Ammo.com: The Prelude to World War II – The Spanish Civil War and Today’s America

Today’s article comes from Ammo.com via American Partisan, The Prelude to World War II: The Spanish Civil War and Today’s America. There are many different historical precedents to examine which bear similarity to current political conditions. Last year I gave a short talk which compared some events leading up to the Civil War which bear some semblance to current happenings. This article examines the Spanish Civil War and compares conditions in the US.

America is definitely not Europe, but we can find a number of parallels between European history and contemporary America. For example, we’ve previously written about the Italian Years of Lead as a possible template for urban unrest and low-level inter-tribal warfare in the United States. Another example of how things might play out in the United States is the Spanish Civil War.

The Spanish Civil War is known to historians, amateur and professional alike, as the “dress rehearsal for the Second World War.” It is so termed because it pitted one side – which was equipped, armed and funded by Europe’s fascist regimes (Germany and Italy) – against a government largely funded and propped up by the Soviet Union. However, it is worth noting that General Francisco Franco’s nationalist forces were not themselves fascist (though there were fascists within their ranks) and that Spain remained neutral during the Second World War, later becoming a close ally of the United States in the fight against Communism internationally.

While there are few perfect analogs to be found anywhere in world history, there are parallels between the contemporary domestic political situation in the United States and the period immediately before and during the Spanish Civil War. And while the situation in the United States might play out in a much similar way to the Spanish Civil War, it is worth noting that our previous Civil War was the bloodiest in human history. There is little doubt that a Second American Civil War would not be significantly more destructive.

Prologue: The Situation in Spain Prior to the Civil War

The Prelude to World War II: The Spanish Civil War and Today's AmericaAs we talk about the leadup to the Spanish Civil War, the situation will begin very much unlike modern-day America, however, it will become more like the contemporary domestic situation as time goes on.

The main difference, of course, is that Spain was a monarchy for almost all of its existence until 1931. A republic was briefly declared during the years 1873 and 1874, but it didn’t have much staying power and ultimately was not a transformative government in Spain. Following the First World War, the corrupt central government of Spain became increasingly unpopular and a military dictatorship, that of Miguel Primo de Rivera y Orbaneja, 2nd Marquess of Estella, 22nd Count of Sobremonte, arose. This fell in 1930, along with the abdication of the deeply unpopular King Alfonso XIII.

This led to the creation of the Second Spanish Republic and a new constitution in 1931. It was a radically leftist constitution in a largely conservative and Catholic country. Women’s suffrage, civil marriage, compulsory universal education, the nationalization of Catholic Church properties, the prohibition of Catholic religious orders from teaching in schools (and the Jesuit order entirely), as well as a provision allowing for the nationalization of any property that was for the “public good” were all components of the new Spanish constitution. In many ways it resembled the constitution of Weimar Germany, in that it was an attempt by the left to radically remake a country through constitutional means.

The first election saw leftist elements firmly in the saddle, but the second, in 1933, was a major victory for forces of the right. However, because the conservative party had won a plurality in the parliament, and not a majority, the left-wing president of Spain invited the centrist party to form a government. Meanwhile the socialist government alleged electoral fraud, which caused them to become further radicalized. On the ground, a radical working-class movement became hostile toward the ostensibly left-wing government after the movement was suppressed violently by the military.

Monarchist forces, with the explicit backing of Benito Mussolini and the implicit backing of King Alfonso XIII, as well as ideologically fascist forces led by José Antonio Primo de Rivera, began military drills, preparing for war. The streets of Spain became battlegrounds, with 330 assassinations, 213 failed assassination attempts and 160 religious buildings destroyed, with arson being the primary means of their destruction. The Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, formerly a fairly standard European social democratic party, began to cleave between forces who favored moderation and those who sought a more explicitly Bolshevik party.

The Coup d’Etat of July 1936

Much as the War Between the States began with the attack on Fort Sumter, so did the Spanish Civil War begin with the Coup d’Etat of July 1936. This was effectively an uprising by all forces of the Spanish right, which included two different factions of monarchists, nationalists, fascists (known in Spain as Falangists) and conservatives.

The igniting event was the election of 1936. This saw a very, very slim (less than 1 percent of the vote) victory of the Spanish left (socialists, Communists and anarchists) over the Spanish right. The right wing in Spain stopped planning to take over the Spanish Republic and instead decided that they were going to overthrow it.

The central republican government of Spain was very weak and had been making attempts to purge suspect right-wing generals from its ranks. To that end, General Francisco Franco, who ended up becoming dictator of Spain until 1976, was removed from his office as chief of staff and put out to pasture in the Canary Islands. When the uprising began, the nationalist rebels had the unanimous support of the Army of Africa, a 30,000-strong force that boasted some of the hardest core soldiers Spain had to offer. Many of these troops were Muslims from Morocco, who had been told that the republic planned to outlaw worship of Allah.

Indeed, Spanish Morocco was the base of operations for the rebels, with Generals Franco and Goded taking control of the Canary and the Balearic Islands, respectively. Any opposition in the Spanish colonial empire was quickly crushed with leading trade unionists and leftists simply executed by the rebel forces. The two trade union federations in Spain offered to help crush the uprising, but were told that there was nothing to worry about as the uprising was confined to Morocco and other overseas possessions.

The coup was less than a rousing success for the nationalist rebels, who invaded from their overseas bases. They failed to capture any major cities, which remained significant bases of support for the republican government. The republican government remained in possession of the lion’s share of Spanish territory. However, the republican government was at a disadvantage for two reasons: First, the nationalists had split the territory of peninsular Spain in half, dividing the country between republicans in the north and south while they controlled the middle.

Second, the republican government responded to the crisis by effectively mobilizing the far left in Spain as shock troops to terrorize the population into submission. Communists in particular were unleashed to execute and torture anyone even suspected of being a nationalist sympathizer. It didn’t help that the clergy bore the brunt of this, with nuns gang raped before being summarily executed. The republicans went so far as to exhume the bodies of dead religious figures and desecrate their corpses.

The Spanish Red Terror

The Prelude to World War II: The Spanish Civil War and Today's AmericaThe Spanish Civil War continues to have a sort of romantic quality among the left, many of whom see the Civil War-era republican government as an example of “real” socialism in action or, at the very least, something close to it. However, the Spanish republican left were less bloody than their more famous Communist counterparts in Russia, China and the Eastern Bloc only due to a lack of scale and a limited time frame on which they operated.

The Red Terror in Spain predates the nationalist rebellion and was, indeed, one of the primary motivations for the uprising. It is generally agreed that the Spanish Red Terror began during an Asturian miners’ strike in 1934. Priests and the religious were targeted in what was not simply a strike, but a rebellion against the government. Supporters of the rebellion targeted clergy and religious figures, resulting in the destruction of 58 churches and convents during a period of a little more than two weeks. Ironically, the rebellion was put down by Goded and Franco at the behest of the republican government.

Once the rebellion began, the Catholic Church – its clergy, its religious orders and its lay faithful – were largely seen as fair game by supporters of the republic. The comparison between the Church in Spain 1936 and white Americans in 2020 isn’t much of a stretch. Much of the violence directed against the Church was predicated on the basis that they “deserved” this as payback for historical crimes. All told, 3,400 priests, monks and nuns were murdered during the first two months of the Spanish Civil War. Indeed, most of the deaths during the early months of the Civil War were not because of deaths on the battlefield, but rather because of targeted executions against enemies of the Spanish Republic.

In addition to the atrocity against nuns, there were a number of horrific incidents mostly involving clergy. The parish priest of Navalmoral was forced to undergo a parody of the Passion of Christ, ending with a vigorous debate about whether or not to actually crucify the priest at the end. They “mercifully” decided to just shoot the man. The priest of Ciempozuelos was thrown to fighting bulls and had his ear cut off at the end of the spectacle. In Ciudad Real, a priest was castrated and had his penis and testicles put in his mouth. People were forced at gunpoint to swallow their own rosaries. Others were thrown down mine shafts or forced to dig their own graves prior to summary execution. A Madrid nun was executed for the crime of refusing a marriage proposal from a militiaman who had participated in the sacking of her convent.

All told, the republicans destroyed over 20,000 churches and other religious sites during the war. Unsurprisingly, Spanish Catholics overwhelmingly supported the nationalist effort during the Civil War. Even among conservative allies of the republic (for example, conservative Catalan nationalists), support for the republican cause was lukewarm at best, thanks to the Spanish Red Terror.

The Red Terror’s victims are not limited to Catholics or nationalists. As the war progressed and the Communists came to have greater power in the republic (for example, when they were given the Interior Ministry and when the militias were put under centralized control), they also turned their fire on anarchists, socialists and Trotskyists. This move against the non-Communist elements of the Spanish left is detailed in later chapters of George Orwell’s memoir, An Homage to Catalonia.

A Spanish White Terror?

Some attempts have been made to create an equivalence between the Red Terror in Spain and the Francoist repression at the end of the war. There certainly were atrocities committed by the Francoist forces during the course of the war. Indeed, it would be a bit strange if there weren’t, as such atrocities are a hallmark of modern warfare. Specifically, the Francoist forces engaged in war rape and frequently confiscated babies from republican women prior to their execution. These babies were then placed with Francoist families.

However, there are also some important differences between the terror engaged in by the Francoist forces and their republican adversaries. The Francoist repression wasn’t indiscriminately targeted at the friends, family and acquaintances of anyone who fought on the republican side. It was directed squarely at people who had committed atrocities in the name of the republican regime. The large numbers run up by the Francoist forces aren’t a function of the bloodthirsty nature of the victorious nationalist forces – on the contrary, they were quite conciliatory and looking to get the country moving again after a highly destructive war. Rather, it’s because the atrocities committed by the republican forces during the Civil War were so widespread. Those executed generally received trials unlike those summarily executed by the republicans.

Forced labor was employed for projects such as draining swamps, digging canals and building national railway systems. But again, it is worth noting that the people who were being conscripted for labor were considered criminals by the new regime. Indeed, any participation in the Popular Front government of the republic was criminalized by the Law of Political Responsibility, enacted two months after the end of the war. What’s more, this forced labor is not comparable to gulag labor where the intent was to work the victims to death.

As with any fight against Communist forces, it is worth asking a simple question: What would Spain have looked like if the Communists had won? We have ample examples of what Communist regimes look like – in Eastern Europe, in Asia and in Latin America. There is little reason to believe that a Communist regime in Spain would not have been as bloodthirsty and ruthless as other Communist regimes. Indeed, the experience of the Civil War shows that a Spanish Communist regime would have been quite destructive and, it is fair to say, vindictive in its victory.

The Course of the War

The Prelude to World War II: The Spanish Civil War and Today's AmericaWithout getting too bogged down into the details of the war, the Civil War is largely the story of the nationalist forces winning victory after victory until the end of the war. This is largely because the republican military wasn’t centralized. Instead, most of the military decisions were delegated to individual autonomous militias who elected their own officers and operated on a democratic basis. Nationalist forces were unified under Franco very quickly, with everyone from conservatives to monarchists to fascists all forced to play nice in service of the nationalist cause. Such centralization did not come for the republicans until the very end of the war, and by then it was too little, too late – and also largely a power play by Moscow’s forces in the Communist Party.

The only major republican victory during the war was the Battle of Guadalajara. This was not a successful republican offensive, however – it was a successful repulsion of a nationalist attack. What’s more, the republicans didn’t even defeat a Spanish military force. They were fighting instead primarily volunteers from fascist Italy. The main impact of this loss was that the nationalists stopped trying to end the war with one big battle and instead focused on chipping away at vulnerable parts of republican Spain.

In 1939, Catalonia, the strongest base of republican support, fell to the nationalists and it was mostly all over but for the shouting. While there were major cities still under the control of the republicans (such as the capital, Madrid), everything from here on out was largely a mop-up operation for the nationalists. The republican government was in total disarray and attempted to negotiate a peace settlement with Franco, but the Generalissimo would only accept an unconditional surrender from the republicans.

Franco declared victory in a radio address on April 1, 1939. Over 500,000 republicans fled to France, where they were largely held in squalid internment camps. Some stragglers continued to fight guerilla warfare against the Francoist government even into the 1950s, but there was no significant impact. In 1944, some republican veterans who had been fighting with the French Resistance attempted to invade Catalonia from France, but the attack was repelled within 10 days.

The Relevance of the Spanish Civil War Today

So what does a European civil war that ended 70 years ago have to do with anything going on in America today? A lot, actually.

First, there is the intense political polarization of the United States. A significant portion of the country champions changing the United States into a radical liberal nation with greater centralized control and a firm Constitutional commitment to leftist social justice causes. Another significant portion of the country is opposed to any further changes to the United States Constitution and is openly hostile toward leftist egalitarian principles.

What’s more, we are already beginning to see street battles not dissimilar to those that happened in Spain in the lead up to the Civil War. It is also worth noting that the anarcho-communist ideology, which held great sway among the partisans of the Second Spanish Republic, likewise informs the insurrectionary elements of the American left that began rioting and burning down American cities in the summer of 2020.

As we prepare for the 2020 Presidential election, it is clear that whoever loses will not only be unhappy with the results, but will probably consider them to be illegitimate. On the left, there is the Russiagate hoax, the leftist conspiracy theory that alleges that the Russian intelligence services “stole” the election for President Donald Trump in 2016. On the right, there is the very reasonable fear that there will be a variety of electoral chicanery, including mass mail-in balloting, voting by dead people, voting by pets, voting by dead pets and outright fabrication of ballots from largely Democratic-controlled urban areas in swing states. Indeed, a Bloomberg article seems to be preparing the American public for a stolen election, stating that while it might “appear” that Donald Trump will win reelection in a landslide the night of the election, that further months and weeks will reveal that he did not, in fact, win as the aforementioned mail-in ballots come in.

An article from the Washington Post states that any outcome but a Biden landslide will result in massive violence and civil unrest. While Jeff Bezos’ vanity blog certainly has their reasons for promoting this notion, it’s not entirely without merit. If the president is reelected, no matter how big the margin, there will likely be another wave of urban unrest that will dwarf the events of the summer of 2020. If Biden wins by a slim margin, there will be accusations of fraud and likely more confrontations in the streets, albeit more two-sided. It seems that the only result that would be accepted as “legitimate,” particularly by the press and the American left, is one where Biden wins dramatically.

It is worth briefly considering the other side of the equation. The American Conservative ran a column in July 2020 discussing the very real phenomenon of the American right’s increasing impatience not with democracy, but with liberalism. This is a phenomenon known as “illiberal democracy,” where the forms of democracy persist, but are used for anti-liberal means. Put in simple terms: How many on the American right – even the mainstream American right – would be terribly bothered by the president taking extreme action against an insurrectionary left?

No one has a crystal ball to see the future. However, it is not a wild assertion to suggest that the real violence in America is coming after the election.

Publius Huldah: Mail-in voting? A “political question” which only State Legislatures and Congress may decide

Publius Huldah opines on the legalities of mail-in voting. Mail-in voting? A “political question” which only State Legislatures and Congress may decide

It has become obvious that one of the purposes of the COVID-19 scam is to bring about unrestricted mail-in voting in the toss-up and Red States so that the upcoming presidential election can be stolen by the Left for the senile Joe Biden and his constitutionally ineligible running mate, Kamala Harris.

On September 9, 2020, the Left achieved their goal for the Red State of Tennessee – unless the Tennessee State government enforces the US Constitution and rejects the federal judge’s unconstitutional order.

1. The absurd Order from the US District Court, Middle District of Tennessee

The Tennessee Code permits mail-in voting for certain categories of people [Tenn. Code § 2-6-201]; but requires those who register by mail to appear in person at the official place of voting and bring proof of identity when they vote for the first time [Tenn. Code § 2-2-115 (b) (7)].

Our elections are already tainted by the “ghost voters” described in Deroy Murdock’s article (published 2017) [here]. Murdock showed that throughout the United States, over 3.5 million persons who didn’t exist were registered to vote. But that number wasn’t sufficient to elect Hillary Clinton; so the Left needs more ghost voters. With mail-in voter registration, dead people can be registered to vote; and with unrestricted mail-in voting, those dead people can vote forever.

The Plaintiffs in this action claim to be distressed about the statutory requirement that first-time voters (who registered by mail) appear in person to vote because it forces them to choose between their “health” [they might catch COVID-19 if they go to the polls] and their right to vote. 1

On September 9, 2020, federal judge Eli Richardson issued a preliminary injunction which has the effect of setting aside, for the upcoming presidential election, the statutory requirement – established by the Tennessee Legislature – that persons who registered by mail, show up in person the first time they vote.

Here is Richardson’s 29 page Order.

So let’s cut 29 pages of bunk down to its essence: Richardson ruled that the Tennessee Legislature’s requirement that the first-time voters (who registered by mail) physically appear at the polls, imposes a “moderate burden” on voting rights; and the State failed to show the Court that Tennessee has a “legitimate state interest” to justify that burden. 2

Even worse: Throughout his Order, Richardson writes repeatedly [some 20 times] of Plaintiffs’ “First Amendment right to vote”; and says at the end of para 31 of his Order,

“…it is likely that Plaintiffs will prevail on their claim that the first-time voter requirement violates the First Amendment right to vote…”

But the First Amendment makes no mention of a “right to vote”. 3 Furthermore, in footnote 22 of his Order, the Judge says:

“In a prior order, the Court declined to address any suggestion that there is no First Amendment right to vote, for any purposes at all, by mail in particular… The Court was well aware that McDonald supports such a suggestion, but the Court simply did not need to opine on that matter. The Court likewise does not need to do so here…”

What? The Judge declined to address whether or not a First Amendment right to vote actually exists even though he has already determined that Plaintiffs are likely to prevail on their claim that the requirement that first-time voters (who registered by mail) show up in person to vote “violates the First Amendment right to vote”!

2. Why do Plaintiffs and the Judge repeatedly speak of a “First Amendment right to vote”, when the Judge isn’t prepared to say that such a right even exists?

They may be aware that the federal court has no jurisdiction over this case; but are attempting to fake it by claiming that the case “arises under the Constitution” via the First Amendment.4

The judicial power of the federal courts is limited to those few categories of cases enumerated at Article III, §2, clause 1, US Constitution. Not one of the categories invests the federal court with jurisdiction over this case. This case can’t be said to “arise under the Constitution” because there is no “right to vote” in the US Constitution; and the remaining categories listed in Article III, §2 are clearly inapplicable.

So it appears that Plaintiffs have fabricated a mythical “First Amendment right to vote” in order to provide a pretext for the federal court to exercise jurisdiction in this case – and that the federal judge let them get away with it.

3. Article I, §2, clause 1, US Constitution, negates the absurd claim that there exists a federal constitutional right to vote.

At Article I, §2, cl. 1, the States expressly retained their pre-existing power to determine the qualifications of voters:

“The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.” [italics added]

Accordingly, those who are eligible to vote for Representatives to their State Legislature are the ones eligible to vote for Members of the federal House of Representatives. 5

With four later Amendments, the States agreed that they would not deny eligibility to vote to Citizens on account of race (15th Amendment), sex (19th Amendment), failure to pay a tax (24th Amendment), and for those 18 years of age or older on account of age (26th Amendment). It is important to note that these four amendments do not grant the “right” to vote to the persons described in the Amendments – merely that the suffrage will not be denied to those persons on account of their race, sex, etc.

So the States retained their original authority to set whatever qualifications for voting they deem appropriate, subject to their agreement that they would not deny suffrage on account of a Citizen’s being in one of those four categories.

So there is no “right to vote” set forth in the US Constitution. To the contrary, voting is a privilege granted or denied on the basis of whether applicants meet the qualifications for voting set forth within their State Constitution. 6

4. What does our Constitution say about how the President and Vice President are to be elected?

Article II, §1, cl. 2 and the 12th Amendment set forth the procedures for electing President and Vice President. Those procedures are described here under the subheadings, “Electors appointed by States were to choose the President” and “The 12th Amendment establishes procedures for voting by Electors”.

Our current procedures bear no resemblance to the Constitutional requirements. 7 It’s too late to obey the Constitution for the upcoming presidential election; so let’s see what our Constitution says about the federal elections to Congress.

5. US Constitution: the “times, places and manner” clause

Pursuant to Article I, §4, clause 1, State Legislatures have the power to prescribe the Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for US Representatives 8 and US Senators.9

This clause also provides that Congress may make laws which override such State laws.

So the power to determine the time, place and manner of holding such federal elections is delegated exclusively to the Legislative Branches of the State and federal governments.

It is up to the State Legislatures to decide which “burdens” are appropriate with respect to the place of voting – with Congress having power to override what a State Legislature decides. The Judicial Branches of the state and federal governments may not substitute their views as to which “burdens” are appropriate and which are not. These are “political questions” granted to the Legislative Branches to decide; and the Judicial Branches – state and federal – may not lawfully interfere. 10

It is clear that “manner of voting” includes such matters as a requirement of personal presence at the place of voting. This is what our Framers contemplated, as shown by their words quoted in footnote 8 below. When a State legislature decides that personal presence is required – that decision can be overturned only by Congress.

So Judge Richardson’s view that the Tennessee Legislature doesn’t have a good reason for requiring first time voters (who registered by mail) to vote in person and present ID is irrelevant, and his Order is ultra vires.

6. What is the State’s remedy against the unlawful Court order?

So! You have seen that determining the “place and manner of voting” is a political power delegated exclusively to the State and federal Legislatures. It is thus a “political question”; and the federal [and state] Judicial Branches may not substitute their views for those of the Legislative Branches.

And since there is no “right to vote” contained in the US Constitution, the Federal District Court has no jurisdiction over this case. This case doesn’t “arise under the Constitution” or fit within any of the other categories of cases enumerated at Article III, §2, cl.1, US Constitution.

So the pretended Order of September 9, 2020, is ultra vires and lawless, and the State of Tennessee has no obligation to obey it.

The duty of the elected and appointed State and local officials is to obey the US Constitution. When the dictates of a federal [or State] judge contradict the Constitution, State officials must side with the Constitution and against the judge. 11

And what will happen if the State of Tennessee refuses to comply with the Judge’s order? The Judge can’t enforce his Order. He has to depend on the Executive Branch of the federal government to enforce it. 12 Do you believe that President Trump will send in federal troops to force the State of Tennessee to comply with Judge Richardson’s ultra vires Order?

Note:  In addition to the Offices of President & Vice-President, many other offices will also be on the Ballot:  the entire US House of Representatives is up for grabs.  So is the House in the State Legislatures all over the Country.  1/3 of the US Senate will be on the ballot; and a proportional number of Senate Seats on State Legislatures throughout the Country will be on the ballot.

EVERY REPUBLICAN LEGISLATOR NEEDS TO UNDERSTAND:  Your Seat is likely to be stolen in this upcoming election.

So you better wake up and get your State Legislature to smack down the federal & state judges who are assisting the Left in stealing your Seat.  And if Congress doesn’t act, they will lose control of the Senate and most likely every seat in the House.

Why should the Left stop with stealing only the Presidential election when they can also steal YOUR seat?

Endnotes:

1 How do they get their groceries?

2 Order at paras 29 – 31.

3 The First Amendment says,

“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.”

The First Amendment is a limitation on Congress’ powers to make laws – it doesn’t grant a “right” to vote!

4 In Federalist No. 80 (2nd para), Hamilton states that cases “arising under the Constitution” concern

“…the execution of the provisions expressly contained in the articles of Union [the US Constitution]…” [boldface added].

In the 3rd & 13th paras, Hamilton illustrates what “arising under the Constitution” means: He points to the restrictions on the power of the States listed at Art. I, §10 and shows that if a State exercises any of those powers, and the fed. gov’t sues the State, the federal courts have authority to hear the case.

5 The 17th Amendment [ratified 1913] provides that those who are eligible to vote for Representatives to the US House are eligible to vote for US Senators.

6 With the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, Congress usurped the retained power of the States to set and enforce eligibility standards for voting. In a series of 3 papers, the last of which is here, I show how the assertions about The Federalist Papers made by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, in their attempts to justify their unconstitutional judgments, are false.

7 Our disregard of these constitutional provisions doubtless contributed to the creation of the current chaos.

8 Our Framers told us what “times”, “places” and “manner” mean:

In Federalist No. 61 (4th & 5th paras), Alexander Hamilton shows that “Time” refers to when elections are held. He explains that under the Articles of Confederation [our 1st Constitution], States had been conducting elections from March to November; and that uniformity in the time of elections is necessary “for conveniently assembling the [federal] legislature at a stated period in each year”.

“Place”: Hamilton also points out that the suffrages of citizens living in certain parts of the States could be defeated by restricting the place of election for Representatives in the House to “an INCONVENIENT DISTANCE from the elector” (2nd para). [caps are Hamilton’s].

“Manner” of holding Elections refers to such things as paper ballots or show of hands, the place of voting, and whether the States will be divided into congressional districts for purposes of electing Representatives. James Madison discusses the “Manner” of holding Elections in The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 2, August 9, 1787:

“Mr. Madison: … the Legislatures of the States ought not to have the uncontrouled right of regulating the times places & manner of holding elections. These were words of great latitude. It was impossible to foresee all the abuses that might be made of the discretionary power. Whether the electors should vote by ballot or vivâ voce, should assemble at this place or that place; should be divided into districts or all meet at one place, shd all vote for all the representatives; or all in a district vote for a number allotted to the district; these & many other points would depend on the Legislatures and might materially affect the appointments …. what danger could there be in giving a controuling power to the Natl. Legislature? Of whom was it to consist? 1. of a Senate to be chosen by the State Legislatures … 2. of Representatives elected by the same people who elect the State Legislatures…” [emphasis added]

Rufus King in the Massachusetts Convention said in The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 3, January 21, 1788:

“Hon. Mr. King rose … It was to be observed, he said, that in the Constitution of Massachusetts, and other States, the manner and place of elections were provided for; the manner was by ballot, and the places towns; for, said he, we happened to settle originally in townships…” [emphasis added]

9 When Art. I, §4, cl. 1 was drafted, the State Legislatures were to choose the State’s Senators to the US Congress – so the “place” of choosing the US Senators would be wherever the Legislature met. With ratification of the 17th Amendment, Congress gained oversight over State laws addressing the “place” of election of US Senators.

10 In Marbury v. Madison [link], decided 1803, the Supreme Court explained the concept of “political powers” and that the manner in which political powers are exercised is beyond the reach of the courts:

“By the Constitution of the United States, the President is invested with certain important political powers, in the exercise of which he is to use his own discretion, and is accountable only to his country in his political character and to his own conscience. …whatever opinion may be entertained of the manner in which executive discretion may be used, still there exists, and can exist, no power to control that discretion. The subjects are political. They respect the nation, not individual rights, and, being entrusted to the Executive, the decision of the Executive is conclusive … [and] can never be examinable by the Courts.”

Marbury addresses the political powers exercised by the President. That same deference to the exercise of political powers has long been extended to the acts of the other political branch, Congress. Where the Constitution grants a political power to Congress, the manner in which Congress exercises the discretion is also beyond the reach of the Courts. So, for example, if Congress were to exercise the power granted to it by Article I, § 4, clause 1, to make a law banning mail-in voting; its action can never be examined by the Courts – the Courts may not substitute their views for those of Congress.

11 Marbury v. Madison also stands for the Great Principle that when an Act of one branch of government violates the Constitution, the other Branches must obey the Constitution and not the unlawful Act.

12 Alexander Hamilton made this same point over 200 years ago – see Federalist No. 78 (6th para). If law schools had made The Federalist Papers required reading, our Country wouldn’t now be in such a mess

Tenth Amendment Center: The Constitutionality of a National Bank – Hamilton vs. Jefferson

Here another US government history article. From Mike Maharrey at The Tenth Amendment Center, The Constitutionality of a National Bank: Hamilton vs. Jefferson.

The First Bank of the United States was charted for a period of 20 years by Congress on Feb. 25, 1791. Alexander Hamilton championed the bank, but it wasn’t without its detractors. One of the most vocal opponents of the bank was Thomas Jefferson who argued that it was unconstitutional.

The debate was really about more than chartering a bank. At its core, it was an argument about the extent of federal power. Jefferson held to the promise of the ratification debates – that federal authority would remain carefully circumscribed by the enumerated delegated powers. Given that the Constitution doesn’t authorize Congress to charter corporations, much less a national bank, Jefferson argued that it was an unconstitutional act.

On the other hand, Hamilton pivoted from the position he took during the ratification debates and justified his project by invoking the doctrine of “implied powers.” His arguments foreshadowed how federal policies of every imaginable stripe would be justified moving forward. Arguably, Hamilton’s arguments for the First Bank of the United States set the foundation for much of the federal overreach we have today.

Jefferson and Hamilton both wrote documents making their cases for the establishment of the bank. Jefferson wrote his Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank first.

He rested his argument on the Tenth Amendment, writing:

“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That  ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.’ [XIIth amendment.] To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.”

He then succinctly stated his conclusion.

“The incorporation of a bank, and the powers assumed by this bill, have not, in my opinion, been delegated to the United States, by the Constitution.”

Jefferson proceeded to outline the various clauses of the Constitution supporters of the bank used to constitutionally justify and explained why they failed to bear the burden of that power.

The primary justification was the Commerce Clause, but Jefferson argued that “to erect a bank, and to regulate commerce, are very different acts.” Erecting a bank actually creates an institution of commerce, and as Jefferson pointed out, “to make a thing which may be bought and sold, is not to prescribe regulations for buying and selling.”

He went on to argue that if erecting a bank is an exercise of the commerce power, it would be void because it would also impact commerce within individual states.

“For the power given to Congress by the Constitution does not extend to the internal regulation of the commerce of a State, (that is to say of the commerce between citizen and citizen,) which remain exclusively with its own legislature; but to its external commerce only, that is to say, its commerce with another State, or with foreign nations, or with the Indian tribes.”

Next Jefferson tackled the General Welfare Clause, pointing out that Congress cannot lay and collect taxes for any purpose it pleases, “but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union.” Likewise, Congress can’t do anything it pleases to promote the “general welfare.” It can only further the general welfare by laying taxes and acting within its enumerated powers.

“In like manner, they are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase, not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please, which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. It is an established rule of construction where a phrase will bear either of two meanings, to give it that which will allow some meaning to the other parts of the instrument, and not that which would render all the others useless. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lacce them up straitly within the enumerated powers, and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.” [Emphasis original]

Jefferson drove his point home by pointing out a very inconvenient fact for Hamilton – the Philadelphia Convention debated and rejected delegating the power to charter corporations.

On one of the final days of the convention, James Madison proposed the federal government be delegated the authority “to grant charters of incorporation where the interest of the U.S. might require & the legislative provisions of individual State may be incompetent.”

Rufus King of Massachusetts objected specifically on the grounds that “It will be referred to the establishment of a Bank, which has been a subject of contention in those Cities (New York and Philadelphia). He also warned that “In other places it will be referred to mercantile monopolies.”

George Mason of Virginia proposed limiting the power to charting corporations for the construction of canals. “He was afraid of monopolies of every sort, which he did not think were by any means already implied by the Constitution as supposed by Mr. Wilson.”

Ultimately, the convention rejected the proposal completely. Historian Dave Benner wrote, “This casts overwhelming doubt on the notion that the Constitution allowed Congress to form such monopolies. No enumerated power to grant monopolies and corporate charters was ever included in the document, and during the ratification campaign, none of the Constitution’s advocates cited the presence of such a power.”

But Hamilton’s arguments didn’t rely on the existence of any delegated power. Instead, he appealed to the existence of unwritten “implied powers.”

In response to Jefferson’s appeal to the Tenth Amendment and that the federal government can only exercise delegated powers, Hamilton affirmed it, and then effectively nullified its limiting force. He wrote, “The main proposition here laid down, in its true signification is not to be questioned.” But he continued, insisting, “It is not denied that there are implied well as express powers, and that the former are as effectually delegated as the latter.”

But who decides the extent of these implied powers? Who determines their limits? In effect, Hamilton sets up an almost unlimited reservoir of power the general government can dip into in order to take whatever actions it deems appropriate. This was a 180-degree reversal from the position he took during the ratification debates when he insisted that the new general government would only exercise limited powers.

Hamilton primarily based his defense of the national bank on the “necessary and proper clause,” citing it as the source of these “implied” powers. While Jefferson relied on a very narrow definition of “necessary and proper,” Hamilton used the phrase to milk implied powers out of the Constitution.

The debate centered on the meaning of the word necessary. Jefferson took a very narrow view, arguing that the government can carry out all of its enumerated powers without a national bank. “A bank therefore is not necessary, and consequently not authorized by this phrase.”

“It has been urged that a bank will give great facility or convenience in the collection of taxes, Suppose this were true: yet the Constitution allows only the means which are ‘necessary,’ not those which are merely ‘convenient’ for effecting the enumerated powers. If such a latitude of construction be allowed to this phrase as to give any non-enumerated power, it will go to everyone, for there is not one which ingenuity may not torture into a convenience in some instance or other, to some one of so long a list of enumerated powers. It would swallow up all the delegated powers, and reduce the whole to one power, as before observed. Therefore it was that the Constitution restrained them to the necessary means, that is to say, to those means without which the grant of power would be nugatory.”

Hamilton found this view too limiting. He wrote, “It is certain that neither the grammatical nor popular sense of the term requires that construction. According to both, necessary often means no more than needful, requisite, incidental, useful, or conducive to.”

“It is a common mode of expression to say, that it is necessary for a government or a person to do this or that thing, when nothing more is intended or understood, than that the interests of the government or person require, or will be promoted by, the doing of this or that thing. … To understand the word as the Secretary of State does, would be to depart from its obvious and popular sense, and to give it a restrictive operation, an idea never before entertained. It would be to give it the same force as if the word absolutely or indispensably had been prefixed to it.”

Jefferson hit the problem with Hamilton’s view on the head. It opens up a door to virtually unlimited government power. This runs counter to James Madison’s assurance in Federalist #45 that “the powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.” [Emphasis added]

Under Hamilton’s “implied power” doctrine and his loose reading of the necessary and proper clause, there is very little the federal government can’t do. After all, virtually anything could be defined as “needful” or “useful” to the government. During the ratification debates, opponents of the Constitution worried that the necessary and proper clause would be construed exactly as Hamilton read it. At the time, Hamilton swore they had nothing to worry about. In Federalist #33, he wrote, “It may be affirmed with perfect confidence that the constitutional operation of the intended government would be precisely the same, if these clauses [necessary and proper and the supremacy clause] were entirely obliterated, as if they were repeated in every article. They are only declaratory of a truth which would have resulted by necessary and unavoidable implication from the very act of constituting a federal government, and vesting it with certain specified powers.” [Emphasis added]

Hamilton pivoted from “specified powers” in 1788 to “implied powers” just three years later.

In his push for a bank, Hamilton also invoked a rule of construction very favorable to the government. He wrote, “This restrictive interpretation of the word necessary is also contrary to this sound maxim of construction, namely, that the powers contained in a constitution of government, especially those which concern the general administration of the affairs of a country, its finances, trade, defense, etc., ought to be construed liberally in advancement of the public good.”

This was not “a sound maxim of construction” at the time.

St. George Tucker was an influential lawyer and jurist, and he wrote the first systematic commentary on the Constitution. Published in 1803, View of the Constitution of the United States served as an important law book, informing the opinions of judges, lawyers and politicians for the next 50 years. He explained that we should always construe federal power in the most limited sense possible.

 “The powers delegated to the federal government, are, in all cases, to receive the most strict construction that the instrument will bear, where the rights of a state or of the people, either collectively or individually, may be drawn in question.”

This is the exact opposite of Hamilton’s maxim. As “Light Horse” Harry Lee put it during the Virginia ratifying convention, “When a question arises with respect to the legality of any power, exercised or assumed by Congress, it is plain on the side of the governed. Is it enumerated in the Constitution? If it be, it is legal and just. It is otherwise arbitrary and unconstitutional.”

When political power resides in the people, the default position should always be to assume the most limited government power possible – not the most liberal reading as Hamilton insisted.

Later in his life, Jefferson made a similar point in a letter to William Johnson.

“On every question of construction let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”

There was no probable construction authorizing charting a national bank.

Reading Hamilton’s arguments for the bank, it becomes clear he was trying to “squeeze” meaning – and power – out of the Constitution. Under the limited general government promised by supporters of the Constitution during ratification, including Alexander Hamilton, there would have been no national bank.

Hamilton’s twisting of the Constitution to wring out new powers set the stage for all the federal overreach that would follow. It was the “foundation” for the “living breathing” Constitution we live under today.

Mises Institute: Too Much Centralization Is Turning Everything into a Political Crisis

 

Porter Burkett writing at The Mises Institute asks if Too Much Centralization Is Turning Everything into a Political Crisis. When the federal government sticks it fingers into every action of your day, then everything becomes a political battle.

Is American politics reaching a breaking point? A recent study by researchers from Brown and Stanford Universities certainly paints a grim picture of the state of the national discourse. The study attempts to measure “affective polarization,” defined as the extent to which citizens feel more negatively toward other political parties than their own, in nine developed countries, including the United States. The study authors concluded that affective polarization has risen much faster and more drastically in the United States than in any of the other countries they studied (figure 1). They then speculated on possible explanations of increasing polarization, suggesting that changing party composition, increasing racial division, and 24-hour partisan cable news are convincing possible causes. Notably, the research was completed before the coronavirus pandemic or the police killing of George Floyd, two events that have only deepened political division.

While the study is interesting and well written, the authors completely fail to consider a more fundamental potential explanation of increasing polarization, one that is likely to be understood well by libertarians and federalists, who have long railed against the trend toward ever more usurpation of local and state sovereignty in American politics. I propose that the real culprit behind worsening polarization is the gargantuan federal government that has turned the entire country into an unceasing political battleground. When virtually all political issues are settled at the national level, the whole nation becomes a source of potential political opponents. Centralization changes the scale and with it the locus of political debate and conflict. For the average political participant, it is probably true that people with differing ideas live near you, in your city or state, but the mathematical reality is that the vast majority of your political opponents live relatively far away (spread throughout the rest of the country) and thus have no material connection to your life or your community. Political opposition becomes just numbers on a cable news screen: 49 percent for this, 51 percent for that. Sixty-two million votes for one candidate, 65 million for another. These numbers, without names or faces, become simple objects; some are pawns to be moved around, while others are obstacles to be pushed aside. This is not just speculation: previous research has indicated that partisanship is correlated with the use of tactics to dehumanize political opponents. Centralized political decision-making amounts to a systematic dehumanization of anyone who might participate in the political process.

The effects of such a disastrous form of organization are already evident. Political polarization is not confined to academic papers, but has now manifested in the streets of Kenosha and Portland. As the 2020 election approaches, politically charged killings between members of rival factions will only become more likely. What was formerly a central promise of democratic politics—the peaceful transfer of power—has been abandoned in favor of direct action and blood.

If centralization is the cause of our problems, then decentralization is the cure. Pushing decision-making power down to state and local levels as much as possible, closer to the people actually affected by the decisions, is the only way forward. Of course, it will not solve all the problems of political culture today. Policy debates and disagreements could still be just as intense at the local level as at the federal. But it is harder to dehumanize someone who might be a part of your community. Those numbers on the screen are on your local news now, not the national news. Those percentages and vote tallies might include your neighbor down the street, your Uber driver, the person ahead of you in line at the grocery store, or the old man you saw out walking his dog this morning. Technically, this has always been true, and we would do well to remember the humanity of the people we disagree with even while political focus is at the national level. This fact is simply harder to ignore when the primary nexus for political decisions is more immediate and local.

Admittedly, I do not know exactly how decentralization can happen. There is no magic blueprint. Maybe the worst pessimists are right, and we are doomed to fight some sort of second civil war before we remember that those with whom we disagree are people too. I think the future is brighter than that. Perhaps, as Mises Institute president Jeff Deist has pointed out, de facto decentralization has already begun. Fortunately, nobody has to know exactly what the new political structure will look like, and—arguably the best part of decentralization—it does not have to look the same everywhere. Both major parties, and people of all ideological persuasions, will probably have to give up some preferred victory or vanquishing of the “other side.” Many Democrats would love to prevent all abortion laws in the state of Georgia for the rest of time. Some Republicans would love to lock down California’s southern border with an airtight seal. A new era of decentralization means that neither of these things can be accomplished by federal imposition, and their proponents are not going to be happy about that. The task ahead is to demonstrate that whatever the sacrifices required to

AIER: Fed District Court Holds Stay at Home Orders Unconstitutional

AIER has an article on a recent court decision from the federal District of Western Pennsylvania – Federal Court Holds “Stay-at-Home” Orders and Mandatory Business Closures Unconstitutional. The author hopes that the judicial branch is here to finally save people from executive overreach, but there is a way to go before one district court decision spreads across the land.

or six months, Americans in 43 states have lived under unprecedented executive orders restricting freedoms as basic as whether they can work, leave their homes, and expose their faces in public. These mandates are not duly enacted laws — they are orders issued by one of the three branches of government. They constitute a system of one-person rule — something none of us expected could ever happen in the United States — and no one, apart from the 43 newfound state dictators, is sure when it will expire.

Today, after six months of this, a Pennsylvania Federal Court in Butler County v. Wolf reviewed the indefinite “emergency” restrictions imposed by the executive branch of Pennsylvania government, declaring limitations on gathering size, “stay-at-home orders,” and mandatory business closures unconstitutional. Refusing to accept the alleged need for a “new normal,” the Court stated that an “independent judiciary [is needed] to serve as a check on the exercise of emergency government power.”

About time. The Judicial Branch is coming to save us.

The Judicial Branch exists to check Executive authority even in times of emergency.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution of the United States as our fathers made it inviolate. The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” In 2020, sad to say, there are numerous governors across this nation who have perverted the Constitution — New Jersey’s Phil Murphy even declared its interpretation “above his pay grade” — with unprecedented orders restricting Americans’ rights to peaceably assemble, practice their religions, earn a living, travel freely, engage in commerce, and even manage their own health and exposure to risk. While global pandemics pose challenges for governors — particularly when the population is panicked by a hysterical mass media — entire populations cannot be indefinitely subjected to tyranny and deprived of fundamental rights and liberties. As the Court said today:

“There is no question that our founders abhorred the concept of one-person rule. They decried government by fiat. Absent a robust system of checks and balances, the guarantees of liberty set forth in the Constitution are just ink on parchment.”

We cannot allow our freedom to become “ink on parchment.” Many of our governors seek to do just that — they won’t even designate an endpoint to their “emergency” powers. When does the “emergency” end? This should be easy to say — X number of deaths per million, X number of deaths over X number of weeks — yet they will not say it. They want us to live under the constant threat of house arrest and livelihood deprivation, even though all we ever agreed to was a two-week effort to “flatten the curve.” We never agreed to an indefinite or permanent “new normal,” or to do whatever our wise governor dreams up and declares necessary to “eliminate infections.”

“In times of crisis, even a vigilant public may let down its guard over its constitutional liberties only to find that liberties, once relinquished, are hard to recoup and that restrictions — while expedient in the face of an emergency situation — may persist long after immediate danger has passed.”

Thank you, Judge Stickman, for recognizing our predicament, and for taking the first step towards restoring our freedom today by reminding those with authoritarian leanings that “governors cannot be given carte blanche to disregard the Constitution for as long as the medical problem persists.” The response to an emergency cannot undermine our system of constitutional liberties, or the system of checks and balances protecting those liberties. Liberty before “governor-guaranteed safety” — this is the American way, famously stated by Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

“Stay-at-home orders” are so draconian as to be presumptively unconstitutional.

Substantive due process is “a recognition that the government may not infringe upon certain freedoms enjoyed by the people as a component of a system of ordered liberty.” Plaintiffs in Butler County v. Wolf argued that the governor’s “stay-at-home order” violated substantive due process in restricting intrastate travel and freedom of movement in a manner that exceeded legitimate government need and authority. Incredibly, Governor Wolf responded that his stay-at-home orders are “not actually orders at all, but merely recommendations,” and that they are constitutional because they do not “shock the conscience.” I’m willing to bet that Pennsylvania citizens would beg to differ.

In analyzing the constitutionality of “lockdowns,” the Court first traced the origin of the concept to its source — Wuhan, China — and recognized that population-wide lockdowns are “unprecedented in American law.” Even during the Spanish Flu, the deadliest pandemic in history by far, “nothing remotely approximating lockdowns were imposed.” Although the United States has faced many epidemics and pandemics, “there have never previously been lockdowns of entire populations — much less for lengthy and indefinite periods of time.” Quarantines are legally recognized, but refer to the isolation of sick people and those known to have been directly exposed to sick people. They are statutorily limited to the duration of the incubation period of the disease — a period which Governor Wolf’s “lockdown” plainly exceeded.

Not only have lockdowns never been imposed in American history, but they are not even mentioned in recent pandemic management guidance offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”). In its 2017 guidelines for managing pandemics, the CDC recommends numerous protective measures such as hand washing, limited-duration school closures, and cancellations of mass gatherings, but nothing “even approximating the imposition of statewide (or even community-wide) stay at home orders or the closure of all [‘non-essential’] businesses.” Even for pandemics of “Very High Severity,” the CDC recommends only voluntary isolation of sick persons and their household members. “This is a far, far cry from a statewide lockdown such as the one imposed by [Governor Wolf’s] stay-at-home order.”

The Court speculates that United States lockdowns were imposed due to a “domino effect” instigated by China, a nation “unconstrained by concern for civil liberties and constitutional norms.” In the United States, by contrast, the default concept is liberty of movement. Our government has never before dreamt of implementing mandatory house arrest, no matter the threat — it has always used far less restrictive, voluntary means to manage pandemics, similar to those used by Sweden during COVID19. (Notably, Sweden has lower per-capita mortality for weeks 1-33 of 2020 than it did for weeks 1-33 of 2015 — a far better mortality outcome than heavily locked-down U.S. States such as NJ, NY, and MI).

Ultimately, the Court concludes that lockdowns are so draconian that they are nearly “presumptively unconstitutional”:

“The stay-at-home components of Defendant’s orders were and are unconstitutional. Broad population-wide lockdowns are such a dramatic inversion of the concept of liberty in a free society as to be nearly presumptively unconstitutional unless the government can truly demonstrate that they burden no more liberty than is reasonably necessary to achieve an important government end. The draconian nature of lockdown may render this a high bar, indeed.”

This bears repeating: the burden of proof that “lockdown” is absolutely crucial to achieve a scientifically-substantiated goal rests with the government. The burden does not rest with the people to disprove the necessity of lockdown. Liberty is the default!

Mandatory business closures violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee that every citizen may support himself in an occupation of his choosing.

Mandatory business closures, like “stay-at-home” orders, are utterly unprecedented in American law. There is not even any historical jurisprudence for the Court to consider in its analysis of the issue — a rare event, indeed…(continues)

WA Examiner: Fox News Silences Gingrinch on District Attorneys Funded by Soros

From Washington Examiner, Fox News panel reprimands Newt Gingrich for mentioning George Soros in discussion about BLM riots

A Fox News panel scolded and cut away from former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich after he linked liberal billionaire George Soros to the violent riots that have caused damage across the country over the last few months.

“The No. 1 problem in almost all the cities is George Soros-elected, left-wing, anti-police, pro-criminal district attorneys who refuse to keep people locked up,” Gingrich said to a panel on Fox News’s Outnumbered on Wednesday. “Both Harris and Biden have talked very proudly about what they call progressive district attorneys. Progressive district attorneys are anti-police, pro-criminal, and overwhelmingly elected with George Soros’s money. And they are a major cause of the violence we are seeing because they keep putting the violent criminals back on the street.”

Host Melissa Francis pushed back immediately, telling Gingrich, “I’m not sure we need to bring George Soros into this.”

“He paid for it,” Gingrich responded, prompting host Marie Harf to defend Francis.

“No he didn’t,” Harf claimed. “I agree with Melissa, George Soros doesn’t need to be part of this conversation.”

“OK?” a puzzled Gingrich said after an awkward silence. “So it’s verboten?”

A longer silent pause then ensued before host Harris Faulkner ended the segment.

“OK, we’re going to move on.”

Soros, a Hungarian-born billionaire and philanthropist, has long been financially tied to both groups and politicians with the same social justice mission as the Black Lives Matter movement. “If we’re going to say ‘black lives matter,’ we need to say ‘black organizations and structures matter,’” Patrick Gaspard, the president of the Soros funded Open Society Foundations said.

In addition to political lobbying, which Soros reportedly spent at least $48 million on in 2019 alone, the 90-year-old with a net worth of roughly $8 billion, has poured tens of millions into political campaigns across the country, specifically in races for district attorney.

Soros supported the campaign of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who released arrested rioters and looters back onto the streets citing lack of evidence in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd on May 25.

Gardner was also involved in the decision to charge a white St. Louis couple with a felony for standing outside their property holding a rifle while Black Lives Matter protesters stormed through a gate and antagonized them.

Soros donated over $100,000 to a super PAC supporting Gardner in July.

“Why are some in the left so afraid of our mentioning George Soros’ name that they scream anti-semitic?” Gingrich tweeted earlier this month. “It IS his name. He IS funding pro-criminal,anti police district attorneys. Why is the left afraid of the facts?”

See also SHTFPlan ALL Of MSM Is In On It! Fox News Host Stops Gingrich From Talking About Soros-Elected DAs

And more on the topic from ZeroHedge “Not Ideal” – Fox Offers Non-Apology To Newt Gingrich After Awkward George Soros Rebuke

And some words from Newt Gingrich himself at The American Mind, The Soros Cover-Up

AIER: So You Want to Overthrow the State – Ten Questions for Aspiring Revolutionaries

Art Carden, writing for the American Institute for Economic Research, has some questions for those interested in overthrowing the government. These apply whatever your political bent, not just right or left. So You Want to Overthrow the State: Ten Questions for Aspiring Revolutionaries

A professor at Washington and Lee University is offering a writing seminar called “How to Overthrow the State,” which “place(s) each student at the head of a popular revolutionary movement aiming to overthrow a sitting government and forge a better society.” Students are charged with writing their own revolutionary manifesto in light of readings from revolutionaries like Che Guevara. The right-wing outrage machine, as you can imagine, is feasting on it and offering it as an example of the radical takeover of higher education.

I’m intrigued by the class because I tend toward free-market anarchism myself and think that states are neither necessary nor sufficient for prosperity. There’s a burgeoning academic literature on this with books like Peter T. Leeson’s Anarchy Unbound exploring the theory and history of statelessness and AIER’s own Edward Stringham’s Private Governance looking at how institutions and organizations that protect people and property have emerged without coercion. There’s a lively and ongoing debate in these circles about whether or not one would push a button that would allow us to wake up tomorrow morning without governments. WLU’s course represents an excellent opportunity for students to take the revolutionaries’ arguments seriously, and if they do their due diligence, to think really hard about their shortcomings. I offer, therefore, ten questions for the young leaders of these revolutionary movements.

  1. Do I have the facts straight? Karl Marx said that “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” I doubt very much that you will know which changes you need to make if you don’t have a very good idea about your starting point. In his book Factfulness and in his many excellent online presentations, the late Swedish Professor of International Health Hans Rosling identifies a lot of the ways things have gotten better, especially for the world’s poorest.

    Suppose, for example, that you encounter the name “Milton Friedman,” perhaps in connection with lamented “neoliberalism” and maybe in connection with human rights abuses perpetrated by the brutal Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Friedman has been denounced as the “father of global misery,” and his reputation has taken another beating in the wake of the fiftieth anniversary of his 1970 New York Times Magazine essay “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits,” which I suspect most people haven’t read past its title. But what happened during “The Age of Milton Friedman,” as the economist Andrei Shleifer asked in a 2009 article? Shleifer points out that “Between 1980 and 2005, as the world embraced free market policies, living standards rose sharply, while life expectancy, educational attainment, and democracy improved and absolute poverty declined.” Things have never been so good, and they are getting better, especially for the world’s poor.

    In 2008, there was a bit of controversy over the establishment of the Milton Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago, which operates today as the Becker Friedman Institute (it is also named for Friedman’s fellow Chicago economist Gary Becker). In a blistering reply to a protest letter signed by a group of faculty members at the University of Chicago, the economist John Cochrane wrote, “If you start with the premise that the last 40 or so years, including the fall of communism, and the opening of China and India are ‘negative for much of the world’s population,’ you just don’t have any business being a social scientist. You don’t stand a chance of contributing something serious to the problems that we actually do face.” Nor, might I add, do you stand much of a chance of concocting a revolutionary program that will actually help the people you’re trying to lead.

  1. What makes me so sure I won’t replace the existing regime with something far worse? I might hesitate to push the aforementioned button because while the world we actually inhabit is far from perfect, it’s not at all clear that deleting the state overnight wouldn’t mean civilization’s wholesale and maybe even perpetual collapse. At the very least, I would want to think long and hard about it. The explicit mention of Frantz Fanon and Che Guevara in the course description suggest that students will be approaching revolutionary ideas from the left. They should look at the results of populist revolutions in 20th century Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The blood of many millions starved and slaughtered in efforts to “forge a better society” cries out against socialism and communism, and macroeconomic populism in Latin America has been disastrous. As people have pointed out when told that “democratic socialists” aren’t trying to turn their countries into Venezuela, Venezuelans weren’t trying to turn their country into Venezuela when they embraced Hugo Chavez. I wonder why we should expect WLU’s aspiring revolutionaries to succeed where so many others have failed.
  2. Is my revolutionary program just a bunch of platitudes with which no decent person would disagree? In 2019, Kristian Niemietz of London’s Institute of Economic Affairs published a useful volume titled Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies, which you can download for $0 from IEA. He notes a tendency for socialists and neo-socialists to pitch their programs almost exclusively in terms of their hoped-for results rather than in terms of the operation of concrete social processes they hope to set in motion (on this I paraphrase my intellectual hero Thomas Sowell).

    Apply a test proposed a long time ago by the economist William Easterly: can you imagine anyone seriously objecting to what you’re saying? If not, then you probably aren’t saying anything substantive. Can you imagine someone saying “I hate the idea of the world’s poor having better food, clothing, shelter, and medical care” or “It would be a very bad thing if more people were literate?” If not, then it’s likely that your revolutionary program is a tissue of platitudes and empty promises. That’s not to say it won’t work politically–God knows, nothing sells better on election day than platitudes and empty promises–but you shouldn’t think you’re saying anything profound if all you’re saying is something obvious like “It would be nice if more people had access to clean, drinkable water.”

  1. Is my revolutionary manifesto really any better than the Underpants Gnomes’ business plan from this 1998 episode of South Park?

    In 2011, I wrote that a lot of policy proposals are “‘Underpants Gnomes’ Political Economy” after an episode of South Park in which the Underpants Gnomes’ business plan had three phases. Phase 1 was “collect underpants.” Phase 2 was a question mark. Phase 3 was “profit.” Most revolutionary proposals are like that. Phase 1 is “abolish private property” or “Build That Wall” or something. Phase 2 is a question mark. Phase 3 is “equality and superabundance” (from the left) or “America has been made Great Again” (from the Trumpist right). There are more than a few very important details missing.

  1. In other words, how is this actually going to work? I’m not a socialist not because of antipathy toward poor people or callous selfishness. I’m not a socialist because it doesn’t work in practice and doesn’t even work in theory. Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, among many others, have argued that private property, market prices, and market-determined profits and losses are necessary for rational economic calculation. Marx summarized the program of the communists as “abolition of private property.” Mises countered that socialism, or abolition of private property, would mean “abolition of rational economy.” Marx (in)famously never spelled out exactly how socialism would work; he just knew it would. Vladimir Lenin didn’t appreciate the calculation problem and thought that managing an entire economy as if it was just one big factory didn’t require much more than arithmetic and receipts. He was grievously, tragically wrong. I think Mises and Hayek, ultimately, were the ones vindicated by theory and history.
  2. Does my argument for how it will work rely on people discarding self-interest, becoming a lot less horrible, and/or becoming a lot smarter? In a famous cartoon by Sidney Harris, two scientists are standing at a chalkboard. There are equations on the left and right sides of the board with “THEN A MIRACLE OCCURS” between them. One scientist says to the other, “I think you should be more explicit here in step two.” If you’re relying on a change in human nature to make your program work, be prepared for a very long wait. Or be prepared to spill oceans of blood like those who tried to create a “New Socialist Man” in the twentieth century. The socialists and communists wanted to run the economy as if it were one big factory. For the most part, they have also wanted to run the rest of society as if it were one big family. This brings us to a problem that vexed Friedrich Hayek his whole career. The rules, norms, traditions, and other practices that make families or very small communities work well don’t scale. Similarly, if you tried to run your life with family and friends according to a “market logic” in which you try to do everything via literal price-mediated exchanges–charging your kids to rent the TV when they want to watch a movie, for example–it’s probably going to backfire spectacularly. You can’t run your family as if it’s the Chicago Board of Trade. You also can’t run a society of millions of people as if it’s one big happy family.
  3. How has it worked the other times it has been tried? Are you considering “land reform,” whether land expropriation and redistribution, or straight up collectivization? Satellite images of the effects of land reform in Zimbabwe should make you think twice.

    Years before the Russian Revolution, Eugene Richter predicted with eerie prescience what would happen in a socialist society in his short book Pictures of the Socialistic Future (which you can download for $0 here). Bryan Caplan, who wrote the foreword for that edition of Pictures and who put together the online “Museum of Communism,” points out the distressing regularity with which communists go from “bleeding heart” to “mailed fist.” It doesn’t take long for communist regimes to go from establishing a workers’ paradise to shooting people who try to leave. Consider whether or not the brutality and mass murder of communist regimes is a feature of the system rather than a bug. Hugo Chavez and Che Guevara both expressed bleeding hearts with their words but used a mailed fist in practice (I’ve written before that “irony” is denouncing Milton Friedman for the crimes of Augusto Pinochet while wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt. Pinochet was a murderous thug. Guevara was, too). Caplan points to pages 105 and 106 of Four Men: Living the Revolution: An Oral History of Contemporary Cuba. On page 105, Lazaro Benedi Rodriguez’s heart is bleeding for the illiterate. On page 106, he’s “advis(ing) Fidel to have an incinerator dug about 40 or 50 meters deep, and every time one of these obstinate cases came up, to drop the culprit in the incinerator, douse him with gasoline, and set him on fire.”

  1. Are people moving toward or away from the kind of society I want to establish? We get a lot of information from how people “vote with their feet” for different policies. If you’re advocating some version of socialism, you have to deal with the fact that so many people are trying desperately to leave socialist countries. The East German government did not build the Berlin Wall to keep westerners out, and pretty much all of the traffic between Cuba and the United States moves in one direction. It isn’t toward the Castros’ workers’ paradise.
  2. What will I do with people who aren’t willing to go along with my revolution? Walter Williams once said that he doesn’t mind if communists want to be communists. He minds that they want him to be a communist, too. Would you allow people to try capitalist experiments in your socialist paradise? Or socialist experiments in your capitalist paradise (Families, incidentally, are socialist enterprises that run by the principle “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”)? Am I willing to allow dissenters to advocate my overthrow, or do I need to crush dissent and control the minds of the masses in order for my revolution to work? Am I willing to allow people to leave, or will I need to build a wall to keep people in?
  3. Am I letting myself off the hook for questions 1-9 and giving myself too much credit for passion and sincerity? The philosopher David Schmidtz has said that if your best argument is that your heart is in the right place, then your heart is most definitely not in the right place. Consider this quote from Edmund Burke and ask whether or not it leads you to revise your revolutionary plans:

    “A conscientious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood. He would feel some apprehension at being called to a tremendous account for engaging in so deep a play, without any sort of knowledge of the game. It is no excuse for presumptuous ignorance, that it is directed by insolent passion. The poorest being that crawls on earth, contending to save itself from injustice and oppression is an object respectable in the eyes of God and man. But I cannot conceive any existence under heaven (which, in the depths of its wisdom, tolerates all sorts of things) that is more truly odious and disgusting, than an impotent helpless creature, without civil wisdom or military skill, without a consciousness of any other qualification for power but his servility to it, bloated with pride and arrogance, calling for battles which he is not to fight, contending for a violent dominion which he can never exercise, and satisfied to be himself mean and miserable, in order to render others contemptible and wretched.” (Emphasis added).

A lot of colleges and universities have first-year writing seminars that try to teach students to write by exploring a particular set of issues, and as long as the course actually teaches students how to become better writers, we should welcome new experiments. A course that asks students to put themselves in the positions of aspiring revolutionaries and to prepare their own revolutionary manifestoes is extremely creative. I think it’s the kind of course from which students can benefit mightily–if, of course, they ask the right questions.

Publius Huldah: Constitutional Methods for the Fed Gov to “call forth the Militia” to Suppress Insurrections

Publius Huldah has a good, short article on the Constitutional underpinnings of the militia and origin of the National Guard in Our Constitution provides two separate & independent methods for the federal government to “call forth the Militia” to suppress Insurrections

Because of its excellence and relevance to the insurrections being fomented in our cities by the Marxist organization “Black Lives Matter”, Antifa, and other revolutionary organizations; I sent the recent paper by Edwin Vieira, JD., Ph.D., titled, “The President’s Authority To Suppress Insurrections” [link], to my lists.

In response, some objected that the riots in the cities are local issues to be handled (or not) by the State and local governments – that they are not “federal” issues over which the federal government has jurisdiction. Some also asserted that Article IV, §4, US Constitution prohibits the President from sending the National Guard into a State to quell such disturbances, unless & until the Legislature or the Governor of the State requests it.

Those objections are not well-founded.

First: What’s going on in our cities is not something which can be prudently brushed aside. It is a classic manifestation of a Marxist revolution – see, e.g., this article from “Workers’ World”. Furthermore, as shown below, the President of the United States has constitutional and statutory authority to exercise his own judgment as to whether he should send in the “Militia” to suppress the uprisings.

Second: Our Constitution provides two separate and independent methods for the federal government to suppress such uprisings.

Dr. Vieira’s paper sets forth the other method of “calling forth the Militia” – the method provided for at Article I, §8, clauses 15 & 16, US Constitution. That provides for the intervention of the Militia within a State at the initiative of the federal government, regardless of whether the State requests it. 1

When highly knowledgeable and experienced persons, such as Dr. Vieira, speak in their area of expertise, and their words contradict our existing beliefs; we ought to re-examine our beliefs, instead of dismissing what such persons say. 2

So let’s review Article I, §8, clauses 15 & 16, and some of the early Acts of Congress implementing them.

1. The American Militia is 400 years old

Throughout our colonial period, able-bodied free males were expected to be armed and trained and ready on short notice to defend their home, family, neighborhood and Colony. They were the “Militia”. In Mel Gibson’s movie, Patriot, Gibson’s character commanded a South Carolina Militia Company. The Militia was not “regular Army” – it was comprised of farmers, pastors, shopkeepers, etc., trained in the use of arms and prepared to fight for defense of Family and Community.

In our Constitution of 1787, our Framers provided for a regular Army and Navy at Article I, §8, clauses 12, 13 & 14. Pursuant to Article II, §2, clause 1, the President is Commander in Chief (CINC) of the Army and Navy. 3

Our Constitution also recognized the continued existence of the Militia, and assigned to it three specific federal functions: Article I, §8, clause 15 empowers Congress:

“To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions”. 4

Clause 16 authorizes Congress:

“To provide for the organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”.

In 1792, Congress passed the Militia Act which “provided for” the arming of the Militia by requiring every able-bodied male Citizen of the ages 18-45 (with a few exceptions) 5 to acquire a rifle, bayonet, ammo pouch, ammo, 6 and report to his local unit for training. HERE is the Militia Act of 1792.

When the Militia of a State isn’t in the service of the United States for one of the three purposes listed in Clause 15, its function is to help in its own State – however the need arises. And in Federalist No. 46, James Madison says the Militia is to defend the State from the federal government in the event it becomes tyrannical. 7

2. Who has the authority to call forth the Militia into service of the United States?

Article I, §8, clause 15 authorizes Congress to “provide for” calling forth the Militia “to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions”. How does Congress “provide for” calling forth the Militia into the service of the United States?

In Martin v. Mott, 25 US 19 (1827), the Supreme Court considered the Militia Act of 1795 [link] which authorized the President to call forth the militia when he judged it necessary to repel an invasion or enforce the laws of the United States. The Court pointed out that the power had been entrusted by Congress to the President, and said that,

“We are all of opinion, that the authority to decide whether the exigency has arisen, belongs exclusively to the President, and that his decision is conclusive upon all other persons.”

So! In the Militia Act of 1795, Congress “provided for” calling forth the Militia by delegating to the President the power to determine when it was advisable to call the Militia into national service to repel an invasion or to execute the laws of the Union. 8

3. Transformation of the Militia into the federally controlled National Guard

During the early 1900s, Americans elected Progressives [Fabian socialists] to office. And these “Progressives” commenced the conquest of our Country. They had to eliminate the threat the Militia posed to the totalitarian federal government they intended to create. So with the “Efficiency in Militia Act of 1903” (the “Dick Act”) [link], Congress federalized the Militia. And this is how the Militia of the several States, which is the primary defense of a Free People and the States against a tyrannical federal government [2nd Amendment], was put under federal control. And the States went along with it because their People were ignorant, short sighted, and bought off with federal appropriations for the new federalized “National Guard”.

So we don’t have an organized & trained Militia – now, we have federal troops – some on active duty in the Regular Military; others as weekend warriors in the Reserves or National Guard.

4. Current Acts of Congress providing for calling forth the “Militia” (federal armed forces)

Today, the provisions of the US Code which address calling forth the “Militia” 9 into national service are: 10 USC §251, 10 USC §252, 10 USC §253, and 10 USC §254. Note that the President still has statutory authority to use his own Judgment respecting whether to send the “Militia” into any State:

♦ to enforce the Laws of the United States [10 USC § 252];

♦ to suppress uprisings which deprive the people of the rights, privileges and immunities, and protections recognized in the Constitution and secured by Law, and the State government isn’t protecting those rights [10 USC §253]; and

♦ to suppress uprisings which oppose or obstruct the execution of the laws of the United States or impede the course of justice under those laws [10 USC § 253].

5. Conclusion

Our Constitution is an elegant piece of work. Its parts are interconnected and fit together. So we must read each clause in the light shed by the other clauses and by the Principles of our Founding as set forth in our Declaration of Independence. We must never insert our own biases – no matter what they are.

One of the most valuable characteristics of our federal system is the ability of the state and federal governments to be “checks” on each other. In Federalist No. 28 (7th para), Alexander Hamilton says,

“… in a confederacy [10] the people … may be said to be entirely the masters of their own fate. Power being almost always the rival of power, the general [national or federal] government will at all times stand ready to check the usurpations of the state governments, and these will have the same disposition towards the general government. The people, by throwing themselves into either scale, will infallibly make it preponderate. If their rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other as the instrument of redress. …”

We would be wise to celebrate the President’s constitutional and statutory authority to protect us from the death and destruction being brought about – with the connivance of State & local officials – by the Marxist revolutionaries. When State and local governments refuse to protect their people from such death and destruction, the President has a clear power to intervene.

Now, we must start electing Presidents who know and obey our Constitution. 11

Endnotes:

1 Our Framers thought of everything – including rogue State governments. See, e.g, Federalist No. 28.

2 One of the themes of Proverbs is that a wise man listens and increases his understanding. Be wise.

3 To be CINC means that the President has the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first General and admiral of the Confederacy (Federalist No. 69).

4 Let that clause sink in! Our Framers did not want a standing Army [go here and search for “standing armies”] – that’s why appropriations for the regular Army were limited to two years (Art. I, § 8, cl. 12). National defense, enforcement of federal laws, & suppressing Insurrections were to be the responsibility of the Militia. When the federal gov’t needs to enforce its laws, it is to call forth the Militia – the armed and trained Citizens – to do the enforcing! During the Washington Administration, the federal gov’t called forth the Militia to enforce the federal excise tax on whiskey. Federal law enforcement is thus the province of the Citizens – the Militia! It is most manifestly NOT the province of armed thugs in the employ of the Executive Branch of the federal gov’t.

5 Pursuant to §2 of the Militia Act of 1792, federal officers & employees were exempted from service in the Militia. Can you figure out why they were exempted?

6 The arms, ammunition and accoutrements so acquired by the Militia Man were his personal property and were held free from claims of all creditors. They could not be seized and sold in payment for any judgments, debts or taxes. See last sentence of §1 of the Militia Act of 1792.

7 This is why Article II, §2, clause 1 provides that the President is CINC of the Militia only when it is called into national service. This is also why §2 of the Militia Act of 1792 exempts all federal officers and employees from service in the Militia.

8 The Militia Act of 1795 also provided that in cases of insurrection against a State government, the President could send in the Militia upon request of the State Legislature or Governor.

9 Even though we no longer have a “militia” within the meaning of Article I, §8, clauses 15 & 16; the current US Code uses the term in order to connect the activities of the federal armed forces with Art. I, §8, clause 15.

10 Our Constitution created a “federation” (“confederation”) of sovereign states which were united together for the sole purposes enumerated in the US Constitution.

11 I may have been wrong to fault President Trump for not sending the National Guard into the States to suppress the Insurrections.  In The Coming Coup? [link], Michael Anton writes:

“…It started with the military brass quietly indicating that the troops should not follow a presidential order. They were bolstered by many former generals—including President Trump’s own first Secretary of Defense—who stated openly what the brass would only hint at. Then, as nationwide riots really got rolling in early June, the sitting Secretary of Defense himself all but publicly told the president not to invoke the Insurrection Act. His implicit message was: “Mr. President, don’t tell us to do that, because we won’t, and you know what happens after that.”

If that is true, then the President ought to fire Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and should “purg[e] the [military] officer corps of anyone not down with the program and promoting only those who are.”

ARRL: Hurricane Watch Net Active for Paulette and Sally

Update 9/16: Hurricane Sally came ashore near Gulf Shores, AL at 0445hrs Central time as a category 2 hurricane with 105 mph wind. It is only moving at three miles per hour so much rainfall is forecast. From ARRL:

Northern Florida Section Emergency Coordinator Karl Martin, K4HBN, is requesting that stations not directly involved in the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) response to Hurricane Sally please avoid 3.950 MHz (primary) and 7.242 MHz (backup). ARES has activated in four Northern Florida counties. Shelters are open, and power and telecommunications outages are widespread, Martin reports.

From the ARRL:

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) said this morning that it will continue to gather any reports from Bermuda in the wake of Hurricane Paulette, which made landfall on the resort island today (Monday, September 14). Paulette is slowly moving away from Bermuda, a British overseas territory. The HWN is currently active on 14.325 MHz, seeking damage and storm surge reports.

“The Atlantic Basin is very busy today,” HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said. “This morning, the National Hurricane Center began issuing advisories on five tropical cyclones located over the Atlantic Basin. This ties a record set in September 1971.”

Sally now is a category 1 hurricane. Graves said the HWN switched its focus to Sally at 1600 UTC. “We will work to line up report stations along the eastern coast of Louisiana and the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama,” Graves said.

In its 1800 UTC update, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Sally was “meandering over the north-central Gulf of Mexico, expected to resume a slow west-northwestward motion.” Hurricane warnings have already been issued for the coast of Alabama. As of 1800 UTC, Sally was some 125 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 160 miles southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi. With maximum sustained winds of nearly 90 MPH, Sally was expected to resume its west-northwest motion at about 7 MPH.

“It’s really hard to know when and where Sally will make landfall as the forecast track keeps shifting left and right,” Graves said. “As of this morning, Sally is forecast to make landfall somewhere between Port Sulfur, Louisiana, and Biloxi, Mississippi. People in these areas need to follow the directions of local emergency management.” Graves said the HWN would appreciate any weather data, damage reports, and storm surge.

ARRL: 5 MHz (60 m) Interoperability Channels Designated for Wildfires and Hurricane Sally Response

The ARRL has a story about FEMA setting aside two of the 60-meter channels for emergency communication interoperability.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that two 60-meter channels have been made available, as necessary, for interoperability between US Government stations and US amateur radio stations involved in emergency communications related to the wildland firefighting response in California, Oregon, and Washington, and to Hurricane Sally. These interoperability channels will remain active until the need for these channels no longer exists:

  • Channel 1 — primary voice traffic 5332 kHz channel center, 5330.5 kHz USB voice
  • Channel 2 — digital traffic 5348 kHz channel center, 5346.5 kHz USB with 1.5-kHz offset to center of digital waveform.

Frequencies may be modified or added to by FEMA Region 10 for their area or operations due to existing 5-MHz/60-meter interoperability plans for their region.

Amateur radio is secondary on the 5-MHz band and should yield to operational traffic related to wildland firefighting and hurricane response. Although the intended use for these channels is interoperability between federal government stations and licensed US amateur radio stations, federal government stations are primary users and amateurs are secondary users.

The Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) is following FEMA’s lead on the interoperability channel designations for the wildfire and hurricane response. Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY, says he has alerted all MARS members of the FEMA channel designations and MARS members are prepared to support response efforts as needed.

Forward Observer: Why the U.S. Dollar is at risk in 2021

Intelligence analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer answers Why the US Dollar Is at Risk in 2021

I’m starting to see a lot of conservative media activity regarding “the coming coup,” expected to take place between November and January.

As I warned Early Warning subscribers earlier this year, the Left — liberals and Leftists, alike — are planning sustained, mass mobilization protests in the vein of Tahrir Square or the Euromaidan.

Protests at Cairo’s Tahrir Square turned into an Egyptian revolution that toppled Mubarak in 2011. In Kyiv, Ukraine, months-long protests and violence led to the ouster of Yanukovich in 2013.

Meanwhile, mass protests in Belarus are aimed at removing Lukashenko from office right now.

This whole idea of an American Spring or Lafayette Square began back during the Impeachment process, where left wing activists hoped to organize mass mobilization protests that would eventually lead to the toppling of the Trump “regime”.

New York Times columnists Michelle Goldberg and Jamelle Bouie gave the idea widespread coverage, imploring the Left to mobilize. They tried to convince the country that turning out was an imperative to combat fascism and to demand the Senate convict President Trump. Those efforts fizzled, likely because an American Spring was better suited as a course of action saved until the election.

And here we are with just 49 days to go. The current protests, riots, and unrest could well serve as a warm-up for November.

Any illusion of unity in this country is gone. Society is increasingly tribal, most presidential polls are split within five or ten points, the economy is separated between the haves and have-nots. One thing most in the mainstream can agree on is ‘free and fair elections’ that decide the country’s political future.

If we can’t agree on free and fair elections after 2020, then societal, political, and economic conditions are likely to deteriorate, maybe rapidly.

One of the most overlooked threats to a failed or contested election is the value of the dollar.

During ramp up to the COVID crisis, international investors sought refuge in the dollar because that was the safest and highest liquidity place to store their value.

We’ve enjoyed some incredible benefits of having a society and political system that supported a relatively stable dollar. Even with massive devaluation and theft from inflation, the dollar has historically been a refuge during times of international crisis. That won’t always be the case, though.

In a previous email I sent to you, I cited a JP Morgan study that found world reserve currency status lasts between 80-100 years; meaning that the U.S. Dollar is approaching its historical expiration date somewhere between 2024-2054, if the past 400 years of monetary history holds up. A failed or contested election will likely accelerate this timeline.

I received a response to that email, from a dismissive accountant who condescendingly asked where would international investors seek refuge. The same place they always do, and even more so with the dollar under duress: GOLD. We’ve also seen a lot of diversification into cryptocurrency. Globalists have wanted a global currency for decades — this likely becomes their opportunity for the IMF to issue a stable global reserve currency. Even if there’s not a viable alternative right now, the world’s a big place — given weeks or months, international investors can find places to put money. But maybe there’s no good solution and no where to hide. The real risk in that case is that international investors are stuck because no one wants to accept the USD in these trades. What happens to the value of a currency no one wants?

So, it’s serious question time.

If international demand for the dollar does begin to erode as a result of political, social, and economic instability, are the string pullers on the Left and Right willing to risk monetary collapse over election results?

If U.S. markets crash and the dollar does start to lose value rapidly, how much longer will the Left push the unrest? How long would the Right be willing hang on?

This may be considered an outlier scenario, but it’s certainly one risk we’ll face over the next three to six months.

Wall Builders: An Appeal to Heaven Flag

Some US flag history from Wall Builders, An Appeal to Heaven Flag.

During the early days of the War for Independence—while the gun smoke still covered the fields at Lexington and Concord, and the cannons still echoed at Bunker Hill—America faced innumerable difficulties and a host of hard decisions. Unsurprisingly, the choice of a national flag remained unanswered for many months due to more pressing issues such as arranging a defense and forming the government.

However, a flag was still needed by the military in order to differentiate the newly forged American forces from those of the oncoming British. Several temporary flags were swiftly employed in order to satisfy the want. One of the most famous and widespread standards rushed up flagpoles on both land and sea was the “Pinetree Flag,” or sometimes called “An Appeal to Heaven” flag.

As the name suggests, this flag was characterized by having both a tree (most commonly thought to be a pine or a cypress) and the motto reading “an appeal to Heaven.” Typically, these were displayed on a white field, and often were used by troops, especially in New England, as the liberty tree was a prominent northern symbol for the independence movement.[i]

In fact, prior to the Declaration of Independence but after the opening of hostilities, the Pinetree Flag was one of the most popular flags for American troops. Indeed, “there are recorded in the history of those days many instances of the use of the pine-tree flag between October, 1775, and July, 1776.”[ii]

Some of America’s earliest battles and victories were fought under a banner declaring “an appeal to Heaven.” Some historians document that General Israel Putnam’s troops at Bunker Hill used a flag with the motto on it, and during the Battle of Boston the floating batteries (floating barges armed with artillery) proudly flew the famous white Pinetree Flag.[iii] In January of 1776, Commodore Samuel Tucker flew the flag while successfully capturing a British troop transport which was attempting to relieve the besieged British forces in Boston.[iv]

The Pinetree Flag was commonly used by the Colonial Navy during this period of the War. When George Washington commissioned the first-ever officially sanctioned military ships for America in 1775, Colonel Joseph Reed wrote the captains asking them to:

Please to fix upon some particular color for a flag, and a signal by which our vessels may know one another. What do you think of a flag with a white ground, a tree in the middle, the motto ‘Appeal to Heaven’? This is the flag of our floating batteries.[v]

In the following months news spread even to England that the Americans were employing this flag on their naval vessels. A report of a captured ship revealed that, “the flag taken from a provincial [American] privateer is now deposited in the admiralty; the field is a white bunting, with a spreading green tree; the motto, ‘Appeal to Heaven.’”[vi]

As the skirmishes unfolded into all out warfare between the colonists and England, the Pinetree Flag with its prayer to God became synonymous with the American struggle for liberty. An early map of Boston reflected this by showing a side image of a British redcoat trying to rip this flag out of the hands of a colonist (see image on right).[vii] The main motto, “An Appeal to Heaven,” inspired other similar flags with mottos such as “An Appeal to God,” which also often appeared on early American flags.

For many modern Americans it might be surprising to learn that one of the first national mottos and flags was “an appeal to Heaven.” Where did this phrase originate, and why did the Americans identify themselves with it?

To understand the meaning behind the Pinetree Flag we must go back to John Locke’s influential Second Treatise of Government (1690). In this book, the famed philosopher explains that when a government becomes so oppressive and tyrannical that there no longer remains any legal remedy for citizens, they can appeal to Heaven and then resist that tyrannical government through a revolution. Locke turned to the Bible to explain his argument:

To avoid this state of war (wherein there is no appeal but to Heaven, and wherein every the least difference is apt to end, where there is no authority to decide between the contenders) is one great reason of men’s putting themselves into society and quitting [leaving] the state of nature, for where there is an authority—a power on earth—from which relief can be had by appeal, there the continuance of the state of war is excluded and the controversy is decided by that power. Had there been any such court—any superior jurisdiction on earth—to determine the right between Jephthah and the Ammonites, they had never come to a state of war, but we see he was forced to appeal to Heaven. The Lord the Judge (says he) he judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon, Judg. xi. 27.[viii]

Locke affirms that when societies are formed and systems and methods of mediation can be instituted, armed conflict to settle disputes is a last resort. When there no longer remains any higher earthly authority to which two contending parties (such as sovereign nations) can appeal, the only option remaining is to declare war in assertion of certain rights. This is what Locke calls an appeal to Heaven because, as in the case of Jephthah and the Ammonites, it is God in Heaven Who ultimately decides who the victors will be.

Locke goes on to explain that when the people of a country “have no appeal on earth, then they have a liberty to appeal to Heaven whenever they judge the cause of sufficient moment [importance].”[ix] However, Locke cautions that appeals to Heaven through open war must be seriously and somberly considered beforehand since God is perfectly just and will punish those who take up arms in an unjust cause. The English statesman writes that:

he that appeals to Heaven must be sure he has right on his side; and a right to that is worth the trouble and cost of the appeal as he will answer at a tribunal that cannot be deceived [God’s throne] and will be sure to retribute to everyone according to the mischiefs he hath created to his fellow subjects; that is, any part of mankind.[x]

The fact that Locke writes extensively concerning the right to a just revolution as an appeal to Heaven becomes massively important to the American colonists as England begins to strip away their rights. The influence of his Second Treatise of Government (which contains his explanation of an appeal to Heaven) on early America is well documented. During the 1760s and 1770s, the Founding Fathers quoted Locke more than any other political author, amounting to a total of 11% and 7% respectively of all total citations during those formative decades.[xi] Indeed, signer of the Declaration of Independence Richard Henry Lee once quipped that the Declaration had been largely“copied from Locke’s Treatise on Government.”[xii]

Therefore, when the time came to separate from Great Britain and the regime of King George III, the leaders and citizens of America well understood what they were called upon to do. By entering into war with their mother country, which was one of the leading global powers at the time, the colonists understood that only by appealing to Heaven could they hope to succeed.

For example, Patrick Henry closes his infamous “give me liberty” speech by declaring that:

If we wish to be free—if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending—if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon—we must fight!—I repeat it, sir, we must fight!! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts, is all that is left us![xiii]

Furthermore, Jonathan Trumbull, who as governor of Connecticut was the only royal governor to retain his position after the Declaration, explained that the Revolution began only after repeated entreaties to the King and Parliament were rebuffed and ignored. In writing to a foreign leader, Trumbull clarified that:

On the 19th day of April, 1775, the scene of blood was opened by the British troops, by the unprovoked slaughter of the Provincial troops at Lexington and Concord. The adjacent Colonies took up arms in their own defense; and the Congress again met, again petitioned the Throne [the English king] for peace and settlement; and again their petitions were contemptuously disregarded. When every glimpse of hope failed not only of justice but of safety, we were compelled, by the last necessity, to appeal to Heaven and rest the defense of our liberties and privileges upon the favor and protection of Divine Providence; and the resistance we could make by opposing force to force.[xiv]

John Locke’s explanation of the right to just revolution permeated American political discourse and influenced the direction the young country took when finally being forced to appeal to Heaven in order to reclaim their unalienable rights. The church pulpits likewise thundered with further Biblical exegesis on the importance of appealing to God for an ultimate redress of grievances, and pastors for decades after the War continued to teach on the subject. For example, an 1808 sermon explained:

War has been called an appeal to Heaven. And when we can, with full confidence, make the appeal, like David, and ask to be prospered according to our righteousness, and the cleanness of our hands, what strength and animation it gives us! When the illustrious Washington, at an early stage of our revolutionary contest, committed the cause in that solemn manner. “May that God whom you have invoked, judge between us and you,” how our hearts glowed that we had such a cause to commit![xv]

Thus, when the early militiamen and naval officers flew the Pinetree Flag emblazoned with its motto “An Appeal for Heaven,” it was not some random act with little significance or meaning. Instead, they sought to march into battle with a recognition of God’s Providence and their reliance on the King of Kings to right the wrongs which they had suffered. The Pinetree Flag represents a vital part of America’s history and an important step on the journey to reaching a national flag during the early days of the War for Independence.

Furthermore, the Pinetree Flag was far from being the only national symbol recognizing America’s reliance on the protection and Providence of God. During the War for Independence other mottos and rallying cries included similar sentiments. For example, the flag pictured on the right bore the phrase “Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God,” which came from an earlier 1750 sermon by the influential Rev. Jonathan Mayhew.[xvi]  In 1776 Benjamin Franklin even suggested that this phrase be part of the nation’s Great Seal.[xvii] The Americans’ thinking and philosophy was so grounded on a Biblical perspective that even a British parliamentary report in 1774 acknowledged that, “If you ask an American, ‘Who is his master?’ He will tell you he has none—nor any governor but Jesus Christ.”[xviii]

This God-centered focus continued throughout our history after the Revolutionary War. For example, in the War of 1812 against Britain, during the Defense of Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key penned what would become our National Anthem, encapsulating this perspective by writing that:

Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land

Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”[xix]

In the Civil War, Union Forces sang this song when marching into battle. In fact, Abraham Lincoln was inspired to put “In God we Trust” on coins, which was one of his last official acts before his untimely death.[xx] And after World War II, President Eisenhower led Congress in making “In God We Trust” the official National Motto,[xxi] also adding “under God” to the pledge in 1954.[xxii]

Throughout the centuries America has continually and repeatedly acknowledged the need to look to God and appeal to Heaven. This was certainly evident in the earliest days of the War for Independence with the Pinetree Flag and its powerful inscription: “An Appeal to Heaven.”


[i] “Flag, The,” Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States, ed. John Lalor (Chicago: Melbert B. Cary & Company, 1883), 2.232, here.

[ii] Report of the Proceedings of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee at the Thirtieth Meeting, Held at Toledo, Ohio, October 26-17, 1898 (Cincinnati: F. W. Freeman, 1899), 80, here.

[iii] Schuyler Hamilton, Our National Flag; The Stars and Stripes; Its History in a Century (New York: George R. Lockwood, 1877), 16-17, here

[iv] Report of the Proceedings of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee at the Thirtieth Meeting, Held at Toledo, Ohio, October 26-17, 1898 (Cincinnati: F. W. Freeman, 1899), 80, here.

[v] Richard Frothingham, History of the Siege of Boston, and of the Battles of Lexington, Concord, and Buner Hill (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1849), 261, here.

[vi] Richard Frothingham, History of the Siege of Boston, and of the Battles of Lexington, Concord, and Buner Hill (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1849), 262, here.

[vii] Richard Frothingham, History of the Siege of Boston, and of the Battles of Lexington, Concord, and Buner Hill (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1849), 262, here.

[viii] John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (London: A. Millar, et al., 1794), 211, here.

[ix] John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (London: A. Millar, et al., 1794), 346-347, here

[x] John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (London: A. Millar, et al., 1794), 354-355, here.

[xi] Donald Lutz, The Origins of American Constitutionalism (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1988), 143.

[xii] Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew A. Lipscomb, editor (Washington, D.C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XV, p. 462, to James Madison on August 30, 1823.

[xiii] William Wirt, The Life of Patrick Henry (New York: McElrath & Bangs, 1831), 140, here

[xiv] Jonathan Trumbull quoted in James Longacre, The National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans (Philadelphia: James B. Longacre, 1839), 4.5, here.

[xv] The Question of War with Great Britain, Examined upon Moral and Christian Principles (Boston: Snelling and Simons, 1808), 13, here.

[xvi] Jonathan Mayhew, A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers (Boston: D. Fowle, 1750) [Evans # 6549]; see also, John Adams, Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife, ed. Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1841), 1:152, to Abigail Adams on August 14, 1776.

[xvii] “Benjamin Franklin’s Great Seal Design,” The Great Seal (accessed September 2, 2020), here.

[xviii] Hezekiah Niles, Principles and Acts of the Revolution in America (Baltimore: William Ogden Niles, 1822), 198.

[xix] Francis Scott Key, “The Defence of Fort M’Henry,” The Analectic Magazine (Philadelphia: Moses Thomas, 1814) 4.433-444.

[xx] B. F. Morris, Memorial Record of the Nation’s Tribute to Abraham Lincoln (Washington, DC: W. H. & O. H. Morrison, 1866), 216, here.

[xxi] D. Jason Berggan, “In God We Trust,” The First Amendment Encyclopedia (2017), here.

[xxii] Rachel Siegel, “The Gripping Sermon that Got ‘Under God’ Added to the Pledge of Allegiance on Flag Day,” The Washington Post (June 14, 2018), here.

The American Mind: The Resurrection of Freedom

A longer piece from Justin Lee at The American Mind, The Resurrection of Freedom.

America must be refounded—again and again.

“The art of subversion, of revolution, is to dislodge established customs by probing down to their origins in order to show how they lack authority and justice.”—Blaise Pascal, Pensées

On May 4 of this year, Nikole Hannah-Jones was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary for her introductory essay to the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project. The purpose of the project, as conceived by Hannah-Jones, is “to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.” The Pulitzer Center has reinvented itself as an explicitly identitarian institution and sponsored a 1619-inspired curriculum of agitprop. But one could certainly imagine a version of the project—had it been pursued with intellectual integrity—that might have had some validity. Even if you think Nikole Hannah-Jones is writing in good faith and making good points, however, her project is tragically self-defeating.

The title of Hannah-Jones’s essay is her thesis: “Our founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true.” That thesis is played out in a sweeping overview of American history, beginning in 1619 with the first arrival of African slaves to Virginia, and culminating in the Civil Rights Era.

The second part of this thesis is simply true: black Americans have fought to make our nation’s ideals into reality. Hannah-Jones is at her most compelling when describing the abuse heaped on black veterans of WWII as they returned home from combat. One feels her deep personal connection to these stories, her empathy for these scorned men mediated by love for her veteran father. Likewise, her wistful description of Reconstruction, and its defeat by racial ressentiment, should make any person of goodwill pine for what might have been, what should have been.

But her first claim, that our founding ideals were never intended to be realized, is supported in many places by intentionally misleading or simply false history. Her charge that the American Revolution was fought in order to preserve the institution of slavery has been justly eviscerated by the ablest scholars of that era. The Times issued a (still misleading) correction, but only after historian Leslie M. Harris of Northwestern University revealed that she had pointed out the error during a pre-publication fact-check and was ignored by Hannah-Jones.

Their perseverance in this error is telling. The 1619 Project, for all its merits, is committed to a Manichaean vision of reality: everything base in American history originates with white people, while everything virtuous can be attributed to black people. This is a mimetic inversion of the noxious belief “that black people are the obstacle to national unity,” which Hannah-Jones takes pains to attribute even to Abraham Lincoln.

Hannah-Jones paints an uncharitable portrait in which Lincoln is just another racist—perhaps less so than many others, but still undeserving of sympathy, no matter his achievements, which in any case weren’t pursued with the proper motivations.

Here, the historiography is as tragically ironic as it is bankrupt. The 1619 Project is intended not just to “reframe” American history, but to refound the nation. Hannah-Jones writes that “black Americans, as much as those men cast in alabaster in the nation’s capital, are this nation’s true “founding fathers.”’

This desire to honor the achievements of black Americans cannot be fulfilled by refounding the nation in 1619. To do so would be to negate her true refounding, which occurred in 1863.

Bloodshed and a New Birth

President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863 at the consecration ceremony for the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, nearly five months after the bloodiest episode of the Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg had halted General Lee’s second and final push into the North—at the cost of as many as 51,000 casualties, roughly 8,000 of which were deaths.

The war was not yet won, but General Lee’s army was scattered and demoralized, and the Union’s victory seemed imminent. Already Lincoln was looking ahead to the impossible task of knitting together the nation’s wounds. The war—and the barbaric institution of chattel slavery that necessitated it—had called into question the very possibility of republican government.

Lincoln was convinced that the future of popular sovereignty the world over rested on not just the outcome of the war, but on what must follow it: the repair of those “mystic chords of memory,” and the restoration of faith in the Declaration of Independence. Lincoln knew he must refound the republic.

Blaise Pascal understood that all regimes are founded on violence: the strong establish themselves over the weak, and in time the usurpation is forgotten. “The truth about the usurpation must not be made apparent,” wrote Pascal: “it came about organically without reason and has become reasonable.” What was arbitrary in origin may be developed along rational lines—just as monarchic Rome matured into a republic.

Harry V. Jaffa, riffing on Pascal in A New Birth of Freedom (2000), observes that Lincoln refused to arrogate to himself unconstitutional power during the war because doing so would undermine his authority to refound the nation. This is why Lincoln delayed so long in issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves and allowed them to fight in the Union army.

“Military necessity had enabled the federal government to do lawfully what the Constitution hitherto had prevented it from doing,” writes Jaffa. “For that government to have acted against slavery in the states except under the exigencies of the war would … have meant usurping powers to which the people of the United States had not given their consent. It would thus, [Lincoln] thought, have defeated the very ends of human freedom.” The Gettysburg Address served as an apologia for the Proclamation and paved the way for the Thirteenth Amendment by recalling the nation to its founding ideals in the only context in which such a refounding was possible.

In his remarkable study The Dominion of the Dead (2003), Robert Pogue Harrison argues that all human habitation and culture—the home, the city, even the nation—are founded upon the marked grave. “It is not for nothing that the Greek word for ‘sign,’ sema, is also the word for ‘grave,” writes Harrison: the memorial to the dead is the wellspring and focal point of all meaning. Lincoln’s genius at Gettysburg was his recognition that the living are incapable of founding anything on their own. “We cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground,” he proclaimed. “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.”

According to Harrison, “Lincoln’s address is the sema, or grave marker. Its speech act makes of that ground a place or the place where the nation finds itself, on which it must found, or refound, its republic.”

The South’s secession was more than an insurrection. It was an apostasy from the founding faith of the Republic. The doctrine that “all men are created equal” had been ratified not by any legislative body but by the blood spilled in the Revolution. Lincoln understood that the nation could not experience a “new birth of freedom” without regrounding that doctrine in a new sacrifice.

Lincoln himself, at his assassination, would provide a seal for that sacrifice and become the last martyr of his own cause. The legacy of those martyred for cleaving to the idea that every human bears an irreducible divine dignity encompasses the entire history of man. The martyrdom of Martin Luther King, Jr. is in this sense no less salient than that of Lincoln.

It is fitting that Lincoln structured the logic and language of his address on the King James Bible. Scripture supplied not only the shared idiom of the nation, but the originary source—and final justification—of the idea that “all men are created equal.” The doctrine of the Imago Dei, unique to the Jewish and Christian faiths, provides the only coherent ground for the idea of human rights. Only if we are made in the image of God does our humanity make us inherently deserving of life and liberty.

In its trinitarian rendering, the Imago Dei means that no human is complete unto him- or herself. As God exists in tripartite self-relation, so we are human by virtue of our relationship with the other—other humans as well as God, who is wholly other. St. Paul wrote in Ephesians that Christ, by his blood, had made Jews and Gentiles into one people, and again in Galatians that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

The deaths of America’s soldiers, as well as Lincoln’s own death not long afterward, provided the Christlike sacrifice needed to break down our national barriers and sustain Lincoln’s refounding. It was not mere coincidence that Lincoln was assassinated on Good Friday.

The Game Plan

Any effort to “reframe” American history motivated by a genuine desire for equality and historical fidelity must take into account Lincoln’s “new birth of freedom,” even if only to judge it, at the last, stillborn. Of course, while de jure racism has been defeated, Americans disagree on the extent it should be blamed for lasting effects upon those living today. Clearly it is plausible to many that its legacy of traumas—shattered families, dysfunctional communities, brutalized bodies—might be experienced by some as “systemic.” Still, even if one deems this country to have failed utterly to honor the divine dignity of its black citizens, that very judgment entails an affirmation of the Imago and the Declaration of Independence. Why, then, does Nikole Hannah-Jones take such pains to discount it by speciously disparaging Lincoln?

The answer is that Hannah-Jones is interested not in securing equality, but in enforcing equity of outcome—an idea utterly foreign to the American project. Her claim that black Americans have fought to make our founding ideals true, while indisputable, is meant to provide false assurance that she believes those ideals are worth fighting for. But the ultimate effect of her work is to discredit those ideals by eroding their foundation.

Under the logic of the Declaration, enforced equity would constitute a form of tyranny and an abrogation of equal dignity. Equity can only be achieved by enforcing a uniformity of opinions, passions, and interests among a populace. But “the diversity in the faculties of men,” as Madison wrote in Federalist #10, is “an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests.” Any effort to replace equality with equity as the nation’s tēlos requires denying the Declaration, and by extension natural law.

Lincoln’s refounding of America, then, must be discredited, a task Hannah-Jones can only accomplish by convincing her readers that Lincoln did not really believe in the full humanity of black people. To this end she cites his repeated assurance to white voters that he would not countenance black people becoming “politically and socially our equals,” along with his support for the proposal that freed slaves be shipped as colonists to another country.

Naturally, she ignores the mountain of evidence that Lincoln was employing a double-script, telling whites what he believed they needed to hear in the present in order for full equality to be achieved in the future (he even called the colonization proposal a “barbarous humbug”). Nor does she acknowledge the inconvenient fact that Lincoln was assassinated by a white supremacist because he sought full citizenship, including voting rights, for black Americans.

Hannah-Jones has honed her craft and public ethos as a writer and intellectual since her college days, but she has maintained her Manichaean worldview, so much so that she considered it “an honor” when Charles Kesler suggested that the recent “uprisings” be called the “1619 riots” for their destruction of historical memory. She has even justified the violence and wanton destruction of those riots as a necessary tool to make white people pay attention to black suffering.

Contemporary progressives are historicists: they understand history as a moral trajectory toward justice in which essentialized ethnic and sexual minorities struggle against white, heterosexual bearers of privilege. And indeed, conditions are presently favorable for those who desire, as one regional leader of BLM put it, to “burn down this system and replace it.”

But a full measure of revolutionary violence may be unnecessary to achieve the ends Hannah-Jones and BLM have in mind.

If “equality” loses its meaning as traditionally understood according to the Declaration, then the word can be made to mean anything those with institutional power choose, including “equity.” Because even the conservative legal establishment largely rejects the Declaration’s authority, revolution is likely overkill. “Substantive” due process, untethered to natural law, has thus far proved an effective device for contorting the Constitution to advance our elites’ will to power. Perhaps in time it will be used to enforce the uniformity of thought necessary to bring about equity.

The cruel irony is that Hannah-Jones and her allies are in fact advancing the same “ingenious sophism” John C. Calhoun employed to defend the institution of slavery and pave the way for secession. The protection of absolute state rights, and thus of slavery, from a hostile legislative majority required severing those rights from natural law.

As Jaffa summarizes, nature for Calhoun was only “a record of cause and effect” and not “a source of moral principles.” Only in the domain of pure immanence could the mere fact of slavery’s existence suffice to justify its continuance; nothing must be allowed to threaten the identification of “is” with “ought.” Underlying Calhoun’s thought “are the premises of historicism, positivism, relativism, and nihilism—premises that have become the conventional wisdom of our time.”

These are also the premises of Hegel’s “cunning of history” and Marx’s dialectic, Hitler’s National Socialism and Stalin’s purges, as well as Taney’s jurisprudence in Dred Scott and Blackmun’s in Roe v. Wade. When such premises lead to just outcomes, it is merely an accident of arbitrary human will.

Hannah-Jones sees clearly the injustice wrought by the belief that “might makes right,” and yet she is unable to recognize that so much of the movement to which she belongs has embraced the nihilistic historicism on which that ideology depends. She is not truly anti-Calhoun, but merely Calhoun turned upside-down. This blindness, if it persists, will ensure that whatever is gained in this current season of activism will be secured on unstable ground, and thus easily lost or subverted when history changes sides.

An inevitable consequence of Hannah-Jones’s Manichaean worldview is her own cooptation by the system she decries. If all of America’s institutions are irredeemably corrupted by the legacy of slavery, then what of the New York Times and the Pulitzer Center? At the very least, the “anti-racist” efforts of legacy institutions must be considered suspect.

And in fact, from its inception, the 1619 Project has served the interests of the predominately white professional-managerial class. Despite the prominence of black activists like Hannah-Jones, white people are significantly more “woke” on race than non-white people. White elites drive the discourse and promote an endlessly broadening definition of racism, which requires education and training to understand, thereby distinguishing themselves from the white working class.

Mainstream anti-racist discourse, for which the 1619 Project is meant to provide an intellectual framework, is thus a technology of social control that sustains and reproduces the managerial class. Even the social chaos caused by the discourse redounds to the benefit of the managerial elite. The police may very well be abolished, but only to be replaced by battalions of social workers, administrators, and “community police”—that is, ideological adepts with truncheons and firearms.

This was inevitable. Lacking a stable grounding in natural law, Marxism (and let us not pretend that critical race theory isn’t of Marxist vintage) could not prevent devolving into its opposite. One nihilism opened the way for another, more persuasive, nihilism. Because the 1619 Project implicitly rejects natural law, it will only ever be a servant of power, and not necessarily the power of its authors. Its refounding of America in 1619 is nothing other than a refounding in neoliberalism.

The Hope of all Nations

This is a tragedy. An honest reckoning with our nation’s past is necessary if the best in that past is to be handed down to future generations. And what is that best if not the recognition that humans are created equal, “stamped with the Divine image and likeness,” in Lincoln’s words, and thus the bearers of intrinsic, rational dignity, of natural rights and responsibilities? And whose legacy is more deserving of honor and preservation than those who, like Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., gave the full measure of sacrifice in defense of that truth? As Christ said, “True love has no one greater than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.”

The most heartbreaking of Hannah-Jones’s failures is that her assault on the Declaration of Independence required her to elide entirely the role black Christians have played in shaping what is most beautiful about America. The closest she comes to discussing black faith is in dismissing it as imposed by slaveowners in place of their ancestral faiths.

This both denies black agency in matters of faith and ignores the profound creative legacy of black spirituality on the Christian world more broadly. Black Christians have been instrumental in raising the social consciousness of American Christianity and in catalyzing its eschatological longing. For example, the final verse of “Amazing Grace”—

when we’ve been there ten thousand years
bright shining as the sun
we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
than when we’d first begun

—was written by black slaves. Hannah-Jones ignores an entire world of beauty because giving that world its due would undermine her goal of marginalizing the Declaration in America’s historical consciousness.

Moreover, it is Christianity itself—which transcends race and makes one brotherhood of all men—that gave Americans of every generation reason to believe in the equality of all. Were we to identify a seventeenth-century origin point for America, it would be not 1619 but 1620, when the Puritans of the Mayflower dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod. To erase those Christian origins is to destroy the basis for anti-racism of all kinds, in America and beyond her borders.

Of course, if America is ever to realize the Puritan John Winthrop’s vision of a “city on a hill”—a true sema that reorients the wider world to a recognition of the Imago Dei—her Christians must learn from the long-suffering Christlikeness of their brothers and sisters, including those who have suffered racial injustice. For Christians, our work is not done unless each of us is able to see the image of God in every American, and every human face. This is the true underpinning—human beings, created equal—of the American notion of equality under the law.

As terrible as our current national crises are, they also offer another opportunity for refounding. Carolyn Marvin and David Ingle write that “what constitutes the nation in any moment is the memory of the last successful blood sacrifice that counts for living group members. In the United States this is World War II, fast receding in its effect as a national unifier…. Lacking that memory, we must search for new sacrifices.” A refounding consonant with Lincoln’s is now necessary if America is to have a recognizable future.

I’ll conclude with a quote from an 1831 statement issued by black leaders in New York who were opposed to that “barbarous humbug” of colonization. Hannah-Jones quotes from the same document in her 1619 introduction as part of her attempt to discredit Lincoln. Unsurprisingly, she whittles away the leaders’ references to God and the Declaration and their fathers’ willingness to die for its ideals. But in full it is more fitting a conclusion to this essay than anything I could write myself:

We do not believe that things will always continue the same. The time must come when the Declaration of Independence will be felt in the heart as well as uttered from the mouth, and when the rights of all shall be properly acknowledged and appreciated. God hasten that time. This is our home, and this is our country. Beneath its sod lie the bones of our fathers; for it, some of them fought, bled and died. Here we were born, and here we will die.

Practical Self Reliance: 50+ Green Tomato Recipes

Green Tomato Cake

Ashley Adamant at Practical Self Reliance has compiled a list of 50+ Green Tomato Recipes with links. A few years ago we had few of our tomatoes ripen. I don’t remember if we planted late or had an early frost, but we were left with plants full of green tomatoes. We ended up canning many different green tomato products like the mentioned green tomato mincemeat, green tomato salsa, green tomato chutney, and more. We also met green tomato spice cake for the first time, which was a delicious surprise. We use a nearly identical recipe to the Paula Deen recipe below, but with a cream cheese frosting (like for carrot cake) instead of the brown butter icing. So don’t despair if you find yourself with a surfeit of green tomatoes.

Green tomato recipes are an old fashioned tradition meant to ensure every last bit of the harvest is put to good use.  Don’t let those underripe tomatoes go to waste, there are so many creative ways to use green tomatoes (besides the ever-popular fried green tomatoes).

Green Tomato Recipes<img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-14082″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/practicalselfreliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Green-Tomato-Recipes-12.jpg?resize=600%2C400&ssl=1″ alt=”Green Tomato Recipes” width=”600″ height=”400″ data-recalc-dims=”1″>

 

Every year my tomato plants set fruit well into the fall months…only to be killed by early frosts in our short 100 day Vermont growing season.  We’ll top the plants with spare bedsheets to protect them from light frosts, but when temps well below freezing those tomato plants are done for.

With a killing frost on the way, it’s time to strip the plants bare before nightfall.  That often means buckets, baskets, and totes filled to the brim with green tomatoes.

With patience and good airflow, many of those underripe beauties will still ripen on the counter over the next few weeks.  Many though, will spoil in buckets long before they ripen.

This isn’t exactly a new problem, and resourceful gardeners have been cooking up green tomato recipes for generations.

Green Tomato Canning Recipes

Since green tomato harvests usually come by the bucketful in the fall, it’s no surprise that there are literally dozens of ways to preserve green tomatoes.  You can’t fry them all, but it’s easy enough to preserve green tomatoes with enough creative green tomato canning recipes.

Green tomatoes are actually more acidic than fully ripe tomatoes, and their texture holds up better to prolonged cooking.  Add in a flavor that works equally well in savory and sweet recipes, and you’ve got the perfect vegetable for everything from pickles to pie filling.  (Yes, really…home canned green tomato pie filling…)

There are so many green tomato canning recipes, I’ve separated them into savory and sweet.

Pickled Green Tomatoes<img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-14093″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/practicalselfreliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Pickled-Green-Tomatoes-2.jpg?resize=600%2C400&ssl=1″ alt=”Pickled Green Tomatoes” width=”600″ height=”400″ data-recalc-dims=”1″>

Savory Green Tomato Canning Recipes

Green tomatoes maintain their crunch better than cucumbers for pickling, but they also make excellent salsa, ketchup, and chutney.

All of these recipes are perfect for water bath canning, but they also make great refrigerator or freezer preserves as well (no canner required).

Canning green tomato slices means you can make fried green tomatoes mid winter! (Image Courtesy of A Farm Girl in the Making)<img aria-describedby=”caption-attachment-14094″ class=”size-full wp-image-14094″ src=”https://i2.wp.com/practicalselfreliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Canning-Green-Tomato-Slices.jpg?resize=1536%2C1152&ssl=1″ alt=”Canning green tomato slices means you can make fried green tomatoes mid winter! (Image Courtesy of A Farm Girl in the Making)” width=”1536″ height=”1152″ data-recalc-dims=”1″>

Canning green tomato slices means you can make fried green tomatoes mid-winter! (Image Courtesy of A Farm Girl in the Making)

Green Tomato Chutney from Lovely Greens<img aria-describedby=”caption-attachment-14080″ class=”size-full wp-image-14080″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/practicalselfreliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Green-Tomato-Chutney-from-Lovely-Greens.jpg?resize=750%2C440&ssl=1″ alt=”Green Tomato Chutney from Lovely Greens” width=”750″ height=”440″ data-recalc-dims=”1″>

Green Tomato Chutney (Image Courtesy of Lovely Greens)

Sweet Green Tomato Canning Recipes

I know, it sounds strange, but green tomatoes are actually amazing in sweet preserves.  I was really skeptical, but I absolutely loved old fashioned green tomato jam.

Don’t knock it until you try it…(continues)

 

Here’s the Green Tomato Cake recipe that my family uses:

Green Tomato Cake

4 cups chopped green tomato

1 T salt

————-

1/2 cup soft butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t ginger

1/4 t ground clove

1 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnuts

Mix the chopped tomato in a bowl with the 1 T salt and let  stand for 10 minutes. Rinse and drain the tomatoes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour a 9×13 cake pan.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs and beat until creamy. Stir together flour, cinnamon, ginger, clove, baking soda, and 1/4 t salt. Add raisins and nuts, mix and then added the creamed mixture. Mix all together then add tomatoes and mix well. Pour mixture into greased baking pan.

Bake 40-45 minutes.  Frost with cream cheese icing.

WA Policy Center: WA State L&I Thinks Lockdowns Will Extend to June 30, 2021

From the Washington Policy Center, Washington State Labor & Industries thinks the COVID-19 lockdowns will last until June 30, 2021

In a recent request for proposal (login required), Washington State Labor & Industries (L&I) has asked for companies to submit bids for an new L&I Education and Communication Outreach program. The plan is to educate and make sure Washington employers remain in compliance for the continuing COVID-19 business restrictions. All bids are due September 21, 2020 and L&I plans on spending $250,000 on the effort.

The end date of the contract is June 30, 2021, 10 months from now.

Apparently, L&I is planning for an extended COVID-19 lockdown and believes that it will be continuing well into 2021. For many small businesses, being locked down that long will put them out of business.

Some of the compliance program goals include:

  • Increase knowledge of, and compliance with, L&I’s COVID-19 related requirements, particularly among small businesses and nonprofits.
  • Develop new partnerships statewide among organizations serving the employer community and increase the capacity of such organizations to serve as ongoing resources for information and compliance assistance.
  • Foster increased collaboration between L&I, employer-trusted groups, and business and nonprofit communities, and with other public agencies and organizations with regard to pandemic recovery.
  • Strengthen trust between employers and L&I and increase use of L&I’s many tools, resources and services, which can help employers meet their obligations effectively and efficiently.
  • Positively impact the health and well-being of business customers, nonprofit constituents, and others who come into contact with employers and employees.

The justification for the program is that not all businesses know what L&I requires of them, including compliance assistance, during COVID-19. It is yet another example of government overreach.

Washington Policy Center believes the correct course of action is not to require a business to be the enforcement arm of any government agency. The business, may of course, at their own discretion, refuse service to those who don’t follow the rules.

The safety of Washington residents is, of course, important but both residents and businesses have been sensible in their approach to the COVID-19 crisis and can self-regulate themselves to keep our communities safe. The vast majority of business owners will continue doing everything they can do to keep their customers safe.