Narrated by talk show host, Brian Wilson, “Down With Power” a Libertarian
Manifesto, by L. Neil Smith now downloadable as an audiobook!
Number 936, August 20, 2017

What is politics? What are elections?
For all their faults and failings,
these are the methods by which we
resolve conflicts and decide our
collective national or state or
municipal course of action,
short of war.

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Letters from A.X. Perez and J. Neil Schulman

Letter from Jeff Fullerton

Letters from A.X. Perez and J. Neil Schulman

Be not afraid!

Why has the liberal left become obsessed with the Confederate flag and tearing down Confederate symbols? The left claims that these things are symbols of White Supremacist Racism. Most white Southerners, and a large number of non-white southerners claim these things are not about racism, but about regional pride. There is some truth and some lie to both sides' narrative.

There's one thing no one mentions in this debate. The American Civil War may be one of the cleanest Wars fought in history. While 700,000 died, almost all the dead were soldiers who died of illness on campaign or wounds. There were relatively few atrocities or civilian massacres, nothing like what the English did to the Scots after Culloden. The Burning of Atlanta pales when compared to Magdeburg. Remember that the American Civil War was contemporaneous with the Taiping Rebellion in China where 20 million to 100 million died.

The South got whupped, they didn't get stomped into the ground afterwards. The ruling political class survived. There was a slight rematch over Civil Rights in the 60's, but even most Southerners were ready to let that part of their heritage go, or at least give that appearance. There is no shame in losing a fair fight, or even one against odds if you have bragging rights for fighting well. There is no shame in backing down and admitting the truth when your wrong.

In spite of losing the South retained her pride and much of her power after the war, power which grew in the late Twentieth Century, power which grows as people abandon the Rust Belt for Dixie.

There is a story from the late Seventies, early Eighties. A bunch of transplanted New Yorkers in Houston were afraid of becoming Texans. They held a meeting to figure out what to do about this and protect their Yankee culture. Everyone figured out it was a little too late when they realized they were meeting at Joe's Barbecue and Chili Pit (or some such name).

Perhaps the heroes of the South need to be taken down in he eyes of certain Yankees and their followers so the South will finally be properly beaten. Perhaps as the old Yankee liberals become irrelevant they need to make sure the South doesn't rise again. I think that they are too late, again.

A.X. Perez

To which J. Neil Schulman replied:

For decades I’ve heard libertarians and revisionist historians argue that the Civil War is a war of Northern Aggression.

That ignores, right off, that the first shots were made by Southern partisans against the United States’s Fort Sumter.

The Constitution is silent on the issue of secession from the Union leaving the primacy of the United States as a federation versus the individual states as primary polities an unsettled issue. This ambiguous question of secession could have been settled nonviolently in a constitutional convention. Instead, the Southern states chose to settle it by rebellion, claiming the precedent of the Declaration of Independence secession from Britain.

And that’s precisely where the seceding Southern states lose the moral and political argument to President Abraham Lincoln, despite Lincoln himself being a white supremacist.

The rationale of the Declaration of Independence is not for State sovereignty but for individual sovereignty.

The Declaration’s statement that “all men are created equal”—written and ratified at a time when slavery was legal virtually everywhere on planet Earth and a common practice—was the most revolutionary part of this revolutionary document because it was written and largely signed by men who were themselves slaveholders, but who saw this evil in their own existing culture and still rejected it, against their own economic interests. More than any economic issue they did so knowing that if they lost the war they were starting they would be put to death as traitors. When they pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, they had no choice but to mean it. It was being delivered to the monarch with the most formidable ability to impose his will by armed force there was.

Within a year of the Declaration of Independence being signed in 1776—using the language and logic regarding sovereignty of the seceding southern states 85 years later—the State of Vermont became the first post-Enlightenment country to make slavery illegal. Before the Constitution was ratified in 1787, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, followed. The worldwide movement to abolish slavery gained its first modern push due to the American Revolution’s enactment of the Declaration of Independence, and in my view began the modern libertarian movement for universal individual human rights. I do not believe Britain, France, or Spain would have abolished slavery if these six American states had not done so first.

One can praise the bravery of the seceding southerners for the same reason as the seceding American colonists—the threat of execution as traitors—yet still recognize that the Southern states did not have a moral leg to stand on in fighting to preserve human slavery on spurious racial grounds, even perverting long-established Christian theology to do it.

But all armed forces display bravery, even those fighting for the worst villains in history.

Into this category of villainy I place the Confederate States of America in rebellion against the foundational idea of America, itself.

J. Neil Schulman

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Letter from Jeff Fullerton

Six Flags theme parks will stop flying Confederate flag

Link: Six Flags theme parks will stop flying Confederate flag

They are really going overboard on this one. Declaring war on the Rebel Flag as if the Confederate States of America was the equivalent of Nazi Germany and in their mindless zeal they are erasing the history of our nation by pushing to tear down the statues and monuments of important historic figures like Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. It’s in many way the moral equivalent of—of all things—Nazis burning books by Jewish authors and other people they didn’t like back in the 1930s. Mainly because they are sore about the outcome of an election and making hay from allegations of Russian interference on the elections was getting old in the news cycle. And sore losers on both sides of the isle are going to do anything they can to stir up trouble and destroy the man who promised to drain their precious swamp at all cost!

And then you have the people like the ones running Six Flags and of course your feckless republican establishment types who are ready to cave at a moments notice on controversial issues like this one rather than stand against this mass hysteria and call it what it is. If I had more time this weekend I’d probably write a full blown article on this, though I have a feeling others will have plenty to say about it in the upcoming and future issues.

And Another Thing: This is is rich! Hope it's not too late to make the upcoming issue! What those Clinton-Gore Confederate flag buttons say about politics in 2015

Jeff Fullerton

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