To: x; WhiskeyPapa
As for Mencken, I think he misunderstands the questions behind the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln wasn't talking about the right of self-determination, but about the survival of free, constitutional and democratic republics. The demands that groups made for self-determination would tear apart self-governing societies, and secession would be a warrant for perpetual war and all the anarchy and tyranny that war brings. You can agree or disagree with Lincoln, but simply giving a green light to every movement that demands secession on its own terms at its own will, doesn't prevent the dilemmas Lincoln calls our attention to. Such a policy would be more likely to create and exacerbate them.
The idea that state sovereignty equals the sovereignty of the people of the states equals freedom is another that can be called into question. The idea of minority rights defended by "state's right's" advocates can also be applied against "state's rights." If I am not free because of the abuses of majorities at the federal level, do abuses of majorities at the state level leave me any freer? Similarly, the idea that "the Confederates went into battle free" is also open to debate. It depends on how one defines "Confederates" and "free." Mencken's sentence opens up too many cans of worms to be accepted at face value as true.
Great job. Great summary of Mencken's error in oversimplifying the issues and misrepresenting the words of Mr. Lincoln. Anyone who earnestly consults the record--particularly a certain well known fellow named Washington and another one folks might have heard of named Madison--will find that secession does not equal self-determination, least of all in our system. Washington and Madison said so explicitly more than once. I daresay they are qualified to speak on the subject.
If some reader doesn't believe me (and why should you?) please go do a thorough investigation. I am sure WhiskeyPapa has a few quotations handy to point you on your way. Again, great job x. You nailed it.
posted on 06/21/2002 7:07:05 AM PDT
To: Huck; WhiskeyPapa; Ditto; ravinson; rdf
Check out the article in the July "Liberty" Magazine entitled, "Liberty and Union, Now and Forever." It's a criticism by a libertarian of the Rockwellite enthusiasm for the Confederacy and secession. It's a long article, and I don't know what to make of the whole, but the author makes some good points. He made one of the Rockwellites livid. Unfortunately, I don't think the article is available on the Internet.
posted on 06/21/2002 5:28:52 PM PDT
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