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Thread: Why a ‘National Divorce’ Cannot Be Civil, but Would Inevitably Mean Civil War

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Why a ‘National Divorce’ Cannot Be Civil, but Would Inevitably Mean Civil War

    October 15, 2021
    Why a ‘National Divorce’ Cannot Be Civil, but Would Inevitably Mean Civil War

    By William Sullivan

    Many conservatives have talked recently about the need for a “national divorce” due to irreconcilable differences with the progressive left. We should be clear about what we’re talking about, though, when we suggest the prospect of a “national divorce.”

    We are talking about secession. And secession, in America, is anything but a civil or amicable process, and it’s useless to imagine it would be otherwise.

    It’s only truly been attempted once, after all, and it led to the bloodiest war in our history.

    Certainly, there are practical differences between secession and civil war. But in America, these are distinctions without meaning, because with secession comes “civil war,” if one chooses, as we have, to characterize the American conflict of 1861-1865 that way.

    Perspective matters when it comes to defining these circumstances. The American colonials sought independence in 1776, for example, and would have gladly done so peacefully. In their eyes, the cause for independence from Britain was a righteous assertion of a natural right, and their war was a defensive one. In the eyes of the British, however, the colonials were treasonous rebels to be subjugated with ruthless force.

    Such was the state of opinions in 1861, in a remarkably similar set of circumstances. However, there was a difference. In 1861, the seceding states believed not only that their cause was righteous, but that they had asserted not only a natural right but the legal right to achieve independence via legislative self-determination.

    And they certainly sought a peaceful separation. As Jefferson Davis openly declared, the newly formed Confederate States of America in 1861 sought “no conquest, no aggrandizement, no concession of any kind from the States with which we were formerly confederated; all we ask is to be let alone.”

    Neither the declaration of the desire for a peaceful separation nor this presumed legal right to legislative self-determination by the seceding states made any difference, as we know. The attempt was militarily thwarted with ruthless force by the Union armies in order to subjugate the treasonous rebels who sought independence.

    Here is what’s most important for us to know today. There was not war in 1861 because the seceding states desired war, or, contrary to popular fiction, because of the moral crime of their having practiced slavery. There was war because there was a bedrock, nation-defining question around the legitimacy of state secession that had yet to be answered.

    That answer to that question was finally settled in 1865.

    It would certainly be convenient if we could accomplish an amicable “national divorce,” but that would require, at the very least, a nationally understood belief that states are willing participants in voluntary union of American states. Unfortunately, progressives certainly don’t believe that, and neither do most conservatives.

    Herein lies the conflict of visions that once led us from the potential for peaceable secession of the states to violent reunification of a nation through open war in 1861.

    The question of whether our republic is a voluntary or perpetual union has long been a subject of debate. In the Articles of Confederation which preceded the Constitution, the provisions therein were stipulated to be “inviolably observed by every state, and the Union shall be perpetual.”

    Inconvenient for those arguing in favor of the legal legitimacy of a perpetual union, however, is that the musings of Articles of Confederation are abrogated by the Constitution, and the latter is entirely silent on the matter of secession. Any who have given even mild study to the diligence and care with which the Constitution explicitly enumerates the powers of the federal government should have difficulty explaining the absence of an explicitly defined federal mandate to militarily enforce a “perpetual union” if the Framers’ intention was to establish one.

    This leaves arguers in favor of our nation’s design as a perpetual union reliant on pure postulation. Abraham Lincoln was one who unconvincingly argued in his First Inaugural Address that:
    I hold, that in contemplation of universal law, and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. It is safe to assert that no government proper, ever had a provision in its own organic law for its own termination.

    Here, we see Lincoln, one of the most gifted orators and debaters in American history, is eliding the real point. He freely concedes that the Constitution may not “express” that the Union is perpetual, but that in the penumbra, one might say, of all foundational law of “national governments” is the implied suggestion that the government is designed to exist in perpetuity. After all, he suggests, if national governments were not meant to perpetually exist, then they would have surely scribed into law a mechanism to destroy themselves.

    The suggestion that a righteous mandate to forcibly maintain a perpetual union on the strength of “implied” rather than “expressed” power of the government is extraordinarily weak justification for his treating the prospect of secession as “rebellion.”

    Furthermore, secession is not tantamount to “termination” of government. If two states secede from the Union, for example, the government would not cease to exist or be “terminated” -- it would just exist with fewer states, just as the addition of two states to the Union does not alter the Union’s state of existence, but only means that its form in that it will now be composed of two more states.

    There’s also an element of hypocrisy here that cuts against the argument Lincoln made in 1861. He had spoken very favorably of the Texian revolution against the national government of Mexico, which must have also been, according to his logic in 1861, designedly “perpetual” in nature:
    Any people, anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable -- a most sacred right -- a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world…
    Interestingly, the reason that Lincoln held this view in 1848 leads us to the most important argument in favor of the United States having been formed as a voluntary Union of states, rather than a perpetual one. And that is the Declaration of Independence.

    Unlike the Articles of Confederation, the Declaration was not nullified by the Constitution. It does not stand as a substitute for the Constitution, but as the reason for its very existence. In short, the Constitution is the “how” of the United States, and the Declaration is the “why.”

    It was from this fount that Lincoln undoubtedly drew in 1848, as is evident by the language. Jefferson wrote in 1776:
    [W]hen 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.
    What does any of this mean today?

    It means that state secession is, indeed convincingly, entirely consistent with the foundational principles of our republic. But that simple truth no longer matters, because the question as to whether we are a voluntary union (thereby allowing for civil separation) or perpetual one (thereby requiring ruthless force to maintain) has been precedentially settled through violence. We are taught in our schools that the ruthless and forcible preservation of that union is righteous and well within the powers of the federal government. And the vast majority of Americans, left and right, simply accept all of this as fact.

    Couple with this the fact that states wishing to secede would necessarily be deficient in federal power, and we should have every reason to believe that the powerful federal government would see any effort by a subordinate state to leave the United States as an act of rebellion.

    I maintain that secession and civil war don’t appear to be on the immediate horizon, given that the balance of power in government is such that neither side is hopeless to express its own regional autonomy, to some extent, or to exercise representative power at the federal level. But the simple fact is that any talk of a civil or amicable national divorce is nothing but a fantasy -- and not a very helpful one, at that.
    ”The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.” - Margaret Thatcher

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by Achilles View Post
    October 15, 2021
    Why a ‘National Divorce’ Cannot Be Civil, but Would Inevitably Mean Civil War

    By William Sullivan

    I maintain that secession and civil war don’t appear to be on the immediate horizon, given that the balance of power in government is such that neither side is hopeless to express its own regional autonomy, to some extent, or to exercise representative power at the federal level. But the simple fact is that any talk of a civil or amicable national divorce is nothing but a fantasy -- and not a very helpful one, at that.

    Good article, but I think the discussion is helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Western Pa.


    '' Actually, the war of 1861 was not a civil war. A civil war is a conflict between two or more factions trying to take over a government. In 1861, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was no more interested in taking over Washington than George Washington was interested in taking over England in 1776. Like Washington, Davis was seeking independence. Therefore, the war of 1861 should be called “The War Between the States” or the “War for Southern Independence.” The more bitter southerner might call it the “War of Northern Aggression.”

    The late great Walter Williams...
    ''... I believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people...are a safeguard to the continuance of a free government...whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast Republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it.''- Gen. Robert E. Lee

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2021


    Constitution was created to prevent the American Man from regulating those who consented to be regulated in order to get an official job.
    In addition, the Constitution gave the enemies of the American Man freedom of religion to pursue their subverting schemes un-hindered.
    And the Richman used the Congress to plunder the Southern States.
    Lincoln, under advisement by Karl Marx, first tried to invade Florida, but the Commander of the invasion flotilla refused to land the troops.
    That is when Lincoln set up the Fort Sumpter scheme. And brought in many Communist revolutionaries that survived the 1849 Communist revolution in Europe.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009


    Lincoln was a shitbird, 'tis true.
    Europe used to have empires. They were run by emperors.
    Then we had kingdoms. They were run by kings.
    Now we have countries...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Between Sandpoint and Coeur D'Alene


    A "Civil" War is a war of words.
    The Holy Parchment ONLY benefits the Bloodline that created it for Themselves and Their Posterity.
    Unfortunately, the Peasant Class was too burnt out from the war to wage another when the Holy Parchment was shoved down their throats.
    People have a "belief" of what the Holy Parchment states but do not really Read with comprehension what it really states.
    At least research each Proper Noun.
    Remember those from grade school English class?

    If I created a profitable business, Would I leave it to just everyone?
    No. I would leave it only to my Family (Bloodline).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009


    Everyone doing what what was right in their own eyes (anarchy) didn't work either. So, what do we learn from the lessons of history? Only God can rule men righteously. The next step seems to be the Sons of God ruling. Then we'll see what fruit it produces instead of complaints of injustice.

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