“… of the people, by the people, for the people…”

jeff_davis_union_constitution

Notwithstanding Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” did not “perish from the earth” when the Southern States withdrew from a Union they had voluntarily entered into. It perished when they were driven back into it at the point of the bayonet.

— H.V. “Bo” Traywick, Jr.

 

Just sayin’…….

 

 

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The Just Third Way: The Significance of the Frontier

“So long as free land exists, the opportunity for a competency exists, and economic power secures political power.”

— Frederick Jackson Turner, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History” (1894)

Source: The Just Third Way: The Significance of the Frontier

My “Cogent Quotes” are generally intended to be either positive and inspiring, or else warnings; this counts as more of a lament for something which has already been lost, perhaps irretrievably.

I think Turner was absolutely right. The problem is, with the closing of the frontier, the vast increase of population, both here at home and globally (when I was born in 1965, there were 2 billion people on the planet, now there are a staggering 7.6 billion; the population of the US was just over 194 million, now it is almost 327 million), and the fact that all existing land is either in private or governmental hands, there is no longer such a thing as “free land.”

And that fact has a sadly limiting effect on both individual prospects, and freedom and democracy in our society. We here in the United States are, it seems to me, sadly becoming the Europe our ancestors fled from: “huddled masses, yearning to be free.”

Nor do I have a solution for this problem, short or war or pestilence so horrific that it reduces the global population by two-thirds or more – and that is something no one should wish for, however greatly it might increase the prospects of those remaining.

The 14th Amendment – or, when is a State not a State? … with reflections on secession

14th Amendment

Text of the XIV (14th) Amendment to the United States Constitution:

No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws…

(Section 1: full text is found here.)

As a review of the full text makes clear, the 14th Amendment was intended to a) penalize the States which had seceded in 1861 and defended that decision by force of arms for the next four years, and b) make it clear that any further acts of secession would not be tolerated, either. But as a friend of mine accurately points out:

Before the 14th was “passed,” the South was under martial law (itself unconstitutional). Southern states were told to “pass” this amendment if they wanted to rejoin the union.

A. If the South was not part of the union, how could it vote on a federal issue??

B. If it was part of the union, then there was no need for the jackboot methods used to control the South or martial law or provisions to become a federal state by “passing” an amendment.

C. The feds are just as sneaky today.

This is a very good point. If the states of the (surrendered) Confederacy were not in fact considered States of the Federal Union (*), how then could they vote on an amendment to the Federal Constitution? They would have no legal standing to do so. And if they were, why would they need to vote on this in order to “rejoin” the Union, of which they were already a part? You can’t have it both ways, logically; yet both ways is exactly how the Union – having crushed the Southern Confederacy in an un-Constitutional (see below) war, now further humiliated them upon its conclusion.

(* Leaving aside the moral issues involved with “We’re going to beat the crap out of you for leaving the Union, force you back in, then make you jump through all sorts of hoops and hurdles in order to get back in!” Anyone who thinks that is fair and just has a rather skewed view of fairness and justice, in my opinion.)

With respect to secession itself, another friend comments,

This Virginia’s ratification act of the US Constitution, [dated] 9/17/1787, which was accepted by the federal government. Read it carefully. The great Virginian and American generals Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and JEB Stuart certainly did. I’ll bet your high school history teacher didn’t, and I’m very sure your local neighborhood Antifa hooligans haven’t either.

We the delegates of the people of Virginia, duly elected in pursuance of a recommendation from the general assembly, and now met in convention, having fully and freely investigated and discussed the proceedings of the Federal Convention, and being prepared as well as the most mature deliberation hath enabled us, to decide thereon, Do, in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and make known, that the powers granted under the constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby, remains with them and at their will; and therefore no right, of any denomination, can be cancelled, abridged, restrained or modified by the congress, by the senate or house of representatives acting in any capacity, by the president or any department, or officer of the United States, except in those instances in which power is given by the constitution for those purposes; and that among other essential rights, the liberty of conscience and of the press cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained or modified by any authority of the United States.

With these impressions, with a solemn appeal to the Searcher of Hearts for the purity of our intentions, and under the conviction that whatsoever imperfections may exist in the constitution ought rather to be examined in the mode prescribed therein, than to bring the Union into danger by delay, with a hope of obtaining amendments, previous to the ratification: We the said delegates, in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, do by these presents assent to and ratify the constitution recommended on the 17th day of September, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, by the Federal Convention, for the government of the United States; hereby announcing to all those whom it may concern, that the said constitution is binding upon the said people, according to an authentic copy hereto annexed.

It seems pretty clear from the text above that Virginia specifically retained, in its ratification documents, a stipulation that the Commonwealth (of Virginia, often called “the Old Dominion” due to its status as the first English settlement / colony in North America) retained the right to secede from the Federal Union should the latter cease to act in the best interests of the said Commonwealth: “the powers granted under the constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression.”

And by implication, not just the Commonwealth, but everyone in the United States: “being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them.” It’s rather hard to read this in any other way, without a perversion of language, logic, or both! And the fact that this ratification document was in fact accepted by the US Government seems to indicate pretty clearly that the entire document was accepted, including the reservation in favor of secession. Again, as I pointed out above, you can’t logically have it both ways; yet both ways is exactly how the Federal government has insisted on having it, since 1861!

Interestingly, the South was not alone in invoking secession; New England nearly seceded over the War of 1812, and there were secessionist rumblings in that region again during the Mexican War and the acquisitions of land in the Southwest that followed. One wonders whether Federal troops would have been sent North rather than South, had history taken a different turn! But at any rate, it is clear that secession as a remedy for out-of-control Federal assumption of power is not and was not unique to the South, and indeed was considered pretty generally to be a valid remedy, prior to 1865.

When is a State not a State? And does might, in fact, make right? These are questions which are as much worth pondering in the 21st century as they were in the 19th.

We Choose to go to the Moon – YouTube

JFK’s eternal speech at Rice University on September 12th, 1962 setting the goal of the space race during the 1960’s.

Source: We choose to go to the Moon | YouTube

President John F. Kennedy gave this speech almost 55 years ago. It was a stirring example of American resolve, and of the American exploratory spirit. Now, more than a half-century later, we are dependent upon the Russians to get an American astronaut to the International Space Station.

Somehow, I think President Kennedy would be appalled.

Briefly Noted: Sanctions vs Space

Soyuz lanch - ISS-bound

From Darryl B. Petitt, on Facebook:

“Republicans in Congress have no interest in [making America great again, or putting America first].

“The ISS space-station the U.S. astronaut along with a European and Russian astronaut are going to is a Russian space-station. The Soyuz MS-05 is the Russian rocket taking them there

“Our Republican Congress can’t pass a healthcare bill…but they can work with Democrats to sanction the country who shuttles our astronauts at $85 million a pop to and from the Russian space station. There’s no explanation for this.”

I need say no more.

Anti-history Protesters are Destroying Tourism in Gettysburg

For their refusal to surrender fact to immature and insecure emotion, the museum, along with the battlefield will be subjected to militant anti-history protests planned by Antifa groups on the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. These Antifa groups plan to burn Confederate battle flags and desecrate graves.

Source: Anti-history Protesters are Destroying Tourism in Gettysburg

And kudos to the Gettysburg Museum of History for refusing to give in to the dictates of political correctness, of which “Antifa” is the logical (if that word even applies) outcome:

Would that more people and institutions applied similar high standards!

“Antifa” supposedly stands for “Anti-Fascist.” Yet they are not only fascistic themselves – if by that is meant violent and totalitarian – but in some ways at least, worse than fascists: fascists, whatever their other faults, at least loved their own people. These barely-human scum hate their own people, and their own heritage. They seem to think that destruction of history and desecration of the memorials – including, reportedly, grave-sites – to men who were more courageous than the likes of these scoundrels can even imagine is somehow an acceptable way to demonstrate that “Love Trumps Hate.”

Of course, slogans like that are just for show. Their real motives and goals are far more sinister and far-reaching, and history – at Gettysburg or elsewhere – is not all they want to destroy. This is part and parcel of the larger assault on Western civilization itself (as recounted in numerous posts on this blog and far more numerous accounts elsewhere), and the creation of a “brave new world” of their own ideological design, out of the rubble. And history is a goal for the destroyers because a rootless people, a people severed from a strong and sympathetic sense of their own past, is a people weakened and vulnerable to ideological assaults.

Slime-buckets like “Antifa” claim to be part of a “resistance” against the policies (and person) of the current US President. But whatever one’s thoughts on President Trump, it is ruffians like this that truly need to be resisted. As the inscription graven in stone above the National Archives so accurately puts it, “What is past, is prologue.” Those who seek to destroy the past are undermining both present and future.

Resist them!

Joan of Arc – Maid of Heaven – Joan of Arc & Robert E. Lee

Joan of Arc – you have heard her name, do you really know her story? The famous sword of Robert E. Lee contains one of St. Joan of Arc’s famous quotes: “Aide toi, Dieu t’aidera” – which means “aid yourself and God will aid you.”

Source: Joan of Arc – Maid of Heaven – Joan of Arc & Robert E. Lee

At last! Provenance for this. Sometimes rendered – and often quoted to me by my mother – as “the Lord [or God] helps those who help themselves,” it does not appear in the Scriptures, but is (or used to be) a fairly common axiom. I had not realized that it was from St. Jean d’Arc (Joan of Arc). Nor did I realize the Robert E. Lee connection! As the linked essay recounts:

There are many similarities between St. Joan of Arc and Robert E. Lee, the two most obvious being that they were both great generals and they both possessed incredible faith in God. How appropriate, then, that Robert E. Lee’s famous presentation sword, the one that he wore during his meeting with Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, is engraved on one side with one of Saint Joan’s most famous quotes and spiritual truths:

“Aide toi et Dieu t’aidera”

(“Aid yourself and God will aid you”)

But there is more, which makes this especially meaningful to me, personally: this account confirms what I thought I understood: that the sword General Lee was wearing when he surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse – a moment which must have been among the most, if not the very most, painful moments of his life – was the “Maryland Sword”:

This particular sword was a gift from an admirer who lived in Maryland. It was presented to him in 1863. It is said to have been commissioned in Paris by Louis-Francois Devisme. The giver of the gift has been lost over the years but the sword has been preserved and refurbished to its original state. The sword is forty and one-half inches in length, possessing a lion’s head on the pommel and has an ivory grip. The blade is inscribed, “Gen. Robert E. Lee CSA from a Marylander 1863.” The scabbard is of blued steel. Both pieces are flawless and priceless. Its beauty is something to be seen to be appreciated.

That the Sword of General Lee, the Maryland Sword, is also in a sense a Sword of St. Joan of Arc raises the hair on the back of my neck – but in a good way, a very good way! The essay’s author continues:

My thoughts are how many times Lee as a Christian in gazing upon the words [“Aide toi Dieu t’aidera”] did he think about the saying and use it as motivation to continue? During adversity, surrender and even death, those words inscribed upon that sword must have been recalled and shared with others.

I doubt it not. Amen, and amen!

Sadly, according to reports, some within “Take ’em down NOLA” – the main group behind the removal of four Confederate monuments from the city, which is dedicated to the removal or renaming of all “symbols of white supremacy,” so-called – are targeting not only Andrew Jackson, the hero of the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812, but the “Maid of Orleans”: Joan of Arc herself (*). Will idiocy never end? The lunatics, it seems, are running the asylum!

(* Jean d’Arc does not appear on this, supposedly “official,” list, but reports suggest that she may be on an unofficial list of “Take ’em down NOLA” targets. Sadly, I would not be a bit surprised!)