Thursday, 23 February 2012

Slavery, secession, states’ “rights” and those who (still) defend them

Around seven-score and twelve years ago the Confederate slave states of the United States America seceded from the Union in a bid to protect their alleged right to own human beings as property, and brought about the first war of the industrial age.

The obscenity of slavery brought about a war on industrial scale that became the bloody pointer to the “Great War” and its charnel houses on the Somme, at Passchendaele, at Verdun—a war about which there is nothing to celebrate except its end—and attitudes that still taint America today.

BoganThe flag of the slave states, the Confederate ‘Stars and Bars’ Flag of War, is now largely just a symbol of the Bogan. Thank goodness. But astonishingly, there are today still otherwise learned folk about who defend the Confederacy on whose behalf troops took it into battle. Who defend the Secession. Who defend, explicitly, the state collectivism of so called “states' rights” and, implicitly, the barnyard collectivism of state-sanctioned racism.

Disgracefully, some call themselves lovers of liberty.  Unbelievably, many of them are happy to pretend the war was never about slavery. Bizarrely, many of them camp out at the Mises Institute (motto taken from Mises’ own, i.e.: “Never Give In to Evil, But Proceed Against it Ever More Strongly”) and help to poison both the name of a good man and the Institute’s otherwise excellent economic work.

Fortunately, a short and easy read by one Jonathan Blanks demolishes this posturing. If this issue is one you’ve ever followed, then I commend it to your attention:


  1. PC losing the plot.
    The Civil War was about power PC.
    It was about forcing disintegrated free States into one United Power, whimsically called united States .
    You are being the bogan here PC.
    Learn up bogan.
    Slavery was used obscenely by Lincoln politically.

  2. The word "incoherent" was used. Clearly it was well chosen.

  3. That's not a picture of the Stars and Bars. You're showing the Confederate Flag, which is a rectangular version of the Confederate Battle Flag.

    The stars and bars is altogether more like the stars and stripes (as its name might suggest) which was rather confusing on the battlefield, which lead to the Square version of flag you depict.

    wikipedia has more info:

  4. Peterquixote is also Dad4justice...? There surly can't be two of them.

  5. @Graeme: I'd always understood that to be what was meant by the Stars & Bars. Thanks for the correction.

  6. The author makes a good point. "States' rights" is probably a valid concept provided individuals are accorded freedom to live peacefully by the state government, and the rule of law is upheld. A tyrannical state government is just as bad as a tyrannical federal government.

    It is unfortunate that many prominent so-called libertarians (Thomas Wood and Lew Rockwell spring to mind) seem to have a massive blind spot for the eight hundred pound elephant in the room (slavery). While they tend to castigate Lincoln (who was, in my opinion, a tyrant in many ways) they forget that slavery was an abomination and that the right side won the Civil War.

  7. The US Civil War was indeed about slavery, but not JUST about slavery. It was a lot more complicated than that. In the case of Texas, slavery was not the main reason for their participation, since there were very few slaves in Texas at the time. States' Rights were in fact an important reason to engage in a war, and slavery was only one of the issues at stake.

  8. Richard, they also forget that the South actually started the war, and fired the first shots. While Lincoln's rhetoric was provocative of the South, they were the aggressors. So treating Lincoln like the bad guy is disingenuous.

    However, it is important to note that Federal power was the general issue of the war, and slavery was the main specific one as a subset of that. It is not contradictory to believe that the South was right on the general issue, but wrong on the specific one, and be both pleased, and dismayed, by the war's consequences in each case.

  9. Blair

    judging by comment @ 12:39pm, you know very little about the nuts and bolts of Texan secession and the cultural and political powers of slave-holders in the states whose economies were built around plantation slavery--of which Texas was one. (Hell part of the rationale for revolting against Mexico was the decision to enforce the long ignored Mexican prohibition on slavery in the province of Coahuila y Texas.)

  10. Lincoln's position on slavery was made evident in the first few weeks of the Civil War (a.k.a. the War of Northern Aggression). The outbreak of fighting immediately prompted Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas to secede from the Union, exactly as provided for in the Constitution of these United States. In a clear display of Lincoln's priorities, the President immediately proposed to permit the continuation of slavery in Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware so long as those states remained in the Union. So in order to save the Union from further division, Lincoln was willing to continue the subjugation of black people.
    The War was about power and, as Lincoln bluntly stated, it's purpose was the preservation of the Union.


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