Skip to comments.What Ron Paul Gets Wrong
Posted on 11/17/2012 8:17:44 AM PST by Kaslin
Congressman Ron Paul has just delivered his valedictory address in the House of Representatives. And he has told TV interviewers that the American Revolution was a wonderful example of secession. He's a much better OB/GYN, I'm sure, than he is a student of America's history. He could be cited for political malpractice.
If the Founding Fathers and the Patriots who fought and won the Revolution were seceding, why is it that none of them ever called it secession? They certainly had the word back then. They invoked the well-known right of revolution. They had read their John Locke and their Montesquieu, to be sure, but they most often listened to sermons advocating independence--especially those of the New England clergy.
Then, again, why is it that the Confederates of 1861 did not claim that their Secession movement was an exercise of the right of revolution? They were careful not to call it revolution. That's because if they as slaveholders had a right of revolution--to secure what they regarded as their unalienable rights--then so did their slaves.
No one was more eloquent on this point than Thomas Jefferson. Although a slaveholder throughout his life, and never able to disentangle himself from that peculiar institution, Jefferson wrote at length about the injustice of slavery. "The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time." Speaking of slavery, Jefferson said "we have the wolf by the ears."
Movingly, he said "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just and His justice cannot sleep forever." He went on to say that in a revolution by the slaves to secure their undeniable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, God would be on the side of the slaves.
Congressman Paul is wrong to suggest that our American War of Independence was an act of secession from the British Empire. Those Whiskey Rebels ion the Pennsylvania frontier in 1794 were certainly unhappy with taxes on their only cash crop, corn. They rebelled against the Excise Taxes imposed by the new Washington administration. President Washington himself led troops into the field to put down that rebellion by force. It was an overwhelming show of force, too.
President Andrew Jackson was himself a slaveholder, but when in 1832 South Carolina tried to nullify federal laws within their state's borders, Jackson called it treason. And he rattled his saber. Ex-President James Madison backed him up to the hilt. Madison compared the leader of the "Nullies"--John C. Calhoun--to the serpent in the garden. Tough stuff.
When Virginia's governor told Jackson he could not march troops through the Old Dominion, Old Hickory roared back. He would march at the head of the army, he said, and if any man tried to bar his way, "I will hang him as high as Haman!"
Virginia backed down. South Carolina backed down. And John C. Calhoun, it is recorded, became even paler.
What Ron Paul is talking about is dangerous. Those of us who are dissatisfied with the election results--and there are millions of us--have no recourse but to ballots. There must be no recourse from ballots to bullets, said Jefferson. Said Lincoln.
If Ron Paul wants to advocate revolution or civil war, he should say so openly. If he wants to invoke the right of revolution, he should tell his followers to count the cost. We suffered 630,000 dead in the Civil War. Is he willing to lose that many again? Or, with our population increase, ten times that many?
Other politicians, those in Lincoln's time, pooh-poohed the idea of much bloodshed from secession. One fire-eating secesh leader said he would wipe up with his handkerchief all the blood that might be shed over secession.
Such careless men were not hanged, mercifully. But they deserve the awful censure of history.
Ah, Ken Blackwell. Another RINO on his knees with his mouth wide open, begging to be fed.
Feh on him.
“[Ron Paul] could be cited for political malpractice” for calling the break from Britain secession instead of revolution.
No, but the author is definately guilty of journalistic malpractice.
The Declaration makes a simple argument:
1. Humans have rights from the Creator
2. Governments exist to secure those rights (a debatable assertion but we’ll roll with it.)
3. When the government fails to secure those rights, we can ditch it and start our own government.
That’s pretty much all it says. If you thought that was true in 1776, when tax rates were 1% and there was no such thing as a the EPA or the FBI or the IRS, why is it not true now? Because we’re so much more free now? And, no, the Declaration did not say that the government is free to violate rights as long as people get to vote on it.
The Declaration establishes that there’s no such thing as treason, and a free government requires the assumption of just secession.
Thus the whole Revolution [of 17751783] turned upon, asserted, and, in theory, established, the right of each and every man, at his discretion, to release himself from the support of the government under which he had lived. And this principle was asserted, not as a right peculiar to themselves, or to that time, or as applicable only to the government then existing; but as a universal right of all men, at all times, and under all circumstances.
Tricky point. There was much talk in the South of a "Revolution of 1861" at the time, but that paradigm died out, mostly for the reason Blackwell gives.
Yes and this isn’t 1832 and the 10th Ammendment allows for states to nullify unconstitutional Federal laws.
The Federal govt only has as much power as the states allow it to have. 20 states using nullification could bring the Feds into line in a few weeks.
Ken Blackwell plays a game of semantics to retort Ron Paul. Pretty sad.
Ken Blackwell, however, is still wrong.
secede: To withdraw formally from membership in an organization, association, or alliance.
Ken Blackwell gets it wrong. Technically, the "American Revolution" was a secession and not a revolution. A secession is a withdrawal from a group, a revolution is a violet overthrow of the group. We did not overthrow the King of England.
It’s exactly what the Founders were doing; they just chose not to use the word.
Technically the American Revolution was a rebellion not a secession. We rebelled against the crown.
I am a small l libertarian...
having said that, ron paul is a nut job..
having said that, ron paul IS more in line with the constitution and the rights of the feds, states and people more so than any rino, and that inlcudes mittens mcromney..
perhaps the “mainstream” republicans are still trying to drive a wedge between libertarians and conservatives, because heaven forbid, if we actually came to the alliance that is natural between us, we could and would dominate the party...
Gov. Henry had some particularly choice words about people like Mr. Blackwell. I haven’t the mastery of the language that Gov. Henry did.
I do wish Mr. Blackwell the best. May his handlicking be recognized and appropriately rewarded.
When evidence is sufficient to distrust those who count the ballots, recourse reverts from ballots to bullets.
We in the South did not attempt to overthrow, nor overthrow, the Federal Government - only asserted this right to withdraw from it. - The South was not “allowed” to withdraw peacefully as the founding documents provide, nor will the red states be “allowed” to secede as many people are petitioning to do now.
Whatever would the Democrat liberal cesspool cities on the coasts of the U.S. do without the RESOURCES of the red cities?
Secession is an empty topic. “Buy-out” is a possibility, though. The commies LOVE money.
What ever would the Democrat liberal cesspool cities on the coasts of the U.S. do without the RESOURCES of the red states?
I think secession is on the far end of a spectrum. Some form of political divorce is probably inevitable, but what form that takes is an open question. And there are other models of alliance within our own country even today such as a commomweath or territorial status.
For example did you know that the residents of the territory of Guam do not pay Federal income taxes? The government of Guam collects income taxes in essentially the same amount but retains that revenue.
Of course the gop is continuing to drive a wedge. The gop hates conservatism and liberty as much as the ‘rats do. We’re just “useful idiots” for them to achieve and retain power.
Keep in mind though that secession or autonomy or whatever you want to call political divorce has many facets. Some more extreme than others. Frankly I think that secession in the form of having a complete divorce and establishment of a new country is not in the cards. At least not yet. However some pieces of the whole obtaining greater political autonomy almost certainly IS in the cards.
Ultimately a group of people (state or region) have a right to call it quits. The big question always is what the other side does, if anything, to force them to stay within the status quo.
Amazing how one word “SECESSION” can evoke such passions. To the status quo lovers it is like showing the cross to a vampire. To the lover of the republic, it is a gate to freedom. No other word does this.
Actually no. A lot of other words evoke political passions. It's just that this is something that you are personally interested in. And what "lovers of the republic" seek to tear it apart?
Funny how you instantly responded to something that you feel no passion about.
It happens when I read something particularly stupid online.
The issue in each case is not the verbiage but the asserted grievances, and those can stir up quite a row among Conservatives--something we really do not need at this moment in time--when directed to the 1860 & 1861 decisions.
While, frankly, I believe--as did many in New England, also, in 1812--that there is a Constitutional right to secede, I sincerely hope that no one will do so, at this time. We have not exhausted the less extreme ways to deal with the terrible crisis in America.
Incidentally Ken needs to understand an essential point. While the colonies were in point of fact, really States in 1775 & 1776, it took the Revolution to vindicate that & the Treaty of Paris to recognize their sovereignty--as opposed to the House of Hanover holding the sovereignty. Secession was seen as an act based upon that sovereignty. (See, if you are interested, Treaty Of Paris--1783, on the sovereignty question.)
who fired the first shot of the civil war??
south or north???
“Amazing how one word SECESSION can evoke such passions.”
We’re discussing fundamental questions about our republican values, same as our forebearers. And since we’re playing semantic games here, let’s get the definitions right:
verb (used without object), se·ced·ed, se·ced·ing.
to withdraw formally from an alliance, federation, or association, as from a political union, a religious organization, etc.
noun 1. an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.
The defitions overlap in some ways, but it seems to me that the South seceded and the War of Independance was a revolution. That’s my $0.02.
Maybe the better answer is that the issue was highly contensious through colonial times right through the drafting of the constitution, to the Missouri Compromise, abolition, Nat Turner, Bleeding Kansas, Harper’s Ferry...
Making it an “either or” trivia questions seems kind of small.
As a fellow Cincinnatian, I am embarrassed for Ken. He should stick to what he knows.
At Fort Sumter, S. Carolina, my great great grandfather, BECAUSE YA’LL WERE DOWN HEAH!!!!
secede: To withdraw formally from membership in an organization, association, or alliance.
American Revolution declared independence from Great Britain. This is secession.
The colonialists, having failed at achieving the recognition and representation they believed they were entitled to as true subjects, openly rebelled against the crown. This is rebellion, not secession.
The Declaration of Independence says differently.
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, ...”
- Declaration of Independence
That doesn’t change the fact that The American Revolution was an open and violent rebellion to the authority of the crown.
“Secession was seen as an act based upon that sovereignty.”
I like your point about sovereignty.
This Ken Blackwell is now on the pay-no-mind list with Mitch Daniels, anyone named Bush, anyone named Romney, Krispy Kreme, etc.
The Declaration of Independence should be carefully studied, by the way. It is not at all what it has been misrepresented as by many on the Left, and even some in the center. (See Declaration Of Independence--With Study Guide.)
That may be your inference but that is not in what I said.