LESSONS IN LOGIC: Is the Confederate Battle Flag a Symbol of States’ Rights?

I fully understand this will not be a popular post, so I want to start by making it very clear: I oppose slavery — in every form!  That said, I heard something today to which I had to respond.  I heard someone claim that the Confederacy was not about States’ rights.  The thinking is, because the Confederate Constitution mandated slavery for inclusion in the Confederacy.  But this is a fallacy.  Look why the Confederate States seceded: because they were being told they could not continue the practice of slavery.  This is the flip side of the coin.  If it is not about States’ rights to say you must be a slave State, then how is it about States’ rights to say you cannot be a slave State?  The truth is, the Civil War was about the right of the States to secede from the union.  It could just as well have been over some other issue, but because it was over slavery, the emotion of the issue has clouded the principle involved.  The key is to remember that people can choose wrongly, and in my opinion, that is what the Confederate States did chose wrongly.  However, they had the right to secede, and the North took that right from them.  Oh, and this is not my opinion, it is the opinion of the men who created the nation:

If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation… to a continuance in union… I have no hesitation in saying, ‘let us separate.’

–Thomas Jefferson

“Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a FEDERAL, and not a NATIONAL constitution”

–James Madison

“If the States were not left to leave the Union when their rights were interfered with, the government would have been National, but the Convention refused to baptize it by that name.”

–Daniel Webster

That the States had the right to secede was also understood by those outsiders who took the time to learn and understand the nature of the nation our founders had created:

“The Union was formed by the voluntary agreement of the states; and these, in uniting together, have not forfeited their nationality, nor have they been reduced to the condition of one and the same people. If one of the states chooses to withdraw from the compact, it would be difficult to disapprove its right of doing so, and the Federal Government would have no means of maintaining its claims directly either by force or right.”

–Alexis de Tocqueville

The true lesson to be learned from the Civil War is that it is the point where the United States — as founded — was destroyed.  Lincoln presided over that destruction.  He killed the Federal and ushered in the creation of a National Government.  It is a classic example of how good intentions can and often lead to greater harm than leaving things to run their natural course.

20 responses to “LESSONS IN LOGIC: Is the Confederate Battle Flag a Symbol of States’ Rights?

  1. Pingback: LESSONS IN LOGIC: Let’s Ban ALL ‘Hate Flags!’ | The Oil in Your Lamp

  2. I think there are innumerable examples of quotes and texts from the founding fathers that, although they stood strongly for what they believed in, they knew they could not predict things; such as the articles of confederation being a flop, or the industrial revolution that would show that a unified nation, rather than a bunch of city-states, if you will, would be in the best interest of all. The constitution being amendable was the key foresight that is far more important than a few quotes supporting the loose and ineffective government system in the aftermath of the American Revolution

    • cjcannon08,

      Oh, I beg to differ. Not only could they predict the things you say they could not see, they actually did speak to them. If you read their private letters, you would know they understood that the Articles of Confederation could not succeed because it was not strong enough. This is because they understood human nature. If you understand human nature and you read the Articles of Confederation, it is a simple thing to see that it would not succeed.

      The same applies to the idea that a National Government is better for all. In fact, they spoke VERY strongly against this — and history is proving they were right!!! The more centralized, the less free — period! The founders knew this and said so and history has sided with them (mostly because they knew and understood Natural Law and human nature).

      Finally, the dismissal of our founders words shows me that you are firmly planted on the wrong side of right — where right is understood to be the rights of the INDIVIDUAL. By dismissing the understanding which founded this nation as “a few quotes,’ you reveal that the spirit you are espousing is an enemy of the individual and of individual liberty.

  3. I did not feel as though I dismissed words. I merely pointed out an important part of the process of creating new laws in the U.S. Constitution (amendments). If “They” knew these two forms of government were doomed from the beginning why did “they” approve of the Articles of Confederation after debating so long about it?… And yes a strong central government was viewed as bad, understandably so for them, but I do not stand on the side that the founders would be disappointed at the achievements and the FULL scope of events that has happened in America’s story in comparison to the rest of the world 250+ years after the start? I think this is as good as it can be for now. We see weaker, uncentralized governments in today’s industrialized world, and I surely am glad to be on this side. I can’t think of anything I want to do that I cannot because of “Big Brother” or whoever oppressing me. Individual freedom in America and for me is strongly in tact. A nation in the world of 2015 could not be foreseen, not even in a broad sense, by anyone living in 1776. The intricate details of technology and politics and societies today is what our country and the world has and have had to adapt to. My major point is that the founders most important understanding is that they could not fathom to understand so far into the future, and that being known, adapting (amendments) is the best answer they or anyone had for an ever changing future

    • Funny, the founders foresaw a nation of some 300 MILLION people, and yet, they saw no need to centralize.

      The idea that ‘complexity’ and/or ‘technology’ change things is a lie people tell themselves to justify tyranny. What you are actually arguing here is who gets to be in charge of the controls of that tyranny.

      This is also how I know the founders understood everything they needed to understand to be able to see into the future: they understood man (human nature). If they failed at anything it was in their belief that man would continue to believe in God. They could not see man turning from God to himself: believing another lie — that man is god. This is why they had faith in humanity. It is why Jefferson said WHEN the nation started to fall apart (he did not say ‘if), that there would still be good people left to repair it. Given the advent of centralized power over society, this is no longer possible. We have become too depraved.

      So, if they failed to see something, it was that: the depravity of their descendents.

      • History has seen tyranny and has many examples of it. Living in America is no example of tyranny. If that’s what you’re implying it just sounds like fear mongering to me

        • If you do not recognize the tyranny that exists in this nation today, then you are the perfect example of how the Germans followed Hitler into the nightmare he caused this world.

          As for our founders: they would not only have seen and recognized the tyranny in this nation, they would have long since started shooting over it.

          • Where’s this tyranny? Now that’s definitely fearmongering, the whole Hitler reference… The founders knew how to handle revolution and starting a nation and did their part for America. But they weren’t in the positions of the Abe Lincoln, the Teddy Roosevelts, Woodrow Wilson, or FDR, etc. to make the big decisions to preserve the nation rather than let it divide, or strengthen it so it did not fall victim to foreign powers… I see your strong conservative stance and never understand what conservatives truly want when they invoke what the founding fathers wanted. I never hear a solution other than “leave everyone alone, all the time, no exceptions”. Ideally, what would you have government do in this modern time? Promote that every citizen get a gun and solve every problem we have foreign and domestic? What solutions do you have?

            • The reference to Hitler was only in connection to the path Germany followed in the 1930’s. No ‘fearmongering’ there; just historic example.

              The founders would have allowed the States to secede — because they were principled men who believed in liberty. This is also why they did not see the Revolution in the way most do today. They saw it as a legal action. Since the laws of man had failed them, they took it to the Highest Authority in the Universe (and said so).

              As for you labeling me a conservative: I am NOT a conservative, and many of the people on the RNL (a blog to which I contribute) will testify to this. That is a ‘Conservative’ blog and I ‘war’ with them quite frequently. Nor am i a Libertarian. I oppose them, as well. I am a CLASSIC Liberal — as were our founders. Thus, contrary to your claim, I seriously doubt you understand much about me at all — though I am sure you are convinced you do.

              As to your last comments; THAT is an emotional appeal (you call it fearmongering). It is also strawman and thoroughly fallacious. But then, I have come to expect this sort of thing from people who cannot argue on any grounds other than how they ‘feel’ about something. 😦

  4. Oh and my views on the Confederate flag is that MOST people that use it do not think about racism really with it as much as they may think simply about being from the deep south or having great great grandfathers having fought in the Civil War. But my personal view is that its a symbol of treason, rebellion, defeat, and fighting for the “states’ rights ” to perpetuate slavery. I don’t get that kind of “pride” I guess but I don’t aim to. It should be put to popular vote like all good debatable things. Individuals of course can do with it what they will, but state capitals flying it proudly in their capitals, I think is odd under the historical circumstances, and I’m from Alabama. But I am all for voting on it which I’m sure it would be a “yes” here in my state. But of course I’d vote no

    • “But my personal view is that its a symbol of treason, rebellion…”

      And with those words, you affirm my assertion that you stand on the side that seeks to oppress the liberty of the individual. Your words demonstrate that you have no qualms about forcing what YOU think best onto other people. You’d even tax them to enforce their own slavery.

      I founders definitely foresaw you. It is one of the primary reasons they sought to divide power in this nation — to DECENTRALIZE! So that those who are of the same spirit as you would have a much more difficult time enslaving this nation.

      • Did you read my entire post? Surely you would have saw the part where I said people should vote it out… I’m confused why you would have that response when I clearly separated my view from what I believe should be done… Another conservative trend, being so imposing…. I think its unAmerican to impose your politics without being open to others. So no i do not seek to oppress unless you always equivocate oppression to a popular vote

        • My politics? I support and defend the principles of liberty. I do not consider that to be ‘politics:’ I see it as Natural Law — a law that governs as surely as the laws of physics. I have an entire blog dedicated to this very subject, http://www.theroadtoconcord.com

          Yes, I read your entire post. Telling me you believe people should be able to vote on tyranny does not absolve one’s self of the fact that they are still supporting tyranny. Woodrow Wilson, the father of the American Progressive movement, actually advocasted for the notion of elected dictatorship under a centralized government. It is the spirit behind the notion that we cannot question or disagree with a DEMOCRAT President once he/she is elected (this does not seem to apply to Republicans). And that is also the first sign of the tyranny to which you seem to be blind.

          Since you seem to need others, here are just afew examples of tyranny: the trampling of INDIVIDUAL rights in the name of something else (which is always just a rationalization/justification for said tyranny):

          EVERYTHING we call “Political Correctness.”

          The courts overturning duly and legally ratified amendments to State constitutions (most notably in the areas of ILLEGAL aliens and the defense of marriage).

          The refusal to close the borders or require ID to vote (tramples the right of the law-abiding citizen by violating the Social Contract).

          The PROGRESSIVE income tax (this is actually a form of slavery).

          Affirmative Action laws (forces people to contract against their will).

          Racial discrimination laws (same thing)

          ‘Hate’ crimes (disparity in punishment based on a subjective notion of what is and is not ‘hate’ treats citizens differently based solely on the emotions of the given issue).

          The entire system of licensing in this nation is tyranny (to force someone to pay for the right to earn a living is a clear violation of the principles upon which this nation was founded).

          The State support of attacks on religion (most notably Christianity).

          The State support of the eviction of all forms of religion from the public square (another clear violation of INDIVIDUAL Natural Rights).

          Forced education and vaccination programs are also tyranny.

          I could keep going, but if you do not see the error in your position, you never will (and I suspect you never will — at least, not until you suffer from your own policies in a personal way that you choose to recognize).

  5. Voting on whether a certain flag is a appropriate or acceptable to be flown over a state capitol, doesn’t have the depth in it to be called tyranny. It’s a vote for or against a flag…. And it is just and upright to be all in for the principles of liberty. But when you start talking about “‘Natural Law’ governing as surely as physics”, that is where I find some error when you use that as an absolute. Just because you put the word “Natural” behind law does not mean everyone has to believe in it wholeheartedly. I believe in Natural Law to a certain degree, “all people having certain inalienable rights…” etc. But I can separate Natural Law from ends justifying means and not letting that be a contradiction to values, but a healthy balance that the world or a nation may need. And that last part, I’m sure, makes you think I’m screaming “Heil Hitler” with the masses. But Natural Laws have to cover cause and effect, action and reaction, and desperate times, desperate measures, all of which I think time and again America has stepped up to the plate to do for the sake progression and not digression. And I don’t feel these contradict being a proponent of individual liberty. Some things are have been mediated in to law and some things are just practical solutions after certain events take place. Mistakes have and will be made, but the outcomes from our political history as a nation had uglier potential than that of which we could be seeing today. And I’m grateful for a lot that has taken place to secure that. Everything you referenced falls far short of tyranny in my opinion, and seems like they are all reactionary laws put in place because of other injustices to balance things out….
    But hey I do plan on checking out your blog dedicated to Natural Laws. Sounds like an interesting topic to put time into researching

    • You do not have to believe in the laws of physics, either, or economics. In fact, many do not. But that does not mean they do not exist, or that they will not assert themselves, because they do. History is very, very clear on this.

      Now, you are free to think and feel whatever you please. It will not change reality because reality exists outside of our personal desires and ambitions. It is a lesson humans seem unable to learn…

    • Cjcannon08,

      I am coming late to the discussion. But your quote here is rather curious :

      ” the industrial revolution that would show that a unified nation, rather than a bunch of city-states, if you will, would be in the best interest of all.”

      How in the world do you come to this conclusion ? Linking a technological and economic innovation with preferred political structure. The example of Europe would show just the opposite. And further their unified “experiment” with socialism and thence their flirtation with the EU shows just the opposite of what you posit.

      In addition American economics circa 1840s-1860 was bifurcated between agricultural south and the increasingly industrialized north. One of the touch points leading to the Civil War was the usurpation ( real and perceived) of political power by the northern States using the Federal gov’t. to insure more favorable financial consideration for the northern States. So under this scenario in fact the “Unified” nation was decidedly NOT in the best interest of all.

      • Cjcannon08,

        I was aware of the points DonAmeche just made. I didn’t mention them because I knew — eventually — he would be along and would notice your comments. I would strongly advise you consider his comment and NOT attempt to engage him. Trust me, should you make this mistake, it will not go well for you — not on this issue 🙂

      • I am even later than you were but:
        The South invrrasingly industrialized too. And the issue of slavery had to be resolved. Trying to resolve that made everything worth it, even if it was primarily only to preserve the union. That, to me, IS what’s in the best interest of all

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