The gods of war

A couple of weeks after I was born, the Ensign’s First Presidency message was entitled The False Gods We Worship. President Kimball takes a topic that he treated similarly in The Miracle of Forgiveness, seven years earlier, into new and progressive areas. As I was preparing for my talk tomorrow on Joshua’s final stand before Israel, my mind turned to Kimball’s treatment.

Many of the items that President Kimball discusses would not seem out of place in today’s discourses. However there are a few that are surprising and one in particular that would be considered shocking:

We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel–ships, planes, missiles, fortifications–and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching:

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:44-45.)

Kimball goes on to explain that if we would only worship the true God and have faith in Him, putting away our idolatrous ways, we would be preserved as in the days of Enoch. If only he would have seen today.

Comments

  1. J. Stapley:

    If only he would have seen today.

    I’m not so certain that he did not see our day. I would argue his words are even more for our day than his. This one of my favorite of President Kimball’s sermons. Vietnam had just concluded, and American was in the midst of its bicentenial celebration. The cold war was raging, and it would be several years yet before the Church would put into practice President Kimball’s counsel in opposing the MX missle system in Utah.

    The Book of Mormon backs up President Kimball’s message here. If we but worship the God of this land, Jesus Christ, and keep the commandments we will propsper in the land. Nice post.

  2. Nicola Pike says:

    It is said in the last days that the evil men will run to the mountains and hide away and that it would be pretty much useless. The lord can move mountains and he has more power than any nuclear or weapon of mass distruction. When he says he will protect us the least we can do is believe him. I was born in South Africa and I can attest that the lord will protect us from the evils of the world. it might not have been a true war over there but it was close enough with walls of stone to surround us and guns to protect us. Violence is not the tool of the lord it is satans copywrited tool and so when we pick it up and use it, it will harm us instead. LIve by the sword means we will die by the sword. live by peace and we shall live in peace and safety.

  3. I think it’s important to keep a little perspective and remember what happened to Kimball in the end.

  4. But I think it’s great that you think so highly of Kimball’s teachings–provided you don’t find them morally repugnant, like his statements about dark-skinned Indians becoming white-skinned when they accept and practice the gospel. I too think highly of Kimball’s teachings when I don’t find them morally repugnant.

    And I don’t have a lot of patience for Christ’s do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do approach to morality (there’s quite a lot of “oh, ye brood of vipers, how shall you escape the damnation of hellfire” in the Gospels), because it’s frankly hypocritical and it’s just not indicative of the kind of moral perfection we’re taught to expect from a man who’s half deity. No, when enemies threaten the safety of my family, friends, or countrymen, I’m willing to commit substantial resources to making sure that they get tracked down and killed. You can call that love if you want to.

  5. DKL,

    That’s a low blow, man. I think Jesus did do as he said when “love your enemy” became “Father, forgive them.”

    Anyway, we’ve had the war argument again and again. Suffice it to say that I do not believe Vietnam (arguably what Kimball had in mind) and Iraq (today’s guerre du jour) represent countries that “threaten[ed] the safety of my family.”

    I think we are a warlike people. I say that of my own nation, and I say it after four years observing yours at close hand. I’ve got “Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves”; you’ve got “the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air.” War swells our hearts and makes us oh-so-proud.

    I have come to believe that although there may be such a thing as a “just war”, war is always the devil’s business. As soon as you enter it, you are on his territory. Which is why we can enter for good reasons (e.g. withstand Naziism) and end up doing Satan’s bidding (e.g. firebombing Dresden). And the terrible irony is that Satan’s bidding (firebombing Dresden) may well be done for good reasons (withstanding Naziism). What an apalling world this is.
    I think there is one God of War and that is Lucifer/Ahriman/Set. I realise that is theologically problematic in a religion that celebrates Joshua and Captain Moroni, but so be it.

  6. What is a Latter-day Saint to do in times of war? We may deplore it, but are urged by our leaders to participate. Isn’t this what happened during Vietnam? I wasn’t in the Church then, but apparently it was frowned upon to conscientiously object. (Sorry if I’m covering old ground) But what are some ways an active LDS could object to war? We have a great tradition in the BoM of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis, and an example of how that works in the modern world in the Jehovah’s Witnesses. But most Mormons will quickly dismiss you if you bring this up. I’d like to focus on your last paragraph. Is there any feeling at all that we will be preserved if we worship the true God? We are told we must do all that we can do to protect ourselves first. It’s the old Gospel of Self-Reliance.

  7. MikeInWeHo says:

    Yeah, you’re right Bored, it’s clear which side of this divide the vast majority of LDS are on. I wonder about the GAs though. What do they really think about Iraq, for example?

  8. To the covenant people who keep their covenants, God says:

    And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. (Lev 26:8)

    It is a bit hard to argue that the God of Zion’s camp, who described the Revolutionary War as having “redeemed the land by the shedding of blood” is genuinely a pacifist.

    However, the practice of building up an army so strong that you don’t need to rely on the Lord is a classic case of worshiping a false god and President Kimball seems to be onto that with the title of his message. On one hand, America seems to have fallen into this trap by thinking we have an invicible military that no one in the world can take on. Those who think we are invicible and can trust in the arm of flesh have it coming. On the other hand, much of the public opinion surrounding the military actions of late show that many of us do not feel invicible and there has been significant debate over the question of whether we are seeking just ends with war as a last resort.

    I won’t say which side I think is right, but I think the prominence of that debate is a good thing. It is indicative of the fact that most people are out their trying to get it right, and it seems obvious that there are a lot of people out there praying that God will fight our battles for us and protect us from evil. They may be wrong in their support for the war (or they may be right), but I view it as a good thing that they are not fully dependent on the arm of flesh.

  9. DKL: I think it’s important to keep a little perspective and remember what happened to Kimball in the end.

    What do you mean? As I see it, in the end President Kimball became a great prophet, got old, and then died…

  10. Geoff J, that’s exactly what happened, and we should lose no opportunity to say so. Indeed, it should serve as a lesson to us all.

    Ronan, saying that we are a warlike people is like saying that a guy with love handles is obese. Aside from the American Civil War, where a war-mongering President interceded in an extra-Constitutional capacity to thwart the self-determination of a people, you’ll be pretty hard pressed to identify a time in the past 2 centuries in which democracies have waged war on each other.

    The problem with Vietnam is that the Democrats pulled American troops out, inviting the North Vietnamese to take over South Vietnam, which they did almost one year to the date that the American troops completed their evacuation. Make no mistake, North Korea would have done the same thing had the Democrats pulled American troops out of South Korea. Wouldn’t it have been great if that had happened? Indeed, by keeping troops in South Korea and ensuring a prosperous South Korea, politicians of that time robbed the Democrats of our day of an important opportunity to bemoan an (apparent) American military loss. If you want to talk about a real military loss (not just one created suis generis by defeatist politicians), let’s talk about the Suez Canal.

  11. Ronan, the “Father, forgive them” line is normally taken to indicate the Roman soldiers who were following orders in crucifying him. That’s why he said it on the cross, and not at the sentencing. The New Testament records Christ as having nothing but vitriol for the Pharisees of Jerusalem, obscuring the fact that Christ’s teachings were entirely consistent with the teachings of the Pharisees. Even Christ’s claim to be the messiah would have been greeted with a wait-and-see brand of optimism (as Gamaliel–a typical pharisee in history, but atypical in the New Testament–displays in Acts 5).

  12. Ha ha! The French, Brits, and Israelis won the Suez war, then the Yanks stabbed them in the back. 50 years on and we’re still bitter about it. I mean, Ike threatening to sell off US sterling reserves? What a bastard!

    Jacob,
    That’s a good point about building a military so strong that you think invincibility has been achieved.

  13. DKL: Geoff J, that’s exactly what happened, and we should lose no opportunity to say so. Indeed, it should serve as a lesson to us all.

    Ha! Ok, I’ll bite. What does “what happened to Kimball” have to do with this post?

  14. Off topic: I like the Def Leppard song, “Gods of War.”

    On topic: I am not a student of foreign policy, but in the nature of general comment I think that any lessening of war-like tendencies must be accompanied by a foreign policy that takes the golden rule seriously. Maybe that’s naive.

  15. Wow,
    Taking the pharisees side in the debate, just when you think you have seen it all. I agree the savior had some of his harshest, choicest words for the Pharisees, but that would lead me more to the question of what they were doing wrong than accusing the savior of vitriol. That is a position only a political scientist could make. Yeah, that Jesus of Nazareth sure had it coming, Puh-Leaze.

  16. One of the comments was that the Civil War was against the people’s will, and that Lincoln acted unconstitutionally. Is that ever wrong?

    The South had between 9 & 10 million people. About 1/3 [over 3 million] were slaves. Almost as many as fought for the South, escaped the South and fought for the North. Thus, the South’s decision to secede did NOT represent the majority of the South. Even Thomas Jefferson, who made some statements in favor of secession as a principle, thought that secession was bad if done for wrong reasons; otherwise, the nation could not last if any state, when displeased, could leave the Union.

    The Civil War ended slavery.

    About another’s comment on President Kimball, I know of nothing “morally repugnant” about President Kimball’s teachings, only something “morally repugnant” about the commentator who said that.

  17. josh madson says:

    DKL,
    the US and other “democracies” have engaged in countless wars. The US was founded on the eradication of one group and enslavement of another. we have invaded the philippines, many south pacific island, most of central america, assassinated leaders such as allende, all for economic interests. we have overthrown many democracies that were not to our liking. war like, hell we’ve been involved in more wars and destruction than any nation on the earth.

    and as to scriptures citing any of these events, there is a difference between observation and endorsement.

    lastly, I agree Christ had it coming. why? cause he chose to denounce evil, the evils of his day and not check out of society as many Christians do or take arms as many do, but to take up the cross. this is my Christ. the one who counts the costs of civil disobedience even to the cross.

    what are we to do as LDS? I pledge allegiance to one man, Christ. and him only after the cross and his resurecction 3 days later. He told us and we have our answer, the sermon on the mount.

  18. Jared: Off topic: I like the Def Leppard song, “Gods of War.”

    The Pink Floyd song, “Dogs of War” is much better, and most dyslexics don’t know that it isn’t about deities.

    YL, there was never any pretense that the Civil War was about slavery until Lincoln could use the issue to keep Great Britain from recognizing the CSA and therefore block financing from European banks. The CSA seceded from the USA, just as the several states seceded from the Articles of Confederation 80 years earlier–in spite of a clause in the Articles themselves that explicitly made the Articles binding in perpetuity.

    Lincoln never had any pretense of being an abolitionist, he had no real interest in the fate of slaves as such, and the Emancipation Proclamation was a ploy no foment insurrection among slaves in the CSA. (Lincoln’s own 2nd inaugural address, which attempts to explain the war, fails utterly in connecting the issue of slavery to the outbreak of the war.) In fact, in an effort to prove that the war was not being fought over slavery, President Jefferson Davis offered to free the slaves in exchange for recognition by Great Britain, but by the time word reached Great Britain about this, the CSA had already lost Antietam and this caused foreign powers to be more circumspect about recognizing them for strategic reasons.)

    (Charles Francis Adams, the grandson of John Adams worked in England to block this recognition, advancing lies and propaganda to damage CSA interests, thereby heaping disgrace onto a family name by preventing the self-determination of a nation [the CSA], and working counter to every principle his grandfather John Adams had stood for when working to secure the self-determination of another nation [the USA]).

    Lincoln’s thirst for power led him to hold elections that required voters to take oaths before voting, forcefully disbanded the democratically elected republican governments of states, and ensured his own re-election by stuffing the electoral ballot box with results from sham governments that he set up to submit votes for the CSA states that were no longer in the union. He might as well have been a far-eastern warlord for the contempt that he showed for freedom whenever it brushed up against his thirst for power.

  19. From Steve Sailer:

    War: the human race just isn’t trying very hard anymore

    As part of my daylong obsession with providing some perspective on war in the modern world, in contrast to the fevered discussions you’ll find elsewhere, I took a look at military spending as a percent of the economy.

    n 1944, the U.S. spent 38% of its GDP on the military. The U.S. defense budget ran around 9% of GDP in the 1950s after the Korean War, and was fairly similar in the 1960s. In the 1980s, it approached 6%. Today, even while fighting in Iraq, we’re down around 4%.

    And yet, despite this decline, we spend 47% of all the money on the military in the world, by one estimate. According to the CIA World Factbook, the world only spends about 2% of the global gross product on the military today.

    Lots of other countries that you might think of as big spenders, aren’t. According to the [CIA] Factbook:

    Iran, which everybody knows intends to blow up the world, is spending all of 3.3% of its GDP on the military.

    China which is widely said to be hellbent for leather to displace us is spending 4.3% of their GDP on their military – a bit more than us relative to the size of their economy, but hardly comparing to the Soviet Union’s devotion to arms back in the bad old days. (I saw one estimate of 15-17% in 1988, but I bet it might have been even higher.) Taiwan, which is supposed to be so threatened by China, is spending all of 2.4%.

    South Korea, which has crazy North Korea across the border, spends only 2.6%. Then there are Pakistan 3.9% and India 2.5%. Others include Australia 2.7%, Canada 1.1%, Libya 3.9%, Syria 5.9%, Egypt 3.4%, Turkey 5.3%, Kuwait 4.2%, Vietnam 2.5%, Indonesia 3.0%, Rwanda 2.9%, Cuba 1.8%, Venezuela 1.2%, Colombia 3.4%, France 2.6%, United Kingdom 2.4%, Germany 1.5%, Brazil 1.3%, Japan 1.0%, Kazakhstan 0.9%, and Mexico 0.8%. The two countries that claim zero spending on the military are Iceland and the Dominican Republic.

    So, who are the big spenders? Israel 7.7% (a lot, but less than the U.S. spent in the 1960s), Angola 8.8%, Saudi Arabia 10%, Oman 10.0%, Qatar 11.4%, and Jordan 11.4%.

    Nobody knows much about North Korea, but the Factbook suggests 12.5% as a guess.

    So, who had the highest military share of all those I looked at?

    It’s the War Nerd’s favorite foreign country, Eritrea at 17.7%.

    In summary, the human race just isn’t trying very hard anymore to blow each other up.

  20. Paul Wright says:

    “The problem with Vietnam is that the Democrats pulled American troops out, inviting the North Vietnamese to take over South Vietnam, which they did almost one year to the date that the American troops completed their evacuation.”

    Read Graham Greene’s The Quiet American and you will see how, if only our generals had paid more attention to the French experience, a tragic war might have been avoided. Viet Nam was always about the determination of a nationalist movement to unify the country. Even the chief war architects, most notably Robert McNamara, later repented their belligerance. And why shouldn’t the Democrats have urged the removal of American forces? Of what value was Viet Nam then or now to our national interests?

  21. Pacifism schmacifism.

    Who said that “building the kingdom of God” was inherently anti-war? Who ever said that the spread of the Gospel couldn’t benefit from a few choice wars here and there?

    My primary concern with world politics is the spread of the true Gospel of the Living God. If a war furthers that objective, so be it. If the destruction of the United States is required for its accomplishment, that is terrible, but so be it.

    The United States, like all other nations, is merely a tool in God’s hands. “Shall the axe boast against Him that heweth therewith?” Tools are meant to be used. When they are no longer useful, I do not intend to be overly-sentimental about putting them aside.

    Roman Catholicism benefitted inestimably from its ties to the Roman Empire. For quite some time, its fate seemed inextricably linked to the well being of Rome.

    But as it turned out, when it was time to move beyond Rome to other things, Catholicism did so. The Fall of Rome was terrible, but Christianity endured.

    Can we expect anything less of God’s one true religion?

  22. Jonathan Green says:

    The Democrats pulled the troops out of Vietnam? I guess we really don’t have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore.

  23. The President Kimball quote calls to mind statements made by Pres. Snow and FP member J.R. Clark on the subject of war and peace, all in striking contrast to our Sunday School lesson today, where he had occasion to review the over-the-top sordid events and mass slaughters and rapes recounted in in Judges 19-21:

    President Lorenzo Snow [From speech originally delivered at the Centennial Services in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on January 1, 1901. It was published as a pamphlet.] :

    A new century dawns upon the world today. …The aim of nations should be fraternity and mutual greatness. The welfare of humanity should be studied instead of the enrichment of a race or the extension of an empire. Awake, ye monarchs of the earth and rulers among nations…Disband your armies; take the yoke from the necks of the people; arbitrate your disputes; meet in royal congress, and plan for union instead of conquest, for the banishment of poverty, for the uplifting of the masses, and for the health, wealth, enlightenment, and appiness of all tribes and peoples and nations.

    The following is a statement apostle and First Presidency member J. Reuben Clark drafted in February 1945 for use by the First Presidency. It was not published, but the FP used it in lobbying legislatures against a peace-time military draft.

    1. A great standing army has always lead to a destruction of liberties and the establishment of tyranny…
    2. A great standing army, with its war-minded controls, always looks for opportunities for use of the army, and military influence is always exerted to that end.
    3. A great standing army has the effect of making the whole nation war-minded. It makes a nation truculent, overbearing, and imperialistic, all provocative of war.

    Elder Statesman: A biography of J. Reuben Clark, (Salt Lake City: Signature Books (2002)). 307-308, citing manuscript draft, 5 Feb 1945, of statement against peacetime conscription, folder seven, box 371, JRC papers, BYU Special Collections.

  24. I’m not so certain that he did not see our day. I would argue his words are even more for our day than his.

    We were going over some of those today in Gospel Doctrine

    like his statements about things he had actually seen. I’m still uncomfortable about the case I saw. There are some miracles I’d rather have not encountered.

    A lot not to think about this week, maybe I’ll think more next week.

  25. Josh Madson says:

    Seth,

    You state that your concern is the spread of the gospel and building up of the kingdom; and that such building may include war and violence.

    The second you spread the gospel by force, war, violence it ceases to be the gospel.

    And as for those you kill, they still have their opinions and still need the gospel. you’ve merely changed the venue to the spirit world. The kingdom is built up by changing hearts and minds not destroying them.

    love your enemies, bless them that curse you, turn the other cheek, don’t even have thoughts of murder or killing. Jesus and his gospel are not imperialistic and spread through force, much to the dismay of many Jews of his day. Apparently you didn’t get the memo.

  26. Paul, I’ve read Greene’s short story and seen the movie. The one that speaks to the issue much more is The Ugly American.

    Paul, the architect of the policy in Vietnam was Eisenhower. In (around) 1956 (perhaps 1954?) the French suffered their final defeat and withdrew from Vietnam. The French never got past the problems associated with their being imperial overlords. Eisenhower felt that the USA was uniquely suited to protect South Vietnam from Chinese communism, because it didn’t have the baggage associated with Colonialism, and because Ho Chi Min had been an ally of the US in his opposition to Japan during WWII (he was actually air-lifted from Vietnam and taken to Guam or Honolulu [I can't remember] in order to treat him for malaria). This led Eisenhower to publicly commit to filling the void left in Vietnam by the French after they left. Kennedy’s policy merely fulfilled Eisenhower’s policy goals, and MacNamara mismanaged the implementation.

    The French lost because they mismanaged the war and had goals that were unattainable. The Paris treaty that Kissenger negotiated to end the Vietnam war dictated terms roughly equivalent to the terms according to which the Korean War ended. There was no “miscalculation.” There was an end of the war, and a Vietnam divided along the lines that it had been divided on for at least 15 years already. Nor were the Vietnamese any more attached to a unified Vietnam than the Koreans were attached to a unified Korea.

    Make no mistake: America achieved at least some of its goals in South Vietnam–it wasn’t a total loss, as was (for example) the war of 1812, wich achieved none of its goals and the negotiated end was less favorable to the US than the status quo before the war. Moreover, the Paris treaty and Nixon’s troop commitments set the stage for a preservable peace. The Democrats pulled the rug out from under this peace by removing all the troops, and inviting North Vietnam to violate the treaty without consequence.

  27. I remember kicking my co-author under the table when he, while talking to a very conservative Southerner, referred to the Civil War as “the war against Northern Agression.” I cannot reach DKL to kick him, so I’m doing it virtually. I disagree that Lincoln’s 2nd inaugural address failed to link slavery to the outbreak of the Civil war. “If we shall suppose that …[God] gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense [referring to slavery] came, shall we discern… any departure from the divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?” Not only does Lincoln link slavery with the war, he suggests that God willed the war as a punishment to any involved in the slave trade. And though Lincoln was NOT an abolitionist, he did say–before the war–“If slavery is not evil, then nothing is evil.” I love the sermon Jonathan refers to and remember when Pres. Kimball soundly condemned all involved in the development of the MX missile. It was a terribly controversial statement at the time (and seemed especially controversial given the support the Church had given the effort against Viet Nam and its strong counsel to young Mormon men to NOT avoid the draft.) Pres. Kimball’s statement on the MX made all the major newspapers. I’d love to see headlines today like those. I have considered the wars the U.S. has fought and wondered if any were actually necessary. I’d say that perhaps there were two: the Civil War and WWII (and I’m not fully convinced on either). But the fact that we are a “warlike people” is supported by the extremes we went to once involved in those possibly justifiable wars–new, more effective killing machines in the Civil War, and firebombing and nuclear bombs in WWII. DKL comments that we rarely see DEMOCRACIES fighting each other, but that’s one of the issues. We generally do not see strong countries carrying their popular support to fight other strong countries wielding THEIR popular support. We see bullying of strong nations over weak, often Third World nations, and we casually drop euphemisms for the truth of what these nations are doing. For example, we’re not killing thousands of innocent Iraquis or Vietnamese, we’re fighting “a war on terror” or a “war on Communism.” Euphemisms are a favorite tool of warmongers. (See Hannah Arendt’s _Eichman in Jerusalem: The Banality of Evil_.) Can good come out of these wars? Sure! It’s a good thing to get Saddam Hussein out of power, but he’s one of many puny megalomanics in this world. And was his capture worth the price paid and yet to be paid? Obviously, there’s a debate there. My opinion is pretty obvious. If the draft were to reappear in the U.S., I would personally drive my son to Canada to avoid it–not just because I’d want him out of harm’s way, but because I fear what the acts of war would do to his soul.

  28. Eric Russell says:

    Whether or not Lincoln invaded the South because of slavery, the fact remains that he was a vicious, brutal, wicked warmonger for invading another country unprovoked. He clearly failed to “love thy enemy.” He must have been from Texas.

  29. Josh Madsen: The second you spread the gospel by force, war, violence it ceases to be the gospel.

    I see what you’re saying, and I agree with you in a qualified sense. Where I see a problem is here: It may take a war to establish religious freedom, which is a necessary condition for missionary work. So, though the missionaries themselves minister to people with love, the armies are necessary to secure (and protect) the environment that allows their ministry to exist and prosper.

    Margaret, you’re right that Lincoln invokes God to justify his war. My point is that he fails to link the outbreak of the war to slavery. It takes more than a self-serving reference to divine sanction (self-serving, because it was self-justifying, even if he made the rhetorical admission that the blade was cutting both ways against the North and the South in order to justify the sacrifices the war entailed). Lincoln said thing condemning slavery, but so did Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, both of whom owned slaves (Hamilton in the north, and Jefferson in the south).

    The reason is that slavery was not in any sense the immediate cause of the war, and attempts to explain the outbreak in terms of slavery are invariably convoluted and contrived. The vast majority of CSA soldiers did not own slaves. I’ve yet to find a convincing explanation for why they’d fight in what was effectively a volunteer army to preserve slavery. Kenneth Stamp is the only one I’ve read who actually tries to address this question head on, and his is (basically) that they saw it as part of an overarching lifestyle that they participated in–sheer speculation, and not convincing by any means.

    The bottom line is this: the North was as indifferent to the plight of slaves as the South was. According to the 1860 census record, about 500,000 slaves (1/8 of 4 million total slaves) resided in states that did not join the CSA . The abolitionists were basically a fringe group as defined by the political mainstream of their day (in my opinion, the 1920s-era revisionist account [I want to say it's Charles Beard, but I can't quite remember] that they were old-Federalists scrounging in self-interested ways to be relevant in a changing nation rings true to me). Anti-slavery became a hobby-horse of the North during the war for ruthlessly pragmatic reasons, not related at all to any concern for the rights of slaves. People complain that the goals of the war-on-terror are a moving target, tailor made to suit the needs of changing opinion; such were the goals of the USA in the Civil War, as well.

    In any case, the view that the Civil War was fought over slavery gives the USA way too much of a pass when it comes to the history of racism and racial strife on our soil–perhaps to the extant that it belittles the 20th century civil-rights struggle, because it makes it seem less besieged on all sides than it was, and because it seems to create historical precedents for genuinely unprecedented accomplishments.

  30. I love Lincoln. I love what he did. I don’t know all the deeper implications of power/politics, what politician isn’t power hungry? But I think he did the right thing.

    That fact that there is still a civil rights struggle today and that black people continue to be discriminated against and lynched cannot diminish the enormity of what we accomplished in the Civil War.

    Slavery still exists in large parts of the world today, uncondemned. We have a long way to go, but we are a good people.

    To paraphrase a quote from AA: “We ain’t what we could be, we ain’t what we ought to be, but praise God, we ain’t what we used to be, either.”

    I think if we’re going to get heated up over slavery, we should go to west Africa and raise heck. Those people sold each other into slavery. Without their complicity, the slave, what do you call those guys? dealers? couldn’t have succeeded.

  31. Sorry for facts to get in the way of a happy round of denouncing the bellicosity of other people (as if they could), but the stats I quoted in comment 19 indicate that the United States and the world as a whole are not devoted to militarism these days.

  32. Margaret, I should add that, though I live in Boston, I was raised and educated (to the extant that I was educated) in Virginia. I realized once I went to college out west that I had been taught a different history than most of my fellow students.

    My parents on both sides have deeply Southern roots. I take my Boston-born daughters to (for example) the Stone Wall Jackson Shrine and give them point-by-point refutations of guide narratives on the way home from historical sites that we visit up here that want to congratulate the North for it’s role in eradicating racial strife (as they did in Boston with the school bussing mess of the early ’70s, right?) In any case, I’m fully aware that my viewpoint is a peculiar one, in the scheme of things.

    Eric Russell: Well said.

  33. Josh Madson says:

    DKL,

    Im sorry, but this idea that we were stopping the spread of Chinese communism in Vietnam is wrong. MacNamara himself, in Fog of War (a very good movie btw), finally realized this after talking to many Vietnamese leaders of the time. All the wanted was to be independent. They had been fighting the chinese for a thousand years before we ever showed up. Ho Chi Minh wanted free elctions and Vietnam and we wouldn’t let it take place because we knew he would win. Ho Chi Minh had his own Declaration of Independence and interestingly enough died with a copy of John Brown’s autobiography at his bedside.

    As to you point that freedom is necessary for the spread of the gospel. There are more than one way to have freedom. I think the Sons of Mosiah is a perfect example of how changing hearts and minds and trusting in the Lord can change political condtions thereby facilitating missionary work.

  34. Josh, if you trust MacNamara, then we’ll have to agree to disagree. In my book, he’s no less a mistaken fool now than he was then.

    Ho Chi Min was a master propagandist, and he wrote his declaration of independence to ape ours in an attempt to win sympathy from the US at a time when we were siding with the French because they were our allies–many historians believe that this was before communists got involved at all.

    But what is indisputable is that North Vietnam was communist and was funded by China. Vietnam did not end up merely as an independent, unified nation, but a communist one under the influence of China. Was this just a coincidence?

  35. DKl,
    You must get awfully tired stretching forths your arm against the mainstream like that all the time. Have you ever managed to turn it back?

    The civil rights movement was a completion of the North’s victory in the civil war, The South ended up winning their way in the reconstruction leading to a system that could not stand, and yet hobbled along another 100 years until the 1960s until it could stand no more. These two events are inextricably linked regardless of whatever counterrevisionist theory of history one buys into.

  36. Doc, the problem with your thesis is that reconstruction worked. Blacks are more prosperous in the South than they are in any other area of the nation, and more blacks are moving there than are moving to any other part of the nation (and more are moving there than leaving).

    The South generally did have a more severe problem with racism toward blacks than the North. But the problems with racism toward blacks in the North were still legion. Plus, racism isn’t a single dimension phenomenon–it comes in many stripes. Anti-semitism almost entirely something that occurs in the North. The demographics of Jews in the South were indistinguishable from those of non-Jews (something that anti-semitic black-nationalists make a lot of hay out of, trying to blame Jews for slavery). CSA Secretary of Treasury Judah Benjamin was Jewish, and was Jefferson Davis’s closest friend.

    In my mind, your notion that the civil rights movement completed the North’s victory is an assault on the accomplishments of civil rights leaders.

  37. Josh Madsen,

    That really wasn’t my point.

    I’m not really eager to go out and “kill the infidels.”

  38. John (#19),

    Nice stats, thanks. It would be interesting to couple this with stats on the historical trends in inter-national charitable giving. I haven’t seen any stats, but I’d bet at the same time our military giving has gone down as a percent of GDP, our charitable giving to other countries has gone up substantially.

  39. You know, I ended out using the original Kimball quote in my talk today. Oddly (at least to me), I almost wept as I read it. Perhaps it is touching, because I am fairly neoconservative and it raises so many questions.

  40. John, I hear what you are saying but this year in the US 20,000 people will die as a result of AIDS. Contrast that number with the number of people killed in the “war on terror”. I don’t have numbers for funding for AIDS research but I’m willing to guess its a helluva lot less than 4% GDP. It seems we are still a lot more bothered about bombing each other than we are about looking after the sick.

  41. The early reconstruction saw a slew of Black legistators who managed to pass very ambitious civil rights legislation, create racially integrated public school systems, freed slaves were promised 40 acres and a mule and everything looked rosy. The demoralized plantation owners could not and would not stand for this and united in a powerful backlash which completely gutted all this. The South was left with a sharecropper system that was essentially an extension of slavery the rise of the Jim Crow legislation. This is the South which gave birth to the Civil Rights movement a century later. In the meantime, sharecroppers desparately fled North to survive. the African population in Detroit, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis burgeoned as people prosperity was only to be found with jobs in the industrialized North. I know they must have migrated sometime because their descendants are still there.

    Were you referring to better living conditions for Blacks in the South now or then? I very much doubt prosperity in the South at present has anything to do with Civil War reconstruction.
    I don’t see how my assertion dimishes anything the leaders of the movement accomplished. It just links them together into one slow but mighty rolling boulder of justice. It emphasizes to me just how gargantuan the hurdles were that needed to be cleared.

  42. Oh, and yes, the North was absolutely plum full of its own bigots. We are agreed. I am not trying to pick on the South at all.

  43. Doc, you paint a vastly simplified portrait of reconstruction South. To pick a specific example that is more typical, take Jefferson Davis. Bankrupted by spending years in jail without being charged or tried, then released under threat of being recalled, so that he couldn’t hold a job, Davis sold his farm to his former chief slave, taking an IOU in return. When his former slave defaulted on the loan because of the very poor economic conditions of the post-civil war south (and no fault of his own), Davis had no recourse. At that point, he was too old and too ill to run a farm. He ended up giving it away to his former slave.

    These “demoralized plantation owners” you mention were mostly former land-owners whose property was confiscated by Lincoln’s illegal property tax which stipulated that the person whose name was on the deed had to pay the tax. The purpose of this was to grab land from soldiers and displace their families while they fought the war. Federal Tax collectors showed up to collect taxes, when some relative offered the funds, the tax collectors confiscated the property and threw the family out on their ear. None of this property was returned (Lee’s mansion, aka, The Arlington House, which sits across the Potomac from DC, and which the USA turned into a cemetery, was returned to the Lee family around 1976, but I don’t recall if this was confiscated under the cover of the extra-constitutional property tax or just as a war trophy.)

    There were injustices on all sides, and misplaced blame by the reconstruction and post-reconstruction governments alike. But there was no more corruption or subjugation in the South by virtue of racism than there was in the north by virtue of its political machines and organize crime. Racist courts in the south weren’t any different from tampered juries and payroll judges of the North. Nor are gang wars any different from racist violence. It’s just that racist massacres lend themselves to tragic-toned moralizing like Richard Rubin’s piece on the Colfax Riots in the July/Augest 2003 Atlantic Monthly, and organized crime lends itself to glamorized portrayals in Oscar winning movies and an award winning HBO original series.

    The problem with painting the reconstruction in terms of black vs. white waves is that it carries on the myth of the righteous north vs. the evil south. There’s no mystery about how (say) South Carolina grew to despise Massachusetts (and vice versa). But what about Virginia and Maryland? They weren’t so very different from each other. Both were slave states, and Maryland would have joined the CSA had Lincoln not sent (in May 1861) armed Federal Marshalls to dissolve the state legislature, confiscate all weapons (privately owned and otherwise) in the Baltimore region, and institute sham elections that required an unconstitutional oath to be administered prior to voting. According to your oversimplified hypothesis, Maryland and Virginia pursued sharply divergent historical paths after reconstruction. Given their history, proximity, and similarity, this defies common-sense.

    Your statement that the civil rights movement is the completion of the northern victory trivializes the achievements of civil rights leaders, because it posits allies and momentum that they absolutely did not have. The north was not on their side. There was no momentum from the victory of the civil war to draw on. They did achieved what they achieved on their own. And I think it’s a bit presumptuous of white people to congratulate themselves about how much the civil war helped blacks, when it really had nothing to do with that at all.

  44. Josh Madson,

    One of the problems with using the “Sons of Mosiah” story to bolster your argument is that you have to factor in the resultant escalation in warfare between the Lamanites and Nephites because of the division among the Lamanites.

  45. While I definitely think there is a current relevancy to Pres. Kimball’s words and think one of Bush’s great failings is to focus on the military too much, I’d object to the idea that we are simply anti-enemy and not pro-kingdom of God. One could argue that the whole neo-Con position (now so often ridiculed) was to build up and help others rather than simply building up armies. So most neo-Cons favored a huge Marshall styled plan for Iraq, Afghanistan and even other parts of the region. They favored having at least twice as many troops so as to maintain the peace and ensure that building projects worked.

    I’d further note that we are spending a hell of a lot of money in Iraq and Afghanistan on rebuilding and the like. Now you can critique the competency of how this is done, and I’d probably often agree. But I honestly don’t think we’re in a situation akin to say the Cold War where it was all about the military. In fact the worry I have is that as Iraq gets worse and anything remotely smelling like neo-con ideology gets lambasted that we’re moving back to a Kissengeresque Real Politic that is exactly like what Pres. Kimball was condemning. And that’s what I really fear.

  46. I almost used that quote in my lesson today, but I couldn’t find a place to slip it in. Perhaps another time.

    It wasn’t war that brought the Gospel to Russia. It wasn’t war that brought the gospel to East Germany.

    I doubt that this current war will bring the gospel to Iraq anytime soon. The current “civil war” has made sure of that.

    Even in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, we find few instances where war brings the gospel to other nations.

    Perhaps someone could enlighten me on some examples?

  47. Ian,

    Maybe war per se (excluding U.S. military aid to Afghanistan) didn’t bring the gospel to Russia, but the arms race certainly had something to do with it–or at least had something to do with speeding up the decline of the USSR.

  48. RE: Viet Nam, while the ground might have been set by Eisenhower and Kennedy I think it took Johnson to really screw it up. By then Nixon wanted to save face and was, in some ways, starting to turn the war around. However arguably it wasn’t worth it for the face saving and ultimately public opinion was too far gone by then. Further I think one can point to a lot of unethical behavior on our side.

    RE: Wars by Democracies. While there haven’t been wars between Democracies I think many Democracies have launched wars for purely selfish reasons many times including the US who seems to have invaded quite a few Carribean islands, Central American nations and even Hawaii for rather questionable reasons.

    RE: The War of 1812. While I tend to favor a Canadian view on it all, I think though it was that war that really solidified the US as a true nation. It was an unnecessary war often pushed for questionable reasons. And the US was lucky that most of Britain’s crack troops were busy with France. Further the major victory the US won came after the war was technically over. Still, I’m not sure I’d ultimately call it a defeat. The US gained a lot from it even if the Plains of Abraham once again made US Generals look bad.

  49. DKL,
    Agreed, the North should not get credit for the civil rights movement. I would never make such a claim. They dropped the ball on reconstruction. They lacked to political will to make changes stick which then took a century to take hold again through the remarkable achievements of the Civil Rights leaders. I merely tie the two together because many of the changes Civil Rights brought were in action ever so briefly in the Post War period before being snuffed out.
    As for the reconstruction taking its toll on everyone, land owners included, with injustices on all sides, what can I say. Sounds like maybe SWK and his point about the false gods of war (and the tangent comes back full circle.)

  50. John Mansfield says:

    The U.S. Civil War was about whether states could elect to dissolve bonds with the federal government or not, but what was succession about? Well, the South Carolina Declaration of Succession was plain enough on that. “[A]n increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery” was interfering with slaveholding. Also:

    “A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.”

  51. John Mansfield says:

    Please replace “succession” with “secession” in the above. My apologies for such ugliness.

  52. You know, one of the things I love about DKL is his exceptional skill at scriptural exegesis, that takes into account deep knowledge and understanding of hermeneutics, historical context and every subtle nuance of rhetorical style and skill. That, and the way he eschews trendy pop trash authored by atheists for the more intellectually rigorous pursuits of textual criticism by skilled philologists. Also, its good to see he doesnt mix his personal politics and animus with his views on the scriptures. BIG HUGS, DKL.

  53. John, first, South Carolina’s declaration does not speak to the CSA. Second, the declaration uses the term “slave owning states” instead of “The South” because it is trying to influence the actions of other slave owning states–not just the slave-owning states of the South. If it had simply said, “The South,” it would have no ability to appeal to non-Southern slave states like Maryland or Deleware. Thus, your citation gives an incorrect impression by ignoring the political context of a political document.

    People always bring up this declaration to avoid the real issues of the war. As I commented earlier, “The vast majority of CSA soldiers did not own slaves. I’ve yet to find a convincing explanation for why they’d fight in what was effectively a volunteer army to preserve slavery.”

    Extreme Dorito, I’ll pit my scriptural exegesis against yours any day. The problem with the New Testament is that it contains no latent theology. It is a mess of contradictions that must be approached with a full-blown theology already in hand in order to be made sense of.

    Hermeneuticists are inclined to say that this problem exists with every text, because all texts require a contextual framework in order to be understand. But some texts are friendly to a greater multiplicity of frameworks than others (e.g., the statement, “The working man deserves a fair shake” is friendly to more frameworks than the statement, “All working men should earn at least US$50,000 for working 200 8 hours workdays”). The New Testament is friendly to a set of frameworks that approaches the largest possible set of frameworks possible. This is what causes the confusion among religions that Joseph Smith noted and that continues to this day.

  54. David,

    Your exegesis is terrible, always has been. That isnt up for debate. You are grossly ignorant of the Scriptures, and have displayed that ignorance in so many ways so many times its just redundantly stating the obvious. Your statement above simply proves the point that your approach to them is nothing but a rollup of personal politics, selective sophistry and heaping helpings of ignorance.

    Kurt, the Extreme Dorito.

    P.S. Anytime you really want to duke it out. Start up a blog and post on something Scriptural, and I will tear your arm off and beat you with it.

  55. RE: #53, #54

    Speaking of warlike people…

    Is anyone else having a little chuckle about this thread?

  56. That’s great, Kurt.

    Halcyon, I love this thread. It both amusing, entertaining, and edifying all at once. And yes, I’ve gotten several chuckles.

  57. John Mansfield says:

    David, I’m not following you. Are you saying that South Carolina (as well as Mississippi, Georgia and Texas didn’t secede from the United States because 1) fugitive slaves were not being returned to their owners, 2) expansion of slavery into new territories was being impeded, and 3) protectionist tarriffs that benefitted the industrial northeast were harming agricultural states, but only claimed those were their reasons because that was the politically clever stance to pose? And that the existence of the CSA was unconnected to the calls of legislatures of several seceeding states for such a union?

    Also a tidbit: the Mason-Dixon line is the northern border of Maryland.

  58. Have I not called DKL “a ruthless gladiator in this coliseum of ideas”?

    Just as I now only refer or even think of the author of #5 as Sir Ronan, Lord of Worcestershire, I’m thinking of henceforth calling DKL Gladiator, or maybe Man o’ War.

  59. greenfrog says:

    It would be quite daring to issue proposals of living peace in the midst of warfare.

    One of my favorite stories is of a Zen monk in Japan during the reign of the samurai. A village is in the path of an oncoming band of samurai warriors, and all the villagers evacuate to the nearby hills except for one monk, who remains seated in meditation in the village square. When the samurai arrive, the leader confronts the monk and says, “Why have you not fled the village? Do you not know that I am the sort of person who could run you through without batting an eye?” The monk responds, “Do you not know that I am the sort of person who could be run through without batting an eye?”

    I’m also reminded of Gandhi’s response to violence that erupted in the first nationwide civil disobedience campaign that he led in India. Although thousands engaged in non-violent protest and submitted to arrest, in several places, mob violence resulted in death and looting.

    He later wrote:

    I had begun to have a dim perception of my mistake. But when I … saw the actual state of things … and heard reports of a large number of people from [the] district having been arrested, it suddenly dawned upon me that I had committed a grave error and calling upon the people … to launch upon civil disobedience prematurely, as it now seemed to me.

    … I had called upon the people to launch upon civil disobedience before they had thus qualified themselves for it, and this mistake seemed to me of Himalayan magnitude.

    Gandhi’s Autobiography (Washington: Public Affairs Press, 1948), 565-66.

    I suspect that part of what would be required to truly wage peace would be to have people like the monk, or the Anti-Nephi Lehies, who have mastered themselves enough to return equanimity and peace when confronted with anger and violence.

  60. John Mansfield, I’m aware of where the Mason Dixon line is. Aside from learning about it in High School, the highways are marked to identify it when crossing it (which I do with regularity when I visit family). The misconception isn’t where the Mason-Dixon line lies, but that it definitively demarcated the South. Maryland was never (and has never been) considered part of the South.

    The tariffs were primary cause for secession. In fact, the tariffs were so much on the front of everybody’s mind that the CSA Constitution explicitly forbade tariffs and duties for protectionist purposes (something that the South had believed to be prohibited in the USA Constitution because protectionism is not listed as an appropriate reason to create tariffs, but which the Supreme Court said in an 1816 decision was not). Thus, the CSA constitution (which is superior to its contemporary USA counterpart in nearly every regard) was the first governmental constitution to expressly forbid protectionism and guarantee some measure of free trade.

    Fugitive slaves had regularly not been returned for decades, and the expansion of slavery was an ongoing battle (as Kansas demonstrated, where attempts to let the territory decide whether to be slavery or anti-slavery resulted in a rush of pro-slavery and anti-slavery interests and wholesale slaughter as they battled for supremacy). Nothing had changed on that front, and there was nothing that was coming to a head as far as expansion. These were added to the list of grievances for the same reason why the list of grievances in the Declaration of Independence is so long; viz., they wanted to list every conceivable ground for propagandistic purposes, and not just those grounds that were actionable.

    And the tariff had nothing to do with slavery. Similar tariffs nowadays would also be damaging to the South.

    (Incidentally, the legal defense which is provided by the South Carolina secession act in rock-solid, if brief. If you want a more elaborately argued version, Jefferson Davis provides a very comprehensive analysis of the legal basis for secession from the point of Constitutional Law in his memoirs.)

  61. sojourner truth says:

    Dude,
    I don’t quite know how to tell you this but the war was 150 years ago. The south lost. There’s no need to keep fighting it.

  62. DKL says “Maryland was never (and has never been) considered part of the South”, and, as usual, is dead wrong. But, hey, why let the facts interfere? Sure, Maryland wasnt a clear cut case during the Civil War, but to even suggest it wasnt part of the South is just plain wrong.

  63. Extreme, your link doesn’t say what you claim it says. It says that Maryland was a border state. It is on the border of the North and the South on the Northern side, which means (as I said) that it wasn’t part of the South. Indeed, if you click on the link there to “border state,” the map shows exactly that. It seems that your exegesis of Wikipedia articles is as bad as your exegesis of the New Testament and the Word of Wisdom.

    sojourner truth, nobody’s fighting the war, even metaphorically–just trying to abolish lingering ignorance and misconceptions.

  64. I heard a rumor once that Maryland voted to remain in the union primarily because Lincoln had posted union artillery around the capitol building while encouraging the state government to participate in a free and uninfluenced vote. FWIW

  65. DKL 18

    For a change I actually agree with some of your statements in your comment 18: namely, Lincoln did not fight the war ORIGINALLY to end slavery; initially he fought to preserve the union. And you’re right about the Emancipation Proclamation: it was just a military order ending slavery only in slave states, not in pro-union states where slavery still existed.

    But many Southern states seceded because of the issue of slavery. Because the South insisted that it had the right to expand slavery to the west, and because Lincoln strongly opposed the expansion of slavery to the west, many Southern states seceded from the union after Lincoln was elected and even before he took office. So Lincoln did not fight INITIALLY because of slavery, but the South did secede initially because of the issue of slavery. Thus, the South fought to maintain its slavery.

    As the Civil War progressed – as you yourself said – Lincoln made slavery an issue. But it’s not the Emancipation Proclamation that warrants his being praised for his efforts to end slavery. Lincoln began the movement for the 13th Amendment to the Constitution – which amendment did end slavery. Lincoln was shot before the amendment was ratified, but the process for that amendment began under him.

    Regarding Jefferson Davis’s offer to free the slaves, I don’t know about – except that the rest of the South obviously would never have freed the slaves. How do we know that? Lincoln had already suggested a plan for ending slavery that was similar to the plans of Joseph Smith and James Madsion: sell public lands and use the money to buy the slaves’ freedom. The South was not interested. For DECADES, the South had rejected numerous efforts by others to end slavery. In fact, the South seceded from the union because the South felt Lincoln would not allow the expansion of slavery into the west.

    Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural Address blames both the North and the South for the war – which was a just blame because: many Northerners had profited from slavery [e.g. the Northern cotton manufactureres profited from the cheap slave-grown cotton].

    Charles Francis Adams’ diplomatic effort with Great Britain during the Civil War [that kept Great Britain from recognizing the South], is considered by an overwhelming consensus of historians as one of the great diplomatic achievements in American history.

    The South was not the only villain. As Lincoln implied in his greatest speech of all – his 2nd inaugural address – too many Northerners had profited from slavery. Too many Northerners wanted slavery to continue in the South. But the South wanted to expand an abominable institution [slavery] – which was not a justifiable reason to secede.

  66. Sure, slavery expansion issues went back to the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, and industrial tariffs went back to Alexander Hamilton. Was there a new tariff in 1860 or on the table for 1861 that triggered secession? Election of the first Republican president was something new, and why did the southern delegates bolt the Democratic convention of 1860? The complaints about interferences to slavery in the state legislatures’ causes of secession are too prominent to be considered just finishing touches or anything less than the main complaints; Mississippi’s mentions nothing else.

  67. YL, I appreciate your bringing a less simplified, more sophisticated view of history to the table. I also appreciate that you’ve attempted to answer at least some of my arguments, rather than simply introducing scattered bits of conventional wisdom that ignore the case that I’ve been making over the course of several comments.

    I think that you’re mistaken to attribute any kind of even-handedness to Lincoln for talking about the sins of the North and the South in his 2nd inaugural address. The war was neither cheap nor popular, and Lincoln was simply escalating the level of his rhetoric to enflame crowds. Thus, the war became a fight against wickedness, and the costs were great because it was recompense for their own participation. There’s nothing profound or wise here. It’s just a re-tread of the same old tired political formula for gaining power; viz,, standing on a soap box and calls someone else wicked.

    The evidence of Lincoln’s bad faith is overwhelming, though ignored by people that want to exalt a two-bit tyrant to the highest levels of national esteem in order to tell a self-congratulatory, winner’s history.

    The CSA was just as willing to jettison slavery to win its freedom as the USA was to accept slavery in order to “preserve the Union.” Toward the end of the war, the CSA offered freedom to any slave that was willing to enlist to fight for the CSA.

    I’m aware of the conventional wisdom about CF Adams. A dispassionate look at his work in the Civil War shows him to be an underhanded, corrupt opponent of freedom, much like James Earl Carter has proven to be in the years following his presidency (e.g., his defense of Charles Taylor’s sham election in Liberia and his work to preserve and perpetuate the nuclear research in North Korea).

    Most of the CSA states did secede before Lincoln’s May 1861 inauguration. Jefferson Davis worked tirelessly after the election to negotiate a solution that would obviate the perceived need of southern states to secede. Indeed, Lincoln’s heavy-handed behavior during these negotiations thwarted Davis’s attempts to resolve the crisis. (Davis was an attractive nominee for CSA President because he was a moderate on secession. He accepted the nomination, though he knew that the South would probably lose. Having been Pierce’s Secretary of War from 1852-1856, Davis knew full well the disadvantage that the South faced with regard to available munitions factories, smelting facilities, and shipyards.)

    John, the slavery expansion issue was a key one and a persistent one, because if territories did not allow slavery, that was a de facto prohibition on the movement of slave owner’s into that territory. Given the advantages offered to those willing to move there (cheap land and homestead acts) the non-slave territories became a source of economic wealth and expansion for the North that was closed off to the South. The same asymmetry did not face northerners moving to slave territory. The North didn’t care much about slavery, and the interest in non-slave territories was basically to keep land and resources cheaper by artificially reducing demand through the de facto exclusion of Southerners. At any case, nothing new occurred on this front. The North was just continuing to joust in the game of regional politics with the South.

    Slavery was, however, something that Lincoln explicitly promised not to interfere with. Lincoln also promised to enforce the fugitive slave act, which was more than Buchanon was willing to do. It was Lincoln’s pledge to collect duties and tariffs and his unwillingness to move on that issue that upset the balance.

    What was new on the tariff front was the increasing shift in the disproportionate burden that the South paid and the publicity that this was getting. McPhereson argues that there was no disproportionate burden, but (as usual), McPhereson is dead wrong. (His winning the Pulitzer for Civil War history was the scholarly equivalent to Arafat winning the Nobel Peace Prize). In any case, whether the disproportionate burden was real, at that time the South had grown (rather suddenly) to perceive that such an imbalance existed.

  68. I was going to complain about the boomers’ obsession with placing all modern conflicts within the handy little metaphor of the Vietnam conflict, but I came back to the thread to have found it mired in the mid-nineteenth Century. So instead of picking on my parent’s generation for re-living their college years, I’d like to point out the limitations of using any one historical conflict for analyzing all conflicts. We all know about how generals like to fight the last war…so do politicians.

    Just to pick two of the most famous: the First World War was, to oversimplify, a failure of nation states to operate outside the crumbling 19th century framework of the Metternich system of balance of power (and accurately assess the impact of technological progress). They were still fighting the Crimean war. The Second World War was a failure of will by the great powers to contain an antichrist at the helm of a major industrialized power while they still could (’33 or ’35). They were too afraid of fighting the First World War again.

    Contrary to what was stated in the previous post, large nations don’t just pick on small nations, the history of the world runs knee deep in the conflicts of the great powers: Persia and Egypt; Persia and Greece, Rome and Parthia, England and France, etc. Indeed, history tells me that the great empires inevitably conflict. Caesar will cross the Rubicon; Louis XIV will fight protestant Europe in the name of his faith (and dynastic succession); Napoleon, unable to invade England, will invade Russia.

    The miracle of the late 20th Century was the LACK of a major conflict (I’m intentionally ignoring proxy wars) between the world’s two superpowers. William Gates outlined the Reagan doctrine of spending the Soviet Union into choosing between detente and bankruptcy and lived to be the director of the CIA after history had proven his policy to be successful beyond his wildest claims. A conflict between the USA and USSR would have left the world decimated, if not something out of Dr. Strangelove. I for one believe that this fragile peace was maintained by the US wielding a credible and horrific deterrence that even in the face of complete collapse of the Soviet Union was sufficient to deter men perfectly willing to murder their own countrymen. I believe the US can take pride in what is historically a fantastically rare occurence!

    The question for our generation, one that should weigh heavily on the minds of those of us with young children, is to what extent, if any, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction changes the equation. I was touched by the post with the story of the monk in Shogun era Japan. Will our enemies stay their hand if we sit passively in the street? Should I trust an enemy willing to send their sons and daughters to be suicide bombers to stay their hand when faced with the life or death of my daughters? Does a nation that has exhibits of cartoons mocking the holocaust deserve to be allowed to violate the nuclear non-proliferation treaty? (hmmm…this one does seem awfully similar to letting Hitler build an army…) Would passivism as a policy have worked against Attila, Genghis, or Hitler? Was 9-11 an act within the traditional western framework of wars as understood since before Henry the V traded captives after defeating the army of Charles VI at the battle of Agincourt and agreed to marry his daughter Catherine, or are we facing a new framework that will try our concept of war between nation states? Regardless, history, including the B of M is consistent on one fact, then the question for our souls isn’t whether we will need to draw the sword, the question is when, and how to best wield it.

  69. DKL, you casting aspersions at anyone else’s exegesis of anything is just nonsense. Your position on the NT and the WofW, and most other things, is nothing but deliberately ignorant claptrap derived from a selective presentation of facts designed to do nothing more than show the world how clever you are. The notion that the NT is lacking in theology is to pretend the Hebrew part of the Bible simply doesnt exist, and your position on the WofW once again pretends easily established and clearly documented unambiguous historical facts didnt occur. Yay for ignorance!

    And that goes for your silly definition of Maryland=!South. Lets see, I guess being a “Border State” makes irrelevant the fact that “the state was more sympathetic to the South than to the North”. Throw Barbara Fritchie out and guess what? You have a Southern State. But, hey, since that doesnt fit your preconceived notions, just ignore the facts and bury people with more of your Historical Tourette’s syndrome.

  70. John Mansfield says:

    David, the opportunities in the non-slave territories were available to the North and cut off to the South only to the degree that those from the South thought slavery was essential to their way of life. You have argued that slavery was not a major issue since 1) the ranks of the Confederate army were full of non-slaveholders, and 2) the leaders of the CSA were perfectly willing to give up slaveholding. Prohibition of slavery in a new territory should have impeded Southerners nothing then.

  71. Christian,
    Just as Jehovah has been called a Mighty God of War, perhaps we can give DKL an even loftier title?

  72. How did a blog fight over slavery get started on BCC?

  73. John Mansfield, I described why expansion into slave states was a point of argument in regional politics, and you’ve described why (in spite of that) it couldn’t have been a cause of the Civil War. Thank you very much.

    Christian and Ronan, you guys are going to make me blush.

  74. TyB, I agree with you about the fights between great powers.

    rleonard, this fight isn’t over slavery any more than the Civil War was.

  75. John Mansfield says:

    So, the southern states seceded because they liked arguing matters of regional politics that really no one cared about? An example of the hazards of having the legislature in session?

  76. No, John. There were (and always will be) heated political conflicts in the US (though more regionally based then than now). You seem not to differentiate between the ones that instigated war, and the ones that caused continuing controversies–as though it requires a total absence of political controversy to prevent Civil War.

  77. Isn’t the preservation of the union a valuable ideal? Wouldn’t this be enough?

  78. “What’s so civil about war anyway?”

    The Civil war was essentially about states rights/preserving the Union, but without the slavery issue, there would be no Civil War.

  79. John Mansfield says:

    What is your basis for designating tariffs as the primary cause for secession and slavery as routine background politics?

  80. This reminds me of our High Priest group’s debating a few years ago who was right and who was wrong in the Crusades. I am not sure if any of our group was alive at the time.

  81. Ian, I’m agree with you (broadly speaking). I’d emphasize that it’s fallacious to collapse the distinction that you draw. All too often statements like yours that “without the slavery issue, there would be no Civil War” are intended to mean, “well sure, it wasn’t directly about slavery, but it was still about slavery.”

    But consider this: The same distinction applies to this argument, which is about the causes of the Civil War and not about slavery itself. But without slavery we wouldn’t be having this argument.

    The problem is that too many people are taught, and believe, that the Civil was was about slavery or that it was the war to free the slaves. Even people who acknowledge the distinction that you make, instinctively collapse it when discussing the difference between the North and the South (for example, the statement “The civil rights movement was a completion of the North’s victory in the civil war” reflects a common sentiment). And they use this to justify and romanticize Lincoln’s corrupt regime.

    Jay S, when it comes to preserving a union that some members no longer desire to be a party to, the only justification is basically the same one used in the past to justify colonialism; i.e., it’s for their own good. As announced in the founding document of our nation (the Declaration of Independence), a people’s right to self-determination is anterior to any powers held or rights granted by governmental bodies.

  82. DKL 81

    Using the Declaration of Independence to justify the South’s secession is ludicrous: most of the Declaration of Independence deals with the wrongs of Great Britain, listing them in order to justify such a drastic decision: to declare independence. The Declaration of Independence thus exemplifies the truth that secession was not to be done except under extreme circumstances. Jefferson said that secession was NOT a ready option for states who simply disagreed with the national government.

    What possible justification did the South have for secession? What’s on its list of wrongs done by the national government?

    Both the North and the South failed to carry out plans offered by Lincoln, Joseph Smith, and James Madison to end slavery: sell public lands and use the money to buy the slaves’ freedom. Thus, the entire nation deserved the consequences of a civil war. That’s part of the message of Lincoln’s great inaugural address. In repeated rankings of presidents by historians over the past several decades, Lincoln has repeatedly been ranked the greatest.

    Whereas as most of the time you remind me of a cruel teenager who never grew up and who likes to show off his wit and belittle others [thus, your delight in being labeled a "gladiator,"] this time you remind me of an elderly Southern gentleman interviewed on TV: this elderly Southern gentleman made the absurd statement that: the blacks were happier when they were slaves than they are now because, when they were slaves, they were “singing in the fields.” Is that what you’ll be telling us next?

  83. Sojourner Truth says:

    Again, Lincoln’s “corrupt regime” has been out of power for 150 years. He was assassinated. There is no need to keep killing him.

  84. Sojourner Truth says:

    or to justify him

  85. DKL,

    I agree that the Civil War was not about slavery per se. In the end, Lincoln was willing to preserve it, and as a last resort, Davis was willing to give it up.

    At the same time, if it hadn’t been for slavery however, there would not have been a seccession in the first place. No other issue pertaining to states rights would have prompted the South to attempt to lead the Union. Please, name another issue that would have brought this fight to a head.

    So yes, this war wasn’t fought over slavery, but it was fought because of slavery. It is impossible to sever the relationship between the states rights/slavery connection. No matter how hard anyone tries. This is a debate that many historians still have today.

    Also, Lincoln wasn’t the “great emancipator” that people think he is. His move to free slaves was only partial, those in the “border states” were allowed to keep their slaves.

    At the same time, I highly doubt that he was the Villain that you paint him out to be.

  86. YL, the fact that the Declaration contains more verbiage about trumped up accusations against Britain than about human rights doesn’t change what it says about human rights. Moreover, I offer that as a reason why preserving the Union is not per se an end in-and-of-itself. The legal justification is referred to in the Mississippi secession document that John linked to, and that is elaborated upon by Jefferson Davis in his memoirs.

  87. Ian, your statement, “So yes, this war wasn’t fought over slavery, but it was fought because of slavery” is wrong. Specifically, it confuses a necessary condition with a causative condition. It’s like saying that this argument isn’t being argued over slavery, but it is being argued because of slavery. That simply doesn’t follow from the fact I state earlier: “this argument is not about slavery, but without slavery we wouldn’t be having this argument.” Yet, it’s impossible to sever the link between slavery and this argument. You’re guilty of collapsing the distinction that you introduced in exactly the fallacious way that I identify in my previous comment.

  88. The odd thing about this argument is how one-sided the viewpoint is that people are taking toward the civil war. Listening to my argumentative opponents, one could be forgiven if they concluded that everything that the South did in the war was to preserve slavery, and everything that the North did was honorable and good. The most I can get is a token admission that the emancipation proclamation wasn’t a civil-rights-centric document. Nothing I’ve said has tried to excuse the South’s racial sins (because they’re inexcusable), and any attempt I’ve made to advance a more well-rounded viewpoint that examines both the Nothern and Southern motivations and actions during the war with equal scrutiny is immediately rebuffed as preposterous.

    Well, I’ve got some news for you: History isn’t that simple. In addition to practicing the palpable evil of slavery and subjugating blacks for centuries, the South did a great many heroic and honorable things, and Jefferson Davis was at least an American who understood the difference between being loyal to the Constitution and being loyal to the Federal government (sure he owned slaves, but so did George Washington and US Grant).

    The North was also rife with racism and racial subjugation against blacks and Jews, though slavery was less common there. And the North did a lot of low an disgusting things during the war. Lincoln was a tyrant, precisely because he identified loyalty to the Constitution with loyalty to the Federal Government. That’s why he behaved as if anything that preserved the Federal Government’s supremacy was right and good. He was a villain, and it’s as silly to take his political speeches at face value is at is to take Bush’s political speeches at face value.

    If learning this makes you uncomfortable about America’s role as a good and righteous nation in this world (or at least more uncomfortable than you should already be after the history of persecution that 19th century saints endured at the hands of state and federal governments), then I think that’s a good thing.

  89. DKL,
    See comment #49. I gave you the admission you wanted, the threadjack should have ended there.

  90. #55 Halcyon, the wonder of blogging. I call it a fistfight without gloves between gentlemen. No offense to feminists.

  91. Also, I’m completely right and everybody who disagrees with me is wrong.

  92. DKL 88 said that all other comments on the Civil War had praised the North and condemned the South.

    How do you say that? Is this just another blatant case of dishonesty? In 2 of my comments, 64 & 82, I specifically criticized the North and praised Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural Address for blaming both the North and the South.

  93. YL, if there’s fault anywhere, then it’s your stupidity and not my dishonesty. Praising Lincoln’s 2nd inaugural address for attributing some fault to the North is like praising the president of Iran for lauding religious freedom. He’s saying that the South is the primary source of evil, and the North has to pay for it’s participation in the South’s evil. This is self-serving tripe, so you’re reference to it doesn’t count as a critique of the North. Lincoln isn’t faulting himself for being a despot or the North for prosecuting an opportunistic war to keep the source of the vast majority of the Union’s tax revenue (via tariffs) within the umbrella of his control.

    What’s the matter with you that you can’t simply ask for a clarification? You think it comes across as honest or intelligent bluster on about “another case of blatant dishonesty”?

  94. John Mansfield says:

    From comment #18: “In fact, in an effort to prove that the war was not being fought over slavery President Jefferson Davis offered to free the slaves in exchange for recognition by Great Britain, but by the time word reached Great Britain about this, the CSA had already lost Antietam and this caused foreign powers to be more circumspect about recognizing them for strategic reasons.”

    It appears this offer was made in the closing months of the war, two and a half years after Antietam. Is their any source for such an offer in 1862?

  95. I don’t have time to respond to all of DKL’s misstatements, misinterpretations of the historical record, etc. etc.

    Just one thing: Lincoln in his Second Inaugural did not say that the South was the primary source of evil. He did acknowledge that the Almighty has his purposes, but did not profess to know what they were, and did not say that the apparent approaching end of the war was an accomplishment of God’s purposes.

    He did suggest that some may think it odd to ask God’s help in wringing their bread from the sweat of another man’s labor, but said then that we ought not to judge lest we be judged.

    He did say that one might suppose that American slavery was one of those offences that, in the providence of God, “must needs come”, but he did not say that he knew it to be such an offense.

    The modern day analog would have George Bush standing at the rubble of the World Trade Center and acknowleging that God’s purposes may have been advanced by the destruction there.

    One other thing: to suggest that the American Civil War was not about slavery because most of the soldiers in butternut and grey were not and were not likely ever to become slaveholders is nonsense. It ignores the last 50 years of scholarship on the motivations of common soldiers (see S.L.A. Marshall’s works on GI’s in the 2nd World War, or John Keegan’s The Face of Battle. Keegan’s thesis, briefly:

    “But it will not be because of . . . leadership that the group members will begin to fight and continue to fight. It will be, on the one hand, for personal survival, which indiviuals will recognize to be bound up with group survival, and, on the other, for fear of incurring by cowardly conduct the group’s contempt.” The Face of Battle, Penguin Edition, at 51.

    So, too with the Rebels. The “damnyankees are coming” would have been enough to call them to arms, and the motives Keegan describes would have kept them in line across the broad plain on July 3, 1863, or in the bloody angle at Chancellorville or that blood-soaked cornfield at Antietam, or in one hundred blood-filled sunken lanes that showed up, it seems, on every Civil War battlefield.

    If slavery didn’t keep them there, you can be certain that the tariff didn’t either.

  96. DKL 93

    We may differ on Lincoln’s intent in his 2nd Inaugural Address, but I didn’t need a “clarification” when you said in your comment 88:

    “my argumentative opponents…concluded that everything that the South did in the war was to preserve slavery, and everything that the North did was honorable and good.”

    But my comments 64 and 82 explicitly criticized the North. You or anyone else can interpret Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural Address differently, but I was quite clear in my own criticism of the North – which your comment 93 denied I did.

    Yes, what you consider cleverness [diverting the topic from my explicit criticism of the North, to your interpretation of Lincoln's speech] is again another example of your “blatant dishonesty.”

  97. Mark B: Here is a link to the inaugural address. It’s quite short and a quick read for anyone that wants to read it–it’s also a load of pretty-sounding nonsense, especially the part about how he sought to avert a war. Your basis for claiming that he doesn’t say that the South is the primary source of evil is that he couches his condemnation in what appears to be a hypothetical, but is (upon careful reading) a rhetorical question. This is a question that he forthrightly answers when he marches into his conclusion with the statement “with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right…”

    I’m glad you quote Keagan’s book The Face of Battle, because it’s a quite a good one, and that’s a very nice quote you chose. Sadly, it hasn’t anything to do with the thesis we’re discussing. What he’s explaining is how men are actually made to kill each other once the battle begins on the battle field (and he has quite a lot of interesting things to say about the psychology of battlefield actions as well as the evolution of our understanding of this psychology). What Keagan is expressly not explaining is why the men sign up go to a field of battle in the first place (or at least do not flee from conscription). If I recall correctly, Keagan is rather clear on the fact that such political factors are not the topic of that book.

    Your thesis that the South fought because the damned yankees were coming (excuse my profanity, but I feel it’s necessary to quote you with a shitload of exactness) simply is not plausible. There just wasn’t that big of a separation between the North an the South. There is this myth that animosity between the regions was fueled by the fact that there was little or no communication or exchange. Two of the most prominent leaders of the South (viz., Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee) were educated in the North (at West Point). Plus (as I’ve pointed out before) the difference between states like Maryland and Virginia was quite small, with most Marylanders and Virginians visiting or having intercourse (using the BoM term) with the other state on a regular basis. Saying to a Virginian, “The Marylanders are coming!” would more likely elicit a yawn (or a chuckle) than any amount of panic.

    As I’ve said of others, you’re approaching history with a simplistic view of the politics of the time. Nobody would think to treat a recent inaugural address as though it were not loaded with self-serving political spin (as though the phrase “self-serving politics” were not already terribly redundant). Why do you want to treat Lincoln’s inaugural address as though he is bearing his sole and not discussing political policy in a method calculated to appeal to and shape popular opinion?

    In any case, this is a losing argument you’ve taken up because the facts simply aren’t on your side.

  98. DKL,

    I sense a lot of anger from you over the Civil War. Did something happen to one of your ancestors that we should know about?

    First off, I seem to recall taking two separate callege courses that spent a lot of time on the Civil War (One was actually a Civil War class), both instructors admitted that the Civil War was not fought over slavery, but without slavery, there would have been no war.

    You have accused others of looking at this situation in black and white. I think you are looking at this situation in black and white. Answer this question. If it hadn’t been for slavery, would the Civil War have been fought at all?

  99. Ian, no anger at all. Not even any frustration.

    The question that you ask is not meaningful the way that you think it is. Answer this question: If it hadn’t been for slavery, would we be having this argument?

  100. Ian Cook: Did something happen to one of your ancestors that we should know about?

    Well, there was that one ancestor who lost his leg in the Civil War. A tragic tale. He swam in circles the rest of his days.

    Oh, well. Enough catharsis. On with the argument.

  101. Well, DKL got the attention he wanted again, and he did it by belittling others, slandering a great man, falsely claiming that the rest of us have found no fault with the North, and white washing the decades, DECADES, of the South’s efforts to continue slavery and even to expand it to other territories.

    Is nothing beneath you in your attempts to get attention?

    If you hadn’t said that you had children, I would be convinced that you are one of those high IQ teenagers who enjoys showing off how high his IQ is even at the cruel expense of others’ feelings and reputations. Most of those nasty IQ teenagers outgrew it and look back with shame; you’re the exception. So you’ve shown you’re exceptional, after all.

  102. I will not stand silently in the face of this calumny against my alma mater’s greatest former professor:

    http://www.law.northwestern.edu/mainpages/virtualtour/img5.html

    I protest!

  103. Well, gst, you’ve undone me. I certainly don’t know enough about Lincoln to critique his professorial talents. For all I know, he did a bang-up job.

  104. #48.

    Great Britain and Argentina are two democracies that fought against each other in 1982.

    Lebanon and Israel fought each other in 2006, both are democracies (though Lebanon is a very weak democracy).

    And yes, Democracies do actually start wars. The United States started an aggressive war against Iraq in 2003.

    The United States rightfully started a war against Afghanistan after they would not turn over Al-Qaida.

    The United States has overthrown democratically elected governments in at least Chile (1970s) and Iran (1950s), though I don’t doubt there are numerous others.

    France and Britain have also fought numerous wars against other nations, formerly their colonies throughout their histories.

    So basically, just because one turns democratic does not equal a reduction in fighting.

    Finally, I wholeheartedly agree with President Kimball’s view of America’s gods of iron and steel. We are a warmongering people. We have it engrained in us from when we are young. The military-industrial complex has succeeded in controlling and brainwashing Americans into thinking that real heroes are warriors and fighters. They make a whole heck of a lot of money when America fights.

    Is it possible for Americans, more specifically conservative Christians, to see anything else than war and fighters as real heroes?

  105. Dan, nice list of wars. Tally the death totals of those wars and compare them to the ones perpetrated by non-democracies. There is, in fact, a reduction in fighting among Democracies.

    There is, in reality, nothing pre-emptive or aggressive (as in war-of-aggression) about invading Iraq. For more than a decade Iraq had been violating the terms of the cease-fire that ended Desert Storm. All attempts to enforce the terms of the cease-fire had failed, and no further attempt was likely to succeed. Given this, any course of action reduced to one of two alternatives: capitulation or resumption of hostilities. Neither alternative was pre-emptive.

    The facts of the matter are as follows:

    On April 3, 1991 Iraq formally agreed to the cease-fire that suspended initial military activities in the Gulf War. The cease-fire document is known as Security Council Resolution 687 (available on the internet at gopher://gopher.undp.org/00/undocs/scd/scouncil/s91/4%09+Text/plain).

    Clause 8 of Resolution 687 states, “Iraq shall unconditionally accept the destruction… under international supervision, of: (a) All chemical and biological weapons…and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities; (b) All ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometres…”

    Clause 12 states, “Iraq shall unconditionally agree not to acquire or develop nuclear weapons or nuclear-weapons-usable material…”

    And clause 32 states that Iraq “will not commit or support any act of international terrorism.”

    The United Nations’ Security Council hasd passed no fewer than six resolutions condemning Iraq for not complying with the cease-fire (resolutions 1205, 1194, 1137, 1134, 1115, and 1060). And Powell’s presentation at the UN made it clear that Iraq continues to violate the cease-fire. (The

    The real problem is that the UN was involved at all. In the original Gulf War, the USA—and not the UN—formed a coalition and fought a war to liberate Kuwait from Iraq. After securing decisive victory, the USA allowed the UN to handle the details of a formal cease-fire.

    Once Iraq was chronically in violation of that cease-fire, the UN fancied that they—and not the USA—had the authority to determine what should be done to enforce it. All this would have been averted if we had simply handled the cease-fire ourselves.

    We have the elder George Bush to thank for the UN’s involvement. His “New World Order” fetish and his desire to grant the UN an appearance of moral authority embroiled us in the snarls that his son is attempting to untangle.

    Careful reflection reveals that the UN and its “Security Council” (could you imagine a more propagandistic name?) are outmoded relics of the pre-Cold War thinking. For example, the UN Charter still defines Germany and Japan as enemies. Conjured from the ashes of post World War II Europe by Truman’s and Roosevelt’s naïve dreams of global cooperation, the UN does little more than encourage countries like France, Germany, and Syria to entertain illusions that they have an equal interest in the USA’s affairs.

    As a natural consequence of this feigned equality, the UN has become an instrument for nations to lash out at Americans for failing to behave like they do. Germans want Americans to avert pan-European wars. France wants Americans to capitulate and collaborate. Syria wants Americans to hate the Jews. And almost nobody wanted Americans to deal with Saddam Hussein.

    In any case, on any reasonable analysis, there was nothing pre-emptive about invading Iraq.

  106. DKL,
    And yet the Iraq war is the latest example of putting our Faith is the false gods of military might. That Spencer W. Kimball sure had a point. I really am glad he said what he did, all that death, all that destruction. What can I say, War is Hell, war, what is it good for, absolutely nothing, say it again.

    Really, your shifting sands strategy is quite tiresome.

  107. YL, your claim that I slander a great man begs the question. Specifically, the question I’m posing (and answering in the negative) is whether Lincoln was a great man.

    Your usage of caps strikes me as kind of weird. Are you, like, yelling at your computer as you type this?

    YL: So you’ve shown you’re exceptional, after all.

    Yes! My work here is finished.

  108. DKL,

    hmmm, I never knew that breaking UN resolutions was just cause for regime change. Moreover, according to Colin Powell, who was the Secretary of State, Iraq was safely contained. This is what he said in February 2001 about Iraq:

    We had a good discussion, the Foreign Minister and I and the President and I, had a good discussion about the nature of the sanctions — the fact that the sanctions exist — not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi people, but for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein’s ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction. We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they are directed toward that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was ten years ago when we began it. And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors. So in effect, our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbors of Iraq

    I guess Powell hadn’t yet gotten the Republican propaganda message that Iraq was evil and reconstituting their WMDs…..

    Or maybe Powell doesn’t know what he is talking about. If that is the case, then how can he be trusted two years later in February 2003 speaking in front of the UN saying almost exactly the opposite of what he said two years previous?

    That said, as Doc clearly said, we relied on our gods of steel and iron to “protect us” and not on the Lord. As we’ve seen in the Book of Mormon, the people implored Gidgiddoni to go to the mountains to destroy the Gadianton Robbers. It is of worth to read his response:

    20 Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni: Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them in their own lands.
    21 But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord would deliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us; therefore as the Lord liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands.

    I am not suggesting we follow this advice and wait around for them to come to us, but starting a war against Iraq is as far from following this counsel as one could get. Interestingly, we’re still being killed in Iraq, and you’ve got our inept Secretary of Defense Donald Duck….er…Rumsfeld bemoaning how much better terrorists are than us at the media war.

    I am honestly asking this next question: Is what we see in Iraq today what Republicans and Bush supporters call success? That question is a serious question. Do Bush supporters have any doubts about why we’ve not quelled a bunch of guys blowing cars up?

    War is of the devil, not of God. It is Satan who rebelled, not God. It is Satan who drew away one third of the hosts of heaven, not God. Conflict and death come from Satan, not from God. Let us never forget this.

  109. Dan, stop with the Donald duck, OK? It isn’t funny, and it degrades the quality of the conversation here, such as it is.

    If you didn’t know that the breaking of UN resolutions is just cause for regime change, you must not have been paying attention to what candidate Kerry said in October, 2002:

    I believe the record of Saddam Hussein’s ruthless, reckless breach of international values and standards of behavior which is at the core of the cease-fire agreement, with no reach, no stretch, is cause enough for the world community to hold him accountable by use of force, if necessary.

    Before the U.S. invaded Iraq, the BBC estimated that there would be 400,000 to 500,000 casualties in the first 90 days, with the number of U.S. fatalities at around 15,000. As of now, 4 years later, we have lost 2,500. So, by the standard set by the BBC, I call this a rip-roaring success.

  110. Mark,

    I didn’t know that “holding him accountable” equalled “regime change.” If we are to say that the punishment for holding every nation accountable is forcible regime change, then we’re going to have lots of regime changes in this world.

    Furthermore, it is appalling that, in your view, “success” is not having the worst case scenario, that anything above the worst case scenario is deemed success. Frankly I have a higher standard for my country than you.

    Finally, if Donald Rumsfeld can with impunity get out there and call his opponents appeasers, and compare them to Chamberlain, then I can rightfully call him as ridiculous as Donald Duck. Instead of focusing on his job of protecting America, he gets out there and insults Americans and bemoans at how savvy the terrorists are at their supposed media control. Is this real?

  111. Abraham Lincoln was hot, I tell you, hot. Smoking. Like George W. Bush. I’d date him, if I were single.

    I wouldn’t vote for him again. But I’d still like him.

  112. John Mansfield says:

    DKL, I suppose you’ve read Jefferson Davis’ farewell to the U.S. Senate(January 21, 1861 found on page 487 of The Congressional Globe); I hadn’t before this morning. It is two and a half columns in length. The first half column is Mr. Davis’ belief that states were entitled to secede and that he, as a citizen of Mississippi, would be bound by his state’s choice to do so even if he thought its choice was unjustified. However, he did think Mississippi justified.

    He continued through the rest of the first column and into the second by distinguishing between secession and nullification. He criticized specifically Massachussetts for nullifying fugitive slave laws. The last half of the second column was a criticism of people opposing slavery by recourse to the Declaration of Indepence:

    It has been a conviction of pressing necessity, it has been a belief that we are to be deprived in the Union of the rights which our fathers bequeathed to us, which has brought Mississippi into her present decision. She has heard proclaimed the theory that all men are created free and equal, this made the basis of an attack upon her social institutions; and the sacred Declaration of Independence has been invoked to maintain the position of the equality of the races.

    The final half column ends with Mr. Davis telling his colleagues that he loved them and wished them well and hoped they could see each other again sometime.

    To summarize:
    1) Mississippi could secede whenever it wanted to.
    2) It justifiable wanted to because the North was messing with slavery.
    3) See you later, guys.

  113. In his farewell speech, George Washington counselled that the whole was of greater import to America than the parts, and that America must stay united. I think he understood well the division to come over the issue of slavery, and warned America to stay united.

  114. Daniel,

    The statement by John F. Kerry was made on the floor of the senate as he explained his vote for regime change in Iraq. Your beef is with him, not me.

    It is not surprising that you are appalled at me. Many people are. The fact is that we fully expected to pay a much higher price in casualties than we have. If, before the war, it were known that we could depose Saddam and have elections that everyone more or less agrees were fair, and that the cost in coalition lives would be under 4,000, 98% of the people in this country would have been greatly relieved. But I don’t expect you to agree because, as you say, your standards are so much higher than mine.

  115. Mark,

    hmmm, if I recall correctly that Congressional resolution didn’t talk about regime change…..again, enforcing UN resolutions is one thing, forcibly removing an entire government is a whole other beast. No UN Security Council Resolutions allow for regime change, and the 2002 Congressional Resolution did not endorse regime change either.

    Moreover, if it did, it is one terrible document as it does not provide any guidance as to what to do after the regime has been removed, no legal guidance, no requirements from Congress as to what should happen with the new regime. Absolutely horrendous piece of paper from a Congress that has abrogated its Constitutional responsibilities.

    Furthermore, on standards, let’s do a comparison. Bush and his supporters like to compare our current “conflict” to that of World War II. Fine. Let’s compare the two, shall we.

    Roosevelt entered the war in 1941, after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and declared war. Germany followed suit and also declared war against America, as part of their alliance with Japan. Then the United States declared war on both Germany and Japan. In just three and a half years, Roosevelt destroyed his enemies and fundamentally altered and changed the entire world. He asked Americans to make a sacrifice so America would come out victorious. Americans rationed and paid higher taxes, as wars cost money and material.

    Bush’s wars began in 2001, and to this point there is no end in sight. That’s five years now. Bush entered Afghanistan to find and destroy those who attacked us, yet Bin Laden still lives and exerts his influence, FIVE YEARS after he attacked us! The Taliban still kill Americans and foreigners and extert some serious influence in Afghanistan FIVE YEARS after we entered. Afghanistan is no Nazi Germany. Comparing the two militaries is like comparing Pluto to Jupiter. Pluto ain’t even a planet anymore! That’s how weak the Taliban are in comparison to Nazi Germany. And yet, Roosevelt destroyed Nazi Germany in three years. Five years since we went into Afghanistan, the Taliban still kill us. Is this your idea of success?

    Now, let’s compare Iraq. It is now three and a half years since we entered Iraq. Iraq is also no Nazi Germany. Iraq is probably just a few steps above Afghanistan, actually. Pretty weak. So why is it that three and a half years after we entered there, we are still being killed by our enemies? Why are they not subdued? Why are they not destroyed? Why are the borders so porous allowing foreigners in? Why are there 3400 Iraqi civilians killed in July three and a half years after we entered? You claim successes in elections. Elections, as we know quite clearly, are not the end all be all of democracies, are they? In fact, they really don’t tell much about the openness and fairity of a country, after all Kazakhstan is a “democracy” in that they had elections, but are being stiffled in so many other ways.

    The irony is that Bush touts elections as the key to democracies, but then tries to undermine groups that are democratically elected, that Bush just doesn’t happen to agree with. Hamas was democratically elected in Palestine. Why don’t Republicans cheer about this? It is the will of the Palestinians, no? Hezbollah was democratically elected in the Cedar Revolution. Why do Republicans not cheer about this? But as we know from history, Republicans have a track record of removing democratically elected governments simply because they don’t like them, (Chile in the 70s, Iran in the 50s, etc.). The hypocrisy stands out like a rose in snow.

  116. annegb 111 Lincoln was hot

    How delightful! I laughed and laughed. I wonder if Mrs. Lincoln was hot. Mrs. G.W. Bush is definitely hot.

  117. John Mansfield says:

    YL, judge for yourself.

  118. John Mansfield says:

    YL, judge for yourself. [Bad link in comment 117; sorry.]

  119. John Mansfield 118: Judge for yourself.

    Thank you. The photograph of Mrs. Lincoln must be one of the very first photographs of a First Lady. I wonder if it’s the first.

    Well, Mrs. Lincoln was no Laura Bush, but maybe she would have photographed better if she had lived today, with all the touching up that could be done.

    It would have been interesting to ask her opinion on the Civil War. Maybe we could have paired her with DKL.

  120. To sum up and return to basics: As to the origin of war – well, war in heaven, instigated by Satan. Then on earth in the days of Adam and Seth – “And the children of men were numerous upon all the face of the land. And in those days Satan had great dominion among men, and raged in their hearts; and from thenceforth came wars and bloodshed; and a man’s hand was against his own brother, in administering death.” (Moses 6:15)

    Could be that God’s dealings with man, His changing sets of commandments and laws and bylaws, are contingency based. God’s plan is a contingency plan. We are the contingency.

    Sounds like what my parents used to say when we kids would fight – “Work it out for yourselves.”

  121. John Mansfield says:

    YL, on being photographed better, here‘s a more flatteringly portrait of Mrs. Lincoln by the famous Matthew Brady. And all of us were more pleasing to the eye when we were fifteen years younger. (Scroll down a little.) This one looks nice too.

    DKL, do you have any thoughts on my comments 94 and 112 about Mason’s offer to Palmerston coming on March 14, 1865 (four weeks before Lee’s surrender) and about Jefferson Davis’ farewell to the U.S. Senate?

  122. John Mansfield says:

    Bad link on the young Lincoln daguerreotypes. Trying again: link.

  123. John Mansfield 121, 122:

    You’re right. Age makes a big difference. Enjoyed seeing the pictures of Mrs. Lincoln when younger. Thanks.

    Also enjoyed reading Jefferson Davis’ farewell to the U.S. Senate – which I had never read before.

  124. John, since I’d already shown that I am exceptional, I hadn’t planned to comment on this thread again (you know: A salesperson should never keep talking past the close). But I’m happy to explicate the issues raised by your questions.

    In any case, I’m glad you brought up the Farewell, because it’s a very important speech, and I don’t think that one can fully understand the approach of the South to US Government without reading it. Needless to say, your analysis is mistaken. Here are my comments on it:

    First, you’ve misread the portion on fugitive slaves so that it supports your assumptions. Davis specifically refrains from “criticiz[ing] Massachusetts for nullifying fugitive slave laws.” Davis’s position at the time of the Massachusetts fugitive slave brouhaha was that Massachusetts could do whatever Massachusetts wanted if it chose to leave the Union, but it must obey the rules so long as it stayed. This is a salient example for Davis to use, since this “whatever Massachusetts wanted” included actions that Davis specifically objected to. Thus, Davis isn’t criticizing Massachusetts. He’s saying, “I said the same thing then, and back then secession ran counter to my interests. Thus, I’m not just supporting secession when it serves my interests.” Here’s the operative paragraph, for those not wishing to wade through the entire speech:

    I well remember an occasion when Massachusetts was arraigned before the bar of the Senate, and when the doctrine of coercion was rife, and to be applied against her, because of the rescue of a fugitive slave in Boston. My opinion then was the same that it is now. Not in a spirit of egotism, but to show that I am not influenced in my opinions because the case is my own, I refer to that time and that occasion as containing the opinion which I then entertained, and on which my present conduct is based. I then said that if Massachusetts — following her purpose through a stated line of conduct — chose to take the last step, which separates her from the Union, it is her right to go, and I will neither vote one dollar nor one man to coerce her back; but I will say to her, Godspeed, in memory of the kind associations which once existed between her and the other States.

    Furthermore, not only was Massachusetts coerced into enforcing the fugitive slave law (giving the South what it viewed as justice), but Lincoln himself had agreed to enforce the fugitive slave law. Davis was well acquainted with both of these facts.

    Second, regarding the part of the speech you cite as a “a criticism of people opposing slavery by recourse to the Declaration of Independence”: Here, you again let your assumptions get in the way. In outline, Davis’s argument is rather simple: there is a limit to the government’s power as defined by the Constitution, and the attempt to circumvent this by appealing to other documents is nonsense. In other words, he’s saying that you can’t disregard the Constitution just because you have some moral passion about an issue.

    This isn’t a popular sentiment nowadays, with judicial activism being the order of the day. But Davis and other Southerners were real sticklers when it came to playing by the rules and the proper uses of government power. Thus, they refused to use federal spending as a way to send pork back to their constituents, resulting in a disproportionate amount of industry being created by government projects supported by corrupt Northern politicians looking merely to send dollars back to their districts; the South’s practice of honorable [non-self interested] political service put the South at a considerable disadvantage in prosecuting the Civil War. The North won, and as a result you can rob a man, but you can’t own him.).

    Davis chooses slavery as an example, and he’s absolutely correct in his legal analysis regarding the Constitution. It does protect slavery. And every time the term slavery gets mentioned, you and Ian Cook seem to want to say, “Aha! See, I told you! It’s slavery!” But the issue was the Constitutional rights of Southerners. Slavery was one of these rights. It was not the only right–Davis says at the outset that his discussion will be far from comprehensive.

    It was Davis’s opinion that a government that was allowed to overstep its bounds in one area will eventually overstep its bounds in any area it finds convenient. Best I can tell, he was dead on.

    Regarding the date of the offer to England, you may well be right. I write this stuff off the top of my head. The offer proves, nevertheless, that the South had other goals besides perpetuating slavery.

  125. Just a few more comments, regarding the speech:

    First of all, I think that we can take it as a speech that is made in much better faith than any political speech to the public by Lincoln. It represents a point at which Davis is resigning his political ambitions (he’s as likely as anyone to have become US President had the South not seceded–and he’d expressly requested not to be president of the CSA), and he’s expressing his reasons for departure to a small group of associates with whom he’s worked on (more or less) good terms for many years.

    Second, the first part sounds a bit extreme by today’s standards. He’s saying that if his state seceded, he’d quit the Senate even if he thought that the secession was not justified. Keep in mind: he was elected by his state legislature and he was in every respect sent by his State to the US Senate. Since he recognizes the state’s right to secession (quite apart from his own opinion of whether they should secede–he’s no tyrant), it would hardly make sense for him to pretend to represent any region in a Legislative body in which it does not participate or want to be associated with. One might as well pretend to be the US Senator representing Zambia.

    Third, the distinction that Davis draws between seceded states and intractable states is absolutely correct.

  126. Jazz Lawton says:

    YL comment (No. 116): YL wrote, “Mrs. G.W. Bush is definitely hot.”

    YL, from your “lusting” after the First Lady, should I understand that you’re over sixty and that you’re now single? My reasoning is as follows: A younger man wouldn’t think Mrs. Bush hot and a married man (or at least one who plans to stay happily so) shouldn’t be publicly talking about how hot he finds other women.

  127. David, I mostly agree with your analysis and disagree in part. The main concern in Davis’ farewell was un-Constitutional lawlessness, as you say, not particular causes promoted by it, such as “the theory that all men are created free and equal, this made the basis of an attack upon [Mississippi's] social institutions.” I consider, though, that this undercuts your contention in earlier comments (#59, #66) that tariffs were the cause that drove southern states to secession and that slavery was a routine, ongoing political disagreement that north and south could have gone on disagreeing about without disunion. Where were the debates over the constitutionality of tariffs?

    Regarding the abolition offer to Great Britain, it would be strange if the goals of the CSA in 1865 hadn’t changed a great deal from the goals they had in 1861.

  128. Back to quote from SWK that started this thread: The quote and its underlying teachings are nearly universally ignored now in the Church. I have made reference to it, along with Isaiah Chp. 2 in more than one gospel doctine class, only to be stared at with some embarrassment while the teacher moved on to what was in his manual.

    I lament our society’s lack of a repugnance of war and abhorrence of violence. I attended the rally in SLC protesting the Iraq war; my sign quoted Jimmy Carter, who said, “I worship the Prince of Peace, not the Prince of War.” I am not an extremist; I simply refuse to refuse to acknowledge the Savior’s teachings.

    I think SWK was one of the most courageous of our 20th century prophets in his comments about this subject and many others. I know he made some other rather repugnant comments (viewed from our perspective today), but I don’t believe those sprang from inherent prejudice but from environmental factors. His comments about the counterfeit of true patriotism ring more true today than anyone could have imagined.

  129. Jazz Lawton 126

    I apologize. My saying in comment 116 “Mrs.G.W.Bush is definitely hot” shows what inappropriate things can be said when people try to be funny. It was a reply to annegb comment 111, who injected needed humor into a serious discussion; she made a delightfully funny and UNlustful joke about Lincoln and Bush being “hot” – in the midst of all this blog’s serious arguing. I was simply trying to continue the joke. But my continuance of the joke did NOT have nearly the charm or the humor of annegb’s comment – and could easily be misinterpreted as it was by you. I apologize.

  130. MRB,

    #128,

    Well said. Yeah the Military Industrial Complex that Eisenhower warned about has full control of America today. Can we break away from this? Who makes a profit when a war is fought?

  131. I found an answer to my question in comment 127: South Carolina in 1832. South Carolina passed an Ordinance of Nullification declaring that tariffs would not be collected in that state. So there was one southern state three decades before Jefferson Davis criticized the unconstitutional practice of nullification that wasn’t above it. The issue was settled by Andrew Jackson (of Tennessee) sending naval forces to Charleston and Congress authorizing him to enforce the law.

    It is conceivable that South Carolina in 1832, and only South Carolina, could have seceded then due to tariffs. Tariffs ping-ponged up and down until the civil war. Iron was the most heavily protected item, but so were sugar and cotton to a lesser extent. I suspect cotton imports were insignificant, but sugar imports accounted for over 85% of 19th Century U.S. consumption.

  132. John, Davis is making a legalistic argument, and trying to be as brief as possible. Look in his memoirs for a full description of the grievances. This goes over the tariff thing in some detail. It’s not amenable to the kind of legalistic argument that he aims at in his Farewell, because the South had lost that argument in the Supreme Court in an 1816 decision.

    Davis’ memoirs, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, is an excellent book. It is most definitely one-sided, in the sense that he works on the assumption that the South had a right to secede. But it is far from being an apologetic account; it is never defensive, and it exhibits surprising even-handedness and candor. Moreover, Davis is never bitter. In his last chapter, he answers the question regarding the future of the South in as realistic a manner as anyone (North or South) can be expected to: He says, in essence, we saw injustice, we fought it, we lost, and the Federal Union lives on.

    Davis is an exceptionally clear writer, and his memoirs are quite readable, with the exception of battle descriptions that assume a knowledge of geography that most people don’t have. It would be nice if someone published a version with detailed maps in the chapters discussing battles, like what Strassler did with the Richard Crawley translation of Thucydides.

    What is most remarkable about Davis’ memoirs is how frequently they are ignored as a primary source.

    Dan, you’ve missed the point of my entire response, because you imagine that the UN has some power or authority relating to this issue. Hussein doesn’t deserve to be ousted due to the violation of UN resolutions–part of my entire point is that the UN as an authority on the issue is irrelevant. Hussein deserves to be ousted because he violated the cease-fire and therefore resumed war-making activities. The UN resolutions are merely evidence of this violation of the cease-fire.

  133. John, just to be clear, Davis does not go into a detailed analysis of the economic impact of the tariffs. As usual, he has an analysis based on the principle of the matter. I’ve read the analysis on the tariff stuff elsewhere, though I don’t have a source handy.

  134. Dan: I recently read “House of War” by James Carroll. Carroll’s father was a top Pentagon official and Carroll literally grew up walking and playing in the halls of this incredible building which has now become symbolic of all that has been created by the vast military-industrial complex referred to by Eisenhower. It’s a good read if you are into the history of U.S policy toward war and the history of the development, use, and contemplated use of nuclear weapons. It would turn anyone on the fence into a pacifist (and, I would argue, into a true follower of the Savior’s teachings) in a minute.

  135. MRB,

    Thanks for that recommendation. I’ll take a look at it. I’ve seen plenty of evidence, and with President Kimball’s rebuke, am quite convinced that we are a warlike people who covet our gods of steel over our Heavenly Father for our protection.

    Endless war destroyed the Jaredites, and they didn’t even have nukes or missiles or machine guns that spray out hundreds of bullets per minute.

    This will end badly for all of us, if we don’t turn away from war.

  136. Please delete my post #111. I’ve decided my light approach to this important topic is unseemly given the state of world affairs and the people who have been hurt by the cavalier approach to war by those in authority. No matter what my personal opinions are, no matter that there are educated people who believe war is a fulfillment of prophecy, too many innocents are hurt to justify any war.

    Despite my disagreement with DKL over Lincoln’s motives in the civil war, I realize that his scholarship is vastly superior. Ultimately, the wisdom in his posts is worthy of all our attention. There is no greater intellect on the bloggernacle.

  137. DKL,

    you say:

    Hussein deserves to be ousted because he violated the cease-fire and therefore resumed war-making activities.

    so basically you are saying that America’s policy towards the world is this: If you violate a cease-fire and resume war-making activities, we reserve the right to decapitate you. Is that what America really believes?

    I could go on and give you so many examples of where America broke the cease fires first, but you’d call me anti-American. I could show you how the no-fly zones were never part of the cease fire agreement with Iraq in 1991, and unilaterally imposed by Britain and America, but you’d call me anti-American. I could show you evidence that America was using the UN inspectors to spy on Iraq, but you’d call me anti-American. I could show you so many examples to show that Iraq was begrudgingly letting inspectors do their work, and as Colin Powell said in Februarly 2001, they worked. They succeeded. Was he a liar? He didn’t follow Republican propaganda, so he was. If he was a liar in 2001, how can you trust him to say the truth in 2003?

    Many Americans, most specifically conservatives, have a hard time seeing their country as anything but infallable. In their eyes, it is impossible for America to willfully commit sins. America is God inspired. How can it be evil? How can it do evil? Any rightful and serious question of American policy is denounced as terrorist-loving, anti-American drivel. How shameful conservative thought has become.

  138. DKL, I’ll keep Jefferson Davis’ memoirs in mind as something I should get to, though even for an honest, candid man, the view from 1881 would be different than the one from 1861. In my contention that interference with slaveholding was the chief factor leading to secession, I have made no judgement on the virtue or wickedness of southerners. Abraham was a model of righteousness while managing hundreds of slaves either purchased with money or born in his own household. The scriptures teaching that bond and free are alike unto God indicate to me divine indifference whether or not some men are slaves to others. I am glad to live in a time without slaveholding, but it is easy to when I have running water, central heat, all the kilowatts of electricity I can eat, etc.

  139. Dan,
    “No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom will die with you.”

    President Kimball was talking about ALL the people of the earth, not just Americans. Many General Authorities, as well as BYU professors, have served in all branches of the U.S. Military and honor others who do.

    I’m not going to defend President Bush’s war in Iraq. I’m glad I didn’t have to make that decision. However, I think you need some education in Middle East history. The Bath Party of Sadaam Hussein was modeled on the Nazi Party of Adolph Hitler. There were very close ties between Nazi Germany and Iraq. France and Germany would not do much, if anything at all, to support the invasion of Iraq, not because it was morally or ethically wrong, but because they are anti-semitic and seriously dependent on Middle East oil. Would you really want the U.S. in the same condition Europe is today–with serious problems with the Muslims and dependent on them for oil?

    Do you really believe Islam is a peaceful religion? Many Muslims are, but their leaders are not; and the people are bullied by threats to harm them and their families if they don’t cooperate.

    The Taliban is as evil as the Nazis, if not more so, and potentially much more dangerous, even to their own people. How would you like to live under the Taliban? I suggest you go try it, and take your sister, wife, mother, and any other female that thinks like you, with you and see how much they thank you for it. Taliban rule in Afghanistan is exactly what they plan should they conquer Europe, which they are doing, and America, which people like you would allow due to your cowardness and gullibility.

    Do you really think the LDS Church and the Democrats, which are being taken over by the loony left and Hollywierdos, have much in common? The left wing, whom you seem to admire, stands for homosexuality, free sex, abortion, socialism, and anti-religion, etc. Where does that fit in with LDS doctrine. Is this your idea of “godliness”.

    Are you really so ignorant as to not understand that Hussein was paying big money to families to use their children as suicide bombers? Do you not understand that the full intent of Iran and Syria now, and also Iraq in the past, is to nuke Israel? Is your education so sparse that you do not understand that the Muslims were the first to invade Europe over 300 years before the first Crusade? Do you not realize that Istanbul, Turkey was once Constantinople, and on the European continent, and that Muslims attacked it over a period of centuries. They have no business there; they invaded and took over, and that’s what they want to do in Europe and America today.

    Yes, there are things that do go wrong in war, but if there were no war you would not have the right to be so anti-American, which you most definitely are. Would you rather fight the terrorists on our soil? They are pouring over the border, along with drugs, weapons, and diesease. Is that what you want? Should we stop the war on terror and try to negotiate with them?

    You curse President Bush, but if Bill Clinton hadn’t been such a coward and a glory-hound we may not have had 911. The government knew throughout Klinton’s administration that there were terrorists living in America, and in the U.S. Military. Ali Mohammed was one; that person was responsible for the first bombing in New York. Bill Clinton ignored that bombing and didn’t even personally investigate it, or go to see what happened, as Pres. Bush did. Then Mr. Clinton sends the U.S. military, which, like you he abhors, to Bosnia and Somalia and lets those Rangers die in Somalia because he wouldn’t support what he started. Men who volunteer to do your dirty work for you while you cower behind your philosophies died because of a President that just wanted to be popular, and some of you people just “swallow the party line”, and want nothing to do with responsibility.

    Don’t use President Kimball as a spokesman for your left-wing propaganda; you are twisting what he said, and probably with full intent to deceive.

  140. annegb, thanks for the kind words. I’m very flattered that you think so. I should add that I’ve never felt such a strong affinity for Same Sex Marriage as when my heart went all aflutter over the young photo of Honest Abe.

    John, I agree that 20 years can add a perspective that flavors things. Just the same, here’s a bit of philosophizing about historiography:

    When current events are unfolding, it is easy to find sources that highlight salient issues and difficult to find sources that comprehensively catalog them. Take as an example the Dan Rather controversy at CBS. I have a timeline that I compiled (for future reference) during the 2nd week of the controversy and then continued to maintain until Rather resigned. It took many, many hours accumulate the details and the order at the time, though nearly every source was fresh in my memory. Everywhere, there were slices of information, and there was no one source that brought it all together into a single place with dates and times.

    If this is true in our day of information overload and near indefinite quantities of redundant sources, how much more true has it been in the past? Sources more temporally distant from an event often are more comprehensive and more accurate than sources closer to an event. Sources closer to an event tend to highlight the most salient or controversial elements of that moment, and they take a whole lot of information for granted. For this reason, I stand against the view of most armchair historians (and many professional historians) that there is something less tainted about sources closer to an event.

    (I should also add that I think this approach meshes well with a believer’s take on Mormon history, but that’s an altogether different topic.)

    For my part, I agree with Ian Cook that without slavery there would have been no Civil War–I just don’t infer the same things that he does from this fact. I suspect that your and my positions are closer than I had supposed at the outset.

    I don’t expect that anyone should be convinced by this little exchange, but I do hope to dispel the knee-jerk “South-bad, North-good” or “North-bad, South-worse” approach that people have to the Civil War. Even if readers disagree with me, I hope that they go away with a sense that it’s OK to think that the South fought for a just cause, and that there is nothing inherently dishonorable or racist or simplistic about a belief in the propriety of secession and the impropriety of the coercive course chosen by the North.

  141. DKL,

    President Kimball was talking about ALL the people of the earth, not just Americans. Many General Authorities, as well as BYU professors, have served in all branches of the U.S. Military and honor others who do.

    I know this. I have no problem with people who serve to protect my country. My sister is actually in Iraq as I type this. There is a difference between serving in a military to protect one’s country, and, as Kimball said, relying on the gods of steel for protection from enemies. Moreover, I think we’ve gone even worse; we’re not looking from protection from our gods of steel, but we’re looking for our gods of steel to crush our enemies. This seems rather un-Christian to me.

    I’m not going to defend President Bush’s war in Iraq. I’m glad I didn’t have to make that decision. However, I think you need some education in Middle East history. The Bath Party of Sadaam Hussein was modeled on the Nazi Party of Adolph Hitler. There were very close ties between Nazi Germany and Iraq. France and Germany would not do much, if anything at all, to support the invasion of Iraq, not because it was morally or ethically wrong, but because they are anti-semitic and seriously dependent on Middle East oil. Would you really want the U.S. in the same condition Europe is today–with serious problems with the Muslims and dependent on them for oil?

    Interesting that you say this. First off, I am quite familiar with my Middle East history. I know much about the Baath culture and politics. I find it interesting though, that if you do really believe in your statement, that the Baath party is quite similar to that of the Nazi party, then why was Reagan and Rumsfeld doing business with Saddam in the 1980s? The real irony of Rumsfeld’s speech last week was that it is he who fits the role of Chamberlain best out of anyone here today. It was he who worked with Saddam in the 1980s, who supported Saddam’s gassing of the Kurds in 1983, and the use of chemical weapons on the Iranians in the war that Saddam started. More ironic is that just like Hitler, it was Saddam who started the conflict against Iran, trying to, just like Hitler, spread his strength past his borders. So, if Saddam was truly like Hitler, what was Rumsfeld doing shaking Saddam’s hand? Furthermore, if you truly believe in fighting against all those who have at one point appeased “evildoers”, why do you support Rumsfeld? Or is it okay on occasion to lend support to Nazi-type regimes? Is that the message Rumsfeld is giving?

    Rumsfeld is an evil man, and by default, since he thinks Rumsfeld is right for the job, so is Bush, his boss. If Bush thinks Rumsfeld, who appeased Saddam, is the right man to fight terror, then this shows just how bad Bush is as a “fighter against terror.” Doesn’t it? Who does he trust as the front man against terror? A man who appeased terrorists. Let us also not forget that it was Reagan who cut and ran when Hezbollah killed 241 marines in their sleep. Talk about appeasing terrorists! What better message to send them then this: if you kill 241 of our best trained men, we’re going to go away. This is the worst thing ever. Worse than anything Clinton ever did.

    Do you really believe Islam is a peaceful religion? Many Muslims are, but their leaders are not; and the people are bullied by threats to harm them and their families if they don’t cooperate.

    Yes, I believe Islam is a peaceful religion, just like all religions. You say many generalities in this that if turned on Christianity would be pretty accurate, yet that would offend you. Why do you say offensive things when you don’t want to be offended yourself? Yes, Islam is a peaceful religion when practiced as it should, just like Christianity is. But in practice, Christianity has been just as, if not more so, violent. How many wars have Christians fought in the name of religion? Frankly, from what I keep hearing out of Christian conservatives, this war fought now is a religious war. I mean just look at how you framed this “war on terror.” You don’t talk about the tool—terrorism—-but rather the religion, as if the religion is driving the tool. In other words, in your eyes, this is a war of religions, not anything else.

    The religion does not change the fact that both have leaders who seem to advocate some kind of violence upon others. Christians show quotes out of context of Mohammed saying, “kill all infidels,” while Muslims counter with quotes out of context of the LORD calling for the extermination of all living things in Caanan.

    This is the folly of trying to frame this “war” into the paradigm of religion.

    The Taliban is as evil as the Nazis, if not more so, and potentially much more dangerous, even to their own people. How would you like to live under the Taliban? I suggest you go try it, and take your sister, wife, mother, and any other female that thinks like you, with you and see how much they thank you for it. Taliban rule in Afghanistan is exactly what they plan should they conquer Europe, which they are doing, and America, which people like you would allow due to your cowardness and gullibility.

    Potentially more dangerous than the Nazis? Dude, check your facts. When Hitler started his fighting, just how powerful was his military? It was the most powerful military on the planet. According to the facts, America’s army size at the time was about the same as Finland’s. Germany was the most powerful nation on the planet in 1938. The Taliban couldn’t even run their own backward, war-torn, hellhole. And you say they are potentially worse and more dangerous than the Nazis? You’re undermining your intellect, DKL. You’re smarter than this. Stop with the false talking points, and look at the facts.

    Furthermore, you say the Taliban are conquering Europe? What? And they are doing this because of my “cowardness and gullibility?” What? I supported the war in Afghanistan, so oops, there goes your insult. I supported the destruction of the Taliban the moment they destroyed the Buddhist statues back in 1999. I hoped Clinton would have used that as a good enough excuse to remove those fools out of power in Afghanistan. And now you tell me my “cowardness” is somehow making the Taliban “win” in Europe and America? I guess you really are not as smart as I thought you were. Your partisanship has clouded your intellect, DKL. Look at the world outside of your defense of Republicans. You’ll see a much clearer picture, and you’ll see the folly of the Republican strategy.

    Do you really think the LDS Church and the Democrats, which are being taken over by the loony left and Hollywierdos, have much in common? The left wing, whom you seem to admire, stands for homosexuality, free sex, abortion, socialism, and anti-religion, etc. Where does that fit in with LDS doctrine. Is this your idea of “godliness”.

    Yes, they do have much in common. They also have other things that are not in common, as is similar with Republicans. I don’t admire the “loony left,” but thanks for attempting to set up a straw man, a typical Republican strategy. That is not who I am.

    Are you really so ignorant as to not understand that Hussein was paying big money to families to use their children as suicide bombers?

    I knew this. I also know that the United States and Great Britain support a dictatorship in Uzbekistan. Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, has written an op-ed in the Washington Post, detailing just how we support torture and murder in Uzbekistan, even giving them money to do so. Bad people do bad things and get support from bad people. It is how this world works.

    Do you not understand that the full intent of Iran and Syria now, and also Iraq in the past, is to nuke Israel?

    I always knew this. In fact, I wonder why Bush supporters didn’t realize that by removing Saddam from power only strengthened Iran’s position. A report by the Chatam House of England shows that our actions in Iraq gave Iran control of Iraq, and further clout and strength in the Middle East. I quote a portion:

    “There is little doubt that Iran has been the chief beneficiary of the War on Terror in the Middle East,” says the report from Chatham House’s Middle East Programme.

    “The United States, with coalition support, has eliminated two of Iran’s regional rival governments – the Taleban in Afghanistan in November 2001 and Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq in April 2003 – but has failed to replace either with coherent and stable political structures.”

    In other words, our actions in Iraq brought about the very thing we were supposedly trying to avoid: a stronger Iran. Can you see why I’ve been against the war in Iraq from the get go? I knew right from the start what would happen, but no one listened, because they were too driven by fear.

    Is your education so sparse that you do not understand that the Muslims were the first to invade Europe over 300 years before the first Crusade?

    I knew this. What is your point? I can show that in fact, Christians invaded many countries even before Mohammed was even conceived!

    Do you not realize that Istanbul, Turkey was once Constantinople, and on the European continent, and that Muslims attacked it over a period of centuries. They have no business there; they invaded and took over, and that’s what they want to do in Europe and America today.

    Um…..by your logic, what did Christians have to do in Russia? Why did they invade and forcibly convert pagan Russians to Christianity?

    Yes, there are things that do go wrong in war, but if there were no war you would not have the right to be so anti-American, which you most definitely are.

    I challenge you here and now to show me where I have said anything that is anti-American! I’m tired of this libel. It is such a weak assault that conservatives have against those who rightfully and strongly question the policies of our leaders. Call them names. Is that the best you have? prove me wrong, show me facts, but the moment you call me names, you’ve lost your case, and show nothing but your immaturity.

    Would you rather fight the terrorists on our soil? They are pouring over the border, along with drugs, weapons, and diesease. Is that what you want? Should we stop the war on terror and try to negotiate with them?

    Woah, several things here. Yes, I would rather fight terrorists on my soil. First off, I know my territory better; it is to my advantage. Taking the fight to them has proven the folly of offensive war. The Taliban are still around five years after we started going after them. Iraq is in shambles and a horrific mess. Moreover, their anger is only fueled and enflamed by our presence in their lands. I say, fine, you stay where you are, and I’ll stay here. You come here and I will end your life. I have no problem with that. Furthermore, it gives me the chance to trust in the Lord for my protection, not the gods of steel. I know the Lord will protect me if I look to him, of this I have no question.

    Secondly, it seems you are equating Mexicans coming over the border with Islamic terrorists. Get off the Michelle Malkin buzz, dude. She is a fool. She does not know what she is talking about. Leave her vitriol to what it is, a pig pen.

    No, don’t negotiate with them. But let them be in their own lands. Let them destroy themselves. It is what they want. What better way to give them the freedom you want to give them than to let them kill themselves, as they seem to want to do.

    This is the libertarian streak in me.

    You curse President Bush, but if Bill Clinton hadn’t been such a coward and a glory-hound we may not have had 911. The government knew throughout Klinton’s administration that there were terrorists living in America, and in the U.S. Military. Ali Mohammed was one; that person was responsible for the first bombing in New York. Bill Clinton ignored that bombing and didn’t even personally investigate it, or go to see what happened, as Pres. Bush did. Then Mr. Clinton sends the U.S. military, which, like you he abhors, to Bosnia and Somalia and lets those Rangers die in Somalia because he wouldn’t support what he started. Men who volunteer to do your dirty work for you while you cower behind your philosophies died because of a President that just wanted to be popular, and some of you people just “swallow the party line”, and want nothing to do with responsibility.

    I think my comments above about Rumsfeld and Reagan best answer this diatribe.

    Don’t use President Kimball as a spokesman for your left-wing propaganda; you are twisting what he said, and probably with full intent to deceive.

    My intent is to discover the truth. If you don’t like the fact that Kimball’s words sear your soul, that’s not my problem. Take that up with him.

  142. my apologies to all, I thought it was DKL who made those comments to me, but it was Ross.

    Please forgive me DKL.

  143. Dan, let’s do some review of the phrase reductio ad Hitlerum:

    The term reductio ad Hitlerum (sometimes rendered reductio ad Hitlerem; whimsical Latin for “reduction to Hitler”) was originally coined by University of Chicago professor and ethicist Leo Strauss. The phrase comes from the more well-known logical argument reductio ad absurdum. It is a variety of association fallacy and may also be described as argumentum ad nazium. The relatively frequent occurrence of such absurd lines of reasoning in Usenet discussions led to the formulation of Godwin’s Law in 1990.

    The reductio ad Hitlerum fallacy is of the form “Adolf Hitler or the Nazi party supported X; therefore X must be evil”. This fallacy is often effective due to the near-instant condemnation of anything to do with Hitler or the Nazis.

    The fallacious nature of this argument is best illustrated by identifying X as something that Adolf Hitler or his supporters did promote but which is not considered evil — for example, X = “promoting expressways”, X = “wearing khakis”, X = “painting watercolors”, or X = “eating food”. It is important to understand that those policies advocated by Hitler and his party that are generally considered evil, are all condemned by themselves, not because Hitler supported them. In other words: they are not evil because Hitler advocated them, but rather Hitler was evil because he advocated them. It may also be refuted through counterexamples:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum

    An association fallacy is a type of logical fallacy which asserts that qualities of one are inherently qualities of another, merely by association. The two types are sometimes referred to as “guilt by association” and “honor by association.” Association fallacies are a special case of red herring, and are often based in an appeal to emotion.

    Guilt by association, also known as the “bad company fallacy” or the “company that you keep fallacy,” is the logical fallacy of claiming that something must be false because of the people or organizations that support it. Some examples are:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guilt_by_association

  144. Metallica isn’t too bad, but Dylan is the Master

    Masters of War

    Come you masters of war
    You that build all the guns
    You that build the death planes
    You that build the big bombs
    You that hide behind walls
    You that hide behind desks
    I just want you to know
    I can see through your masks

    You that never done nothin’
    But build to destroy
    You play with my world
    Like it’s your little toy
    You put a gun in my hand
    And you hide from my eyes
    And you turn and run farther
    When the fast bullets fly

    Like Judas of old
    You lie and deceive
    A world war can be won
    You want me to believe
    But I see through your eyes
    And I see through your brain
    Like I see through the water
    That runs down my drain

    You fasten the triggers
    For the others to fire
    Then you set back and watch
    When the death count gets higher
    You hide in your mansion
    As young people’s blood
    Flows out of their bodies
    And is buried in the mud

    You’ve thrown the worst fear
    That can ever be hurled
    Fear to bring children
    Into the world
    For threatening my baby
    Unborn and unnamed
    You ain’t worth the blood
    That runs in your veins

    How much do I know
    To talk out of turn
    You might say that I’m young
    You might say I’m unlearned
    But there’s one thing I know
    Though I’m younger than you
    Even Jesus would never
    Forgive what you do

    Let me ask you one question
    Is your money that good
    Will it buy you forgiveness
    Do you think that it could
    I think you will find
    When your death takes its toll
    All the money you made
    Will never buy back your soul

    And I hope that you die
    And your death’ll come soon
    I will follow your casket
    In the pale afternoon
    And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
    Down to your deathbed
    And I’ll stand o’er your grave
    ‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead

  145. Sherpa, have you heard the song, “The Bob Dylan Blues” by Syd Barrett? It’s great–really skewers Dylan.

  146. Sherpa,

    I wonder if you raise the reductio ad Hitlerium issue with Republican supporters. They are the ones who keep trying to portray their political opponents as Chamberlain appeasers. I find it interesting that the moment a Republican is well rebutted, even with the use of a comparison to Chamberlain (notice that in my comments I agreed with Ross’s equation of Saddam as Hitler, and Rumsfeld as Chamberlain—speaking of, I wonder if a political philosopher will soon come up with a “reductio ad Chamberlainium”—-), that others come in and denounce the use of reductio ad Hitlerium, yet when Republicans use this so often, they remain quiet. I wait to see your examples, Sherpa, of where you called Rumsfeld out on his use of reductio ad Hitlerium, or Rove, or Bush, or Santorum. Any examples? Then why do you hit at someone making a very valid point?

  147. Moreover, pointing out that Rumsfeld met Saddam is not a logical fallacy. It proves the duplicitous nature of men like Rumsfeld, who with their right hand rattle their sabres at enemies, and with their left shake their hands. Bush’s connections to Uzbekistan proves this point, and it is no fallacy. Why does Bush (and Rumsfeld, as it is a military base we have in Uzbekistan), get cozy with the Uzbekh dictator and deride the Syrian dictator? Pointing out these things proves their duplicitous evil natures. The issue of Saddam and Hitler comes from Ross’s example. If, as Ross said, the Baath regime was based on Hitler’s Nazi party, then why did Reagan back Hitler in the 1980s? Is that not duplicitous? And is pointing that out a fallacy? Moreover, Rumsfeld visiting and shaking Saddam’s hand is very much like Chamberlain trying to assist (let’s not use the word appease, as it apparently is overused these days) Hitler. Any reductio ad Hitlerium in that is a false use of the logical fallacy, because most of the time, if not all the time, the use of a logical fallacy, such as reductio ad Hitlerium, comes with the use of another logical fallacy: the straw man. I am not portraying Rumsfeld in any other way except what he really is. He really did go and meet with Saddam as Saddam was gassing Kurds and Iranians, the same incidents for which Saddam now faces war crimes. Republicans use the straw man reductio ad Hitlerium where no real thing exists. No Democrat they try to label as such has met with Saddam. No Democrat they try to label as such has attempted to appease any terrorist, except in the eyes of Republicans, which proves their logical fallacy.

  148. You know what’s really silly about you people? It all has to be black an white. Either Bush is a saint, or he is satan incarnate. Likewise those who support him. Instead of starting from the facts and reasoning forward, you pick the endpoint that you want, and then set up your argument to get you there. Part of being human, though, is that we have mixed motives for virtually everything we do.

  149. Yeah, I’ve heard it. I don’t have a problem with it at all. ;)

    Daniel, its a reductio ad hitlerum. Sorry, it is.

    Oh, and your comment, if you don’t like the fact that Kimball’s words sear your soul? This is just an internet chat…seriously, why do you have to be so personal?

  150. Sherpa,

    Me get personal? who called me a coward and gullible and anti-American?

    And no it isn’t a reductio ad Hitlerium. It is a reductio ad Chamberlainium. ;)

  151. Daniel, sorry it is indeed a Reductio ad Hitlerum.

    Oh, and Dan, if someone insults you is that a free ticket for you to go above and beyond and personally insult them back? Does that make your actions that much more right or wrong? Sorry, it doesn’t. Don’t blame someone else for your actions. That’s lame.

  152. Oh, and don’t point out that someone else is wrong either to try and deflect, that’s equally as lame.

  153. I heard Ronald Reagan admit to an audience at BYU that he made a serious mistake in helping Hussein in the war between Iraq and Iran. Unfortunately, a good LDS-former Moslem, has stated that the Middle East lacks good leaders; thus, it becomes rather difficult to discern which nation to support. It probably is the case that often there is no good choice: neither nation deserves support, and yet ignoring a conflict can result in dangerous chaos or domination. Which evil is the worst?

    Regarding secession, everyone of the 6 greatest founding fathers [George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton] believed that there had to be drastic reasons for declaring independence; without such drastic reasons declaring independence or seceding subjected the people to a continual instability, chaos, and conflict. None of these 6 men believed in the mere principle of secession. All of these 6 men thought that secession was only justifiable under drastic circumstances.

  154. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 148 Amen, jp. Black-and-white thinking has got to be the most dangerous human tendency of all. One of the core strengths of Mormonism, imo, is that it does not theologically support this mindset. It’s not a Heaven-or-Hell situation for the LDS.

    My vote for most egregious misuse of Nazi analogies goes to Bush and Rumsfeld, at least for today: http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/09/05/bush.terrorism.ap/index.html

    It’s more upsetting when progressives compare our current Republican leadership to the Nazis, though. Not only is that absurd, it’s strategically as stupid as all heck. Do the Democrats ever want to actually be in power again??

  155. YL: Yet all 6 of those men supported seceding from the Articles of Confederation. Remember, the Constitution was ratified thanks to the secession of 9 Confederation States. The other 4 were just gravy.

  156. “Secession” – as you call it – from the Articles of Confederation was hugely different than the South’s secession because:

    A “confederation” by definition is a compact involving purely voluntary participation from 13 States that were really like 13 countries. Thus, the phrase was “These United States” versus the later “The United States.” It was this voluntary participation – or lack of it – that so often frustrated General George Washington and the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War. The central government was totally dependent upon the states and was recognized as having very limited power over the states.

    Under the 1787 Constitution, our current Constitution, we were no longer a confederation. The people in the states voluntarily chose to join a union of states where the supreme government was clearly the national government. The states were subordinate to the national government and recognized the supremacy of the national government – which was not done under the confederation. Under our current constitution the states simply did not or do not enjoy the same independence that they enjoyed under the confederation.

    During the 1780’s many states did not even send delegates to the Continental Congress; for many months Jefferson did not have a quorum in the Continental Congress to approve of the magnificent treaty between America and Great Britain assuring independence and giving America a huge territory: the territory between the 13 states and the Mississippi River. Jefferson had to ask Benjamin Franklin to get an extension of time from Great Britain for getting an approval of the treaty.

    After the Revolutionary War in the mid-1780’s Jefferson went to Europe and was there with John Adams. Jefferson and Adams frequently wrote John Jay in the Continental Congress with requests. Jay had to tell them that there wasn’t a quorum for a vote.

    Participation was voluntary. States were the ultimate government in the confederation.

    But our government is no longer a confederation. States were and are subordinate to the National Government. Thus, Jefferson Davis rejected the Declaration of Independence, which strongly says that there has to be justifiable reasons for secession from a supreme government: England in Revolutionary days, our national government in Civil War days.

    There is no way that a national government could be the supreme government if any state could secede for any reason. If the quotes of Jeffeson Davis in this blog are accurate, then those quotes prove that Jefferson Davis did not believe in our 2 greatest documents: the Declaration of Independence and the current constitution. Those quotes prove what we already know: some well educated people and political leaders are idiots.

  157. YL, you’re wrong on the history and on the politics.

    It’s a mistake to try to define the Union created by the Articles of Confederation based on a semantic analysis of the term confederation, because the Articles themselves are quite clear about the nature of the Union that they create. In fact, in just under 3,500 words, the Articles of Confederation use the word perpetual exactly five times.

    In the preamble (emphasis added):

    Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

    In Article XIII (emphasis added):

    Every State shall abide by the determination of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.

    In the Conclusion (emphasis added):

    And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union. Know Ye that we the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union, and all and singular the matters and things therein contained: And we do further solemnly plight and engage the faith of our respective constituents, that they shall abide by the determinations of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions, which by the said Confederation are submitted to them. And that the Articles thereof shall be inviolably observed by the States we respectively represent, and that the Union shall be perpetual.

    Given how emphatically the Articles assert the perpetuity of the Union that they create, it’s just not plausible to maintain that the silence of its superseding document (i.e., the Federal Constitution) is unintentional. This places secession clearly and unambiguously within the rights not mentioned in the Federal Constitution and therefore reserved to the states by Amendment 10.

    You can read the entire Articles of Confederation online here. It’s quick reading; just a preamble, 13 articles, a conclusion, and some signatures.

    In any case, your explanation might sound good in the abstract, but an inspection of the Articles themselves shows that it is neither a well-informed nor a well-educated point of view.

    It’s customary to disparage the Articles of Confederation. Leaving aside the question of their adequacy, it is undeniable that the US Constitution would have been impossible without them. I dare say that there is no more elegant definition of the basic functions of a government in 3,500 words in the history of mankind. And the US constitution is equally elegant–for all it’s sweeping innovation, it’s a mere 1,000 words longer than the Articles that it replaces.

  158. Dan: I appreciated your response to Ross. I think sometimes we assume others are not informed. Thanks for being informed, and for putting your case out there. I am a former Republican who abandoned the party when it ceased to represent any thing like what I believe the party was once about. I am not a Democrat either, but have become weary listening to the Pubs undermine anyone who disagrees with them and their champions in the current administration with inuendo and half-truths. SWK’s words have nothing to do with anyone’s left- (or right-) wing propaganda. His words speak for themselves. The problem is we don’t want to let them speak because they are an indictment of most of us.

  159. MRB,

    Thank you for your comments. It is nice to know one is not alone in this violent hateful world in standing against the furtherance of violence and death.

    I’m really pretty moderate in my views, but the direction Republicans are taking America is beyond extreme, and it makes it hard for voices of moderation to be heard amidst the commotion.

  160. DKL COMMENT 157

    The Articles of Confederation in the title, preamble, and first 3 articles used the following words: “confederation” [title, preamble, article II], “confederacy” [article I], and “league of friendship” [article III].
    The Articles of Confederation
    Agreed to by Congress November 15, 1777; ratified and in force, March 1, 1781.
    Preamble
    To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our Names send greeting.
    Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
    ________________________________________
    Article I. The Stile of this Confederacy shall be “The United States of America.”
    ________________________________________
    Article II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.
    ________________________________________
    Article III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.

    PREAMBLE OF CURRENT U.S. CONSTITUTION

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
    [ STATES ARE NOT LISTED, FOR THIS IS CONSTITUTION “for the United States of America.” ]

    As illustrated in the preamble, our current constitution has no such words as “confederation,” “confederacy,” or “league of friendship”; instead, our current constitution was for “we the people of the United States” [preamble] and not for a list of states as in the preamble of the Articles. The states in the Articles considered themselves as independent countries who made an alliance [Articles of Confederation] with each other “for THEIR [caps added] common defense” [article III] and not “for THE [caps added] defense” [preamble of current constitution] of the nation.

    State legislatures acting as THE sovereign authority for their people [not for THE people of the United States] ratified the Articles of Confederation in much the same as a treaty is ratified. But notice how our current constitution was ratified by “we the people” [preamble] in “conventions” in the following article VII:

    Current Constitution: Article. VII.

    The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

    Thus, in forming “a more perfect union” [current preamble], the states left an alliance that no state was fully keeping. Federalists and anti-federalists agreed that all states were failing to keep all its obligations – failures justifying the dismissal of the treaty/alliance according to the Federalist Papers by James Madison in Federalist 43, and Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 15:

    FEDERALIST 43 BY MADISON, NEAR END

    Two questions of a very delicate nature present themselves on this occasion: 1. On what principle the Confederation, which stands in the solemn form of a compact among the States, can be superseded without the unanimous consent of the parties to it? 2. What relation is to subsist between the nine or more States ratifying the Constitution, and the remaining few who do not become parties to it? The first question is answered at once by recurring to the absolute necessity of the case;…A compact between independent sovereigns, founded on ordinary acts of legislative authority, can pretend to no higher validity than a league or treaty between the parties. It is an established doctrine on the subject of treaties, that all the articles are mutually conditions of each other; that a breach of any one article is a breach of the whole treaty; and that a breach, committed by either of the parties, absolves the others, and authorizes them, if they please, to pronounce the compact violated and void. Should it unhappily be necessary to appeal to these delicate truths for a justification for dispensing with the consent of particular States to a dissolution of the federal pact, will not the complaining parties find it a difficult task to answer the MULTIPLIED and IMPORTANT infractions with which they may be confronted?

    HAMILTON’S FEDERALIST 15:
    There is nothing absurd or impracticable in the idea of a league or alliance between independent nations for certain defined purposes precisely stated in a treaty regulating all the details of time, place, circumstance, and quantity; leaving nothing to future discretion; and depending for its execution on the good faith of the parties. Compacts of this kind exist among all civilized nations, subject to the usual vicissitudes of peace and war, of observance and non-observance, as the interests or passions of the contracting powers dictate. In the early part of the present century there was an epidemical rage in Europe for this species of compacts, from which the politicians of the times fondly hoped for benefits which were never realized. With a view to establishing the equilibrium of power and the peace of that part of the world, all the resources of negotiation were exhausted, and triple and quadruple alliances were formed; but they were scarcely formed before they were broken, giving an instructive but afflicting lesson to mankind, how little dependence is to be placed on treaties which have no other sanction than the obligations of good faith, and which oppose general considerations of peace and justice to the impulse of any immediate interest or passion.
    If the particular States in this country are disposed to stand in a similar relation to each other, and to drop the project of a general DISCRETIONARY SUPERINTENDENCE, the scheme would indeed be pernicious,…[END OF QUOTE FROM HAMILTON'S FEDERALIST 15]

    Thus, all 13 states had failed to keep the Articles of Confederation and thus were entitled as sovereign powers to withdraw from their alliance. Leaving the alliance was certainly not secession as America did when in the Declaration of Independence the colonies seceded from their supreme government [England] for a host of reasons listed in the Declaration. Leaving the alliance was certainly not secession as the South did in Lincoln’s time for stupid reasons & evil reasons. To compare the “secessions” is to distort the word – which Jefferson Davis did, and you do.

    In 1787 and 1788 during the arguments over ratifying the constitution, the anti-federalists, such as Patrick Henry, argued that the states should not give up their sovereign power that they were enjoying under the Articles of Confederation. The anti-federalists recognized that the states could not secede from the proposed constitution as they could from the Articles of Confederation. In the debates in the New York state ratifying convention the anti-federalists said they would join the new union if New York could secede if things turned out unfavorable. Those anti-federalists realized that being able to secede would have to be an extra condition added to their approval of the new constitution. The federalists there, such as Alexander Hamilton and John Jay [our first chief justice under the new constitution], agreed to no such deal and stressed that New York, being its own sovereign power under the Articles of Confederation, could refuse to join the new union. But if New York accepted the new constitution, New York would be giving up that power but gain the benefits of “a more perfect union” [preamble].
    One of the reasons that our current constitution was written the way it was, was to take away this sovereign power of the states. This power of the states under the Articles of Confederation was a major reason why the Articles failed: the states were on their own and often ignored the Continental Congress [see comment 156]
    Thus, the states lost the general right of secession when they accepted the new constitution – unless, of course, conditions were such as described by the Declaration of Independence:
    Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—[then the Declaration of Independence lists the many abuses of England].

    Thus, Jefferson Davis – and you – were in disagreement with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – and in disagreement with George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, federalists in general, anti-federalists in general – and in disagreement with Joseph Smith and all the subsequent prophets. And Jeff Davis’s disagreement was based on his and the South’s insistence on the right to expand the evil institution of slavery to the west.

  161. DKL 157

    The Articles of Confederation in the title, preamble, and first 3 articles used the following words: “confederation” [title, preamble, article II], “confederacy” [article I], and “league of friendship” [article III].
    The Articles of Confederation
    Agreed to by Congress November 15, 1777; ratified and in force, March 1, 1781.
    Preamble
    To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our Names send greeting.
    Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

    Article I. The Stile of this Confederacy shall be “The United States of America.”

    Article II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

    Article III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.
    PREAMBLE OF CURRENT U.S. CONSTITUTION

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. [ STATES ARE NOT LISTED, FOR THIS IS CONSTITUTION “for the United States of America.” ]

    As illustrated in the preamble, our current constitution has no such words as “confederation,” “confederacy,” or “league of friendship”; instead, our current constitution was for “we the people of the United States” [preamble] and not for a list of states as in the preamble of the Articles. The states in the Articles considered themselves as independent countries who made an alliance [Articles of Confederation] with each other “for THEIR [caps added] common defense” [article III] and not “for THE [caps added] defense” [preamble of current constitution] of the nation.

    State legislatures acting as THE sovereign authority for their people [not for THE people of the United States] ratified the Articles of Confederation in much the same as a treaty is ratified. But notice how our current constitution was ratified by “we the people” [preamble] in “conventions” [in the following article VII:

    Current Constitution: Article. VII.

    The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

    Thus, in forming “a more perfect union” [current preamble], the states left an alliance that no state was fully keeping – which failure justified the dismissal of the treaty as explained in the Federalist Papers by James Madison in Federalist 43, and Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 15

    FEDERALIST 43 BY MADISON, NEAR END

    Two questions of a very delicate nature present themselves on this occasion: 1. On what principle the Confederation, which stands in the solemn form of a compact among the States, can be superseded without the unanimous consent of the parties to it? 2. What relation is to subsist between the nine or more States ratifying the Constitution, and the remaining few who do not become parties to it? The first question is answered at once by recurring to the absolute necessity of the case; to the great principle of self-preservation; to the transcendent law of nature and of nature’s God, which declares that the safety and happiness of society are the objects at which all political institutions aim, and to which all such institutions must be sacrificed. PERHAPS, also, an answer may be found without searching beyond the principles of the compact itself. It has been heretofore noted among the defects of the Confederation, that in many of the States it had received no higher sanction than a mere legislative ratification. The principle of reciprocality seems to require that its obligation on the other States should be reduced to the same standard. A compact between independent sovereigns, founded on ordinary acts of legislative authority, can pretend to no higher validity than a league or treaty between the parties. It is an established doctrine on the subject of treaties, that all the articles are mutually conditions of each other; that a breach of any one article is a breach of the whole treaty; and that a breach, committed by either of the parties, absolves the others, and authorizes them, if they please, to pronounce the compact violated and void. Should it unhappily be necessary to appeal to these delicate truths for a justification for dispensing with the consent of particular States to a dissolution of the federal pact, will not the complaining parties find it a difficult task to answer the MULTIPLIED and IMPORTANT infractions with which they may be confronted?

    HAMILTON’S FEDERALIST 15:
    There is nothing absurd or impracticable in the idea of a league or alliance between independent nations for certain defined purposes precisely stated in a treaty regulating all the details of time, place, circumstance, and quantity; leaving nothing to future discretion; and depending for its execution on the good faith of the parties. Compacts of this kind exist among all civilized nations, subject to the usual vicissitudes of peace and war, of observance and non-observance, as the interests or passions of the contracting powers dictate. In the early part of the present century there was an epidemical rage in Europe for this species of compacts, from which the politicians of the times fondly hoped for benefits which were never realized. With a view to establishing the equilibrium of power and the peace of that part of the world, all the resources of negotiation were exhausted, and triple and quadruple alliances were formed; but they were scarcely formed before they were broken, giving an instructive but afflicting lesson to mankind, how little dependence is to be placed on treaties which have no other sanction than the obligations of good faith, and which oppose general considerations of peace and justice to the impulse of any immediate interest or passion.
       If the particular States in this country are disposed to stand in a similar relation to each other, and to drop the project of a general DISCRETIONARY SUPERINTENDENCE, the scheme would indeed be pernicious,… [ END OF QUOTE FROM HAMILTON’S FEDERALIST 15 ].

    Thus, all 13 states had failed to keep the Articles of Confederation and thus were entitled as sovereign powers to withdraw from their alliance. Leaving the alliance was certainly not secession as America did when in the Declaration of Independence the colonies seceded from their supreme government [England] for a host of reasons listed in the Declaration. Leaving the alliance was certainly not secession as the South did in Lincoln’s time for stupid reasons & evil reasons. To compare the “secessions” is to distort the word – which Jefferson Davis did, and you do.
    In 1787 and 1788 during the arguments over ratifying the constitution, the anti-federalists, such as Patrick Henry, argued that the states should not give up their sovereign power that they were enjoying under the Articles of Confederation. The anti-federalists recognized that the states could not secede from the proposed constitution as they could from the Articles of Confederation. In the debates in the New York state ratifying convention the anti-federalists said they would join the new union if New York could secede if things turned out unfavorable. Those anti-federalists realized that being able to secede would have to be an extra condition added to their approval of the new constitution. The federalists there, such as Alexander Hamilton and John Jay [our first chief justice under the new constitution], agreed to no such deal and stressed that New York, being its own sovereign power under the Articles of Confederation, could refuse to join the new union. But if New York accepted the new constitution,. New York would be giving up that power but gain the benefits of “a more perfect union” [preamble].

    One of the reasons that our current constitution was written the way it was, was to take away this sovereign power of the states. This power of the states under the Articles of Confederation was a major reason why the Articles failed: the states were on their own and often ignored the Continental Congress [see comment 156]
    Thus, the states lost the general right of secession when they accepted the new constitution – unless, of course, conditions were such as described by the Declaration of Independence:
    Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—[then the Declaration of Independence lists the many abuses of England].

    Thus, Jefferson Davis – and you – were in disagreement with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – and in disagreement with George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, federalists in general, anti-federalists in general – and in disagreement with Joseph Smith and subsequent prophets. And Jeff Davis’s disagreement was based on his and the South’s insistence on the right to expand the evil institution of slavery to the west.

  162. YL: again, your wrong on the politics and the history. Moreover, you fail to answer my argument that because the Articles of Confederation emphasize that they are an explicitly perpetual union, the silence of the Constitution on its own perpetuity makes it an implicitly non-perpetual union. All you succeed in doing is throwing out a flurry of misinterpretations and red-herrings.

    To start with, Federalists objected to the “not going well” criteria for secession, because it justified leaving the Union for any reason whatever. Running a country is messy business, and the Federalists (righty) wanted to avoid a situation in which states could jumped ship at the first sign of trouble. (Kind of like our Founding Fathers were doing with the Articles…)

    Your interpretation of Federalist #43 and #15 is manifestly absurd. A close analysis of them bears out the position I’ve sketched out in the preceding paragraph, and not the position that you contend for.

    Regarding Federalist 43, Madison’s argument is this: States can unilaterally secede from the Articles because they are mutually binding on all parties, so that any gross violation of them dissolves them. There are three things worth noting about Madison’s argument:

    First, the possibility that groups of States will fail to fulfill their obligations exists under both the Articles and the Constitution. Your interpretation has Madison saying in effect, “You should secede from this union where states are failing to meet their obligations, and join this other union where you won’t be able to secede if states fail to meet their obligations.” This is an unworkable interpretation.

    Second, Madison is utterly silent concerning the perpetuity of the Constitution.

    Third, the argument is pretty obviously contrived to support Madison’s nationalist political agenda.

    Regarding Federalist 15: Have you even read Federalist 15? Hamilton is arguing that a union should have enough authority to compel the states’ compliance with its laws. This has nothing at all to do with secession. Indeed, Hamilton’s argument is entirely consistent with what Jefferson Davis says in his farewell. In case you missed it, I quote and describe Davis’s statement supporting the right of the Federal government to coerce intransigent states in my preceding comment, #124.

    Regarding the Preamble to the Constitution: Your attempt to parsing “We the people” is meaningless, but one thing is perfectly clear: The preamble was never intended to be a statement regarding states’ rights. Southerners (and many Northerners) believed that since the States had ratified the Constitution as states, the states necessarily mitigated their citizens’ authority. Citizens of the CSA believed that the statement in the preamble of their CSA Constitution (“We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government…”) was a clarification of the USA Constitution and not a revision.

    Regarding sovereignty under the Articles vs. the Constitution: this was a question of thresholds. States had already given up some sovereignty by agreeing to the Articles in the first place. Under the Constitution, enumerated powers and Amendment 10 ensured that States were sovereign over many areas of government. Indeed, some of that sovereignty persists unto this day; e.g., thanks to the current Supreme Court’s radically Federalist point of view, Federal minimum wage laws do not apply to state governments. Sovereignty is a tired subject, to be sure. We have the same debate about sovereignty every time the Senate considers a new treaty. To this day, some people still argue against NAFTA and WTO based on the sacrifice of sovereignty that they entail. The sovereignty question has nothing to do with secession.

    Regarding Article II of the Articles of Confederation: This citation is bewildering. The second Article of Confederation says the same thing as Amendment 10 to the Constitution. Any argument that Article II allows secession from the Articles is also an argument that Amendment 10 allows secession from the Constitution.

    Nothing that you have said supports your contention that you have “George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, [and] John Jay” on your side. Much less, “federalists in general, [and] anti-federalists in general.”

    The reason you can’t make any headway in this argument is, quite simply, that you’re wrong. Arguing that that the Constitution was intended to bar States from secession is like arguing that Ansel Adams photographed people.

  163. Oh, no. I just got an email that Ansel Adams photographed people during WWII. (Darned those wars, they make liars of us all…) Oh, well. I’ll restate:

    Arguing that that the Constitution was intended to bar States from secession is like arguing that a fish needs a bicycle.

  164. I neglected to mention: The email was from my lovely bride. She’s one hot babe. You should be so lucky at to be corrected by an eternal companion as hot as she is.

  165. DKL 162

    I have been enlightened on several occasions in this blog and in other blogs. Several have quoted statistics and given views which I thought were interesting. One gave me easy access to photos of Mrs. Abraham Lincoln. I have even enjoyed reading your quotes of Jefferson Davis because – although I knew the general arguments of the South – I had never read Davis’s personal views. My reaction to those quotes was different from my reaction to others’ comments; your quotes of Davis gave another example of how a well-educated man can be incredibly stupid.

    But I really get tired of your argumentative, see-how-smart-I-am attitude that equates a PEACEFUL renunciation of an alliance [the Articles of Confederation] of 13 nations with the VIOLENT [firing on Fort Sumter] secession-rebellion of the South against the Supreme Government. The Articles of Confederation were an alliance that, since the Revolutionary War, was simply not working [see comment 156] and thus was negated [and had barely worked during the war as General Washington and many members of the Continental Congress complained about].

    Under the Articles of Confederation the Continental Congress itself on February 21, 1787, authorized a convention in May 1787 to revise the Articles of Confederation: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw:@field(DOCID+@lit(jc03225)) Thus, the nations under the Articles authorized their revision – which led to our current constitution.

    The constitutional convention reported back to the Continental Congress: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/const/translet.htm.
    On September 28, 1787, the Continental Congress UNANIMOUSLY sent the proposed [and eventually accepted] constitution to the states for their consideration http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/const/ressub02.htm.

    Also, the Continental Congress recognized that each state was sovereign and free to join or NOT join this “more perfect union,” but as the anti-federalists realized, once a state accepted this new supreme government, that state lost its independent status that it had enjoyed under the Articles of Confederation; that’s a major reason why some states barely ratified the constitution; the vote was quite close in 3 of the 4 largest states: Virginia, Massachusetts, and New York; in New York [where anti-federalists had wanted but didn’t get the right to secede if it ratified the constitution] the vote FOR was only 3 more than the vote AGAINST.

    In short, the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation approved of the States’ holding conventions on whether to ratify the new constitution. Why did the Continental Congress itself organize the convention, accept the convention’s proposed constitution, and submit that constitution to the states? Because the so-called “perpetual union” had NOT been “perpetual” for years [see comment 156] and had barely been “perpetual” during the war as General George Washington complained about. During the war some states actually considered making their own separate treaties with England; also, during the war some European nations recommended to France that France organize peace treaties between England and EACH of the 13 states [to keep them weak rather than unified]; only John Adams’ intervention stopped this plan.

    THE SOUTH’S SECESSION & REBELLION AGAINST THE SUPREME GOVERNMENT WAS NOTHING LIKE THIS. THE SOUTH DID NOT SEEK THE APPROVAL OF THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT FOR ITS SECESSION, DID NOT GET IT – AND FIRED ON FORT SUMTER.

    Lincoln followed the examples of our first 3 presidents: George Washington [who as President led a large army to put down a rebellion], John Adams [who sent a large army to put down a rebellion], and Thomas Jefferson who used the nation’s force against violations of the nation’s boycott against England.

    Several times you have failed to answer the question raised in my comment 156 and implied in my comment 160:

    How does the South’s secession meet the standard in the Declaration of Independence:

    “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that GOVERNMENTS LONG ESTABLISHED SHOULD NOT BE CHANGED FOR LIGHT AND TRANSIENT CAUSES [caps added]; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a LONG TRAIN OF ABUSES AND USURPATIONS, [caps added] pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.”

    So again I ask you: what “long train of abuses and usurpations” did the South have for seceding against the Supreme Government? Give us your list so we can compare it with the list of abuses in the Declaration of Independence. Or are you going to avoid the question again in your ever-so-clever way?

  166. DKL 162

    I have been enlightened on several occasions in this blog and in other blogs. Several have quoted statistics and given views which I thought were interesting. One gave me easy access to photos of Mrs. Abraham Lincoln. I have even enjoyed reading your quotes of Jefferson Davis because – although I knew the general arguments of the South – I had never read Davis’s personal views. My reaction to those quotes was different from my reaction to others’ comments; your quotes of Davis gave another example of how a well-educated man can be incredibly stupid.

    But I really get tired of your argumentative, see-how-smart-I-am attitude that equates a PEACEFUL renunciation of an alliance [the Articles of Confederation] of 13 nations with the VIOLENT [firing on Fort Sumter] secession-rebellion of the South against the Supreme Government. The Articles of Confederation were an alliance that, since the Revolutionary War, was simply not working [see comment 156] and thus was negated [and had barely worked during the war as General Washington and many members of the Continental Congress complained about]. Under the Articles of Confederation the Continental Congress itself on February 21, 1787, authorized a convention in May 1787 to revise the Articles of Confederation: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw:@field(DOCID+@lit(jc03225)) Thus, the nations under the Articles authorized their revision – which led to our current constitution.

    The constitutional convention reported back to the Continental Congress: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/const/translet.htm.
    On September 28, 1787, the Continental Congress UNANIMOUSLY sent the proposed [and eventually accepted] constitution to the states for their consideration http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/const/ressub02.htm.

    Also, the Continental Congress recognized that each state was sovereign and free to join or NOT join this “more perfect union,” but as the anti-federalists realized, once a state accepted this new supreme government, that state lost its independent status that it had enjoyed under the Articles of Confederation; that’s a major reason why some states barely ratified the constitution; the vote was quite close in 3 of the 4 largest states: Virginia, Massachusetts, and New York; in New York [where anti-federalists had wanted but didn’t get the right to secede if it ratified the constitution] the vote FOR was only 3 more than the vote AGAINST.

    In short, the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation approved of the States’ holding conventions on whether to ratify the new constitution. Why did the Continental Congress itself organize the convention, accept the convention’s proposed constitution, and submit that constitution to the states? Because the so-called “perpetual union” had NOT been “perpetual” for years [see comment 156] and had barely been “perpetual” during the war as General George Washington complained about. During the war some states actually considered making their own separate treaties with England; also, during the war some European nations recommended to France that France organize peace treaties between England and EACH of the 13 states [to keep them weak rather than unified]; only John Adams’ intervention stopped this plan.

    THE SOUTH’S SECESSION & REBELLION AGAINST THE SUPREME GOVERNMENT WAS NOTHING LIKE THIS. THE SOUTH DID NOT SEEK THE APPROVAL OF THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT FOR ITS SECESSION, DID NOT GET IT – AND FIRED ON FORT SUMTER.

    Lincoln followed the examples of our first 3 presidents: George Washington [who as President led a large army to put down a rebellion], John Adams [who sent a large army to put down a rebellion], and Thomas Jefferson who used the nation’s force against violations of the nation’s boycott against England.

    Several times you have failed to answer the question raised in my comment 156 and implied in my comment 160:

    How does the South’s secession meet the standard in the Declaration of Independence:

    “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that GOVERNMENTS LONG ESTABLISHED SHOULD NOT BE CHANGED FOR LIGHT AND TRANSIENT CAUSES [caps added]; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a LONG TRAIN OF ABUSES AND USURPATIONS [caps added], pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.”

    So again I ask you: what “long train of abuses and usurpations” did the South have for seceding against the Supreme Government? Give us your list so we can compare it with the list of abuses in the Declaration of Independence. Or are you going to avoid the question again in your ever-so-clever way?

  167. YL: But I really get tired of your argumentative, see-how-smart-I-am attitude…

    What else is new? You can’t blame me for being smarter than you. You might as well fault me because I’m better looking.

    YL: … that equates a PEACEFUL renunciation of an alliance [the Articles of Confederation] of 13 nations with the VIOLENT [firing on Fort Sumter] secession-rebellion of the South against the Supreme Government.

    This begs the question. If the CSA is entitled to secede from the Union, then Lincoln must evacuate Fort Sumpter, and his refusal to evacuate is an act of war. I think that it’s counter productive for you to keep going off half-cocked with this ignorant, winners view of history. The real question is: Why did the North feel it was necessary to invade the South and pursue extra-constitutional means to subjugate it?

    YL: Under the Articles of Confederation the Continental Congress itself on February 21, 1787, authorized a convention in May 1787 to revise the Articles of Confederation

    And the 13th Article explicitly allows for such revisions–by unanimous consent of all the state legislatures. The authorized convention quickly decided that it needed more than a revision. The Constitution is (and was designed to be) a wholesale replacement–not a revision–and it required the consent of only 9 of the 13 legislatures. And, as Federalist #43 (that you quote) implies, the Constitutional Union was effected through the secession of 9 states from the Articles.

    YL: in New York [where anti-federalists had wanted but didn’t get the right to secede if it ratified the constitution] the vote FOR was only 3 more than the vote AGAINST.

    You’re getting tiresome, here. You can’t just take the New York rejection as a rejection of secession per se. See my previous comment for an explanation of why New York’s request for a right to secede was denied, and why it has no bearing on the question of justified secession.

    YL: Or are you going to avoid the question [of why the South seceded] again in your ever-so-clever way?

    Your ability to read my comments is as anemic as your ability to understand the sources you site. I spent the greater part of my argumentation in this thread arguing about why the South seceded. These include, the use of tariffs to exploit the South by thrusting an unfair portion of the tax-paying burden on Southern States and the continual disregard for Constitutional restrictions of Federal power. The Southern concern for extra-constitutional abuses proved especially prescient, given the way the North behaved during the war.

    YL: Give us your list so we can compare it with the list of abuses in the Declaration of Independence.

    Look, if you don’t already know that the charges of abuse in the Declaration were either (a) trumped up, or (b) completely within the rights of 18th century empires to inflict on their colonies, then I don’t know what business you have quoting it. The original draft even blamed England for the existence of slavery, and that’s plain crazy. I understand that the Declaration of Independence is an important document and all, but the really useful part has to do with the rights that man has with respect to governments, not the rights of governments with respect to men–especially since the portion that talks about the rights of governments is tailored to suit the prejudices of European monarchies worried about instability. (A concern that proved warranted in many countries, not the least of which was France.)

    You keep talking about things like what the word “confederation” means and fixating on other words trying to squeeze out meanings that buttress your position. But none of the texts that you site or the quotes that you offer support your view. And your arguments either beg the question or don’t lead to the conclusions you think they do. Moreover, you continually refuse to answer any of my arguments, opting instead to litter this thread with more and more superficial interpretations, red-herrings, and non-sequiturs. Aside from the fact that you’re on the losing side of an argument because you’re just plain wrong, you don’t even seem to be offering it fair representation.

  168. See, YL, the problem I have with you is that you appear to be stalking DKL. No matter what the topic is, you turn it into an arguement of a personal nature between you and my friend. That bothers me.

    It also makes you look rather pathetic and desperate. Is there a thread you comment on that doesn’t include DKL bashing?

  169. annegb 168

    Actually I’ve made several other comments in blogs that did NOT involve DKL; some of my comments not about DKL have agreed with others’ comments; some of my comments not about DKL have disagreed but have not belittled others or mocked sacred things. But many of my comments have been reactions to DKL because as a LDS who professes to be active in the Church, he uses his high IQ [and he does have a high IQ] to belittle others, to slander great men [e.g. Lincoln in this very blog], and to mock sacred things [e.g. Declaration of Independence in this very blog]. I’ve never seen anyone else in LDS blogs who has such contempt for others’ feelings or for sacred things. DKL’s comments are often comments that I would’ve expected from enemies of the Church.

    And DKL’s comments are not even the type of comments as we sometimes read from others who have been personally offended by someone in the Church; such comments by those offended, need our patience.

    But DKL’s comments of contempt are to show off his high IQ. With his high IQ he could be a tremendous aid to others in understanding various issues, in understanding the Gospel. But such aid often does not involve the same opportunity for wit and cleverness, and, therefore, in his mind does not deserve the same attention. I enjoy so much of what is said in the LDS blogs, but DKL stands out from the rest – which is his intention as others have observed. DKL’s intention is to get attention – even at others’ expense.

    And this is nothing new for him. It’s a matter of record that he’s being doing this for YEARS in the blogs, and I’m sure, has been doing this since his teenage years and thus preferred to exercise his argumentative skills & wit rather than go on a mission Those whose feelings he has offended, need to know this – and to know that argumentative skills, cleverness and wit are not the first and second great commandments as DKL contends.

  170. YL,
    don’t feed the beast. Really.

  171. YL,

    Just so you know – the “K” in DKL stands for Korihor. And if the “L” in your last name stands for Landrith, I suggest you not do very much geneaology research. Who know what black sheep might turn up?

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