Thursday, October 11, 2007

On the idea of Secession (Part 3)

(Note: Since this has become something of a series on this topic here at Webster's, I've slightly altered the original post titles to more reflect this. Here are the links to parts one and two of this series.)

Be sure not to miss Vanishing American's most recent excellent post on this topic where she reveals "The Chattanooga Declaration."

Below is posted a number of very interesting coincidences concerning the priciples imbued in this declaration...

Let's begin by doing a quick comparison between the seven principles of The Chattanooga Declaration and another set of seven principles recently posted at VFR under the Traditionalist Response to Liberalism thread.

The Chattanooga principles are as follows:

1. The deepest questions of human liberty and government facing our time go beyond right and left, and in fact have made the old right-left split meaningless and dead.

2. The privileges, monopolies, and powers that private corporations have won from government threaten everyone's health, prosperity, and liberty, and have already killed American self-government by the people.

3. The power of corporations endangers liberty as much as government power, especially when they are combined as in the American Empire.

4. Liberty can only survive if political power is returned from faraway and self-interested centers to local communities and States.

5. The American Empire is no longer a nation or a republic, but has become a tyrant aggressive abroad and despotic at home.

6. The States of the American union are and of right ought to be, free and self-governing.

7. Without secession, liberty and self-government can never be sustained, and diversity among human societies can never survive.

By Comparison, look at the following principles I submitted to VFR:

Here are seven leading principles of Traditional Conservatism:

1. The Principle of Individuality;

2. The Principle of Self-Government;

3. The Historical Character of Americans as our heritage;

4. The property of conscience (meaning a man has a property in his conscience);

5. The original form of our Government;

6. Local self-government;

7. The Principle of American Political Union.

Very quickly my initial thoughts are these...

I'm struck by not only the similarity between the two lists, but that the numbers of the principles themselves follow very closely the same order. For instance, number 2 on both lists speaks of self-government. No. 5 in the Chattanooga Declaration says that America is no longer a nation or a republic; by comparison Principle no. 5 in my list cites our original form of Government. No. 6 in both lists speaks of local self-government. And finally, number seven...

No. 7 in the Chatanooga list states that secession is necessary to preserve and sustain liberty and self-government; and diversity among human societies. I think that number 7 is where the biggest difference in the principles of the two lists resides, though the two no. 7s are still very similar.

In contrast to what the Chatanooga Secessionists concluded in their no. 7, number seven on my list, American political union, acknowledges secession as an option or a tool to preserving liberty and self-government, but not the preferable option. Preferable to Secession would be a return to the original form of our government, or, principle no. 5 in my list.

There are even other more subtle similarities between the two lists that I think are there. For instance, number three on both lists may be said to be speaking of the revival of historical Americanism which cannot abide a merger between government and corporations to tyrannize a people of character. By returning political power back to the local communities and States (Chattanooga principle no. 4), the principle of Conscience as property (principle no. 4 in my list) may best be secured.

As for my list, it isn't my list at all. I just discovered it, or was introduced to it due to an unusual set of circumstances, oh, around 15 or 16 years ago. It didn't take me long to embrace the principles embodied in that list though. In fact, the list as you read it here and as posted over at VFR is an alteration on the original list that I was introduced to. I may share more on that later.

(I'll be adding more to this post later.)


Vanishing American said...

Terry, excellent post.
I saw your list of traditionalist principles over at VFR and I noticed the similarities. Interesting how they tallied up, although there are some distinctions and nuances there too.
Looking forward to the rest of your thoughts on the subject.