heavy majority notably (in the seceding states) wanted someone else. Seems plurality rules is the principle. The sad confluence of events was that both sides were violently serious about and hardened in their positions.

    Note the use of past tense regarding the Republic – RIP.
    .

  28. “Supreme Court ruled to uphold the rights of the Cherokee. Andrew Jackson ( a Democrat cut from the same cloth as FDR, George Wallace, Hillary, Pelosi, Obama, Reid) did nothing to enforce Marshalls’ ruling.”

    That is a myth.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worcester_v._Georgia

    Jackson had his own flaws God knows, but he has almost nothing in common with modern Democrats, other than viewing the world almost entirely through the prism of race and making political hay out of American racial animosities.

  29. “PZ: I guess I’m too much of a numbers guy.”

    Lincoln was kept off the ballot in most states south of the Mason-Dixon line. He would have won with the votes he had even if all the ballots cast for other candidates had been cast for one candidate opposing Lincoln. The Republican party had become the dominant party in the North and there were enough electoral votes in the North to clinch the election. In other words the Republicans played by the rules established at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and won big.

    http://www.etymonline.com/cw/1860.htm

  30. PZ: I guess I’m too much of a numbers guy.

    Aside from the point that Donald mentions, 1,866,452 (Lincoln) is more than 1,382,713 (Douglas), more than 847,953 (Breckinridge), and more than 592,906 (Bell), which means he still received substantially more votes than any other candidate in the race.

  31. PZ: I guess I’m too much of a numbers guy. Lincoln won 40 to 60. My math says the heavy majority notably (in the seceding states) wanted someone else.
    .
    40 beats 60 when 60 is divided three ways.

  32. T. Shaw, ordinal balloting is a good idea, but we do not have it in this country and it was a novelty in the occidental world in 1860, only just introduced in the Antipodes and unknown anywhere else. That aside, if you tallied hypothetical ordinal ballots in each state according to the conventions of the alternate vote and awarded electoral votes accordingly, Lincoln still would have been elected because he won an absolute majority in states comprehending 55% of the electoral vote. The main effect of ranked-choice balloting would have been to redistribute electoral votes from John Breckenridge to John Bell. The only circumstance where Douglas defeats Lincoln would be a national popular vote with ordinal ballots.

  33. To clarify, Lincoln won an absolute majority in 15 states, and these comprehended 55% of the electoral vote. Breckenridge did so in 6 states with 12% of the electoral votes. Neither Douglas nor Bell won an absolute majority anywhere, but it’s a reasonable wager that Bell might have garnered enough posited 2d choice votes in the South to win many states’ votes. Regarding Douglas, it’s a reasonable wager that that might have happened in California, Oregon, and New Jersey (which between them had < 5% of the electoral vote).

  34. A Laconic answer: “If.” See Bennett’s Book of Virtues.
    .
    I apologize for upsetting you all
    .
    Sixty percent of voters wanted someone else. There was a civil war with 60%+ of Americans and, say, 80% of American agricultural, rail, and industrial forces arrayed on the Union side. There it is. The Union was preserved. There was emancipation. Six hundred thousand died. Both sides resorted to barbarity. The South was destroyed. It happened.
    .

  35. Sixty percent of voters wanted someone else.

    And 71% wanted someone other than Stephen Douglas, 82% wanted someone other than John Breckenridge, and 88% wanted someone other than John Bell. What’s to do? The only set of tabulation rules which get you a president not named ‘Abraham Lincoln’ involve some sort of national popular vote either through ranked-choice balloting or through a run-off election between Lincoln and Douglas. If you eliminate the electoral votes awarded for each Senator and re-calculate, you find that 60% of the residual electoral college votes would be awarded to Lincoln. If you eliminate winner-take-all in the award of a state’s electoral vote and award one vote for each congressional district carried, you might have a hung electoral college (or you might not); the extant Congress would have to decide matters; in that Congress, the Republicans had a majority in 16 state delegations, the Democrats in 16, and two were deadlocked.

  36. I find it amusing that the Founders’ causes for separation, “secession” as it were, from GB, as documented in the Declaration of Independence, are pretty flimsy and inflated, at least compared to the complaints the South had, including their impending neutering in Congress, grossly unfavorable tariffs, and capped by Lincoln’s radical measure of calling up state troops to invade sister states, something without parallel in first war for independence.

    If the Founder’s causes were sufficient, then surely the Southerner’s were also. But to neo-Unionists, probably no grievance one could imagine would ever satisfy, since it’s not about Lincoln’s “right to revolution” (a very Jeffersonian principle also) but about vindicating their demi-god, Lincoln.

  37. “are pretty flimsy and inflated”
    Ridiculous. Which governments in the South in 1860 Tom had been placed under military rule as Massachusetts was placed under military rule by the British? What taxes were imposed on the South that were not voted by Congress? What foreign legislature, in which Southerners were not represented, contended that they could impose any legislation they wanted? What ports of the South had been closed by the United States government? What foreign government restricted what foreign nations the South could trade with? The white Southerners were living in paradise in 1860 compared to what the colonists were undergoing at the hands of British misrule. The determination of the white Southern leaders, almost all slave holders, to attempt to break up the nation in order to preserve their right to hold fellow Americans as slaves, is the most utterly foolish and selfish decision in American history.

    “including their impending neutering in Congress”

    Losing an election Tom is a reason for breaking up the nation? In any case if the states making up the Confederacy had stayed in the Union they could have blocked any legislation they did not like in the Senate.

    “grossly unfavorable tariffs”

    The tariffs were at a record low in 1860.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tariff_of_1857

    The tariffs were a non-issue in bringing about the Civil War Tom. It was all about slavery as you are smart enough to know although you do not wish to admit it.

    Lincoln called for troops to hold the Union together only after the Confederacy fired on Fort Sumter and started the Civil War.

  38. That election was lost, by the way, when the Southern Fire-eaters, those slave holders Don was talking about, walked out of the 1860 Democratic Convention because Stephen Douglass’s Popular Sovereignty position was insufficiently pro-slavery.

  39. “The determination of the white Southern leaders, almost all slave holders, to attempt to break up the nation in order to preserve their right to hold fellow Americans as slaves, is the most utterly foolish and selfish decision in American history.”

    Pretty much. Reading neo-Confederate apologetics is a bit like paging through the most passive-aggressive suicide note ever written. We get it: the perfidious, greasy, grasping Yankees made you pull the trigger. Sheesh.

  40. I’ve realized that arguing with a neo-Confederate is no different than arguing with a Trump supporter. No amount of facts, logic, and reason can possibly persuade them, but they will surely hit back with well-worn cliches.

  41. Quick question. Why was the continuation of slavery so vital to the South that its elites needed to secede, to open fire on Sumer, to be invaded and conquered by vastly superior military forces, and to have its economy and way of life destroyed?
    .
    If Eli Whitney hadn’t invented the cotton gin somebody else would have.

  42. As to why, that really depends upon who you are talking about. Many influential Southerners thought there would be no war after secession–South Carolina Senator James Chestnut famously offered to drink all of the blood that would be spilled as a result of the country’s fracture. Others thought that, at most, there might be a few battles, and that would be it. The most worried of them imagined a war like that of the American Revolution which would be hard, but not devastating–and surely a mighty foreign power would intervene on the side of King Cotton (namely Britain, France or both). It’s safe to say that none of them imagined they would be defeated and their Peculiar Institution destroyed.

  43. A different question would be why the South fancied itself aggrieved when Dixie brigands had attempted to forcibly seize control of the Kansas territory and several of their gentryin black robes had issued a meretricious federal appeals court ruling which stripped the states of their formal discretion to outlaw slavery. Sen. Douglas position (that state and local governments outside the South were under no obligation to pass slave codes) was considered so unacceptable that Southern delegates walked out of the 1860 Democratic convention. The South was in a lather that the rest of the country refused to be complicit in their labor practices and some among them had the temerity to criticize the South in astringent terms. The mentality is strangely familiar, but why people think this way remains opaque in contemplating our own time and in contemplating theirs.

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