Virginia’s New Secession Crisis | The Imaginative Conservative

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Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, West Virginia. Credit: Kevin King. (https://wvrivers.org/2019/12/survey/)

The governor of West Virginia has invited the disaffected counties of Virginia to leave the Old Dominion and become a part of the mountain state. The loss of these counties and their “deplorables” would mark an end to what little is left of the Old Dominion’s influence in the counsels of the nation.

Source: Virginia’s New Secession Crisis ~ The Imaginative Conservative

To be honest, I have historically had mixed feelings about the very existence of West Virginia (despite my great love for John Denver’s splendid song about her) – no offense whatsoever intended to the good people living there!

But it is, to say the least, deeply ironic that the same Federal government which refused to allow the Southern States to secede from the Union – launching a horrific, bloody war to bring them back by force – was perfectly okay with allowing a separatist rump legislature to secede what is now West Virginia from the Old Dominion.

But that’s history. And history, important (indeed, vital) as it is, is sometimes taken over by current events! Given the present situation, in which (as this essay notes)

“Governor Northam and the leadership of the misnamed Democratic Party [believe] they [are] in a position to issue diktats expanding abortion, curtailing the second amendment, and punishing those who dare to criticize them,”

I am now more than half-tempted to believe that West Virginia was actually saved by an act of Divine Providence to be – potentially – a safe haven for conservative counties now part of the Old Dominion (and perhaps my home State of Maryland, too).

Whether or not this will prove possible remains to be seen, but even the prospect is encouraging. And if it does (as, again, this essay points out),

“Virginia, which is now a microcosm of the country’s culture wars, could lead a new secession movement that could go a long way to relieving the considerable pressures along the fault lines of conflict in America.”

It is true that, as author John Devanny comments,

“West Virginia may not be acting from pure motives in encouraging the secession of Virginia counties from the Richmond Junta and into a union with West Virginia. Tax revenue, economic development, and congressional representation are at stake here. But so too are the important cultural issues.”

As he also accurately notes, America is a nation built on secession. “Secession” of settlers from their native lands, the great secession of the United Colonies from Great Britain – led to military victory by General, later President, George Washington (whose birthday today, February 22nd, is) – in the American War of Independence, and of course the attempted secession of the Confederacy from the Union, in the War Between the States (which this essay also discusses, as background).

In the mid-19th century, the great divide in this country was between North and South, and although slavery played a role, it was by no means the only factor, as Davenny recounts. Nor did the divide begin in the 19th century, nor was the South the first to consider secession – points which the dominant narrative conveniently ignores.

But now, the great divide is between the urban, mostly coastal, “elites” – what Democratic presidential hopeful and multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg has openly, arrogantly, and largely erroneously called the “intelligentsia” (with its implication that all who oppose this new quasi-aristocracy are unintelligent and uneducated, the “unwashed masses” his ilk were born to dominate), and the so-called “deplorables” (e.g., those still “bitterly clinging” to God and guns – my people, in other words) in what used to be called “America’s Heartland,” but is now disparaged by the “elite” as mere “flyover country.”

The divide seems to be growing and hardening, and if something doesn’t happen to change, could end up as bitter as the divide over States’ rights, the tariff, and slavery was in the mid-1800s. And if that happens, a similarly bloody outcome is not, unfortunately, entirely inconceivable. Are we seeing a glimmer of a way out, in which States and counties realign themselves into more amenable configurations? A rebirth of authentic Federalism?

It is too early to be sure, of course. The idea that whole counties might “vote with their feet” (as well as the ballot-box) and actually switch States would have been unthinkable even a few years ago; but with the Governor of West Virginia actively inviting it, and some Virginia counties apparently considering the option, it just might be the safety value we need to keep the pressure-cooker from exploding.

Speaking personally, as much as I love Maryland, I would be very happy to join a West Virginia that protected my Second Amendment rights, did not consider that killing unborn children right up to delivery (and in the case of some radicals, possibly even after) was somehow virtuous, and in general respected those of us the “elites” deplore.

That would be, shall I say…

Almost heaven.

 

Jesse Kelly: “It’s Time For The United States To Divorce Before Things Get Dangerous”

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This idea of breaking up the United States may seem a bit outlandish now, but you won’t think so once real domestic unrest comes to your town.

Source: It’s Time For The United States To Divorce Before Things Get Dangerous

Let me preface my comments by being clear: I do not wish to see this. Despite my Monarchist and Confederate leanings, I deeply love and respect the American Republic that our Founders bequeathed to us (as Benjamin Franklin perhaps presciently put it, “if you can keep it”), and which my ancestors (including my father and paternal grandfather) fought to defend.

The United States has been far from perfect, but I truly believe that (if you set aside the late unpleasantness of the mid-1860s, and a few other incidents) it has done more good in the world than otherwise. But everything has its life-cycle, and that includes nations – and the ideologies behind them. And like human relationships, though “breaking up is hard to do,” there may come a time when it is the lesser of two evils.

What Jesse Kelly calls “the peaceful solution”: “We can and will draw the map and argue over it a million different ways for a million different reasons, but draw it we must. I’ve got my own map, and I suspect the final draft would look similar.”

It is said that no one (at least, no decent person) breaks up a committed relationship unless or until the pain of remaining becomes greater than the pain of departing. I am not sure we are quite there, yet, but we seem to be heading in that direction. As this essay puts it,

“The history of the world is nations breaking up and redrawing their borders. If we want to avoid this political divide turning into a deadly one, we should do likewise.

“Stop clinging to the past and acknowledge where we are as a country, not where you want us to be, not where things were when your grandpa was storming the beaches of Normandy. Where we truly are…

“Borders move. Countries split and change hands. They do this for a myriad of reasons. Ours would be a major cultural shift toward the left and half the country refusing to go along with tyranny…”

“The GOP has many problems, but the Democratic Party has turned into something completely un-American. The United States was founded on two things: Judeo-Christian values and a limited federal government. The entire platform of modern Democrats stands completely opposite both of those.”

Sobering – even depressing! – to think about, this nonetheless carries the ring of truth, in my opinion. I am also depressed to see my home state of Maryland well above the line (and even the “Old Dominion” of Virginia!) but I also, sadly, fear that Mr. Kelly is correct. There has been such an influx of Left-leaning urbanites, over the last several decades, that neither – and certainly not Maryland – is what it used to be. That I may ultimately find myself forced to migrate South or West is a sad likelihood that I have been pondering for a long time before reading this essay.

Mr. Kelly concludes,

“This idea of breaking up the country may seem a bit outlandish now, but you won’t think so once real domestic unrest comes to your town. Our political disagreements have become a powder keg, one that already would have blown if conservatives had liberals’ emotional instability.

“Nobody is expected to cheer for this split. Cheering is not a normal reaction when couples get a divorce. We cheer for old married people on their fiftieth wedding anniversary.

“But life is imperfect. Life is hard. We both now agree that living under the other side’s value system is wholly unacceptable. The most peaceful solution we Americans can hope for now is to go our separate ways. So let us come together one last time and agree on one thing: Irreconcilable differences.”

To my great sadness, I fear that he is right. I just wish I had confidence that we could do so, peacefully, before we get to the point beyond which a peaceful settlement may prove not merely difficult, but impossible to achieve.

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.

Why the Confederacy and the War Between the States – essay on the Morrill Tariff

Actually, of course, it was hundreds of thousands – by some estimates, nearly a full million, both North and South.

Full text of Mr. Moore’s comment, in case the link fails to work:

Most people who protest the Confederacy have never even heard of the Morrill Tariff which then makes their argument null and void. Abe Lincoln never issued any proclamation which stated slavery was the cause for going to war. One can search high and low for the existence of evidence which would prove the north fought the war to end slavery and they will continue to come up empty handed.

Without the reality of proof the argument which states, the cause of the Northern War of Aggression was slavery becomes nothing more than a grievous lie which is being used to divide people. Sadly people today can easily be led to believe in absurdities, due to the fact no one researches the facts which are always hid deep below the surface of the media’s lies.

The Morrill Tariff was a heavy tax (named for Republican Congressman and steel manufacturer, Justin S. Morrill of Vermont) raising the average tariff from about 15% to 37% with an increase to 47% within three years. The U. S. House of Representatives passed the Morrill Tariff by 105 to 64, even though the tariff was very similar to the tariffs of Abomination which had led in 1832 to a constitutional crisis and threats of secession as well as armed force. Out of 40 Southern Congressmen only one congressman, from eastern Tennessee, voted for the tariff.

The tariff considerably raised the cost of living and commerce in the South, while protecting Northern industrial interests. The Morrill Tariff placed severe economic hardship on many Southern states. Even more appalling was that 80% or more of these tax revenues were spent on northern public works and industrial subsidies, further enriching the north at the expense of the South.

Just days before Lincoln’s election in November, 1860, an editorial in the Charleston Mercury summed up the feeling of South Carolina on the impending national crisis: “The real causes of dissatisfaction in the South with the North, are in the unjust taxation and expenditure of the taxes by the Government of the United States, and in the revolution the North has effected in this government, from a confederated republic, to a national sectional despotism.” Continue reading “Why the Confederacy and the War Between the States – essay on the Morrill Tariff”