What do Progressives think of Nullification and/or Secession?

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What do Progressives think of Nullification and/or Secession?

FrankChodorov's picture
FrankChodorov
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Rather than wait for the first comment from someone willing to play your silly game.....why don't you post your prepared cut n' paste response a head of time and cut to the chase?

norske's picture
norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

How is asking a question about a political issue a silly game? But since you asked, I support both.

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FrankChodorov
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Here's an idea to mull over Frank - how about a law that says that each state gets back in benefits the amount that state pays towards the Federal Government.....

Basically a Federal balanced budget in regards to taxes collected and benefits returned to each state individually.....

obviously a per capita ding for National Security would have to be levied....

For example Alaska and Utah are the largest welfare states in the nation in regards to federal spending in relation to tax dollars paid in - basically leading to a federal debt being created by those individual states -

debt that is paid by California and other states that pay in far more than they receive in federal assisstance........

What do you think about that Frank?

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mtdon
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Quote mtdon:

Here's an idea to mull over Frank - how about a law that says that each state gets back in benefits the amount that state pays towards the Federal Government.....

Basically a Federal balanced budget in regards to taxes collected and benefits returned to each state individually.....

obviously a per capita ding for National Security would have to be levied....

For example Alaska and Utah are the largest welfare states in the nation in regards to federal spending in relation to tax dollars paid in - basically leading to a federal debt being created by those individual states -

debt that is paid by California and other states that pay in far more than they receive in federal assisstance........

What do you think about that Frank?

Why take money from the States, send it to the Federal Gov't, and then send it back to the States again? Even putting aside the transactions costs, what would be the point? Why not just have each State keep the money in the State? The Feds could levy an amount for National Defense, and leave it up to the States how to collect. I do agree with you that one State shouldn't be subsidizing another. It is ironic that "liberal" NJ and CA subsidize "conservative" Mississippi and Alaska.

I think you've touched on an important point. Should wealth be transferred from richer states to poorer states? Should someone in New Hampshire have to pay for the education, health care, etc. of someone in Alaska?

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FrankChodorov
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you'll notice that the "welfare" states are dang near 100% the "conservative" states and the "nanny" states are the progressive ones -

talk about hypocracy.....

which is why I'd love to see the fed's dole out money based on their share paying into it....

Alaska prides itself on being "self sufficient" when it is a welfare state on the federal level and pays out a state oil fund to every citizen - and they complain about "socialism' when that's the closest thing to it in America......

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mtdon
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Quote mtdon:

talk about hypocracy.....

which is why I'd love to see the fed's dole out money based on their share paying into it....

Interesting concept. Do you also apply this concept to people?

I don't think the concept should apply to people or states for the same reason. When applying a common goal, you can't reach it by locking out the little guy. For instance, when Interstate 95 was run from Maine to Florida, should it have started and ended at the Georgia borders because they could not pay a bigger share of the highway taxes? Should there be no highways connecting central States to western States because the midwest States are poor? Just like with people, the "I got mine, now screw them" attitude does not work on the state level either.

I do limit my opinion to interstate issues. If an issue affect a State and only that State, then there should be no expectancy for another State to help pay for it. In which case it wouln't make sense to send the money to Washington and get it back. When a State spends money on their own issues, like State employee pension funds, then coming up with funds should be their own issue.

Paleo-con
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I think secession and nullification are romantic pieces of nostalgia for those living in the Southern fantasy of America. That game was lost when the Articles of Confederation were discarded for a stronger federal union. The loss was ratified in the Civil War, and the facts of being a coherent nation require a both/and micro and macro governance. All the bluster about transfer costs and "why send money to DC only to have it sent back" ignores the need for national unification instead of division.

Attention to local realities is not about withdrawal into isolation or some idea that if you have a problem in North Dakota, you are on your own. It is how Bush handled New Orleans, but it is not a good philosophy for America.

While there are grounds for discussing serious revisions of borders and even regional separation or more confederation autonomy, the particular doctrines raised for this thread are pure Southern nostalgia and resistance to integration. If there is any reason to reject these concepts more damning that racism and slavery, just add it to the warrant. These ideas are only useful for fantasies.

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DRC
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Quote DRC:

I think secession and nullification are romantic pieces of nostalgia for those living in the Southern fantasy of America. That game was lost when the Articles of Confederation were discarded for a stronger federal union. The loss was ratified in the Civil War, and the facts of being a coherent nation require a both/and micro and macro governance. All the bluster about transfer costs and "why send money to DC only to have it sent back" ignores the need for national unification instead of division.

Attention to local realities is not about withdrawal into isolation or some idea that if you have a problem in North Dakota, you are on your own. It is how Bush handled New Orleans, but it is not a good philosophy for America.

While there are grounds for discussing serious revisions of borders and even regional separation or more confederation autonomy, the particular doctrines raised for this thread are pure Southern nostalgia and resistance to integration. If there is any reason to reject these concepts more damning that racism and slavery, just add it to the warrant. These ideas are only useful for fantasies.

I don't know about that DRC. If the West coast (of America) would secede from the rest of the country, I might actually consider moving back to the USA...

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meljomur
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That is in my future discussion part where we look at viable natural economic units and watersheds. Making rivers borders is nuts because they are what most needs coherent policy management. Mountain ranges do provide very good definitions for governance.

The point is to think about the future instead of allowing our dysfunctions to become our identities. While the Pacific Republic has great weather and fine food goodies, and all the American wine of note, we would have to have political relationships with the Great Basin and Plains, not to mention the Blue Blood Northeast and however the South figures out its Southwest connection.

Can you imagine the rape of the land outside the West if regional autonomy is the rule. Who in the South is going to stop mountain top removal or insure anything other than Honky rule?

My bigger point was just that this romantic nostalgia is a Southern meme of utter impracticality. At some point we need to think about a future not compromised by a past we refuse to deal with. America cannot remain an 18th Century political design and be a modern democracy. Amending this Constitution will not be enough. It is time to learn what works for democracy and to have it come to the USA.

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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Call me a romantic, but I've had it up to here with the Red States. Rather than secession, I think we need an Expulsion amendment to the Constitution.

I think we made a big mistake in 1861.

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It is hard to know what we missed by keeping the South from being a separate country, moving West and establishing slavery or at least a feudalist alternative to the Enlightenment Liberalism of the North.

Do you think we would have avoided more wars? Do you think the North would just do our thing without the burden of the South. And what of Mexico, and the potential union with, well us or them? Or Canada?

The problem with Balkanization, is "balkanization." The value of a national unity is that it embraces diversities in a bigger identity, if not a more profound one. I like the idea that our national union is a mutuality of rooted identities and not some abstraction that gets us into some divine mission or great power responsibility myth. Unfortunately, our current culture war is just the Civil War Redux; and the issue is who can be the better imperialists.

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Hi Meljomur - do you mean you've had it w/ the western US or that you'd love to live in a seperate western US?

Southern Oregon and Northern Cal wanted to split up from oregon and california and start a new state called JEFFERSON -

new age, weed growing hippies and survivalists all rolled together into one big happy family? we used to just call those people deadheads!

the state of jefferson would control a HUGE amount of water w/ a small population though -

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mtdon
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Quote DRC:

It is hard to know what we missed by keeping the South from being a separate country, moving West and establishing slavery or at least a feudalist alternative to the Enlightenment Liberalism of the North.

Do you think we would have avoided more wars? Do you think the North would just do our thing without the burden of the South. And what of Mexico, and the potential union with, well us or them? Or Canada?

The problem with Balkanization, is "balkanization." The value of a national unity is that it embraces diversities in a bigger identity, if not a more profound one. I like the idea that our national union is a mutuality of rooted identities and not some abstraction that gets us into some divine mission or great power responsibility myth. Unfortunately, our current culture war is just the Civil War Redux; and the issue is who can be the better imperialists.

This is all ahistorical speculation, of course, sort of like asking if Waterloo would turn out differently if Napoleon had nuclear weapons.

Madison advocated an "extended Republic," such that local majorities could not oppress local minorities, who would seek the protection of out-of-state allies. Hamilton advocated an "extended Republic" as a way to avoid the balance of power rivalries as practiced by the Europeans. So, there is both an internal and external logic to having a big country.

Had the North allowed the South to leave, Africans would have remained slaves for a longer period, although eventually economics and world opinion would pressure the South to emancipate the slaves. Two American republics would probably not be able to avoid war, although the conflict would have been territorial in nature rather than abolition. Rendered asunder, the United States would have been less able to exert power in the western hemisphere, much less in the eastern hemisphere. Mexico might still be a colony of France and Canada a colony of Britain. The United States would have probably not fought the Spaniards in 1898, the Germans in 1917, or the Germans in 1941. Japan and, eventually, China would have controlled Asia, with consequences I couldn't imagine.

The world would be very different, I think. The United States would not enjoy the footprint in the world that is has today. Would that be a good thing or bad? Like Gore Vidal, I suspect a non-imperial America wouldn't have been such a bad thing.

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Nguarorerue
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Don't take this too seriously, but my best friend was a Civil War scholar (until his HMO decided he was getting too expensive) and a fan of criticizing alternate histories.

The by far most likely scenario for a successful southern secession is a collapse to a state similar to Diaz's Mexico, or, since Trotsky was in America in the time just before WW1, Russia. Yes, I am sugesting the Union of Confederate Socialist States. In that case no Americcan entry in WW1, the Germans get a better deal at Versailles (they could not have done worse), fewer angry people become Nazis, so even Zinoviev's incompetence can't stop the Communists from winning in Germany, and Trotsky runs the Communist movement in the Americas. In fact, if we're lucky, the whites win the counterrevolution, so no Stalin as well as no Hitler. And with Trotsky rather than Stalin Communism comes out a lot different.

Sounds to me like the world turns out a hell of a lot better - unless you live in the Confederacy.

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Dec. 6, 2010 10:49 am

If the South would have been left alone, the most direct result would have been the end of slavery. Prior to the War Between the States (It wasn't a Civil War), in order for a slave to reach freedom, he or she would have to get to Canada. Even though slavery was abolish in parts of the North, the Fugitive Slave Laws were in effect. Incidentally, as Tom Woods has pointed out, Wisconsin used Nullification against the Fugitive Slave Laws. If the South had successfully seceded, then escaped slaves would only have to make it to the North to be free. There would be no Constitutional obligation to return slaves to the South.

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I think you all miss the narrative conflict at play from the start in the meaning of slavery. And if you want to think of the expansion as something other than a "land grab," consider what the speculators and other schemers would have been doing on a politically divided frontier and with Mexican cohorts. Much as I love the vision of the Socialist South and Mexico, I think it would have still been about the exceptional White people and Manifest Destiny.

The course of American Empire follows the toxic eugenics and perverse sense of Providential endowment of its 19th Century flowering. Resource exploitation is not dimmed, and if anything the divisions make conservation more difficult. The power of money was rampant in the North, but it also ruled over the poverty in the South. I don't see anywhere that corporations and the new industrialism would have been less dominant for a divided America.

Of course we should have learned the lessons of Vietnam and gotten out of the empire and the Cold War narrative. A lot of bad stuff came out of WWII to push the empire and kill the republic. Nixon was in on a lot of crap including the Bay of Pigs.

Had we just split instead of fighting, I think the North would have absorbed them over time. The agricultural South would have had to stay at home instead of getting in the way of lands the North saw as theirs. Or it could have become a real rival which had to mean more wars.

I also think the North would have crappy rock and roll without the Southern sources that revolutionized American music. How much worse would it be if the South really owned the blues instead of inspiring so much of its material?

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For your amusement, I can recommend "C.S.A: The Confederate States of America," as an interpretation of what might have happened had the South won.

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Nguarorerue
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Jan. 11, 2011 1:44 pm

I have that in my Netflix instant watch. I'll watch it this evening. It's only rated at two and half stars (based on my tastes), but I can afford a couple of hours to throw away.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I was kidding. Besides until the gun laws in America change (even the west coast has pretty lax gun control), I don't want any part of living back there.

Yee haw!!

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meljomur
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What about the 100,000,000 human beings killed by their own governments last century. Do you think that could have happened if they were armed?

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FrankChodorov
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When an opressive regime resorts to violence its days are usually numbered. Violence esculates more often than it suppresses, and eventually the enlisted men stop shooting. That means that the answer to your question is that more people would die, but we would win more as well.

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doh1304
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What about the 100,000,000 human beings killed by their own governments last century. Do you think that could have happened if they were armed?
So, it sounds like you believe that an armed populace would be able to stand up to its Government in an armed conflict. Right?

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Art
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The German people possessed firearms during the Third Reich. The people of Cuba possess firearms under Castro. The notion that totalitarian regimes disarm their own citizenry is a myth.

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The Pentagon has the answers for armed conflict. They are getting better at fighting against the American revolutionaries of the 21st Century, who are no match for the Afghans. There you have people who know how to use guns to throw off the empires they have killed for the good of the world.

But they are not dealing with their own empire, and that is always much more difficult. Domestic armed resistance to a dominant military power can only happen if the military rebels. The Pentagon could decide to take over DC, and who could stop them? Not guns.

If you want the FARC going thirty years in the American wilderness while they turn into a money making gang instead of a revolutionary movement, I don't. If you think the militias will provide some security for remote communities, you forget about the rest of the infrastructure required. The political answers to our dilemma are not with violence.

They are with noncompliance and organized resistance in solidarity. They are with ridicule and the puncturing of the myths and illusions of power. To get rid of our own empire, we must see ourselves as something more than its victims or powerless spectators. We have to become citizens again and see ourselves connected as a people in a world of others. We have to become part of that world again instead of alienated from it.

That does not mean giving away our jobs, our resources and our vision of human life. It means owning them again and loving it.

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DRC
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What is it with you conservatives and your love of the gun? Have your guns, go ahead. But don't assume it makes you safer, it doesn't.

I know not many of you cons. pay much attention to what happens outside of the US. However Tunisians just overthrew their dictator president, and it's about as easy to get a gun in that country as it is to buy a pig...

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meljomur
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This is a great piece from Dylan Ratgan show that addresses this issue. Of course conservatives will scoff re the MSNBC source. I always need to defend my blue state from potshots from my friends most of whom conservative and live in Southern red states.

Usually they are indignant that most of the blue states are running larger deficits and may need "bailouts" but don't seem to realize THEY don't need bailouts simply because they've been beneficiaries of structural ongoing bailouts all along - courtesy of blue states....oh well, so much for the "rugged independent self sufficient individualists" of these states. NOT.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3096434/vp/41239638#41239638

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al3
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I am not now nor have I ever been a conservative. Before becoming a libertarian, I was your standard anti-war, pro- civil liberties liberal who knew nothing about economics.

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FrankChodorov
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So now are you an anti-war, pro-civil liberties libertarian who knows some things for sure about economics, but are wrong? Libertarian economics is an oxymoronic idea. Read Raj Patel on "economic man" to get the problem with "the enclosure" of human life. The price of everything leads to "The Value of Nothing."

Even if your personal economic strategy of individual self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, where entrepreneurial risks are like the Economic X Games, performing miraculous stunts without a net, were full of admirable and heroic figures, it would not serve a decent, much less democratic, society.

The spectators cannot just keep on paying for the show and concessions. They have to have a stake in the Games themselves sufficient to keep them able to buy the tickets and the food and drink or to afford the cable bills.

There is no mutuality in your libertarian economic model. There is no basic stake in the opponent being in the game for the next round present in the rules of your game. That other guy is supposed to take care of himself, and I cannot be so concerned about him that I don't defend my own interest. The game theory makes real compassion and mutuality not quite in your own interest, or at least a risk that keeps you from going all in for solidarity.

I doubt that you gave up all your liberal values just because you learned something about economics. I expect you found something wrong with what you had professed in faith before; and that feeling betrayed by liberal economics is part of the move to a radical alternative. In other words, I am not characterizing you other than in the narrow terms of economic theories. But these are more religious than we like to think. There is a strong sense of your own self involved in your theory, a morality at stake and not just a secular understanding of a social system called an economy.

I keep running up against this barrier, this ideological wall, in talking about economic systems and their design and management. The reason we have a passionate polemic is that we are debating essential doctrines on human nature, sin and grace in the guise of "free markets, capitalism, socialism" and all the labels. Deficits are dishonor, not just factors involved in smart investment/savings policies.

In the face of this ideological commitment, the best I can do is take folks back to a familiar experience: Playing Monopoly with others.

I find that people think they have learned how to participate in an economy from the skills it takes to win this game. Individual players are a lot like owners of businesses or average citizens seeking economic security by winning and "succeeding." No player is vested with the responsibility to manage the game or to have any concern for the success of other players. To the contrary, beating them is how the winner protects his interests from them.

The problem is that Monopoly is a game of economic pathology. It is about a system going out of balance and crashing when the "winner" runs the rest of the players out of "the economy." A game about a successful economy would be boring--unless you expand the concept to win/win games where designing a model human society is the goal. That expands game theory beyond the individualism of American thinking; and nowhere are we more individual and on our own than in our economic theology of self-worth and salvation.

As we are with our Liberal Theology of personal decision, commitment and moral endeavor. The Right has their own version of this Liberal religion. There is not an ounce of grace to be found anywhere here. This is how tax giveaways for the excessively rich make sense while the idea of entitlement spending on human weakness is "Nanny State" coddling. It is the Bah Humbug cynicism of Scrooge, which Dickens reveals to be the scab over his heart and humanity.

Already "investment" has been Luntzed as a "codeword for spending." Nice trick Mitch. But it also shows that the GOP does not understand investing. We already know that they are lying cynics about deficits and waste, unless they suddenly decide war and TSA theater of the absurd can be "on the table." Michelle "deLoon" Bachmann was hilarious last night as she looked into the wrong camera--or was that to maintain the mystery? I loved the chart where the Bush/Cheney war budgets never made the table until Obama got honest about them. See how they jump way up when you do it that way. She out-Palins the Palin at her own game. And she says loonacy with perfect conviction and even style.

Too much eye makeup, she does better when she can use the loon-stare without all the shadow.

But my point is that these folks are not talking honest numbers or history. This whole rhetorical game is about theology and why poor people are responsible for their own fate and we are not our brother's keeper or much of anything else. The economics do serve this miserable vision of human life. But they need a lot of cops and prisons or a lot of killing grounds to keep it going. Democracy, caring and sharing, and liberty and justice for all is the best economic deal because it is the most stable and sustainable without "interference." The morality is in the social reality, but it is matched by the fact that economic democracy mirrors human nature more accurately than do economies of great wealth disparity.

Unless you believe we are born to be masters and slaves, or the "free market" equivalent, the "free market" has to be the Mercado maintained by Parks and Recreation and licensed by the "State." Commerce Uber Alles will not accept libertarian freedom as a relationship of mutuality and integrity. The predators always love the freedom of the sheep to share their pastures. Why come on over for dinner!

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

This thread has gone way off topic.

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Nguarorerue
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Jan. 11, 2011 1:44 pm
Quote Art:

[quote]So, it sounds like you believe that an armed populace would be able to stand up to its Government in an armed conflict. Right?

I believe that it could, but that's predicated on the concept that a large majority of the citizenry would be armed and willing to use those arms against any oppressive authority. Even though civilians cannot usually prevail against a trained military, if any totalitarian military or police knew it would face gunfire from virtually every house, it would be loathe to oppress such a populace -- the cost to itself would be too high.

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Ulysses
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Nguarorerue:

The German people possessed firearms during the Third Reich. The people of Cuba possess firearms under Castro. The notion that totalitarian regimes disarm their own citizenry is a myth.

You're neglecting several important points. First, I'm not sure Germans had guns during the Third Reich. Seems to me I remember reading that the Nazis called in civilian firearms. What is the source of your information on that?

And Cuba, like most totalitarian states, has strict gun registration laws, so that calling in the guns would simply be a mechanistic process if and when the government gets antsy. They know where all the guns are, and that's only a half-step from strict gun control.

Most totalitarian states also have draconian laws for punishing anybody caught with an unregistered firearm, and so do some pseudo-democratic states, such as England.

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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I don't think the U.S. could have prevailed in the World Wars if we had let the South secede, and I believe that WWII, especially, was a necessary war. If we had not fought it, we'd be speaking Japanese west of the Mississippi and German east of it -- it's that simple. But that's a different debate with the anti-war crowd and I'm not going to enter it here; I state it only to express my opinion.

Having said that, most everything else about the Confederacy has proven feudal; sociologically backward; politically backward; educationally backward; industrially backward; ECONOMICALLY BACKWARD; and hateful, the last manifest in each generation of whites since the Civil War passing down its hatred of the North and its unjustified sense of being wronged by the Federal Union, as well as its desire to perpetuate Jim Crow into the indefinite future, to its children. The Civil War has been over for 145 years, but the attitudes of a huge segment of Southern whites have not changed since it ended. THIS PROVES THAT THOSE ATTITUDES ARE HANDED DOWN FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION; AS EACH GENERATION OF CONFEDERATES AGES AND DIES OFF, IT INCULCATES ITS ETHOS INTO ITS SUCCESSORS.

By almost every major yardstick of comparison with other states since the end of the Civil War, the Confederacy has come out second-best.

Until the North's industry was offshored and its labor Unions broken, the South led the U.S. in literally none of the categories I've ticked off above. It stagnated in a "Long Hot Summer," "To Kill A Mockingbird," "In the Heat of the Night" economic and sociological twilight, stewing in its own redneck juices and self-pledged and self-committed to remaining Ante Bellum forever.

Were it not for the World Wars, we'd have been much better off ending slavery and then leaving the mouthbreathers to their own devices, with a barrier like Hadrian's Wall along the Mason-Dixon line.

Now, what we have is a House and Senate which have largely adopted an ethos closely akin to most Neo-Confederate ideas and ideals, which are, and should be, repugnant to most of us who cherish progressive values and true civilization.

Were there a way to let them go, it would be desirable. If that were to happen, they should only be allowed to take with them that share of the national wealth they contribute to the Federal Union. That's because red states and the South have never contributed as much to the Federal Treasury as they take out of it, and that remains true to this day. If such secession were ever allowed, lots of the halfwits would soon be streaming over Northern borders as immigrants because they wouldn't want to live in the 11-state pig sty they'd have created for themselves.

Hear the banjos?

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Ulysses
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I hope we can honor the origins of the thread as we come back to why Nullification and Secession belong to the Southern Myth, the losing side in the Civil War and the finally emergent Southern replacement for the failed Liberal American Century.

First. Many Dems went with the Neocons as they saw the American Century questioned by the Vietnam War. They were into the Cold War, and they did not get the idea that America was on the wrong side of colonialism as they fixated on Communism. Staying with the American Century just meant avoiding the uncomfortable narrative crashing lessons of Vietnam. Just repackage the old "exceptionalism" and off you go.

Second, when you don't look back, you don't change frames. Reality folds into the unquestioned narrative; and it blurs the cognitive dissonance into the white noise we disregard. Cartoons replace nuance portraits. In the short info bits, advertising messaging works and "news" does not. You have to pay attention to the news while the tabloid TV grabs you by the emotional/sexual hot spots. You hardly notice what your eyes are glued to or what is entering your hard drive.

I am not a fan of historical revision novels. It is hard enough to write science fiction where it is obvious that "the future" is a projection of the present to challenge our moral assumptions, etc. When we try to think about what could have happened IF, we get into a dangerous area of regret and blame. There are so many damned stupid turning points not taken in retrospect. Monday Morning film studies are rarely confirmations of the decisions made under pressure in real time. We learn from mistakes, if we can get over defending them.

Learning not to defend our mistakes or waste time explaining how we did not intend to run into your car or break your window is not easy. Instead of asking if we can help, we want to make sure you know we did not mean to run you over. The comedy works because the pain and truth are so violated by the response. This is why I have settled for salvation "being in on the joke of life." For Theists, share the joke with God. For the rest of you all, think about the gift of human life as this zen joke of a mysterious blend of nirvana and Middle East politics in Pox Americana.

Empires always suffer from Irony Deficiency Syndrome in their apparel.

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DRC
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Quote Ulysses:

Having said that, most everything else about the Confederacy has proven feudal; sociologically backward; politically backward; educationally backward; industrially backward; ECONOMICALLY BACKWARD; and hateful, the last manifest in each generation of whites since the Civil War passing down its hatred of the North and its unjustified sense of being wronged by the Federal Union, as well as its desire to perpetuate Jim Crow into the indefinite future, to its children. The Civil War has been over for 145 years, but the attitudes of a huge segment of Southern whites have not changed since it ended. THIS PROVES THAT THOSE ATTITUDES ARE HANDED DOWN FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION; AS EACH GENERATION OF CONFEDERATES AGES AND DIES OFF, IT INCULCATES ITS ETHOS INTO ITS SUCCESSORS.

My point, exactly, which is why I would be pleased to exclude them from the federal Union.

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Nguarorerue
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Jan. 11, 2011 1:44 pm
Quote Ulysses:

You're neglecting several important points. First, I'm not sure Germans had guns during the Third Reich. Seems to me I remember reading that the Nazis called in civilian firearms. What is the source of your information on that?

http://www.stephenhalbrook.com/law_review_articles/nazism.nra.pdf

The myth of totalitarian states disarming their citizens is an NRA canard intended to convince Americans that "gun control" is the thin edge of the wedge leading to a loss of freedom.

And Cuba, like most totalitarian states, has strict gun registration laws, so that calling in the guns would simply be a mechanistic process if and when the government gets antsy. They know where all the guns are, and that's only a half-step from strict gun control.

Gun registration is not the same as civilian disarmament, which was the subject of my post. Again, the "gun registration" fear is a common NRA canard, which doesn't mean their fears are unwarranted.

It is very difficult to find an objective commentary on Cuba, period, much less its gun laws. Castro came to power thanks to an armed peasantry (Batista--not Castro--tried to disarm Cuba, but he was largely unsuccessful). The peasants remain the most enthusiastic supporters of the Revolution. I am prepared to acknowledge Cuban disarmament but, given what we know about Cuban history, it would odd for the communists to disarm those who would be useful in defending the regime.

Most totalitarian states also have draconian laws for punishing anybody caught with an unregistered firearm, and so do some pseudo-democratic states, such as England.

Depending on one's definition of "totalitarian," it can be argued that there are no such remaining states in the world today, North Korea being an obvious exception. Depending on one's definition of "democracy," I suppose "England" might be viewed as "pseudo-democratic," but I do not consider it such. The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with liberal political freedoms.

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Nguarorerue
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Jan. 11, 2011 1:44 pm

Despite the abuse we have heaped upon its name, "democracy" still has an amazing brand around the world. The theory of power no longer depends upon an anointed "lord and master" whose relationship to God/Reality/Power is special, and who mediates between His/Her human children and this Ultimate Authority.

Power comes from the people in our Revolution, and that idea has stuck around even though we have abandoned it in practice and give it only lip service. We are "consumers" instead of citizens. Instead of economic democracy, we are integers in a market theology of value and images of "the economy" in place of souls. We look to saviors and "great leaders" who will arrive and do what needs doing--while we watch and, if pleased, cheer.

The UK plays "house" with its Royals. They do provide a symbol of unity and decorum that can play well against the rough and tumble of Parliament. But they are there to bless the will of the people and not to determine or influence it in a partisan sense. It also feeds our "love" of Masterpiece Theater dramas on PBS about royals of the past.

The power of money is not democratic; and in the world of the American Empire and global corporate marauding, finding a true popular sovereignty where Commerce is domesticated into civil responsibility in a democracy is not easy. Even our Liberal Democracies of 21st Century design must deal with giant financial entities and inadequate law and regulation. Until we get the focus off the money we will continue to miss both the problem and its solution.

Getting money "out of politics" is a rhetorical gloss for domesticating it. The toxic nonsense about money and free speech has to yield to experience. The present arrangement does not work for the vast majority of Americans and legalizes abuse and theft by the rich. We do not have to take this just because some idiot Originalist says so. Even if the Founders did intend to have a failed democracy, we don't have to keep on failing.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I sense a deep conflict here. On the one hand, "we don't have to take this," while on the other hand, "we have abandoned" power.

There can be no doubt that, on those issues that concern property directly, property owners dominate public discourse and policy. At the same time, not every public policy concerns property. What is General Motor's take on abortion? What does Ford think about "don't ask, don't tell?" Does Bank of America have an opinion regarding the conflict between Russia and Georgia? What is Wal-Mart's position on federal ownership of western grazing lands? DoesT. Boone Pickens worry more about competition from foreign oil producers or Oklahoma State's win-loss record (and why can't the Cowboys beat the Sooners)?

My answer to these questions is, "Who the hell knows?" I do not.

By these remarks I do not mean to trivialize your concerns, which are legitimate. I only mean to suggest that things are more complicated than a simple bifurcation of good guys versus bad.

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Nguarorerue
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Jan. 11, 2011 1:44 pm

Exactly, but our narratives don't bring us that reading, they love the binary morality plays and the bogus excitement of vicarious and passive spectators.

We had stories where the government was supposed to "take sides" and decide that the People should be the winners and not the Economic Royalists or more dishonorable thieves. Greedy landowners were the villains. The richest guy in town could be the biggest jerk unless he connected with the rest of the community and used his wealth for the common good.

It is not just whether there are heroes and villains. It matters if we are powerless to change things and are either doomed or dependent upon rescue by angelic figures of superhuman powers.

That we think in terms of property rights and money instead of societies and people is its own part of the pathology. The theory of property rights as the guarantor of personal liberty breaks down very quickly when personal ownership transcends any personal sphere. The private property of the Koch Bros. has become a socio-pathology. We do not need to protect those who want to murder democracy. We need to protect democracy from them.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I am certain you know Madison's famous dictum, "If men were angels, government would be unnecessary. We have government because men are not angels."

Perfection in all things is a wonderful goal for any society. As long as we struggle for it, the fact we do not achieve perfection is no reason to abandon the effort.

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Nguarorerue
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When Eric Holder eventually steps down as Attorney General, he will leave behind a complicated legacy, some of it tragic, like his decision not to prosecute Wall Street after the financial crisis, and his all-out war on whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.

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