Libertarianism And The Confederacy

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
burn_CSA_flagThe resignation of Jack Hunter, the social-media director of Sen. Rand Paul (R, Kentucky), also known by the moniker “Southern Avenger,” has brought to the surface a not insignificant minority who identify themselves as libertarians. This minority defends the Old South, the Southern cause, and the Confederacy. These Neo-Confederate libertarians claim to be anti-slavery and their arguments are a case study in cognitive dissonance.

Timothy Sandefur (pdf) gives lie to any notion that states have a “right” to unilateral secession:

Since the Constitution is a law binding the People, and not a league of states, states have no authority to intervene between the people and the national government. If the people of a state wish to leave the union, they may not do so unilaterally, but must obtain the agreement of their fellow citizens—or they must rebel in a legitimate act of revolution.

Sandefur also notes that the Declaration of Independence imposes harsh restrictions on those seeking a legitimate act of rebellion. The right to throw off a government can only be exercised after “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute Despotism.” The Confederacy was formed to violate rights, especially the right to self-ownership, not secure them.

The Confederate states were motivated to secede by the desire to maintain slavery. In their Declarations of Causes, four southern states, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and Mississippi, make clear that abolition of slavery was their primary reason for secession. The Confederate Constitution stated: “No law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.” One cannot rationally justify Confederate secession on morals grounds while ignoring the great evil that such a secession intended to  preserve.

In the postbellum South racial dominance was practiced unashamedly. “State’s Rights” became the rallying cry whenever the Federal Government insisted on adherence to the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. The right of association and property owner’s rights were a common smokescreen used to defend Jim Crow, southern apartheid, laws. Today, “voter fraud” allows politicians cover when African-American voters are disenfranchised. The perversion of these concepts to scam voters into supporting the elite white power structure should not be tolerated.

The right to have your children attend a neighbor school was invented when the Supreme Court found segregated schools unconstitutional and busing was the solution. Today, taxpayer funding of private academies through voucher programs seeks to circumvent the 14th Amendment restrictions.

One cannot rationally support the Confederacy while condemning slavery. The raison d’être for the Confederacy was slavery. If one condemns slavery, then one condemns those who practiced it and sought to preserve it. One cannot simultaneously support the Southern state’s right to secede from the Union while supporting the denial that right to the individuals in those states. One cannot endorse the claim that secession was supported by a majority of the population when 40% of that population is not allowed to participate in the decision.

H/T: Ilya Somin, Jacob Levy, Jonathan Blanks, Jason Kuznicki, Randy Barnett, Conor Friedersdorf, Corey Robin, Massimo Pigliucci.

666 thoughts on “Libertarianism And The Confederacy”

  1. What’s up, everything is going nicely here and ofcourse every one is sharing data, that’s truly excellent, keep up writing.

  2. phb51—-do you enjoy talking to yourself? You had NO comment when I schooled you on housing value/inflation. Hmmm, why is that?

    I read two words of Appleton’s post and was bored, because after 2 words I already knew it wasn’t to address an issue on the thread, so he violated another fallacy. The fallacy of attacking the speaker and not the argument. I already schooled Appleton several times, and he had the balls to leave another post.

    Appleton completely ignored my last post to him:

    “Mike Appleton didn’t like when I used Nal’s guilt-by-association writing technique when I said that because Hitler was inspired by Lincoln and everyone here admires Lincoln, that they should admire Hitler. But it was perfectly OK to them that Nal used the guilt-by-association fallacy of saying that because libertarians support secession, they also support slavery.”

    I guess the facts were just too much to take.

  3. Otteray,

    I need to add one more component to the C.T. character, that is the constant need for attention.

    This typically manifests itself in the demand that subjects which have been thoroughly exhausted be perpetually revisted. I cannot say whether or not this is the result of insanty or mere immaturity, as the spectrum of behavior is inevitably broad.

    There is the additional question of nature versus nurture, a debate that could be conducted to the end of all time should two C.T.s find themselves on opposite sides of the issue.


  4. Larry:

    LOL. I see that you’re back. I’m sorry, but I’m afraid everyone else has gone home.

    I’ve been practicing law now for 40 years, but I must admit that I have learned something from you on this thread. I have been reminded of the time and effort it requires to become effective at argument. Let me give you some unsolicited advice:

    1. An argument is a proposition supported by facts gleaned from evidence and presented in a reasoned, methodical manner designed to maximize its persuasiveness to persons of ordinary intelligence.

    2. An effective argument does not draw attention to the speaker, but to the speaker’s thesis. Arguments driven by ego reflect adversely on the speaker in the minds of the listeners. That is why an effective argument is devoid of epithets and bullying.

    3. Whether one is attempting to convince a committee, a board of directors, a judge or a jury, the merits of an argument are not judged on a point system. Again, a convincing argument is one that is persuasive; forget the high school debate team.

    4. An effective argument is cohesive. A list of 60 reasons to banish Lincoln to the pits of hell is useless because it is boring and disjointed. There is a difference between the persuader and the polemicist.

    5. Because arguments are not won in the sense you understand, the conclusion that one has prevailed by default is meaningless self-delusion. When you lose an entire audience, you can’t declare a victory. Indeed, it merely means that you have persuaded no one.

    Two further points. First, Prof. Turley does not interject himself on these threads. He presents topics of interest, and people who follow this blog take it from there. He is not some sort of referee or lunchroom monitor.

    Second, and finally, the phrase “violated every argumentative fallacy” is grammatically abhorrent.

    I am now as exhausted as this thread. Goodnight.

  5. I think you guys have violated every argumentative fallacy in the book. How many posts above had to do with the issues??? None. I actually win by default because my posts above weren’t even challenged.

    Good job guys!!!

  6. Otteray

    “The interesting thing Dr. Wood and his colleagues discovered was that the more facts, science, and hard evidence is presented, the harder conspiracy theorists hold onto the delusional belief. This is a pattern that borders on, or perhaps edges into, mental illness.”

    One other behavioral trait evidenced by C.T.s is their propensity for creating arguments with straw men. They appear to fixate on thier own misperception of what others have said, not on what was actually said. I believe this has something to do with confirmation bias. If evidence is introduced which contradicts their bias, they will immediately transform the evidence into something else. Thus, they will repeat over and over the same arguments as if no evidence has ever been presented to refute them.

    A normal person would, naturally, examine the evidence, weigh it, compare it with his own argument and adjust. The C.T., however, cannot budge from his original misperception. Nor does he feel obliged to present his own evidence, because all evidence to the contrary is immediately refracted through his prismatic bias and dismissed.

    I think this also has something to do with feelings of inferiority. Any admission of any misstatement, misperception or mischaracterization, often in ad hominem form, is perceived not merely as weakness, but as a personal threat.


  7. Chap. LXIII.—An Act to increase the Pay of Privates in the Regular Army and in the Volunteers in the Service of the United States, and for other Purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the pay of the privates in the regular army and volunteers in the service of the United States be thirteen dollars per month for three years from and after the passage of this act and until otherwise fixed by law.

    Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the provisions of the act entitled “An Act for the Relief of the Ohio and other Volunteers,” approved July twenty-fourth, eighteen hundred and sixty one, be and the same are hereby extended to all volunteers mustered into the service of the United States, whether for one, two, or three years, or for and during the war.

    Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That all the acts, proclamations, and orders of the President of the United States after the fourth of March, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, respecting the army and navy of the United States, and calling out or relating to the militia or volunteers from the States, are hereby approved and in all respects legalized and made valid, to the same intent and with the same effect as if they had been issued and done under the previous express authority and direction of the Congress of the United States.

    Approved, August 6, 1861.


  8. I demand that O. S. prove that his so called recipie is the same recipie immortalized by Robert Burns.

    Of course, this demand will be ignored.

    pbh wins again!


    1. pbh,

      You indeed win again. Larry doesn’t even have a relevant haggis recipe, which shows why he’s wrong and Lincoln was a God.

  9. HAGGIS (Traditional Scottish Recipe version)

    Set of sheep’s heart, lungs and liver
    One sheep stomach
    3 cups finely chopped suet
    One cup medium ground oatmeal (steel-cut oats only, not rolled oats)
    Two medium onions, finely chopped
    One cup beef stock
    One teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon pepper
    One teaspoon nutmeg
    ½ teaspoon mace

    Carefully clean the sheep stomach and remove lining after soaking. Instructions for how to do this can be found online.

    Trim off any excess fat and sinew from the sheep’s organs and, if present, discard the windpipe. Place in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an hour or possibly longer to ensure that they are all tender. Drain and cool.

    Some chefs toast the steel-cut oats in an oven until it is thoroughly dried out (but not browned or burnt!)

    Finely chop the meat and combine in a large bowl with the suet, oatmeal, finely chopped onions, beef stock, salt, pepper, nutmeg and mace. Make sure the ingredients are mixed well. Stuff the meat and spices mixture into the sheep stomach which should be over half full. Then press out the air and tie the open ends tightly with string. Make sure to leave room for the mixture to expand or else it may burst while cooking. Poke a few holes in it with a sharp needle to reduce the steam pressure, otherwise it might explode. If it explodes, haggis is really hard to get off the ceiling and walls.

    Place in a pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil and immediately reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for three hours. Avoid boiling vigorously to avoid bursting the skin.

    Some people like to pour a little whisky over their haggis, but don’t use too much or it will chill the haggis. Cold haggis is not appetizing. Have someone recite Robert Burns Ode to a Haggis as it is served.

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