Sunday, July 26, 2015

Don't get something wrong in an effort to make big point

Picking up at the Charleston SC church shooting, there was been a weird chain of events.  First, a recap of that event:
June 23 2015 CNN: Charleston church shooting: Who is Dylann Roof?
On June 17 2015 Dylan Storm Roof (21 years old) allegedly killed 9 black people in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Charleston SC.
Roof allegedly confessed to the murders to both the Charleston SC police and the FBI.
Roof's friends said he took drugs, and there is a record of an arrest for possessing Suboxone without a prescription (it's used to treat heroin addiction).
And from that the confederate flag was targeted.  Something the NAACP and other groups have been agitating for decades to remove from southern government buildings and incorporated in some southern state flags.

June 22 2015, ABC: Walmart Decides to Stop Selling Confederate Flag Merchandise Amid Uproar Over Rebel Banner
June 24 2015, USA Today: Amazon, eBay join other retailers to pull Confederate flag

Tuesday, July 7 2015, The Hill: The US Congress votes to prohibit the display of Confederate flags at federal cemeteries.

Thursday, July 9 2015, NBC: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley Signs Bill Removing Confederate Flag.

Does it seem like the confederate flag was chosen as the next exercise in statist control?  That retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart responded within a week of the killings is suspicious because people were not blaming the confederate flag in the wake of Emanuel AME killings.

And now libertarian-minded headliners in the independent media have rode the pendulum to the other extreme:  the Civil War was not about slavery but states' rights.

Tsk, tsk.  They should know better.  Wars are never fought for 1 reason, even when so nebulous as states' rights.

The confederate states were no more champions of states' rights than the northern states.
Exhibit A: they were furious the free states did not enforce the Federal Fugitive Slave Act.
Exhibit B: States are smaller versions of an aggrandizing federal government, and just as hostile to libertarian thought as Washington DC.
Exhibit C: South Carolina's statement of succession adopted 24 December 1860:  Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union, identifies itself as a slaveholding state and further:
The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: "No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due."
This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the States north of the Ohio River.
The same article of the Constitution stipulates also for rendition by the several States of fugitives from justice from the other States.
So, er, South Carolina is asserting its Right As A State to capture Fugitive Slaves.
Slavery and South Carolina's State Rights - not mutually exclusive. In case you weren't getting the point, South Carolina calls out the offenders (emphasis mine):
For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them.
 South Carolina saves for the last the explanation on the timing of this resolution:
For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.
On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States.
The guaranties of the Constitution will then no longer exist; the equal rights of the States will be lost. The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy. 
 A quick recap on the election of 1860:
The Republican convention in Chicago nominated Lincoln as their candidate.
The Democratic convention in Charleston SC split over Stephen Douglas (pro-slavery but also pro-self determination, allowing territories to determine if they would be free or slave).
Northern Democrats nominated Stephen Douglas.
Southern Democrats nominated (then current) Vice President John Breckenridge.
The Constitutional Union Party nominated John Bell (slaveholder from Tennessee).

Also, the fighting started prior to hostilities at Ft. Sumter, in "Bleeding" Kansas.  Which was a battle over which power factions would control the territory:  the southern slaveholding group or the northern mercantilists?

This is the problem when April 12 1861 is chosen as the start date (when Confederate General PGT Beauregard fired on Ft. Sumter).

That means you ignore the factional battles throughout the United States, real battles being waged and large numbers of people being killed.

Small Statists (as opposed to the Consolidationists, aka Federal Government supporters) strangely overlook a fact that would strengthen their position that they were fighting for states' rights:  after the Republican Party's candidate Lincoln won the election in November 1860 and it was clear certain slaveholding states would secede, the Northern states didn't care - at first.

As early as November 9 1860, Horace Greeley - editor of the NY Daily Tribune, most widely read newspaper of the day - wrote an editorial that states unhappy with the election results should go in peace. This is from his response to The Albany Evening Journal, December 17 1860:
But if ever "seven or eight States" send agents to Washington to say "We want to get out of the Union," we shall feel constrained by our devotion to Human Liberty to say, Let them go! And we do not see how we could take the other side without coming in direct conflict with those Rights of Man which we hold paramount to all political arrangements, however convenient and advantageous.
But the Northern moneyed interests were in favor of appeasement with the South over slavery to preserve the Union, and by extention their tariffs which disproportionately benefited the North at the expense of the South.

The Chicago Daily Times warned in December 1860 what a tariff-free zone the Confederate states would mean for the United Sates:
In one single blow our foreign commerce must be reduced to less than one-half what it now is. Our coastwise trade would pass into other hands. One-half of our shipping would lie idle at our wharves. We should lose our trade with the South, with all of its immense profits. Our manufactories would be in utter ruins. Let the South adopt the free-trade system, or that of a tariff for revenue, and these results would likely follow.
Back to slavery.  Slavery was the core of the South's power base, bumping up their representation in the federal government due to this from the Constitution, Article 1, Section 2:
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxes, three fifths of all other Persons.
Except that the free North was growing faster than the slave South, and by 1820 Southern representation had fallen to 42% in the House of Representatives.  Southern power needed more slave states to maintain control of the Senate and White House.

Every significant struggle in the post-Revolutionary War United States included slavery.

13 July 1787 - The Northwest Ordinance.
Enacted by Congress under the Articles of Confederation.  Outlined steps on how to proceed from being a territory to becoming a state.  And it forbade slavery.

Summer 1787 - the Constitutional Convention regarding the slave trade
That is, they agreed no law banning the slave trade could even be considered until 1808.  Kicking the can down the road, encapsulated in the Constitution.

Missouri Compromise of 1820 - banned slavery in the Louisiana Territory north of 36° 30’ parallel, excluding Missouri.  Maine added at same time as free state.

May 1836 - Congress enacts the "Gag Rule"
In response to growing petitions to abolish slavery in Washington DC, the House passed a resolution that automatically tabled all petitions concerning slavery without hearing them.
So much for the 1st Amendment (emphasis mine);  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Compromise of 1850 - again deciding the free/slave demarcation from territory taken from Mexico in the Mexican-American War.  Admitted California as free, New Mexico territory to permit slavery.  Also banned the slave trade (but not slavery) in Washington DC, counter-balanced with a stronger Federal Fugitive Slave Act.

Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 - Created the Kansas and Nebraska Territories, and provided the residents vote if the territories be free or slave.  This led to warfare between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery groups.

Slavery was intertwined with economics and power politics and that's why it is one of the driving factors in the Civil War.

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